Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Theological Fallacy II

[Updated]
Dedicated to my USA readers who just celebrated their 4th of July.

There is a common notion that in order to believe in something, that something must exists a priori. Although in human interaction and in some cases this is true, it is not true in all cases. Another corollary to this is that in order for a promise to be true, the content of that promise must, a priori, already be a reality. To make it more concrete, UOJers teach that in order to believe you are justified you must believe that your justification has already occurred. Otherwise, so the reasoning goes, faith has nothing to grab a hold on. Take a look at this example comment by Dr. Kilcrease here, the emphasis is mine for your attention.

So, to speak the gospel, you must make a promissory statement and a promissory statement presupposes a reality that's already present. If it's faith that does the justifying and not the reception of justification, then we're not speaking the word of the gospel as a promise-since faith must trust in an already existing reality that is completely fulfilled



I suggest that this type of reasoning or assumption is flawed. It misses the nature of faith and has misunderstood the nature of a promise. This is also reasoning not Biblically but philosophically. Philosophy, let us face it, is often based on observation not revelation.

Let me give an example. If I say to you I will be there in our meeting tomorrow and I will be on time, does that mean tomorrow has already come so that you can believe me - my words and actions? The answer of course is "no". What does it take for you to believe me? I suggest what you need from me so you can believe my words is my character. Am I a person who is known for integrity, is my word my bond? Isn't that what you need from me to believe that what I say, I will do? You do not require the existence of tomorrow, a priori, to believe me, right? Now transfer that notion of character to God who does not lie. We can then see why faith is precious to God.

Furthermore, the notion that in order for faith to grab a hold on something, that something must already exists, does not take faith as a gift. It does not take faith as an entire creation from nothing to something. This "a priori existence thinking" makes faith like it is just a matter of rearranging the furnitures in a room. The furnitures are already there but they are just not in the right places. Scripture does not speak of saving faith in this manner. Rather it speaks of faith as a creation through the Means of Grace i.e., the preaching or proclamation of the Gospel Romans 1:16-17. Faith is creation ex nihilo just like God created the Universe. The Gospel in the BOC is designated an offer. Namely AP XII, v.29

And this contrition takes place in this manner when sins are censured by the Word of God, because the sum of the preaching of the Gospel is this, namely, to convict of sin, and to offer for Christ's sake the remission of sins and righteousness, and the Holy Ghost, and eternal life, and that as regenerate men we should do good works.


As a counter example of why I believe the "a priori existence" notion is false, I give Hebrews 11:

13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. To believe in the promises of God, that is to see them afar of and yet be assured of them and embrace them is to have a faith whose author is not man but Christ, the author and finisher of faith.

Discussing Justification is always a good thing for in the discussion we get a clearer understanding of where faith is anchored, where it should rest.

Dr. Jackson says it well when he says

Wondering out loud is not permitted in the synods. I believe doctrinal friction is a positive factor in creating doctrinal clarity - as evidenced in the Formula of Concord.

Justification by faith, like subnet masking, is learned rather than taught. Going over every issue is essential in sorting out the Biblical truths.

29 comments:

Steven Goodrich said...

But those are two different kinds of promises.

Saying I will there tomorrow is a different kind of promise than someone giving you a check book and saying that the money will never run out.

I am not saying which kind of promise the Bible presents. I am saying that there are different kinds, and you should acknowledge that. You seem to dismiss any evidence, argument, etc that is counter to your position instead of engaging it.

Doesn't your argument against philosophy work against your appeal to logic. After all, reason is the devil's whore.

Steven Goodrich said...

The question is what is offered in the means of grace. Do you agree that Salvation, life, and the forgiveness of sins are offered in the Lord's Supper?

It seems to me that the Confessions speak of Christ offering us His righteousness, life, forgiveness of sin, the Holy Spirit or even Himself. This is different then your example of making an arrangement or setting an appointment.

LPC said...

Steven,

To the contrary, I am the one who by my counter example shows that Kilcrease's idea of a priori existence is not the whole story. Hence, I believe I account for the whole Biblical data already IMHO by that counter example.

I have plenty of examples from Scripture that complies to my future sense of promise and I site one that eliminates the UOJers idea of a pre-existent justification such that faith may grab a hold of - Romans 4:23-24. Here is another one Romans 10:9.

It also boils down to the object of faith and the content of that faith, UOJers and JBFAer differ on this.

You seem to dismiss any evidence, argument, etc that is counter to your position instead of engaging it.


But what are these? I am still waiting for an example from Scripture that God justified already before that person even believed. I believe this is not my problem to show, it is the UOJ who should show it - remember I am in the negative, the UOJer is in the affirmative see again Kilcrease's statement. He is operating on such assumption based on experience.

Here is Kilcrease's again In other words, if justification and forgiveness are not prior to faith and cause faith by it's proclamation ("you sins are forgiven for the sake of Jesus") then faith is a condition for justification

Based on this, you do the "maths" so to speak, you go to Scripture and find out if faith is not a condition for justification. It is a condition which happens to be a gift created by God himself - Eph 2:8-9.

re:logic. I do not deny the use of it in entirety what I do deny is its precedence in being used to understand the Biblical data. Philology should precede Philosophy.

LPC

LPC said...

Steven,

It seems to me that the Confessions speak of Christ offering us His righteousness, life, forgiveness of sin, the Holy Spirit or even Himself.

Of course my example is different - the point is not my appointment setting, the point is that I promised something in the future to happen which God also does, there is a future side of justification which I already gave you Scriptures for you to look at.

The difference in my example is a.) the content of the promise and b.) the promiser, but both points illustrate the future side of things.

Yes God is offering Jesus's righteousness but the point is that since it is an offer, the sinner does not automatically have it by virtue of Jesus dying at the Cross.

To best put in context our discussion let me go back to my atheist friend who by his confession denies God and denies Christ. This is Kilcrease's answer to my question whether or not the atheist is forgiven...

The atheist is forgiven from within the sphere of God in Christ, but because of his unbelief he remains within the sphere of God external to Christ. He remains within law, wrath, and hiddenness, and consequently interacts with God not preached and therefore does not receive that forgiveness.

I do not have this kind of double talk. In fact this is sophistry right between your eyes. I will flatly say that the person is not forgiven. I will say the person's sins have been paid for by Christ (but atonement and justification/forgiveness are not the same as a starting point - I carry no logic about this at the start) but he is not forgiven because he is in unbelief.

Jack uses forgiveness and receiving of forgiveness as categories.

For me, a person is forgiven when he received by faith what is offered - the death of Christ in place of his sins. Forgiveness is the benefit of the Atonement - scholars attest to this. In my view, there is no such thing as a person being forgiven and yet not receiving forgiveness - unlike Kilcrease.

There is no such thing as the atheist being forgiven from within the sphere of God in Christ - which Kilcrease states to be so.

What I give to you is a simple scenario - there is the atheist there - bring him to Christ and when he is in Christ there declare him forgiven. Yet Kilcrease wants to say that the atheist IS forgiven from within the sphere of God in Christ but because of his unbelief etc etc. he is not forgiven etc. etc.

I will readily say that atheist's sins have been paid for but I will never say that atheist is forgiven in Christ for I know darn well he is not in Christ. Scripture again and again says that the sinner's sins have been paid for, it does not say the sinner's sins have been automatically forgiven by virtue of Jesus death. This is not true because Jesus said -- John 8:24
Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.

Man's sins are only wiped away upon faith in Christ, no faith in Christ no wiping away of sin, the sin remains.

UOJers jump from the Atonement to its benefit - Justification and then they equate the two interchangeably.

I believe such equation was started of by C F W Walther and has made US Synodical Lutherans peculiar.

LPC

LPC said...

I am sorry, I forgot to answer your question...

Do you agree that Salvation, life, and the forgiveness of sins are offered in the Lord's Supper?

Yes I do.

But let me ask you, what is given in the Supper is the very body and blood of Jesus - correct?

Now if I reject what is offered, are my sins forgiven?



LPC

Brett Meyer said...

Another doctrinal note on the Christian doctrine of Holy Communion, which I believe should be addressed when clarifying Universal Objective Justification (UOJ).

Remember that only those who receive Christ's body and blood with faith, the Holy Spirit's faith worked in them solely through the Means of Grace, are forgiven of their sins. Those who receive Christ's body and blood without faith are damned and in fact are to be kept from taking Holy Communion if at all possible.

This flies in the face of UOJ which has distributed Christ's body and blood, His righteousness, for the forgiveness of the unbelieving worlds sins before the Holy Spirit has worked faith in them through Word and Baptism. UOJ would have everyone believe that God's grace has been distributed to the whole world outside the Means of Grace. The Confessional doctrine of Holy Communion rejects this completely.

LPC said...

B.M,

Correct.

In Steve's bringing up the topic of the Lord's Supper I hope we can show him the sophistic implications of UOJ on this subject.

My hope is that he sees that in UOJ, forgiveness is distributed without the means of grace which the BoC completely rejects.

LPC

Steven Goodrich said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LPC said...

Steven,

I am sorry for being careless in calling you Steve. My mistake.

When I said My hope is that he sees that in UOJ, forgiveness is distributed without the means of grace which the BoC completely rejects

What I meant was that UOJ declares or states that the unbeliever such as the atheist is both forgiven and not forgiven at the same time since he has not come to faith yet.

JBFA has no such double tongue teaching.

As proof I cite LC-MS 1932 Brief Statement Article 17 a

Scripture teaches that God has already declared the whole world to be righteous in Christ

I believe when this statement in 1932 was formulated, they really intended this to mean that way.


LPC

LPC said...

Incidentally I had time to present the quote Steven gave to Jack which the latter believes is Luther's teaching on UOJ. Here it is

As though Christ wished to say: “Whoever believes, does not go to hell; whoever does not believe, already has the sentence of death pronounced on him.” Why? Well, because he does not believe in Christ. This is the judgment: that such an ineffably comforting doctrine of God’s grace, procured for the world through Christ, is proclaimed, but that the world still wants to believe the devil rather than God and His beloved Son. And this despite the fact that God assures us: “Sin, hell, judgment, and God’s wrath have all been terminated by the Son.”

Luther continues:

Now what is still lacking? Why the judgment if all sin has been removed by the Son? The answer is that the judgment is incurred by man’s refusal to accept Christ, the Son of God. Of course, man’s sin, both that inherited from Adam and that committed by man himself, is deserving of death. But this judgment results from man’s unwillingness to hear, to tolerate, and to accept the Savior, who removed sin, bore it on His shoulders, and locked up the portals of hell. (Luther's Works 22:382-383)


I suggest that Luther in speaking of removal was speaking of the atonement. This is the problem with UOJers, because their mind is so locked up in thinking that Atonement and Justification are co-equivalent, each time they look at the Atonement they think it is Justification.

Rather, the teaching of Scripture and the BoC and yes I dare say Luther is this - you reject the Atonement by your unbelief, your sin remains and is not covered thus Jesus says to the Jews if you do not believe I am he, you will die in your sins. The Means of Grace wants to bring the benefit of the atonement to the sinner, which is forgiveness the effect of the atonement, atonement being the cause.

Unbelievers are still in their sins and this is exactly what the Means of Grace is trying to accomplish, that is remove man from being in sin and transferred him to being in Christ and thus forgiven. This is I suggest what Luther is saying and not what UOJ wants to spin and weave.

Atonement is covering, that is what in Hebrew means. That is what removal in a sense means.

LPC

Gregory L. Jackson said...

LPC, you are correct. I notice that the UOJ fanatics ignore the distinction between the atonement and justification by faith. In Roman Catholicism, everyone is forgiven through the church but their sins are not yet paid for. Luther's emphasis upon the work of Christ addresses that clearly and compellingly. One must apply the Knapp-Walther filters to turn atonement into justification without faith, without the Word, without the Means of Grace.

LPC said...

Pr. Greg,

What I also notice is that UOJers quote people of authority out of context. In that quote I copied above, the first paragraph gave the context of the quote. At that point right away Luther was speaking of faith and when he says "remove" he meant the atonement.

Which again boils down to what is implied by the BoC - faith in the atonement is justification, not faith in justification is justification.

LPC

Brett Meyer said...

Another verse which destroys UOJ is Titus 3:7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

UOJ teaches that the whole world stands in God's grace, having been justified by Christ's atonement, yet the verse above declares that those who are justified by God's grace are heirs of eternal life, saved!

They are unable to declare this is Subjective Justification since this justification is by God's grace which UOJ distributes to the entire unbelieving world before they ever believed. This verse speaks of the justification in UOJ's realm of Objective Justification.

Of course there are some who reject taking Scripture as it plainly and clearly declares God's will and doctrine but would rather extrapolate some concept or thought which confirms the doctrine formed by their reason.

LPC said...

Brett,

IMHO, the people from WELS are more honest that Kilcrease in following through the logic of the UOJ doctrine.

According to WELS, even Judas has been justified at the Cross. Which is logical and sound if UOJ were true. Now, I wonder what Kilcrease will say about this.

Notice how Kilcrease beat around the bush on my atheist.

LPC

Steven Goodrich said...

I will give you a direct answer to the atheist question. As long as the atheist remains an atheist, he is outside of Christ and therefore not justified. Only in Christ is anyone justified.

LPC said...

Steven,

You did much better than Kilcrease re: the Atheist.

Has the Atheist ever been forgiven of his sins at all? That is to say, was his sins forgiven when Jesus died on the Cross or Raised from the dead?

LPC

Steven Goodrich said...

We would both agree that Christ death procured the forgiveness of sins for the atheist, right?

Steven Goodrich said...

I suggest that Luther in speaking of removal was speaking of the atonement.

Is this not confusing the action and the result?

What is else is the sinner's justification than the removal of “Sin, hell, judgment, and God’s wrath"?

I see these all has the result of Christ's "one righteous action" (Rom 5:18).

These were all procured by Christ and these are now all distributed through the means of grace.

LPC said...

Steven,

We would both agree that Christ death procured the forgiveness of sins for the atheist, right?

This is not my question.

My question is this...

Has the Atheist ever been forgiven of his sins at all? That is to say, was his sins forgiven when Jesus died on the Cross or Raised from the dead?

What part is not clear in my question. My question is not a trick question. It highlights if you truly believe in UOJ. It is possible you do not believe yourself in UOJ or not clear with it that is why you defend it.

My answer to my question is a simple yes or no. As Jesus says let your yes be yes your no be no anything else is from the evil one.


LPC

LPC said...

Steven,

I am happy to go further on your other question after we have laid aside the issue about the Atheist. I am more than happy to answer your other question; but I think I am entitled to drive a point and hence, I await your answer as to whether or not the atheist got declared righteous at the Cross.

LPC

Steven Goodrich said...

Yes, “[s]in, hell, judgment, and God’s wrath have all been terminated by the Son" for the atheist as well as the believer.

I would hasten to add that the declaration of forgiveness is of no benefit to the atheist as long as he doesn't believe. In fact, it because of his unbelief that he will condemned. In the same way that faith justifies the believer.

The Confessions teach, "Christ has gained and acquired for an individual - without any merit of his own - forgiveness of sins, righteousness that avails before God, and eternal life" (FC Ep V 5)

Notice that the same paragraph begins with, "But the Gospel is properly the kind of teaching that shows what a person...is to believe."

LPC said...

Steven,

You said "Yes" to my question if the Atheist has been forgiven at the Cross.

Therefore you believe in two incidences of justification or forgiveness since justification and forgiveness are the same.

To clarify, you believe that the Atheist was forgiven/justified at the Cross, and then should the Atheist believe he gets forgiven/justified at the point of faith.

Would that be a clear articulation of your position? I do not want to misrepresent you that is why I am asking the these questions. If not would you clarify what I might be missing.

LPC

Steven Goodrich said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brett Meyer said...

UOJ is inconsistent with Scripture and the Confessions in this point also: those accounted righteous before God as UOJ declares the whole unbelieving world (and Lito's example atheist), do not live in mortal sin. The whole unbelieving world lives in mortal sin.

What Is Justifying Faith?
48] The adversaries feign that faith is only a knowledge of the history, and therefore teach that it can coexist with mortal sin. Hence they say nothing concerning faith, by which Paul so frequently says that men are justified, because those who are accounted righteous before God do not live in mortal sin.

http://www.bookofconcord.org/defense_4_justification.php

Steven Goodrich said...

I believe that the Atheist was declared righteous at the resurrection when all of humanity was declared righteous in Christ. If that declaration is not received in faith he still remains condemned.

Jesus death fulfilled the Law's requirement of death. Those who are in Christ benefit from that. Those who are outside of Christ do not benefit it from it.

Steven Goodrich said...

Again (I apologize for the double posting), the Atheist as long as he remains an Atheist is condemned. There are no anonymous Christians, and there are no saints in hell.

"For faith justifies, not for this cause and reason that it is so good a work and so fair a virtue, but because it lays hold of and accepts the merit of Christ in the promise of the holy Gospel; for this must be applied and appropriated to us by faith, if we are to be justified thereby. 14] Therefore the righteousness which is imputed to faith or to the believer out of pure grace is the obedience, suffering, and resurrection of Christ, since He has made satisfaction for us to the Law, and paid for [expiated] our sins." (BOC FC SC 3:13-14)

LPC said...

Steven,

You said I believe that the Atheist was declared righteous at the resurrection when all of humanity was declared righteous in Christ. If that declaration is not received in faith he still remains condemned.

Then you said Again (I apologize for the double posting), the Atheist as long as he remains an Atheist is condemned. There are no anonymous Christians, and there are no saints in hell.

So the Atheist is condemned by God whom God himself declared righteous at the resurrection of Jesus.

So God doubles back on what he has done.

You do indeed have double justification as criticized by the General Conference people. One at the cross and one at belief.

If the latter prevails despite what the first justification did, then you circumvent the nature of faith as Brett Meyer said.

Further, the Atheist was never in Christ so how could God declare him righteous in Christ?

Rather JBFA says that none of us are in Christ when we are born, only when the means of grace is applied by the HS are we in Christ and thus saved.

Romans 3:26. God justifies (present tense) the one who believes (present tense) in Christ.

LPC

LPC said...

Further, hence in JBFA there is no double justification unlike what you believe, because atonement is not the same as justification; thus in JBFA there is only one and only one justification, that at the point of faith which the means of grace creates.

I hope you see the difference.

LPC

Steven Goodrich said...

Really only one justification. What if they fall from grace? Can they not be justified again?

Look at these passages and tell me how many justifications the Bible speaks of:

And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. (1 Tim 3:16 KJV)

God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.(Romans 3:4 KJV)

Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: (Romans 3:24 KJV)

Looks like more than 1 to me.