Ichabod has done research on the origins of UOJ, what is known in our circles as universal objective justification. This is the teaching that everyone is being treated by God as righteous since the Cross, be they believe it or not.
Briefly, there is evidence that the concept came from the author George Christian Knapp from Halle University which happens to be the turf of pietism. This concept is contained in his book Lectures in Christian Theology 1833. Apparently this influenced the USA Synodical Conference leaders, that is, if one notes the date and timing. There are more things I could say to its contents, for example, it is advocating inward looking evidence for justfication, which is enthusiasm, but I won't go into that right now.
In section 113, p. 317, it says...
1. The Universality of this Benefit
It is universal as the atonement itself; vid. 111, II.If the atonement extends to the whole human race, justification must also be universal--i.e., all must be able to obtain the actual forgiveness of their sins and blessedness on account of the atonement of Christ. But in order to obviate mistakes, some points may require explanation. Justification then is universal,
*[This is very conveniently expressed by the terms objective and subjective justification. Objective justification is the act of God, by which he profers pardon to all through Christ; subjective is the act of man, by which he accepts the pardon freely offered in the gospel. The former is universal, the latter not. Tr]
N.B. italics are not mine. Notice where the words 'objective' and 'subjective' are introduced by the translator.
At first I thought UOJ was the same as UOA (universal objective atonement) because I for one believe that the latter is the Biblical teaching, Christ died for sinners, the propitiation of the sins of the world. But UOJ says God is treating all righteous be they have faith in Christ or not, for this happened 2000 years ago.
Take at one advocate of UOJ arguing for its justification...
Franz Pieper, along with Georg Stöckhardt, Herman A. Preus, Jacob Aall Ottesen, U.V. Koren, Adolph Hoenecke and others, recognized the greatness of the doctrine as taught by C.F.W. Walther. And it started with the Lutheran doctrine of Justification- Objective and Universal!Today I object (or am skeptical) with UOJ (a bit of pun) terminology. I am not so sure about this concept and taxonomy. I believe this confuses categories and has disastrous effects.
"That’s nice" says the world, "but of course you must believe first before you can be justified. You must remember the great Lutheran tenet, ‘justification by faith.’
"No, I believe what Dr. Pieper taught- there is a justification that exists before faith, before believing it, for all. That is called the universal/objective justification.
"Well, surely you would not discount faith in the order of salvation, would you?" says the world.
I would eliminate faith as a requirement that makes justification true. That would be making faith a work of mine. The Bible teaches that a man is justified by faith, without the deeds of the law. Thereby is the teaching of faith upheld for it teaches the object of saving faith, the vicarious satisfaction worked by Christ.
Just take a look at the Knapp quote, that is what he was doing, confusing the atonement with justification. The latter is the treating or the reckoning sinners as righteous but if we look at the term 'justification' it is always connected with faith in the Gospel, in that Atonement. You reject that Atonement/ the Gospel then you are not justified. UOJ imples a double justification - one at the Cross or Resurrection and then one when you believe, yet this leads to confusion and philosophical conundrums (why are there people in hell if they have already been declared righteous?). I see the Bible speaking of justification at the point of faith; Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness, not before...Rom 4:22-25
Also theBible teaches no faith means no salvation - cf Mk 16:16. God brings the Means of Grace to us - Word and Sacrament so that we might be justified when the means of grace, creates faith in us.
Faith is a condition, but it is not a condition we meet in ourselves, rather it is a condition that God creates in us through promising the Gospel of Christ's payment of sacrifice, telling us Christ has answered for us - done, finished. We are capable of rejecting this Gospel when it is brought to us by Word or Sacrament and so we are not justified when we reject it. For this reason the BoC admonishes us to stick be/exposed to the Means of Grace - Word and Sacrament as found in the Scriptures that faith might be continually created and strengthened in our hearts.
My opinion is that UOJ leads to disastrous effects and no, it is not just a matter of semantics. I believe this is the one behind the romancing that is happening with Lutherites moving to Rome or Constantinople. I will not be surprized if those who have left have this in their psyche. For after all, if everyone is saved/justified anyway the rest is just fiddling with semantics, they all pan out to be the same in the end. It does not matter if anyone gets the categories wrong all are justified anyway (which is functional universalism).
Isn't that the reason why we have the Reformation is because of categories ? Wasn't the issue about the mixing categories - justification confused with sanctification? Same thing here, I reckon.
See what I mean?
I want to hear from you.