Sunday, April 29, 2012

UOJ and their mantra

This is a post on the run. I apologise for being brief, I am in between editing my conference papers and marking of student work.

What I notice with UOJers is that they love to repeat their well worn out mantras. However the issue is that they offer no Scriptural proof for their repeating of parroted slogans. A mantra mostly works not for the one who is hearing it but in actuality it works for the one pronouncing it, it is a type of psycho cybernetic self talk to make one's self believe in what the mantra says. Here are a few mantras I have heard them self talk:

1. If you do not believe in objective justification then you must be a Limited Atonement believer.

Me: I grin. I was a Calvinist, and these Lutherans claiming JBFA people believe in LA do not know what they are talking about. In order to be an LA believer, two things must happen. First, one must equate the atonement with justification. That is to say, when Jesus died on the cross or resurrected, people have been already forgiven automatically too. Who is doing this equating? Not JBFAers, it is the UOJ.  Second, to be an LA believer, must deny the mention of the word "world" in 1 John 2:1-2 to mean the whole world without exception, rather it is asserted to be the world of Gentile believers. This is done to similar passages. JBFAers do not do such thing.

2. In order to believe in something, that something must already exists.

Me: Test this for a moment. This is clearly false and we can even give evidence of this from Scripture. It is Romans 43For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. We could even follow this with Romans 4: 9b or we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. Their mantra is fallacious in many counts but do not talk to them about fallacy, they have no clue as to what such a thing is. For example, Abraham believed that the Messiah was to come and would die for his sins. From Abraham's perspective, it has not happened yet. From Abraham's time frame, the event was still in the future. This is the reason why faith is miraculous though miraculously created by God through His chosen means - Word and Sacraments. This is the reason why faith is precious to God and in fact, Jesus is the author of it.    Even in human terms, this idea is not even true. We believe in people's promises all the time. I render work for a company on the promise that after the job is done, I would get paid. I meet people for an appointment on the promise they will be at a set time and place. These are all future promises.

There is one vital aspect in this debate that must be brought to light. The two camps, JBFAer and UOJers differ in the object of faith. Consistent UOJers are unanimous in this, that for them the object of faith is not the Atonement that happened in the past as payment for sins, for them the object of faith is the Justification that has already, so they say, occurred 2000 years ago. In this regard the commentator R. C. H. Lenski is correct in his criticism of them. In his commentary on Romans 1:17, Lenski was well correct that in the UOJ scheme of things, there really is no declaration of righteousness that happens when a person believes because the declaration already happened in the past. Whereas in JBFA, the object of faith is the Atonement in accordance to Romans 3:21-26, specially, v.25. UOJers are quick to claim that we are twisting their words, but deny as much as they want, the effect of their teaching is that it simply makes justification a mythical. Lenski rebuts well the idea that if you believe in such a way, you are being synergistic. So to keep the laymen from the truth, Walther and Co. and the rest of UOJers ran a propaganda of bad mouthing Lenski. Yet, even non-Lutherans held Lenski in high esteem as a NT scholar even today.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Discussing UOJ to a UOJer

Discussing UOJ to a UOJer quickly leads to disgusting turn of events. Invariably, I and others in Team JBFA eventually get told off that we are being insulting. Eventually they are offended at our words.

What a neat trick.

Instead of dealing with the substance of the arguments, the table is turned. The problem is suddenly shifted no more to the contradictory ideas found in UOJ, rather the issue is on those who are arguing against it. Obviously there is no point continuing to talk if all it becomes is an exercise in trading insults. I too would see no value in that. In fact, lately, I shutdown the comments in one of the threads as it was soon becoming that way, boring.

However, when the discussion is focused on the contradictory phenomenon produced by UOJ, such as its portrayal of God in absurd terms, personal accusations of lying soon surfaces. Are we being insulting or perhaps that is the nature of UOJ itself, to produce absurdities?

Another is the accusation that Team JBFA misunderstands the proper teaching of UOJ. If that is the case, perhaps they should speak in such a way that they are clearly understood. Perhaps they should take on responsibility that may be their manner of speaking is purposely contrary to the language of Scripture that is causing people to be confused. We certainly know from where confusion comes from, and it is not from God, so says St. Paul.

Frankly, I do not believe Team JBFA misunderstood them. In actuality they have been understood properly and their dodging leads them to tiredness and in exasperation. I do not blame them, I would be exasperated too if all I did was to patch a hole into every absurdity in my position my critics show me.

Additionally, I could not care less on the use of objective/subjective categories which they promote. I have no need of such paradigm. I came to the realisation that Jesus died for my sins without such categories. I certainly have no use of such paradigms.

Both camps agree that UOJ is not evident in the Book of Concord. It is amazing that the most crucial document of the Reformation where in the issue at that time was how a person was made right with God, no such categories were employed by the Reformers. Their rallying cry was justification by faith alone (JBFA), it would have been fitting to have clarified UOJ then, not in terminology of course, but also in concept. Yet both camps - UOJers and anti-UOJers agree that the BoC is silent on this matter. That should ring bells and should be suspect but no, such information does not avail. Facts do not really change people's opinion when a conviction has already gripped them.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Col 2:14 in the Apology of Augsburg Confession

In the last post mentioned below, we had a discussion on how Col 2:13-14 should be interpreted. Below I offer as further evidence of my contention that the blotting out of the accusation of the Law happens at the point of faith and not unconditionally nor automatically when Jesus was crucified at the Cross. Here I offer the evidence found in the Apology, Article XII. I quote in color the pertinent exposition below:

48] And then in Col. 2:14 it is said that Christ blots out the handwriting which through the Law is against us. Here also there are two parts, the handwriting and the blotting out of the handwriting. The handwriting, however, is conscience, convicting and condemning us. The Law, moreover, is the word which reproves and condemns sins. Therefore, this voice which says, I have sinned against the Lord, as David says, 2 Sam. 12:13, is the handwriting. And wicked and secure men do not seriously give forth this voice. For they do not see, they do not read the sentence of the Law written in the heart. In true griefs and terrors this sentence is perceived. Therefore the handwriting which condemns us is contrition itself. To blot out the handwriting is to expunge this sentence by which we declare that we shall be condemned, and to engrave the sentence according to which we know that we have been freed from this condemnation. But faith is the new sentence, which reverses the former sentence, and gives peace and life to the heart.

I have highlighted a very important statement made by the Apology. Please note firmly what the author of the AP said about faith. It is faith - the new sentence, that reverses the first sentence of accusation, namely, it cancels out the original sentence of condemnation.

I offer this evidence that what St. Paul meant in the cancellation of the Law's demands and effects happen at the point of justification which in context at our Baptism. In fact this jives well with what St. Paul wrote in
Romans 614For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace