Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Maier's Paper

Dr. Ichabod is sponsoring a discussion on Maier's paper "A Summary Exposition of The Doctrine of Justification By Grace Through Faith".

I am interested in such discussions primarily because justification is something I have been quickly ushered out of when I first believed as a Pentecostal. They have a notion of "being born again" but have no clue what justification is, when asked.

I believe Maier's paper is a finely written paper. It is a fair and good critique of Pieper's "overstatements", and based on my observation that term - "overstatements" is an appropriate label to use as to what has happened. Maier says

It appears, however, that some of the synodical fathers particularly in using and defining the expression “objective justification” (or “objective reconciliation”) have made certain overstatements which have created semantic difficulties and may in our day give rise to misunderstanding of New Testament teachings regarding justification, reconciliation, and related doctrines

Maier is spot on, it has created semantic confusion (I dare say) in the discussion of a so important topic. Here is an example from Pieper:

Now, then, if the Father raised Christ from the dead, He, by this glorious resurrection act, declared that the sins of the whole world are fully expiated, or atoned for, and that all mankind is now regarded as righteous before His divine tribunal.
[emphasis mine]

Huh? Righteous? You mean the Muslim and the Atheist and what nots, who do not believe in Christ, are righteous before God's eyes, before they believe? Hang on, they presently do not believe in Christ so - they are now righteous even without faith in Christ? That sounds a bit universalistic to me.

Maier praises and gives credit to Pieper where he spoke consistently with Scripture but likewise, Maier points out where Pieper overstated his case. This overstating is also something I find in a few of the venerable C. F. W. Walther's essays.

I know Pieper and Walther are holy church fathers of Lutheranism in America. However, I doubt if these people, had they been living today, would feel bad about your disagreeing with them.

As I was reading this - one of the titles of the Lord - Redeemer came into my mind and how appropriate that title is for Jesus. I think in that title we get all the doctrine of justification implies and in great precision. Redeemer as a title denotes the truth that he is the payer of the sinner's sins; it also denotes the ransoming of the sinner from the punishment of God.


William Weedon said...

As I've mentioned before: the key is "in Christ." In Christ, the sins of the entire world have been removed, forgiven, and righteousness imputed to all. But only "in Christ." Outside of our Lord, the wrath of God remains upon the children of disobedience. Take the "in Christ" out of the equation and then you have something akin to universalism, that is true. But we proclaim to the entire world a forgiveness and redemption and righteousness that is complete and whole and entire and for them! It is God's gift in Him who, as our Treasury reading this morning reminded, is "The Lord, our Righteousness."

L P said...

Pr. Will,

Accepted. In Christ - most definitely and we spoke about this before.

The thing though is that not all are in Christ so the whole mankind cannot be treated by God as righteous. So that wording of "righteousness" to me is always through faith in Christ. Not that faith is a righteous virtue but because it holds on to the righteous one.

So is there something wrong in Maier's critique of Pieper? Or was Maier off?


William Weedon said...


I've not had the opportunity to review the paper. My remembrance from the time the explosion erupted with Meier at the Fort over this was that both sides tended to ignore the "in Christ" and that this is the key to a universal atonement (it is indeed for all) and yet not a universalism (it benefits no one who remains outside of Christ though there is a place or all in Him and the Holy Spirit summons all INTO Him).

P.S. Still keeping Phoenix and family in my prayers. How are things going?

L P said...

Pr. Will,

Agree with you again and amen.

"IN CHRIST" is an important part of the discussion. Maier though did not sound to me as overly harsh, he was proposing a restating or a tweaking of the formulations so I sense he was congenial in his critique.

Absolutely the INTO Him is what the HS does and is the program of God the HS.

Tell you why I never tire of talking about justification, it is because this is the first thing that I learned when I first believes - back in those days Pentecostals used to quote Eph 2:8-9. Today they hardly know this verse. I have been deprived of it so much and I have deprived myself also when I was pastoring that is why today I hold it precious and why I am Lutheran. I love this subject to bits and thoroughly enjoy it to death.

Thank you for praying for Phoenix. He is now at home with his mom and shows some improvement, the vision and hearing are normal based on the tests. He has gained weight and is feeding well. Please continue to pray for him and his mom most specially, please pray for my daughter to walk close to the Lord and be guided accordingly.


William Weedon said...

Will do indeed. Each day I ask for "mercy, life, peace, health, salvation, visitation, pardon and remission of all their sins, that they may ever praise and glorify Your holy name."

L P said...

Thank you Pr. Will,

Of all the Luther quotes I have read, and have been quoted as pro OJ terminology, I find none decisive, however there is one that causes me to think. Here it is and should you have time let me know what you think - I have no Luther materials so I cannot check.

I will stick though to our language IN CHRIST which we spoke about. Here it is..

...Paul says in Rom. 8[:2], "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death." Why does he not say that, "It has set me free from sin and death"? Has not Christ set us free from sin and death once and for all? Paul, however, is speaking of the proper operation of the law of the Spirit, which does what Christ has merited. Indeed, Christ once and for all absolved and freed everyone from sin and death when He merited for us the law of the Spirit of the Life. But what did that Spirit of Life do? He has not yet freed us from death and sin, for we still must die, we still must labor under sin; but in the end He will free us. Yet He has already liberated us from the law of sin and death, that is, from the kingdom and tyranny of sin and death. Sin is indeed present, but having lost its tyrannic power, it can do nothing; death indeed impends, but having lost its sting, it can neither harm nor terrify. — Martin Luther (Against Latomus, Luther's Works, Vol. 32, p. 207) (emphasis added)


Anonymous said...

Hi Lito,

I read Maier's paper with considerable interest. Thanks for referring to it. Just in case I missed the link to the paper in the OP, here it is for anyone else who may be interested.

First, I just want to write that I am not interested in debating this issue any further, since I don't think we will come to full agreement, but I am truly interested in your take on the following quote form page 17 of Maier's paper: "In view of this and of all the considerations in points (1) to (5) above, the best thing to do, it would appear, is simply to speak of the Biblical doctrine of justification by faith, which is the only doctrine of justification taught in the divine Word, and to refer to the universal effect of Christ’s substitutionary obedience in terms of world redemption and the other designations the New Testament itself supplies (as discussed above)."

In particular, I am interested in what you think about the bolded text above? It is clear that Maier has no problem talking about "world redemption", or universal redemption. My understanding of "redemption" in the context of what Christ did for the world on the cross is that His obedience and sacrifice recovers the world from sin and death. That is, the world which was once captive to sin and death is now free because of the ransom paid by Christ.

Am I wrong? And if so, then what do you think it means that the world has been redeemed by Christ, as Maier points out? And, what is the difference between such redemption for the world and "objective justification" in your view?

Again, I am not interested in debating; I am sincerely interested in how you interpret Maier at the above point. I am going to read your explanation and ponder it in silence. :)

Thanks for your response in advance, Lito.

L P said...


Before I answer, may I first please clarify the paradigm I see in the Bible? I believe in the end I shall be answering the question by the preamble words below:

1. Our confession teaches, by implication, two imputations. First the imputation of our sins to Jesus, second, the imputation of his righteousness to us.

2. Technically we distinguish though do not separate salvific terms, eg, we do not collapse justification with sanctification, we distinguish them. Similarly we do not or should not Our confession do not teach such objective/subjective terms, or categories.They do not clarify, instead they cloud.

Clearly the imputation of my sins happened 2000 years ago, this is the Gospel - your sins have been paid for. When this is believed, the Scripture says that faith in the first imputation, God counts as righteousness and imputes the righteousness of Jesus to us, justification by faith. Faith in the atonement of Jesus, God counts as righteousness not because faith is a virtue and a work but because that faith is grabbing a hold of the righteous One - Christ who has become our sanctification, righteousness and all in all.

That second imputation - the imputation of righteousness of Christ happens through the Means of Grace. It happens in our space/time, in our history. The Means of Grace - Word/Sacrament is what the HS uses to bridge the gap of the first imputation to the second imputation. Each time the Means of Grace is used - God is saying we as we believe we enjoy the benefit of that Atonement, -- forgiveness of sins.

The bolded words of Maier refers to the atonement. The first imputation, the imputation of our sins to Jesus. What he is saying is to drop the categories of OJ and SJ, and simply speak plainly of the Atonement, because the effect of the Atonement (which is only effected when believed) is justification. Maier was right, the world in one sense is under God's wrath, right now that wrath is suspended by virtue of Christ's work - not counting their trespasses as 2 Cor 5:19. But that wrath will descend on those who neglect such a great salvation, it is a terrible thing to fall in the hands of God. Maier in those bolded words is saying - stick to the righteous one - who lived the Law perfectly and died for our sins, purchasing our righteousness and people will believe and so be justified on account of Christ. Though God is reconciled to us, we are not necessarily as humans reconciled to God. That is why the HS is busy today telling us about Jesus. Each time the Bible speaks of justification, faith is lingering somewhere. Simply put in Maier's terms, the universal effect of Christ's substitutionary obedience is the redemption or the paying or the ransoming of the world from the wrath of God on behalf of sinners.

BTW, justification is not something that happens inside us, it is something that happens in the heart of God - it is God's attitude towards us, the counting of righteousness. Our hearts are assured that we are forgiven on account of Christ's sacrifice.


L P said...


The Gospel is not - God has declared you righteous which is what OJ and UOJ is saying.

Yes the world has been redeemed, what is necessary for my release has been accomplished but the effect or enjoyment of that is not a reality yet to people, that is why the HS is still up to now delivering Word/Sacrament to sinners, he is now releasing people from captivity but not all are released yet.

Is there something objective? YES! What is objective is the Atonement/Reconciliation - I prefer Objective Redemption - payment of sins rather than Objective Justification. The reason is because Justification is declaring one to be righteous.

It is precisely that we are NOT Righteous that is why we have to be PAID for! So OJ terminology adds confusion. In fact that what the Law accuses us is sin, i.e. guilt - we are not innocent we are guilty and we owe God or God demands retribution from us - wrath! It makes us run to Christ who took that wrath.

Thus redemption is paying for my sins, but justification is the benefit or effect of believing in that redemption. Simply because I have been paid for does not mean I am enjoying the benefit of that payment!

All analogy fails, let me try. I am in prison. Jesus goes to the judge and says - put your punishment on me, give me the fine, I will pay it. He does. But I did not know this, now he comes to my jail with the guard, the guard got the keys to the cell and opens it - Jesus says to me - go in peace, sin no more.

Though Jesus has paid the fine, people are still in jail and one by one the HS is delivering that message of payment and are being released when believed through the Means of Grace - Word/Sacrament. I can stay in jail, even if Jesus has come with the guard and opened the keys, I can say - thanks very much but no thanks and so remains in my cell, in my sin. Such a person who spurns the message is not righteous! In fact, Jesus refers to those who do not believe - wicked like in wicked servants!

Lastly Jim, UOJ or OJ language does what the Calvinists do but in a different direction.

The Calvinists collapses Atonement with Justification too. He sees latter as subjective and since it is equal to the Atonement he declares it must be limited since not all are justified.

The UOJ/OJ terminologist, sees the Atonement universal but since it is equal (so he thinks) to justification declares every one is justified.

Yet the Bible teaches that all have been atoned for yet not all are justified because as St. Paul says, not all have faith.

Hope this helps your studies,


Anonymous said...

Thank you, Lito.

William Weedon said...


Pardon my tardiness in replying. You asked about Luther. A passage that is quite instructive is in his treatise on the Keys:

"We are not talking here either about people’s belief or disbelief regarding the efficacy of the keys. We realize that few believe. We are speaking of what the keys accomplish and give. He who does not accept what the keys give receives, of course, nothing. But this is not the key’s fault. Many do not believe the gospel, but this does not mean that the gospel is not true or effective. A king gives you a castle. If you do not accept it, then it is not the king’s fault, nor is he guilty of a lie. But you have deceived yourself and the fault is yours. The king certainly gave it." AE 40:367

L P said...

Pr. Will,

You made me think about this a bit more.

Seems to me when Luther speaks of something objective, it is always related to the means of grace.

Now, this is something I appreciate because the means of grace is grounded on the atonement and another thing that makes me admire Luther's insight.

I still think that Luther has more insights and compared to Calvin, I believe Luther's heart and pastoral wisdom out matches Calvin by millions of miles.

So I am a bit bewildered why Calvin is popular in Protestantdom, it is because Luther has not been studied and he should be.


Anonymous said...

1 of 2

Interesting! I come at this from a bit of a different angle. Here’s my thoughts and concerns:

I don’t think Pieper’s statements are overstatements at all. Grace is universal without doubt but that is not “universalism” as we’ve come to understand today. I find that far too many Lutheran’s are far too much influenced by Calvin’s religion than they perhaps realize.

Faith is not the meritorious coin whereby men “in time” become righteous before God, they are as Pieper already said, “…now regarded as righteous before His divine tribunal.” Our day is hardly worse than those of ancient times like Sodom or other times recorded in the OT when false religions sacrificed in their furnaces their very own children. I realize that every generation, including our own has a kind of myopic “our day is worse than days bygone” approach to life, but the evils of the world have always been horrific, no more in our day than ancient times, no less in our day than ancient times.

The real hell of hell is the very fist shaking refusal in the very face of the very true reality that “the Father raised Christ from the dead, He, by this glorious resurrection act, declared that the sins of the whole world are fully expiated, or atoned for, and that all mankind is now regarded as righteous before His divine tribunal.” In the end Arminian, Romanistic, Calvinistic and all pagan and secular hells are really quite cheap and paltry hells, as equally paltry as the rest of their doctrinal religions are. Theirs are not the kind of hells where the tongue is forever and eternally being gnawed upon and its fiery self accusatory teeth gnashing occurs. Their hells are quite cartoonish.

People, particularly the doctrinal confessions found in Arminianism, Calvinism, and Romanism far too easily infinitely under estimate what sin really is and what unbelief really is, and thus infinitely underestimate the very tripping stone scandal of the Cross. The fear of the religious lawyer who develops a faith secretly in his heart and mind as a kind of “hidden works coin for merit” is in the end that grace might actually be just that universal (again not universalism).

Universalism is the wrong thought that in the end all WILL BE saved without exception. Yet grace is indeed universal and is so objectively, without faith. It is in fact this very universal grace at which the fist of unbelief which ultimately loves works (the hidden Adam, the doer) is operating. The old Adam is fine with a limited grace in which AT LEAST the “coin of faith” purchases grace. However, the old Adam being one who has long learned the “right answer” and the “right words” of evasion to the question would respond, “No I’m not saying faith is meritorious”, all along that is EXACTLY what he means and it is painfully obvious. Yes, the old Adam has well learned like government to not “use the term taxes” but say, “I’m not talking about taxes, only a fee”, as if we are so easily fooled!


Anonymous said...

2 of 2

It is also true that without faith, that is trusting into that universal grace, that one will in the end not be saved. But that does not mean “the coin of faith that buys the objective grace”. The old Adam is forever in the book keeping business and can only think this way, thus he has a hard time with a true and real universal grace. Faith is not a creature conducive to book keeping and law balancing language or principles. It’s really quite alien to our old Adam language. For the unbelief or distrust that in the end is not saved - is so ‘not saved’ for rejecting actively the very real and true universal grace. This is the stance of the older brother in hell. For he cannot imagine such a universally free grace without purchase on our part, even if by a false faith that is the secret “coin” (the fee not suppose to be a tax) to acquire this free universal grace. Why so? Because deep deep deep down in his doer religion, even hidden by his façade of faith and grace lingo, he does not believe the Word of God and he does not in the end believe God to be good. He does not understand that the ultimate accusation of the Law is shown in the very freeness and universality of grace, the love that goes out to the for real unlovable. That very free giving and love is what he hates and the revelation of his false faith, false grace and pseudo Christianity.

That’s why Calvinist harp on the idea that God would still show forth His glory and fame if he had not saved a single soul and damned all. Yet they fail to see that God could and DID show forth His very glory and fame in the salvation of all without exception, this is why the very scandal of the Cross is also the glory of God and why the glory of God is shown in the face of Christ. And while Christ and Him crucified freely for all without exception (John 3:16) is the measure of pure utter universal free grace, it is also the greatest terrifying Law and accusation against us. For its scandal reveals our legal and book keeping religion for what it is, its offense causes this very monster to rise up and say, “Hey…you mean…”. When that reaction in whatever form it takes occurs, then one can be certain the Gospel was heard.

So that, “the Father raised Christ from the dead, He, by this glorious resurrection act, declared that the sins of the whole world are fully expiated, or atoned for, and that all mankind is now regarded as righteous before His divine tribunal.”, is an exceedingly comforting and terrifying statement. As to the later because I am so very tempted to now not like and refuse this universal free grace as soon as I find some one or some group in which I think it ought not be applied to. EVEN IF that group is the group that refuses to believe, that is to say trust in it. And thus, under such terrifying danger from my old Adam I become an unbeliever just like them for they seek their own righteousness by their own religion and I too I just happen to pretend that mine is “well they should at least believe” religion. Thus, one becomes what one despises, an unbeliever. Trying to be believer one becomes an unbeliever.

The difference between Rome, Calvinism, Arminianism, Islam and atheism is in the end very little. Luther saw this when he lumped in the big three Rome, Mohamedism, and the enthusiast (which includes all without exception, other protestants).


William Weedon said...


One thing I forgot to include earlier. This is how St. John Chrysostom preached on universal atonement for what it's worth:

Chrysostom on Justification (Discourses Against Judaizing Christians. Discourse I:6-II:1:

Suppose someone should be caught in the act of adultery and
the foulest crimes and then be thrown into prison. Suppose,
next, that judgment was going to be passed against him and
that he would be condemned.

Suppose that just at that moment a letter should come from
the Emperor setting free from any accounting or examination
all those detained in prison. If the prisoner should refuse
to take advantage of the pardon, remain obstinate and choose
to be brought to trial, to give an account, and to undergo
punishment, h will not be able thereafter to avail himself of
the Emperor's favor. For when he made himself accountable to
the court, examination, and sentence, he chose of his own
accord to deprive himself of the imperial gift.

This is what happened in the case of the Jews. Look how it
is. All human nature was taken in the foulest evils. "All
have sinned," says Paul. They were locked, as it were, in a
prison by the curse of their transgression of the Law. The
sentence of the judge was going to be passed against them. A
letter from the King came down from heaven.
Rather, the King himself came. Without examination, without
exacting an account, he set all men free from the chains of
their sins.

All, then, who run to Christ are saved by his grace and
profit from his gift. Bu those who wish to find
justification from the Law will also fall from grace. They
will not be able to enjoy the King's loving-kindness because
they are striving to gain salvation by their own efforts;
they will draw down on themselves the curse of the Law
because by the works of the Law no flesh will find justification.

Anonymous said...


That was a great post. I agree with you that Pieper was not making overstatements and I can't help but think in the back of his mind he might have also been thinking about the followers of Andreas Osiander who teach that our justification is a result of Christ coming to live in our hearts, i.e. that we are righteous because Christ lives in our hearts through faith. Pieper, like our Lutheran fathers and Luther himself, were adamant that our justification resides in Christ and is imputed to us. We are not justified because of Christ's presence in us, but because of His obedience and work on the cross.

I also can't help but think both Walther and Pieper were confronting American Revivalism which focuses upon subjectivism, or enthusiasm. Revivalism was making in roads in the Lutheran church, so it isn't surprising to me that orthodox Lutheran scholars would respond to those who were claiming that they were saved because they accepted Jesus into their hearts. How does one respond to that thinking in general? 1) Justification is accomplished because of what Christ did on the cross; and 2) we point out the bondage of our wills because of original sin. We aren't free to take the "first step" forward in faith to invite Jesus into our hearts. Our regeneration in Christ is all because of what He does.

Anyway, I suspect that the "objective/subjective" distinction made by Pieper (and Walther earlier) is a way to express that the justification we receive through the gift of faith given to us by God didn't happen because WE accepted Jesus into our hearts, or had some sort of revival experience in our hearts and now that Jesus lives in us we are counted righteous. No, our justification is extra nos; it is in Christ Jesus. It is an objective reality not contingent upon a religious experience.

L P said...


It is a way good that we have some disagreements in here, this proves we are not a cult or some Lutheran Fundamentalist sect.

The question I pose again for thinking is this is the Atonement = Justification? This is the issue. My training says you only equate categories if you have warrant to do so. The burden of proof is on those who says Atonement = Justification. The safe course is not to equate the two. I am happy to see verses that says the two are the same, but you show me these verses.

Romanism for example, equate Justification = Sanctification and we know what blunder that has resulted.

I already noted that in Calvinism, Atonement = Justification. They see that justification as not universal and because the categories are the same, then Atonement must not be universal too(according to them)!


L P said...

UOJers and OJers do the same, they equate Atonement = Justfication, they see Atonement universal and since the two are the same, therefore Justfication must be universal also.

The safer course is to NOT to equate but relate the two.

Take a look at an often sighted OJ/UOJ verse.

"All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and [all] are justified freely by the redemption that came through Christ Jesus."

Yet the full context of this is

Romans 3:
22Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference
23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

24Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

25Whom 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; 26To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

Clearly in v24 and v25 St. Paul is showing which is the object of faith - the atonememt. What results in this? He justifies those who believe in Jesus.

I believe in justification through and by faith, I do not believe in justification without faith. UOJ declares that God justifies sinners without faith.

When God approached Abraham, God did not make a deal with him, he did not make a proposal, when Abraham believed God, God treated him as righteous because Abraham believed in the Messiah who was to come from him. But Abraham had no knowledge a priori that if he believed God will treat him as righteous that, was not part of the story that God told Abraham. God did not give him a proposal - God simply told him the story a promise of Messiah- Abraham believed that story yet God treated him as righteous. So if Christian who believes this way, how could he look at his faith as his object? It was not his faith that caused the coming of the Messiah to pay for his sins.

Let me ask a question, is the Gospel, God declared your righteous in Christ or is the Gospel Jesus died and paid for your sins.

I already expounded on my comment that precisely we are NOT Righteous that is the reason why some one had to pay for our unrighteousness.

I favor Maier because there is no point in making up new categories, just tell the story. Because the moment you introduce a category not necessitated by Scripture things get more muddled up than get clearer.

The criticism that faith becomes an object is null and void if the story is told properly. Why? Well the BoC had no use of the term. If it was clear then, why is it not clear now, irrespective of the encroachment of revivalism?.

Intuitu fidei of Osiander was already around when Chemnitz and Calov wrote the Formula of Concord! Did they have resort to new categories like Pieper did? Did they have to use these categories to counter Major and Osiander? No they did not, instead they told the story as it should be.

Maier was simply doing that, and so do I.

If we want people not to have faith in their faith, then we should tell them the right story of the Gospel.

Faith if it is truly the faith in the gift of remission(payment of sin) cannot boast because it cannot contribute anything, because the story does not allow for it. Besides when a person believes the Gospel, the Scripture says that the author of the believer's faith is Christ so there is no possibility of boasting, it did not originate in the believer, the story also had no reference to him.

I heard Luther speaking about falling on the otherside of the horse. You counter the bias and you counter too much and you fall on the otherside. I think Pieper did just that.

I'd rather stick to the BoC. It has no such categories, so I prefer not to have them either.

Dont you hate this 4096 char limit?

L P said...

lastly. Earlier in my Lutheran walk I used to hold to UOJ. I, like many others held to it because they, like me , thought they were speaking of the Atonement.

Not until later when I thought deeper about what they mean, that I realized that they were not speaking of the Atonement only, they were speaking of "being declared righteous" and that "being declared righteous" had no reference to faith.

I bulked at this because my study showed me that when St Paul uses justification, faith is lurking and hanging around.


Anonymous said...


When I was a United Pentecostal we often argued against Trinitarianism on the basis that the the theological terms "three persons" and "Trinity" are nowhere found in the scriptures. "So why apply them to God?", we rhetorically asked. Why speak of "Father", "Son", and "Holy Ghost" categorically as persons? Well, we know that answer to that question, because while the scriptures don't use the term "Trinity" the concept is clearly scriptural. Theological terms are certainly welcomed when the concepts they signify are bound in scripture.

I've mentioned the next point before and this is one reason why I don't like to really debate this issue, but in order to fruitfully discuss OJ I think one has to get beyond the "straw men". For example, I haven't read where Pieper or Walther claimed that there are "two justifications", perhaps I have missed their statements claiming as much. Instead, I understand both men (where I can understand them! lol) to be speaking of one justification that is received in faith. If that is the case, they are only referring to one justification, then we have to consider what it is they are drawing out of scripture about our justification. What is the point of the objective/subjective distinction being made about justification? Here I am guessing that they are seeing something in the scriptures and the Lutheran fathers (as you have quoted and as Pr. Weedon has quoted) that our justification is grounded in an external, historical event; namely the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Christ. Technically, when are God's elect justified? At the foundation of the world when he chose us for salvation; at that time when God the Father gave us to His Son who will not lose any one of His. You and I didn't even exist at the time... we didn't exercise faith, but yet we were His from the very beginning.

Regarding atonement... Romans 5:11 states "More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation." 2 Cor. 5:19 reads, "...that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation." Jesus gave up His life, shed His blood, so that God would not count "their trespasses against them". This is John 1:29 "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" Christ's sacrifice secures "eternal redemption" for all. He "put away sin by the sacrifice of himself"(see Hebrews 9). So, atonement and reconciliation go hand in hand. When Jesus died on the cross and atoned for ALL sin making satisfaction for the requirements of the law with His blood so death doesn't reign evermore (Romans 3).


Anonymous said...

(cont. from above)

I am not a Greek scholar, but when I read the epistles in English and especially Romans and Galatians, I can't help but notice the righteousness of God shown through the sacrifice of His own Son in paying off the debt of all sin. That is where we can speak of the sins of the world being "taken away" or forgiven, since that forgiveness was earned by Christ alone on the cross for the whole world. Taking away the sins of the world (aka "absolving", you earlier quoted Luther talking about this which is an excellent quote) occurs so that God "might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus" (Rom. 9:26b). Talk of the atonement is to speak of whom justifies whom. Who is the propitiator earning our forgiveness of sins, winning our justification? I don't think we can speak of the atonement at all sans justification, Lito. "Atonement" is about who is doing the justifying and answers the question of where our righteousness comes from and why.

This is where I see the distinction of "objective/subjective" as important when we talk about justification. There is only one justification, but the scriptures tell us that our justification is in Christ in that He justifies us, and that same justification which objectively occurs in history must be passively received in faith by the individual. Visible light emanates from our Sun, but those lacking the sensory receptors to "see" the light have no reason to believe there is light in the world. Lacking those receptors doesn't mean there actually is no light. Likewise, when Jesus died on the cross the sins of the world were "taken away". He died once for ALL. He was punished for ALL sins. Lacking the apparatus (faith) through which to "see" that one's sins are already forgiven doesn't mean that sacrifice on the cross never happened. It simply means the person hasn't received "sight" and can't see the eternal Word who is the light of the whole world. "The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world." (John 1:9). He "lights up" the whole world, but still the "world did not know him" (vs. 10). We wouldn't deny that there is an "objective light" lighting up the world simply because some didn't see it.

Any way... I am rambling. I am not debating! :)

L P said...


It looks like Maier's point and critique is not being made clear.

I haven't read where Pieper or Walther claimed that there are "two justifications", perhaps I have missed their statements claiming as much.

This is by implication and is obvious. But we have to follow the reasoning on the Trinity then.

Put it this way if I was already declared righteous at the cross (some UOJ believe it was at resurrection of Jesus) before I believe then what happens when I believe? UOJ/OJ requires one to believe too correct? By UOJ/OJ standard there are two justifications - 1 at the cross and 1 when you believe.

If you look at the Confessions and the authors of the Formuala, they operate on two imputations both are different, the imputation of sin to Jesus - he was made sin for us who knew no sin - at the Cross, upon faith in that Atonement, the righteousness of Christ - Jesus' perfect obedience is imputed to you. The vehicle for this -- the means of grace. Law/Gospel and Word/Sacrament ministry.

Also UOJ and OJ makes the keys of confession and absolution a farce...

From the Apology - Repentance...
"6] Let any one of the adversaries come forth and tell us when remission of sins takes place. O good God, what darkness there is! They doubt whether it is in attrition or in contrition that remission of sins occurs. And if it occurs on account of contrition, what need is there of absolution, what does the power of the keys effect, if sins have been already remitted?

Please read again this quote from the Apology - this is a clear sign no such notions as UOJ/OJ is at work.

Also review how your pastor announce the absolution in your Divine Service.

Over here, he only pronounces absolution upon confession that you believe Jesus has redeemed you of your sins.

Like Calvinism, UOJ/OJ sees God justifying people before they believe. They do not see the ongoing eschatological phenomenon which the HS is working up until now, carrying that salvation in an individual's space time continuum (as per Dr Emmeth Brown of Back to the Future says).

I believe Pieper was a good and sincere theologian but even your fathers can go wrong.

We should hold no sacred cows.


L P said...


I just realized how beautiful confession and absolution happens to be...

That thing that the pastor is doing is in a away acting out what God is doing to the repentant sinner - that ritual is the acting out the doctrine of justification through faith - here, the pastor only pronounces it after asking, do you believe you have sinned? Do you believe Jesus has redeemed you of your sins and do you desire forgiveness in his name? Then upon confession of your *faith*, I as an ordained servant of the Word and by the command of my Lord Jesus - announce the grace of God to you - I forgive all the sins of you who repent and believe!


Anonymous said...

"Also UOJ and OJ makes the keys of confession and absolution a farce..."

Right. those of us who believe, teach, and confess OJ really do not receive absolution upon our confession of sins. It's a farce for us. In fact, we can even go so far as "Mr. Ichabod", Greg Jackson, and claim that those teaching OJ are teaching a false gospel and are damned.

/rolls eyes

Anonymous said...

P.S. — In the scriptures, Lito, my sins are already forgiven, period. The forgiveness of sins is not contingent upon my confession. Receipt of the forgiveness of sins is contingent upon faith, but my every sin I have done or will do has already been paid for in FULL at the cross.

L P said...


But you are not answering the opposition I raise from the Apology. You are deflecting it to Greg Jackson of which I am not. The best is to explain what the Apology meant in that quote.

I think the fear amongst UOJers is the thought that the Christian can look at his faith as an object.

I cannot share my experience, but from a logical point of view it is the story of law/gospel that keeps one from looking at faith as being an object.

This problem was already present during Chemnitz's time and they did not resort to other formulations.

I have never called any UOJer a false teacher.I used to be a UOJer myself! Rather it is us who do not believe in UOJ that are said to be in error and to be shunned.

(But hey, what do I care, if I am justified already at the cross- what is the problem with false doctrine, eyh?)

I (and I believe Jackson also) do recognize that people are into UOJ because they think it is about atonement, until one sees the over statement of Walther and Pieper in this regard.

The whole discussion has been a bowl of spaghetti and it takes a while to untangle.

But in your own discussion, you do not want to call 2 justification but in effect that is what you have...
He justifies us, and that same justification which objectively occurs in history must be passively received in faith by the individual.

You do not call that 2 justifications? I call that denial by definition, by waving the hand.

Do you think by having UOJ you can prevent people from looking at their faith as an object? If you have a second justification, it is still liable for intra nos speculation.

Here is what I pastorally have. I do not ask if I believe, I ask if Jesus died on the Cross for me, and what is the answer to that? Similarly I do not ask if I believe like Luther, I say I was baptized.

So UOJ's style of protecting one from looking at his faith as an object is misplaced and puts more confusion and smacks the Gospel with universalism. That smack of universalism will make one friendly with Rome since it has a streak of that already.

Romans 10:10
For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved


Anonymous said...


I didn't find that there was a need to respond to your mistreatment of the Apology. If you continue reading you will find that the remission of sins is spoken of as a "free gift" that is received in faith. I don't know what your understanding of a gift might be, but my understanding is that it is something already bought and paid for being extended to the intended recipient. Indeed, as the Apology states "To come to Christ is to believe that sins are remitted for Christ's sake" (source). Notice the tense? The text doesn't read "sin will be remitted", or "are being remitted", but "are remitted". Likewise, "believe the gospel". What does that mean? Believe that some of our sins have been remitted on the cross? Haven't we "been around this block" before, Lito? Let me ask you, do you believe that ALL your sins have actually been forgiven, Lito? Not just the ones you have confessed and feel sorry about, but even the ones you have as yet to commit. Are they forgiven? Where those sins remitted on the cross?

I think you need to go back and re-read that section of the Apology and keep those words in context. It certainly doesn't mean that some of our sins have not been paid for, or forgiven until we are absolved of sins by the pastor. Rather, if you take your quote in context the questions seems rhetorical, "If your sins are remitted at contrition, then why have a priest pronounce absolution?" The answer is that the power of the keys is given to us as a gift from God to console stricken consciences. What is NOT being stated is that our sins aren't remitted by Christ until we confess them all and receive absolution from a pastor. If that is the case, then I am in trouble when I go camping for weeks at a time with no ability to receive absolution from a pastor. If a bear should eat me before I can hear the words of absolution, then being digested in its stomach is the least of my troubles! :)

Anonymous said...

Finally, Lito, please understand, that I am not responding to the latest round of your questions because we are no longer discussing, but debating and I really don't want to debate, since there is no point to it. I told you that I don't believe in two justifications and I clearly pointed out why, but you want to cling to a "straw man" for the purpose of debate. Further you are tossing out some ridiculous charges such as "If you have a second justification, it is still liable for intra nos speculation" and again this is all part of debating and not actually holding a discussion. I could answer these charges, but then you will just come up with more "straw men". This reminds me of debates with United Pentecostals. I could tell them over and over again that I don't believe in three gods, but only in the One True God, but they would constantly set up their "three god staw man" and argue against it. At some point you just have to let it go as being a fruitless discussion. It is too bad really.

L P said...


Your discussion illustrates how muddled this topic has been. You asked...

What does that mean? Believe that some of our sins have been remitted on the cross? Haven't we "been around this block" before, Lito? Let me ask you, do you believe that ALL your sins have actually been forgiven, Lito? Not just the ones you have confessed and feel sorry about, but even the ones you have as yet to commit. Are they forgiven? Where those sins remitted on the cross?

I believe all my sins have been remitted at the Cross, meaning paid for - past, present and future. I am debt free because of Christ's sacrifice. My sins have been paid for. They have been imputed to Christ 2000 years ago. I enjoy the forgiveness of sins by virtue of Christ's perfect life and death - this confession I am making is a confession of my faith, therefore I expect to enjoy God's promise of forgiveness in Christ. I expect God to forgive me for Christ's sake as he promised those who believe in this promise.

Excuse me, how does this question support UOJ or OJ?

When you asked me the question - you did not use justification in your question? You are not into OJ here for if you are - you should ask... do I believe I have been declared righteous 2000 years ago?

This is absolutely frustrating.

Of course I do not believe that I am only forgiven in the divine service. I absolve a fellow Christian who confesses his sins to me, my pastor and I do that to each other.

I have been baptized and there God delivered me and united me with Christ, I no longer fear my future. Yet even then you are operating in my realm even as you assure yourself - you are operating in my realm of faith - for faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. I do not know why UOJers are allergic to faith, they seem to operate on it all the time they assure themselves.

I think you might be missing my quote of the Apology. If in your logic, sins have been remitted already to the sinner prior to faith - then contrition and absolution has nothing to do with it, you do not need the means of grace, or do you? For if you confess that you do need the means of grace, then you have to abandon UOJ, for UOJ says you are forgiven without the means of grace and prior to faith.

That is the point of my quote. Of course I believe the means of grace is not just in confession/absolution, it is not just confined there. We have Baptism/ Supper.

Jim, the means of grace is God's gift as well! Therefore, you need it for the generating of your faith in the Gospel.

What I see in the UOJ terminology is that it does not distinguish the promise from the enjoyment of the promise.

So let us be concrete about this - consider the people in hell right now. By UOJ/OJ category these people have been declared righteous immaterial of their faith, correct? Why wonders why they are in hell.

Ask me the question as a non_UOJer. I confess these people in hell have been paid for by Jesus' blood, indeed. I deny they have been declared righteous 2000 years ago. So why are they in hell ?- precisely, they have not been declared righteous, they have not had the imputation of the righteousness of Jesus - they have not his righteousness applied to them.

There is no double justification in the above. No confusion of categories.


L P said...


Thank you for your discussion.

Peace be with you.


Anonymous said...

Part 1 of 2


I agree debates are good, I have no problem with them, I find them healthy. It’s an interesting discussion and I come at it from a strong Calvinist background.

Concerning Atonement = Justification. Two issues; the first main issue I worry about when I hear Lutheran’s try to split this hair is that it ironically opens up the back door to something they otherwise reject, and that is Calvinism. Faith suddenly becomes that kind of faith that Calvin defined that you see most acutely in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper in which faith must “reach up” as it where or in Calvin’s own language seek that higher more mystical union which is in the fiery heaven above whereby the body and the blood are spiritually eaten. There’s no nice way to say this other than it’s a form of faith that is works. That’s very different than God Himself handing His body and blood to you, baptizing you Himself (via the pastor’s hand/mouth) and actually really giving you what the sacrament gives. It’s important to note that in Lutheran sacramental worship it’s not just the pastor doing it on authority to do so (though that is included), for Calvin goes this far (like a king authorizing his general to do something), but that Christ Himself is actually acting in the sacraments through the pastor. That’s why the Word’s of institution are so very important. For when a rogue pastor teaches that the Word’s of institution in the Supper mean something else even though he mimics them word for word, he has stepped outside of Christ and they are mere words of a man that effect nothing, no Lord’s Supper (Calvinism, et. al.). You see that produces a faith that is actually given with the Word and the Sacrament, not “reached up for” to have. The proof is that in Calvin’s supper, the unbeliever receives just mere bread and wine according to Calvin (in reality according to Luther in Calvin’s supper that’s all anyone receives). In the Baptist you see the same principle operating concerning baptism, what does the unbeliever being baptized actually receive. The Baptist says nothing and duly re-baptizes such a person later if/when they come to faith as far as they can detect such. In both Calvin and Baptist you see that principle of false faith called faith that has to reach up to receive anything, this is in opposition in which Luther allows zero synergism whatsoever, faith is truly a gift and that gift comes inseparably with the Word and Sacrament (Word visible).

Issue two is that I find Lutherans acting as Calvinist when attempting to get behind that which is not revealed in splitting the Atonement = Justification hair, trying to see the invisible God. It’s like Luther said once concerning repentance that it is easier to figure out and split the syllables of the word than to do so practically concerning the soul’s reaction to them (my paraphrase).


Anonymous said...

Part 2 of 2

You state that both universalist and Calvinist say Atonement = Justification and therefore err on either side of the issue one by making the equal sign mean true universalism and the other some elect from eternity. Being a ex-Calvinist this is simply the old worn out Arminian vs. Calvinism divide, to wit, “how do we explain why some people believe and some don’t”. Which Lutherans will immediately recognize as the very problem I just mentioned, seeking out the hidden God, God in the nude. But I think Lutheran’s answer to the Arminian vs. Calvinism debate on that issue is the same answer for the universalist vs. Calvinist issue on Atonement = Justification issue. In both cases both parties do use fallen human reason to “resolve the tension” and the paradox. Because really, to split the Atonement does not = Justification hair is really nothing more than back door Calvinism. It’s attempting, like Calvinism, Arminianism and universalism, to resolve the tension of the paradox that faith must only remain in. And so election, rebirth, salvation, conversion is all moved to the justification side of the page in which now faith is made the very same work that Calvin, et. al. makes it in the holistic Atonement = Justification grouping.

All the groups, universalist, Arminians, Calvinist, and those attempting to resolve the tension via a distinction end up in essence at the same end conclusion making faith a work and pointing men to their faith itself (is my faith really working?). What I’m saying is that in the end there is zero difference between those that say Atonement = Justification and Atonement does not = Justification, particularly as far as faith, the Gospel and the sacraments are concerned. Both paradigms ruin and raze the entire continuity between the universal Gospel (John 3:16) in continuity with the particular Gospel in baptism, the Lord’s Supper and absolution. All because fallen human reason fundamentally wishes to solve the mystery of why some believe and some do not, all go seeking God in the nude, and in so doing, seeking the hidden God, loose the revealed God and the hidden God. Such fail to understand the parable of the so named prodigal son, in particular the elder brother at the end and hell. Such fail to grasp the parable of the four seed castings, it fails to see that in no case did the Word, the seed, fail and in no case did the soil produce, only the seed did, the soil was passive immaterial in all four cases. It fails to see that the entire parable is a battle of words, God’s Gospel versus Satan’s temptations via false doctrines. It fails to see that the hell of hell is the person actually rejects a reality, their very own atonement and justification before God and all to seek themselves and their own righteousness, not just a façade of a reality that never was (Calvin) or could have been (Arminian/Rome) theirs. Luther points out that the very gnashing of teeth in hell is this very thing, it’s the same gnashing of teeth we saw that stoned Stephen to death, it’s the same uncooled burning tongue we hear Jesus speak of concerning the rich man in hell with Lazarus in heaven. What’s most satanic about the later parable is that the rich man never asks, “can you get me out of this hell”, only rather, bring me a drip of water where I am. He’s addicted to it, the very hell he’s in – it’s a sickness of a fallen soul that is the absolute epitome of evil and balefulness.

The continuity between the universal Gospel and then the sacraments is critical, because that’s what Calvinism, arminianism and others disconnect in order to satiate their reason.



Anonymous said...

"I believe all my sins have been remitted at the Cross, meaning paid for - past, present and future. I am debt free because of Christ's sacrifice."

All your sins were remitted on the cross 2000 years ago before you could exercise faith? Yes, that is true.

So what does it mean that your sins were "bought and paid for" (remitted), Lito? Does it mean they are still your sins? Did Jesus purchase your sins with His blood 2000 years ago, but you are somehow leasing them? ;) Seriously, what do you think it means that your sins were "taken away" (Jn. 1:29) by the Lamb of God on the cross. Does it mean that your sins were forgiven at that time?

Anonymous said...

Hi Larry,

I, too, think debate can be good. I don't want to leave an impression that I am saying debate is bad. In college I studied rhetoric and loved public debates. The whole idea is to convincingly speak past your opponents and persuade an audience you're right.

However, I prefer a a good discussion in a media such as this, where understanding is being sought. It is easy to get frustrated and make mistakes when blogging in virtual time. I think it is wise to slow down, ask questions, and try to engage what it is a person is actually stating after it is clear his position is understood.

Please forgive me, I hope I don't come off as lecturing and I certainly don't mean to. I want to hopefully clarify what I mean with my earlier statements regarding not wanting to debate.

Anonymous said...


I apologize for how sporadic my responses have been today. I have been extremely busy this morning. Now early afternoon has arrived and I have a little time to hopefully respond more fully. First let me try to address some of the issues you have just raised and your questions.

"Excuse me, how does this question support UOJ or OJ?"

My questions were not meant to support OJ, Lito. Rather it was meant to draw your thoughts out so I can understand them better. You see, I have to wonder how you can think your sins were forgiven in full 2000 years ago, and yet you quoted the Apology as if not all sins had been remitted and that was a problem for OJ? This is absolutely frustrating for me, too. It seems to me that you aren't trying to understand, but you are engaged in "whipping straw men tied to a post."

Another example of the "straw man" is your, "If in your logic, sins have been remitted already to the sinner prior to faith...." What do you mean "in my logic"? You wrote above that comment that you believe all your sins "have been remitted at the Cross" some 2000 years prior to your being born. You then go on with another statement which is equally silly, "For if you confess that you do need the means of grace, then you have to abandon UOJ, for UOJ says you are forgiven without the means of grace and prior to faith." Have you even read Piper's sections in his "Christian Dogmatic" on justification? There in you will find Pieper speaking of one justification which is received by faith alone (not two justification events) and "[T]he doctrine of justification by faith stands and falls with the Biblical doctrine of the means of grace. If we do not base forgiveness of sins on the objective means of grace, we base our forgiveness on our subjective condition, our feeling, our worthiness, and the like...." ("Christian Dogmatics" II p. 509)

Besides, Lito, you agreed that your sins were remitted (released from the guilt and penalty of sin) at the cross 2000 years ago. Does that mean you don't need the means of grace? Or, are we talking about a judicial act in the past that you have to be connected to somehow being in the present? Yes, I asks a rhetorical question here.

"What I see in the UOJ terminology is that it does not distinguish the promise from the enjoyment of the promise."

Yes it does. You must read Pieper's sections on justification in full and not quotes from his antagonists in order to get this.

"So let us be concrete about this - consider the people in hell right now. By UOJ/OJ category these people have been declared righteous immaterial of their faith, correct? Why wonders why they are in hell."

I submit that you are misunderstanding the distinction Pieper and others have drawn between the forensic act of declaring righteousness to the world because of what Christ did on the cross and the receipt of that declaration through faith that God's promise given to us through His Word is true. One of the purposes of pointing out that justification is judicial is to combat the heresy that there is a quality about the person which is redeeming, deserving of justification. As you know our justification is with Christ, it is "outside us". We receive its promises through the means of grace. "Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God". And after we have received the benefits of this judicial act of justification we, ourselves, are still sinners by our very natures.


Anonymous said...

(continued from above)

In a sense, Lito, you are stuck with the very problem you attribute to OJ. Somehow you have no problems with the objectivity of being released from the guilt and penalty of sin (remittance) at the cross 2000 years ago, and not just your sins but the sins of the whole world, but yet you don't understand how this objectivity applies to justification. Simply because the unrepentant don't recognize that their sins have been remitted long ago, doesn't entail that God sees them as not having been set free for the sake of His Son Jesus Christ. Receiving the promise of being set free from sin is still through faith, even though that freedom was won thousands of years ago. Indeed, the objection that people set free will "burn in hell" doesn't erase the truth that those who refused their liberty in Christ had been set free.

I need to go and didn't have time to get into some of the problems I see with Maier's paper. If I have time I will get into those.

L P said...



I have not read all of your latest comments.

You asked:
So what does it mean that your sins were "bought and paid for" (remitted), Lito? Does it mean they are still your sins? Did Jesus purchase your sins with His blood 2000 years ago, but you are somehow leasing them? ;) Seriously, what do you think it means that your sins were "taken away" (Jn. 1:29) by the Lamb of God on the cross. Does it mean that your sins were forgiven at that time

Here is my answer.

According to Romans 3:21-26 specially verses 25/26, since may faith is in the fact that Jesus atoned for my sins, God credits to me the righteousness of Christ, hence, God treats me as forgiven, justified sinner through that faith in the atonement.

The object of my faith is the atonement, not my justification. Because justification is what God does in his heart towards me.

Justification is a promise I expect to enjoy by virtue of the Gospel promise.

Like I said, the Christian is like Abraham. Abraham had no knowledge that by his faith, he would be justified. God came to him and told him through his seed the nations will be blessed. Abraham believed in Christ and God counted this as the righteousness of Christ. Today St. Paul explains this to us that it happened that way.

OJ/UOJ says, God declares us as righteous and that we are to believe in that declaration 2000 years ago.

To me, this is contrary to the life of Abraham, Abraham Scripture says believed God and God counted it to him as righteousness and not before.

I am as much as sticking to the Biblical data and leave the emotions out of this discussion. At least that is my aim.

Again, I hold no sacred cows.


L P said...


Can we stick to Maier's paper? Could we leave for the moment tangential arguments here?

First, Maier gave a critique of Pieper's take on several passages that equate Atonement = Justification. Pieper backed up his assertions with Scripture, Maier responded how Pieper got it over stated--- from Scripture!

Now, the proper thing to do is this bro, --- counter Maier and defend Pieper based on exegesis and not on philosophical and tangential grounds. That can come later but as added evidence. But it is not prima facie. What is prima facie is the text of Scripture.

This should be the battle ground of the discussion - Scripture.

Lastly if I recall, the whole Church got into a mess and abuses because of one thing - the Roman Church equated Justification = Sanctification. We know the story now, the Reformers concluded that they are not the same, they are related no doubt, not even separated, but they must be distinguished.

To air what Dr. Tom Baker of Law/Gospel says - theology is the art of making distinctions. (mind you I know Pr Tom will not agree with me, but his maxim is wise and useful nevertheless, I give him credit for that wisdom).

We are guilty of the same category mistake as what Rome did if we are not careful with categories. This is precisely Maier's underlying frame of reference why he critiqued Pieper.

We know what happened to the fate of Maier, he was banned from teaching Romans. I know because of my vocal scepticism of UOJ I stand losing good will from fellow Lutherans in the internet.

Though I may have NT and Classic Greek training and may have advantage, we can fruitfully discuss the Scripture support of Pieper and of Maier using a literal version of the Bible. The arguments are not hard to follow.

It is not enough to say Pieper did not overstate the phenomenon of justification, please provide concrete cases where Maier got the Scripture wrong. We both have academic training and I should think we should be able to discuss this less passionately.

Let us ground the discussion and our deliberations in Scripture, is what my appeal is all about. A rebuttal of Maier is in order, from the OJ/UOJers' side of things.


L P said...


Your last comment is a bit hard to untangle, if you can parse your questions in small byte pieces, I will endeavour to speak plainly.

Let us not argue the atonement. Let us argue if we must, this statement of Pieper since you agree with him...

can you explain to me what he meant by

Now, then, if the Father raised Christ from the dead, He, by this glorious resurrection act, declared that the sins of the whole world are fully expiated, or atoned for, and that all mankind is now regarded as righteous before His divine tribunal

Please explain the bolded words. Please note I have no problem with his non-bolded words, it is the bolded words that are problematic.

Our discussion can be productive and fruitful if we dispense about the atonement as we agree with it.

I will try and summarize my answer nevertheless to your last comment.

When did I get forgiven? When the means of grace (Law/Gospel - Baptism/Supper) got applied to me and not before.

This summary is short, but it is filled with implications, if you could maul that over - that is my position. If you have a problem with that, please state what your problem is, in that statement. If you have no problem with that, then you maul over again, why we disagree with UOJ/OJ formulation.

The missus is now scolding me for spending much time on this. I have to go, for now.


Anonymous said...

"[C]an you explain to me what he meant by... 'and that all mankind is now regarded as righteous before His divine tribunal'"?

Yes, quoting you, "justification is what God does in his heart towards" us. Pieper is referring to God's reconciliation to the world for the sake of Christ. Keep in mind, Pieper refers to OJ also as "objective reconciliation".

And apparently we don't agree on the atonement, Lito. My sins where forgiven 2000 years ago on the cross. I RECEIVED that forgiveness of sins via faith given to me from hearing the word of God and through my baptism and the Lord's Supper. Do you see the difference in our statements?

Anonymous said...

"OJ/UOJ says, God declares us as righteous and that we are to believe in that declaration 2000 years ago.

To me, this is contrary to the life of Abraham, Abraham Scripture says believed God and God counted it to him as righteousness and not before."

The above is also puzzling. Notice the pattern between OJ and the promise to Abraham, Lito. God declares "Such and such will be the case" and when that promise is received in faith it is appropriated by that person: it is theirs. "The blood of Christ given for you"... that blood was given 2000 years ago. How do we RECEIVE it today? Through faith that the body and blood of Christ is really present in the bread and wine. Objectively the blood was given, subjectively is becomes mine (for YOU) through receiving it in faith. That's the nature of the subjective facet of the gem, justification. Abraham is credited with righteousness that is extended to him objectively in God's promise. It isn't his own righteousness. The righteousness wasn't created by faith. It was righteousness that always resides only with God and was imputed to Abraham through faith alone.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
L P said...


And apparently we don't agree on the atonement, Lito. My sins where forgiven 2000 years ago on the cross. I RECEIVED that forgiveness of sins via faith given to me from hearing the word of God and through my baptism and the Lord's Supper. Do you see the difference in our statements?

This is a lot better discussion.

I believe my forgiveness happened at the point of delivery via the means of grace.

I can also see that we are using the term justification as far as justification = forgiveness consistently.

So therefore, would you accept my presentation of your position then...

Let us leave for the moment the means of grace.

Using that equation that justification = forgiveness of sins, and putting it in your quoted statements above...

Would it be correct to present your position this way, you believe you were justified 2000 ago therefore you believe you were forgiven without the means of grace, (since the means happens in your space and time only - I think this is obvious, but my clarification still stands)?

I think we are moving forward and this discussion is much more productive.

Thank you Jim for this. I will maul over your answer if you could please answer my question with a simple yes or no (if possible, that would be appreciated).


L P said...


I am sorry I missed that question.

I do not have a copy of Pieper's Christian Dogmatics in my library. I know of Pieper's position on OJ/UOJ based on his reputation.

However, it is not necessary to read all of Pieper's book and and the entirety of his chapter on Justificaton if that is what you are implying and a weakness in my approach.

I say this because Maier acknowledges Pieper when Pieper spoke properly when it comes to Justification. DId you read Maier's praise for Pieper?

The issue is not where Pieper was right!!!

The issue issue is where he was wrong!!! So can we move forward on the latter?

Therefore, since it is obvious in this interchange, you are defending Pieper - all you need is to hit where Maier says Pieper wrong and show it is actually Maier who is in error.

I suggest you do this by bringing evidences at the points of criticism of Maier. For example offer an exegesis why Pieper got it right in Rom 5:10. No Greek is necessary.


Anonymous said...

Ok. No

Anonymous said...

"I do not have a copy of Pieper's Christian Dogmatics in my library. I know of Pieper's position on OJ/UOJ based on his reputation."

Lito, good scholarship is looking at the source materials when available. Since you are so vehemently against OJ, one would expect that you have at least taken the time to read your opposition's work on the subject. Please, if you want to be taken seriously at least read the works of those you are criticizing.

At some point, if I have time, I will get to Maier's errors regarding his interpretation of Pieper, or lack thereof.

L P said...


You answered...
Ok. No

I take it that you decided to be inconsistent with your own confession.

Jim, I understand where you are coming from, perfectly!

I just want to know if you have the courage to confess that you are justified and forgiven of your sins..... without the means of grace! Because that is the implication of UOJ/OJ.

You said...
Lito, good scholarship is looking at the source materials when available. Since you are so vehemently against OJ

Jim, please read again my comment, I anticipated already this criticism and would do you well to supply the fault of Maier's interpretation of Rom 4:25.

I have looked way long before on UOJers' passages one of them is Romans 4:25. This is a famous UOJ verse.

I came to my own conclusions before I read Maier!

Proof of this is that I wrote about Rom 4:25 here...

and in here....

The construction of Rom 4:25 the last clause... should read ... "with a view to our justification", not that by the atonement all have been automatically justified, which you suggests and sadly equivocate with the atonement, which Pieper also makes.

So this week when Maier's paper was brought to my attention, it so happened that Maier gave a competing interpretation of Rom 4:25 and immediately looked at it. He was effectively saying what I concluded in my own study.

So my independent personal study of the passage and Maier's interpretation of it coincided.

You can fault my scholarship if you can show that Pieper actually believed and said the same thing that I or Maier is saying about Rom 4:25.

In effect, Maier misrepresented Pieper at that point and I was foolish enough to believe Maier, at that point of Rom 4:25.

Or that Pieper was right in interpreting that last clause as universal justification.

But before you do, note well that I can give you 2 Lutheran exegetes who are against Pieper on this - Stuhlmacher and Lenski, not to mention Maier himself whose speciality is exegesis.


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Hi Lito,

I deleted my earlier posting, since it was too short and doesn't give the best response I can give. My daughter is home from college and tomorrow she is confirmed, so we are all pretty busy. I think I am going to have to leave this topic alone for now, but if I do get some time to make further comments I will try to get to some of your points.

Anonymous said...

"I take it that you decided to be inconsistent with your own confession."

I have a little time while we do some cleaning up at the house. Later we are going to see the movie "2012". I think it should be a good "world destruction" movie. I always get a kick out of sci-fi like that. :)

There is no inconsistency, Lito. I answered no because the Holy Spirit saves individuals through the hearing of the word which is received by faith given to the hearer. That is subjective justification. The objective facet to justification is how God now sees the world for the sake of Christ. I pointed out above that Pieper used "objective justification" and "objective reconciliation" interchangeably.

Regarding Maier and his interpretation of Romans 4:25 let me just say that I won't be overturning his exegesis any time soon! I am a layman Lito with little formal education in Koine Greek. However, having read Maier's comments several times over now, I am confident that Pieper would likely say that Maier is woodenly focusing on subjective justification while not really refuting his statements over the objective facet of justification. Indeed, Maier doesn't deny that Rom. 4:25 refers to the resurrection of Jesus. He is arguing that "our justification" applies only to believers. Where as, I take Pieper as arguing that the resurrection of Christ is obviously understood by Paul as for ALL people and not just believers. So when he writes "raised for our justification" he is stating that the glorious resurrection of Christ from the dead for all is for our (inclusive, pointing to all of us) justification.

That is to say, Paul is not saying the resurrection of the dead is only for the justification of those who believe, but for the justification of the world (Christ was raised from the dead for the world, not only believers). He is also pointing out that justification won for all is imputed to the individual through faith. But, we have to keep in mind that the "objective" facet of justification is an emphasis on who is doing the justifying. It is meant to underscore that God justifies on account of Christ. Christ has made satisfaction for us to the Law and has paid for our sins, and not only the sins of believers but the sins of the world. In a nut shell, it is God who justifies by the power of His word, it is not our faith that does the justifying and that is one reason for the "objective" distinction being raised in justification. This is where Pieper correctly points out that if you remove the "objective" element out of our justification, then you are left with a romanist view of justification that some how an act of will cooperates with the Holy Spirit in your justification. Christ is the author and finisher of our faith.

I have more I could write, but I am out of time.

Take care and have a blessed Sunday.

PS — You know you could always try to get Rolf Preus' email address and see if he has time to spend with you on this issue (I think you can contact him through the WT if he is still a member, or try through "Lutherquest".) There are FAR better men than I who can respond to you on this issue. I am ill equipped to get down to the "brass tacks" as it where and am running into my theological limits.

DRB said...

Hi, Lito. The last time we discussed this on your blog, you agreed with me that God in Christ reconciled unbelievers to himself, not imputing their sins to them. Is that still your position? If so, then your dispute with Pieper is purely a dispute about words since you confess the same gospel.

Olive Tree Guitar Ensemble said...

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I could tell how much efforts you've taken on it.
Keep doing!

L P said...


The answer is YES, and YES my disagreement is with the use of the term UOJ and OJ.
As I said, all the problems we have today such as looking at faith as a form of works were present during Chemnitz and Calov's time - the editors of the BoC.

Yet, they found no reason for creating such categories such as UOJ and OJ and SJ.


Thank you for the interaction.

Yes I know, Rom 4:25 is just one of the verses for UOJ but the point is that if UOJ is shaky in here, it can be shown shaky in other places too.

You have eat an elephant one bite at a time.

I was an adopter of UOJ terminology in my early years, the truth catches up with us one day.


DRB said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DRB said...

LPC, "you mean the Muslim and the Atheist and what nots, who do not believe in Christ, [are reconciled with God, who does not impute their sins to them,] before they believe? Hang on, they presently do not believe in Christ so - [they are now reconciled, not having their sins imputed to them,] even without faith in Christ? That sounds a bit universalistic to me."

If you consistently press the "sounds universalistic" argument, you will end up with a Calvinistic re-interpretation of the good news proclaimed by Paul in 2 Cor. 5:18-19.

As for terminology, Luther was not afraid to explain in the clearest terms the objectivity of Paul's good news; Luther explicitly taught that all have been forgiven whether or not they believe it and yet that those who refuse to believe thereby forfeit the benefits of forgiveness:
Luther quote

Anonymous said...

"Yes I know, Rom 4:25 is just one of the verses for UOJ but the point is that if UOJ is shaky in here, it can be shown shaky in other places too."

Lito, OJ is not "shaky" in Rom. 4:25. As I pointed out above, Maier's exegesis of Romans focuses on what Pieper would have said is "subjective justification". Maier simply quibbles over the use of the term "objective justification" and says Pieper would have been better off using some other term. What Maeir may have missed in Pieper's exegesis is the logic. The resurrection of Jesus is for the whole world (the Gospel is afterall for everyone), not just believers. Thus, when Paul speaks of "our justification" he is being inclusive and not exclusive. He is also speaking of the justification won for the whole world in Christ.

DRB is correct. Quoting Luther, "Even he who does not believe that he is free and his sins forgiven shall also learn, in due time, how assuredly his sins were forgiven, even though he did not believe it." (The Keys, Luther's Works, Vol. 40, pp. 366-67) The good news is that we ARE forgiven. Not that we WILL BE forgiven. Denying the objective sense of justification is much like saying Christ extends to us an empty gift box and it will be filled with a gift upon on our faith. No, the gift box is full, He gives us faith to receive it, and we respond in thanksgiving and praise for such a great salvation!

L P said...


When Luther was expounding on the keys, he was expounding on the means of grace - just like Baptism and the Supper - when Jesus through the pastor says - this is the blood of the Jesus shed for you -- at that point whether you believe it or not it is still for you ---- but you'd better believe it because if you don't you reject the offer, the gift will now becomes a curse for those who reject it.

The means of grace is the forgiving of your sins, it is the application of the atonement or the beneficial enjoyment of the atonement.

Hence, without the means of grace, no forgiveness has been delivered.

Example verse here is Acts 2:38.

DRB, it is the Calvinist who believes people are forgiven of their sins -- without the intervention of the means of grace.

re: 2 Cor 5:18-19. Go to verse 20 please. Although in Christ God is reconciled to the sinner, the sinner is not necessarily reconciled to God! Not all are IN Christ, some sinners would like to stay at war with God. A sinner who is not in Christ is not reconciled to God.

The HS through the means of grace is bring yet sinners to be in Christ.


Re: Rom 4:25.

I have not read any exegete who takes Rom 4:25 in the retrospective unlike what you suggest Pieper's position is, but Pieper was a Systematician not an Exegete by reputation. But you do not have to know Greek to decide this and to know this. The context of Rom 3,4,5 bears this out. In fact Rom 4:24 gives it away for this is future looking. Hence the "justification" mentioned in Rom 4:25 is prospective.

From Stuhlmacher, Morris, Barrett, Sanday and Hedlam , I have not read of an exegete who thinks Rom 4:25 is to be taken retrospectively. in this regard, Pieper is unique.

Read Stuhlmacher here

The ground of our justification as per Stuhlmacher is the atonement. It stands to reason then that since on is grounded on the other, the two are not synonymous and hence distinct events. Yet Pieper makes this the same, i.e. in logic, this is called a category mistake.

That is my point.

Gentlemen, thank you for your input. I believe it is now time for me to be quiet and maul over this interchange.


Anonymous said...


While you're mauling this all over please consider that Romans 4:24 is written to those who have already received through faith the forgiveness of sins. "It will be counted to us..." must be referring to those who have as yet to believe. Otherwise one wants to ask, "OK, when will it be counted to those who believe?"

L P said...


You are singing my song.

If Rom 4:24 is prospective, Rom 4:25 cannot be retrospective which is the suggestion of Pieper.

Therefore, you admit Rom 4:25 is prospective hence, not retrospective which was Pieper's position. Hence, you contradict Pieper!!!

Hang on, are you not a defender of Pieper on this?

Well well, the maxim does come in play here....

From a contradiction --- you can prove all things, in fact you can prove whatever you like.

Sorry to say this, you are discussing /debating this against me, but I am not so sure you know what you are arguing -- against me.

Why not defend expound on the Scripture instead of holding a church father perfect in his human nature?


Anonymous said...


If you focus on half of what is written, and ignore the rest, then you can get what you want out of that verse. The point is that Pieper is correct. "Our justification" must be referring to an objective reality that some have received and others have yet to receive, but is nonetheless a reality for the whole world. This isn't rocket science.

DRB said...


Calvin's deficient view of the means of grace is not at issue here. Luther, Pieper, etc. agree that the means of grace are necessary for subjective forgiveness of sins. To a Calvinist, their view that those who reject the means of grace are nonetheless objectively forgiven sounds like universalism, and Calvinists consistently deny universal atonement.

What is more troubling is your misreading of 2 Cor. 5. The text says God in Christ reconciled the world to himself, not imputing their sins against them. You say God did not reconcile the world to himself, but rather reconciled himself to to world. Shades of alleosis! Again, Luther, Pieper, etc. do not dispute the need for subjective reconciliation.

L P said...


If you can give me an actual quote of Pieper because I think you are making him say what you like him to say. That is why you think I have built a strawman.

I have built a stawman if you think I am attacking Pieper's weakest point, fair enough - so give me the strongest argument of Pieper for his formulation. Since you say I was building a strawman of Pieper's Rom 4:25 then it must not be his strongest evidence, can you give me his strongest then?

Like I said, I do not believe Pieper got the subjective side wrong, I believe it is the objective (so called) I am quibbling about. The question is what is objective.

My view is that the objective is the ransoming, the payment of sins, the Atonenement of Christ, the giving of his life as payment for sins.

You do not believe in that payment, then you do not enjoy the effect of that atonement.


You said ...
You say God did not reconcile the world to himself, but rather reconciled himself to to world.

Where did I say that? Here is what I said
Although in Christ God is reconciled to the sinner,

2 Cor 5:18-19, what I am emphasizing is IN Christ phrase. In Christ God is bringing the sinner to him hence IN CHRIST God is reconciled to the sinner.
I should have been precise but the result I think is the same because my statement is being controlled by the IN Christ phrase.

So what I am pointing out is that although IN Christ God is now favourably disposed to us sinners (for that is what I was trying to say - he is showing grace and mercy to the unbeliever), 2 Cor 5:20 according to St. Paul that we be reconciled to God. So the problem not God but the problem now remains in us. In fact St. Paul anxiously was appealing that we be reconciled to God. In effect, do not stay in our rebellion. Clearly not all are IN CHRIST, the good news is that the HS through the means of grace is busy doing that - putting us sinners IN Christ.

You said this...
Luther, Pieper, etc. agree that the means of grace are necessary for subjective forgiveness of sins

I will bypass your name dropping Luther in this quote - that is being anachronistic of you, I am sorry to say.

Nevertheless if there is subjective forgiveness by means of grace, OBJECTIVE forgiveness happens without means of grace. Correct? If not why not?

My position is simple - the imputation of my sins happened outside me, 2000 years ago, it was given to Christ. This is the one that is objective.

Christ's imputation of his righteousness happens to me at the point of faith in that imputation of my sins, through the means of grace and happens in my space and time. This is the one that is subjective.

The sinner who rejects the first imputation never gets the second imputation.

I believe this position I hold is consistent with Scripture and with the BoC.

Please point me where I am wrong in that position.


Anonymous said...

"My view is that the objective is the ransoming, the payment of sins, the Atonenement of Christ, the giving of his life as payment for sins."

Here's the problem as I see it, Lito. You seem reluctant to agree that when Jesus died on the cross, He did so not only for the forgiveness of sins, but that ALL sins, the sins of the whole world, were IN FACT forgiven. Am I right?

L P said...


I will answer you question by way of a statement and I hope I clarify my position and my understanding of what I believe Scripture teaches as well as expounded in the BoC.

I am reluctant to say that when Jesus died on the Cross as payment for all sins, all sins of humans have been automatically forgiven.

Why am I reluctant and why am I quibbling?

Because there is a distinction between the gift and the possession or use of the gift.

The gift is the payment of sins, in short I am suppose to die for my sins which the Law says, but the Gospel says Jesus died for them, I have been paid for.

When a sinner believes that - he enjoys the gift - forgiveness of sins.

The forgiveness of sins to me is enjoyment and is grounded on the payment of Christ.

It is mediated by the means of grace. See Acts 2:38 where the word forgiveness is used.


L P said...

Sorry Jim,

In addition...

At the exercise of the means of grace - the proclamation of Law/Gospel (preaching the Word) - Baptism/Supper - the HS is delivering to the sinner the Atonement so that the sinner may believe and enjoy what Jesus sacrificed - the payment of sins and thus experience what Jesus has won- forgiveness of sins, i.e. justification, the imputing of righteousness.

Therefore to me in this understanding, there is no such thing as two justification and neither is there objective/subjective justification, only one, the one that happens upon faith in the promised Gospel.

Today I believe the HS is busy delivering that Atonement to sinners and is busy keeping us believing in that payment of sins of Christ - Jesus cried out It is Finished - tetelestai - PAID IN FULL.

So that is the reason why I commend sticking to the story. For example what does the Law do - accuses us of sin it pronounces a verdict of guilty deserving death- what does the Gospel say - paid in FULL by Christ.

When does the prisoner enjoy freedom and are able to roam around, when he applies the gift of payment to his case! Because the guard could come around him and say what he owed has been paid but he can stay there and say - no thanks, I can pay it myself or say - no I will fight the charges, I am innocent, I have no sin. So he stays in jail.

All analogy fails but that is the closest I could explain it.


Anonymous said...

So why hesitate, Lito? Come out with it already. Admit that you don't believe that when Jesus paid for the sins of the world with His life on the cross that means the sins of the world, all sins, were not forgiven.

L P said...


I admit as per John 3:16-18

16"For(AA) God so loved(AB) the world,[i](AC) that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not(AD) perish but have eternal life. 17For(AE) God did not send his Son into the world(AF) to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18(AG) Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not(AH) believed in the name of the only Son of God.

Jesus has purchased what is required by God for the sinner, he has purchased or won by Christ - the necessary payment for his sins, but a sinner is not forgiven if he does not received this by faith.

Your form of statement which you want me to admit is devious and dishonest because forgiveness is wrapped in faith in the Atonement. Your statement leaves faith out as if I am suggesting there is no forgiveness.

Ok I will make a deal with you, will you admit people are forgiven without the means of grace?

I am trying to be sane with you through my last post and you resort to ad absurdum, ridicule, are you desperate and willing to throw Christian civility or what?



Anonymous said...

I'm being dishonest in asking you to simply confess what you have already implied, Lito?

Again, be honest, do you believe that when Jesus died on the cross all sins were forgiven. Yes, or no?

L P said...


Did you beat your wife yesterday? yes or no.


L P said...

You can help me answer your question, and perhaps teach me, is there forgiveness of sins without the means of grace?

This was my first request for you to answer and I do not think you were forthright with it.

Yes or no?


Anonymous said...


I do not understand your obfuscation here. My question is quite simple. Remember, you are the one who says that OJ is a doctrinal error, not me. This is your blog post against OJ. So my question of you is not unfair or dishonest in any way. Do you believe that when Jesus died on the cross ALL SINS were forgiven. Yes, or no?

L P said...


You already know my answer to this question and I will make it explicitly for your review further in due course. You already know that I link the forgiveness of sins with the means of grace, you can take that as a hint. Believe me I do believe in the forgiveness of sins, just not the way it happens in your understanding.

Now I am contra UOJ and OJ terminology, I do not have to prove anything except to shed doubt on the affirmative, that is your position.

Or have you forgotten the rules of pro and con debate/discussion deliberation?

You are in the affirmative, you have the obligation to prove it beyond reasonable doubt, all I have to do is to shed doubt on your position which I think I did not do a poor job in one test Scripture - Rom 4:25.

So I am dilly dallying because you demand an answer from me, yet you do not give the courtesy to answer my previous question which happened way up in the comment thread here - do you believe that forgiveness of sins happen without the means of grace? My question is a clarifying question to get your proof of UOJ/OJ and what it implies.

I suspect you do not want to answer my question because by your answer whatever it may be, you will be contradicting yourself and Pieper.

However, if I am wrong then please go ahead say Yes or No.

When you start behaving fairly Jim, I will have no problem explicitly answering your questions because it is an easy question to answer.


DRB said...


"My position is simple - the imputation of my sins happened outside me, 2000 years ago, it was given to Christ. This is the one that is objective. Christ's imputation of his righteousness happens to me at the point of faith in that imputation of my sins, through the means of grace and happens in my space and time. This is the one that is subjective."

Does Maier actually share that position? That position has the disturbing implication in light of 2 Cor. 5 that sinners are reconciled, not having their sins imputed to them, apart from any imputation of Christ's righteousness.

The subjective/objective terminology, while no more divinely inspired than our language about the Trinity, can spare us of confessing mutually contradictory doctrines and can help us affirm all the clear words of Scripture. The way you handle the words "in Christ" is not quite lucid but reminds me of the Calvinistic interpretation of 2 Cor. 5 that God did not reconcile the whole world to himself, but only reconciled those in Christ, i.e., the elect. Is that your new position? That would represent a deplorable change in what you confessed earlier. If it is not your new position, you have the above problem of affirming the non-imputation of sins to sinners apart from the imputation of Christ's righteousness.

As for "name dropping," carefully read (not scan) the above quotes of Luther to see that he believed God forgave the sins of those who reject their own absolution. Later theologians only put more emphasis on the objective aspect. I could have said "Paul, Luther, Pieper, etc." since 2 Cor. 5 is certainly no less clear on this point than its Lutheran expositors. Come to think of it, I see that my own words are no more clear than theirs and clearly are having no more impact, so this is my final post.

L P said...


Thank you for the questions.

Does Maier actually share that position? That position has the disturbing implication in light of 2 Cor. 5 that sinners are reconciled, not having their sins imputed to them, apart from any imputation of Christ's righteousness.

I do not know if that is Maier's position and if he agrees with me, that is not thesis of my post. The thesis of my post is that I agree with his criticism of Pieper.

Then I am surprised you are disturbed at my imputation of sin and imputation of righteousness distinction, for this is clearly in the BoC.

2. Accordingly, we believe, teach, and confess that our righteousness before God is (this very thing], that God forgives us our sins out of pure grace, without any work, merit, or worthiness of ours preceding, present, or following, that He presents and imputes to us the righteousness of Christ's obedience, on account of which righteousness we are received into grace by God, and regarded as righteous.

5] 3. We believe, teach, and confess that faith alone is the means and instrument whereby we lay hold of Christ, and thus in Christ of that righteousness which avails before God, for whose sake this faith is imputed to us for righteousness, Rom. 4:5.

6] 4. We believe, teach, and confess that this faith is not a bare knowledge of the history of Christ, but such a gift of God by which we come to the right knowledge of Christ as our Redeemer in the Word of the Gospel, and trust in Him that for the sake of His obedience alone we have, by grace, the forgiveness of sins, are regarded as holy and righteous before God the Father, and eternally saved

Like the BoC I believe I hold to justification by faith, I do not hold to justification with out faith or neither do I hold to justification prior to faith. UOJ because it says that man has been declared righteous at the atonement says that therefore that man has been justified prior to faith and without the means of grace, it teaches two justifications, one at the resurrection (depending on the UOJ father you speak of) and what at the point of faith. I only hold to one justification and that is when by faith the sinner apprehends the sacrifice of Christ. Again Rom 3:21-26.

reminds me of the Calvinistic interpretation of 2 Cor. 5 that God did not reconcile the whole world to himself, but only reconciled those in Christ, i.e., the elect. Is that your new position

No that is not my position. God reconciled the world to himself in Christ - in Christ all are paid for. However, not all have faith in this reconciliation hence, they those who reject the offer of reconciliation by God will not enjoy his peace but his wrath.

2 Cor 5:18-20 bears out actually what I mean by imputation of sin and imputation of righteousness. I am sad you are allergic to 2 Cor 5:20 when in fact neither you nor I invented that wording.

My problem with UOJ terminology is that it equates the imputation of sin with imputation of Christ's righteousness to be one and the same and happens in the atonement. The two are not the same and sadly UOJ makes to be one and the same. The BoC says that imputation of righteousness happens only upon faith in Christ. Those who do not have faith in Christ do no have his righteousness imputed to them.

The problem is that because I confess justification through faith and affirm it, you believe I am now looking at faith as a form of works. You even think I am a Calvinist, is that guilt by association or what?

More over, since I affirm JBFA, I must be inciting people to looking at faith as a form of works.

I appeal to you - you are a scholar and a gentleman, you know this is a slippery slope fallacy.


Anonymous said...


I have answered your previous question and at least twice now. I even quoted Pieper on the means of grace above. I am not going to continue to engage your "straw man". If you want to read the answer scroll up.

I am also sorry to see that while you asked me a simple "yes" or "no" question and I complied. You are unwilling to do the same for me. You might ask yourself why that is?

I am still looking for a straight answer from you, but doubt at this point you will give it, since I am sure it causes some pause to have to type out "No, all sins are not forgiven at the cross".

Furthermore, you continue on with your "straw men", such as "two justifications" when it is pointed out to you that is not the position of OJ. At this point discussion with you is like talking with a cultist. The Oneness Pentecostal will constantly raise the straw man of "three gods" even when it is shown to him that the doctrine of the Trinity affirms but one God. Before a fruitful discussion can ensue with such people one has to get beyond their dishonesty in how they handle facts. Once they drop the straw man arguments usually it is easier for them to understand the scriptures.

Anonymous said...

And this too is my last posting on this topic.

L P said...


I looked and used the search engine here for "no" or "yes", I found no such answers from you. I scrolled hard but I missed it.

re:straw man accusation.

I do not think you are using this term properly. The straw man argument says that it attacks the weak part of an argument intending to show that the major part is demolished as well. Do you remember I asked you - can you give me the strongest argument from Scripture about Pieper's position?

You offered none, that is not my fault.

You keep on saying that there are no two justifications in your belief system and yet it is you who are happy to have objective and subjective justification as a term- These are two justifications - objective and subjective. What are you talking about?

Not only this - Pieper says Now, then, if the Father raised Christ from the dead, He, by this glorious resurrection act, declared that the sins of the whole world are fully expiated, or atoned for, and that all mankind is now regarded as righteous before His divine tribunal.

And you defend Pieper on this. That last clause is justification at the resurrection, hence there are two. One justification at the resurrection of Jesus and one at faith. The reader here should clearly see that my criticism is not a myth.

Me a cultist?

Jim, this is where our difference is - you have a fanatical loyalty to your church father - Pieper, I don't.

He is a sacred cow and cannot be possibly be wrong or be possibly over stated the case. You view him as the Lord's anointed and so I am a bad person to suggest he mis-stated his case. I have touched whom you consider to be the Lord's anointed, sorry about that.


Anonymous said...


I assure you I’m discussing this without affections getting in the way, yet I do not forget ever such discussions effects upon the soul of men. Nor will I ever!

What I’m getting at is that there is a truth in the concept that men will read Scripture and interpret it any way they please but yet think they are interpreting it according to Scripture. They read into it but think they read from it. This nowhere more prevalent than on the issue of the sacraments. That’s why Baptist can read Acts 2 and say “see I told you so…spiritual children only are baptized” (that is later those who profess faith as adults). And exactly why the Reformed can read INTO the words of institution that are so plain and simple that a complete idiot can understand them. Yet we both know where that goes. So you will well note I have been and am making HUGE distinctions.

Distinctions are great, I make them all the time, but Luther warns here, and this is what I’ve been saying from the first post, Luther warned that you must first get certain definitions into your mind concerning faith, grace, justification, etc… first or you must necessarily read Scripture wrongly. This is how under Rome the Gospel was buried for 100s of years. Thus, I’m making crystal clear distinctions in this discussion starting with “what is faith” for example and concerning the continuity of the Gospel in general versus specifics.

Your main point is arguing the objective versus subjective sides of the coin. That is precisely what I’m pointing out and showing you the back door Calvinism of which I’m very intimately familiar. You are incorrect for Calvin, the man himself, actually did make this very distinction between atonement and justification. Calvin writes in John 3:16, “Such is also the import of the term World, which he formerly used; for though nothing will be found in the world that is worthy of the favor of God, yet he shows himself to be reconciled to the whole world, when he invites all men without exception to the faith of Christ, which is nothing else than an entrance into life.”

“Let us remember, on the other hand, that while life is promised universally to all who believe in Christ, still faith is not common to all. For Christ is made known and held out to the view of all, but the elect alone are they whose eyes God opens, that they may seek him by faith. Here, too, is displayed a wonderful effect of faith; for by it we receive Christ such as he is given to us by the Father — that is, as having freed us from the condemnation of eternal death, and made us heirs of eternal life, because, by the sacrifice of his death, he has atoned for our sins, that nothing may prevent God from acknowledging us as his sons. Since, therefore, faith embraces Christ, with the efficacy of his death and the fruit of his resurrection, we need not wonder if by it we obtain likewise the life of Christ.”


Anonymous said...

Calvin actually makes a distinction between the two things and in attempting to solve the paradox ends up overthrowing then entire Gospel.

Men universally are just as Pieper said justified without exception before the tribunal of God. This exceedingly plain from numerous scriptures most pointedly those in Revelation in which Satan has been thrown down from the very presence of God, post Christ life, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension and onto the earth where he, Satan, can no longer accuse as he did in the OT (e.g. Job). Satan can no longer stand before the tribunal of God and accuse for now the lamb slain before the world sits in that tribunal. Eschatalogically the distinction between “atonement” and “justification” is not there.

So making an “objective vs subjective” distinction is simply resurrecting Calvinism’s “sufficient vs. effective” salvation.

If we are to get at the issue at all one must understand faith and unbelief. The parable of the Pharisee versus tax collector’s prayer is helpful. For Jesus does say that the later was “justified”. But how? Was it because he “believed” he was justified? Or because he was justified therefore he believed and was justified? He was justified not BECAUSE he believed, but because he was justified he believed. Jesus is saying that the tax collector confesses the truth by saying God’s word back to Him, thus, “Your Words, God, are right words about things, the situation, the state of man and me…” His flip, as it were, was not the Calvinistic and others “faith coin” that garners the justification to the particular as opposed to the general atonement. Rather the tax collector shuts up his mouth like Job and HEARS God speak and speaks back what God spoke and this action is as if saying, “God you have the right words, Your Word and yours alone is true…”. Thus, the tax collector, as opposed to the Lawyer, spoke the truth that is to say God’s Word. The Pharisee did not, he spoke Satan’s lie and word and thus was not true, not justified in what he said. The tax collector HEARD the Word of God and thus believed and thus spoke it back, the Pharisee did just the opposite. He, the Pharisee, opposed God’s word though thinking he spoke it.

And THAT is why I brought up the sacraments, because it is the SAME EXACT ISSUE. This was Luther’s very battle concerning the sacraments, they did not stay IN the Word of God. That was his prayer at Marburg. If one cannot stay in the simple words of the institution of the Lord’s Supper then man cannot stay in the Word at all, man interprets otherwise and is unjustified in what he says…its just man’s dead words though he quotes numerous scriptures in support of his ideas and words. That’s why when Zwingli pressed Luther as to the importance of bodily eating and drinking the very true body and blood of Christ, as opposed to spiritually doing so which they agreed upon, Luther’s response was nuclear. Luther said he did not know what the specific benefit was but that it was sufficient that Christ, that is to say God, say “take eat/drink…all of you (handed it to them) this is My body/blood…”. Luther said if God said, “Eat mud”, I would eat mud even if there was no apparent or discernable benefit in doing so…here reason, affections and experiences are to shut up and be subdued by a naked faith fixed on the Word of God alone…even to its very offense, especially to the offense against them. In this we see the benefit, “man shall live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God”.

This is how the “subjective” side of justification works. Man is objectively justified before the tribunal of God without exception, when man hears this and Satan’s word does not snatch it away via some false doctrine, then man speaks words that are justified words, he speaks back God’s Word.

Yours truly,


L P said...


To me the issue is not the practice of making distinction per se. Rather it is the making of the "proper distinction". n fact, Lutherans make bones about the "proper distinction of Law from Gospel".

This is one of the central strengths of Lutheranism, they know how to "properly distinguish".

The Calvinist is the one who does not make a distinction between the Atonement and Justification, they see this as one event.

That is why I object to Pieper's statements because it is not "properly speaking" when it says that the whole world has been declared righteous because of Jesus'resurrection. (please watch my words and how I used his words). Why? Because you will conclude that people have been declared righteous without faith and without the means of grace.

When a person believes that the sinner is declared righteous without faith and without the means of grace - he is being Calvinistic, because you know as well as I that a Calvinist does not have real regard for the means of grace! For them God is sovereign and can zap you if he wants to -- without using means. Remember how they look at the elect? For them these people are saved already, their coming to faith is just an after thought of God. Hence, their faith is irrelevant.

All of our deliberations are useless if they can not be backed up from Scripture. I gave one of the key passages for Pieper's thesis - Rom 4:25 of which he took this sense as retrospective, i.e., happened in the past. You do not have to know Greek to disagree with this, all you need is the context and based on Rom 4:24, v.25 should also be considered prospective. I pointed out that the stance of Pieper on this is truly unique because most reputable exegetes I read do not read it like Pieper did. Even Lutherans like Stuhlmacher and I heard from Pr. Mark, Lenski, do not read it like Pieper did.

You will find that phrase in the BoC the phrase "properly speaking".

Even the BoC makes distinctions!

Example, it distinguishes regeneration from justification! Here it is...

FC III, 8] And when, in place of this, the words regeneratio and vivificatio, that is, regeneration and vivification, are employed, as in the Apology, this is done in the same sense. By these terms, in other places, the renewal of man is understood, and distinguished from justification by faith.

So the issue is not making distinctions, but the issue is the "proper way of making distinctions".

The BoC makes/ expounds on why, though it affirms JBFA, faith cannot be regarded as a good or meritorious work. Also, it advices on how not to doubt your justification.


Boaz said...

How about calling uoj the objective part of justification that is universal? There aren't two justifications, there is one for me. My sins were forgiven with the worlds 2000 years ago, and the means of grace show me the benefit of that forgiveness today. Faith is the desire and thankfulness and love of that forgiveness that ocurred 2000 years ago. One who lacks faith is not forgiven because he does not want it, not because his sins were not forgiven. That's why unbelief is inforgivable: it is a person asking God to treat him as if he had not been forgiven. The muslim and atheist are forgiven, but if they tell God they do not want his forgiveness, even though it is theirs, they will not receive it.

I don't get why this uoj dispute arises. Is this some wels calvinist remnant resurfacing?

L P said...


The reason I object to UOJ way of speaking is because justification as you admit is always by faith, hence it is always SUBJECTIVE!

However, what is objective is the ATONEMENT!.

If for one moment, you people stop and think that perhaps the atonement is not the same as justification we can go a long way in our discussion.

Atonement = the satisfaction of God's demands for sin to be punished. Payment of debts to God.

Justification = the declaration or verdict that a man is righteous. In the BOC Justification = Forgiveness.

Jesus PAID for the sins of the world, but not all sins are automatically forgiven.

I will prove to you that you believe this - why? because you said that the Muslim and Atheists still goes to hell if they do not believe, so their unbelief is not forgiven. Can you see what I am getting at?

You must go to the BoC to find out why faith in Christ justifies and that faith in Christ = forgiveness of sins.

Here is my proof: FC III 2. Accordingly, we believe, teach, and confess that our righteousness before God is (this very thing], that God forgives us our sins out of pure grace, without any work, merit, or worthiness of ours preceding, present, or following, that He presents and imputes to us the righteousness of Christ's obedience, on account of which righteousness we are received into grace by God, and regarded as righteous.

5] 3. We believe, teach, and confess that faith alone is the means and instrument whereby we lay hold of Christ, and thus in Christ of that righteousness which avails before God, for whose sake this faith is imputed to us for righteousness, Rom. 4:5.

Simply put, asks, what did Jesus offer to God at the cross? He offered is perfect life, the life that never failed the Law, the life that is righteous.

Therefore to believe in the atonement of Christ that it avails before God is imputed/credited/reckoned as the righteousness of Christ. This faith is holding on to Christ, and what is Christ - the Holy One of Israel, the Righteous One.

Hence, this is why the BOC says faith in Christ justifies, obtains the forgiveness of sins.

Pieper I believe wanted to solve the problem in Revivalism be cause they look at their faith as a meritorious work. In so doing I believe he overstated the case and do agree with Maier.

This problem of looking at faith as a form of virtue was already present in the time of Luther, Melanchton and Chemnitz.

How did they correct this problem? They did it, not by equating the Atonement to Justification, but by properly describing what faith is.

I will give you the BoC quote on why faith in the Gospel though it receives the forgiveness of sins cannot be regarded as a meritorious work and does not come to the focus such that you can look at it. I am just busy right now, I have to get my BoC (I am at work) which is peppered with my annotations.


L P said...


for the time being

John 8:24
I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins."

will be back for the quote...


Anonymous said...


I assumed the adjective “proper” limited the concept of “distinction” when I was speaking of “distinctions”. It would be rather dim for me, especially as a scientist, to mean any other kind of distinction. I think it’s quite clear and implied that I do not mean “improper distinctions” that would be fool hardy for me to even say or imply.

I can’t speak to revivalist that much because I experienced some but very little of it and zero Roman Catholicism. However, it’s funny though, as an ex died in the wool Calvinist (both Baptistic and later Reformed), it’s Pieper who to my ear sounds Lutheran and those saying he over stated sound Calvinistic and thus turn men back into themselves subjectively. I suspect not many Calvinist would disagree with Maier on this but would Pieper. In fact as a Calvinist I would have agreed with Maier and disagreed with Pieper on this.

“When a person believes that the sinner is declared righteous without faith and without the means of grace - he is being Calvinistic”

Having been a Calvinist I would restate what you state to accurately reflect what a Calvinistic doctrine actually means to say as this, “When a person believes that the sinner is declared righteous BECAUSE OF faith’s existence and without the means of grace - he is being Calvinistic”. Yet Luther turns around and says the Word and Sacrament objectively so comes and finds NO FAITH whatsoever and creates ex nihilo that very faith. That’s why Calvinist get bent around the axle and far to many Lutherans get dragged into this as well, usually when arguing with Baptist on the issue, can/how does a baby believe concerning infant baptism. Yet, again, Luther comes to the rescue and states that in fact infant baptism is the perfect picture of the Gospel. In fact that’s what Christ states.

No Calvinist I know would ever say a person is declared righteous without faith, not a John Calvin Calvinist and certainly not a John Owen Owenian-Calvinist. But of course they mean an exerted faith garnered somewhere else in the gnosis of the spirit otherwise operating in front of, behind, or beside of the naked Word – so that when two men hear same day, hour and minute the sentence, “Jesus died for your sins”, one yet believes and another does not. The some of which is this; the Spirit operated on one and did not the other. The Word to the unbeliever was kind of a “head fake”. Thus they make the distinction of the “sufficiency” of Christ work versus the “efficiency” of Christ’s work. Which merely throws men violently into the hell box of “which am I”. The distinction of sufficiency versus efficiency is divided clearly between atonement versus justification in this way: The atonement was sufficient for the whole world, but only effective for the elect who have faith and are therefore in the end justified. That’s the Calvinistic division. It is pregnant in all the Calvinistic confessions. E.g. Article 3 of the Canons of Dort, “The Infinite Value of Christ's Death: This death of God's Son is the only and entirely complete sacrifice and satisfaction for sins; it is of infinite value and worth, more than SUFFICIENT to ATONE for the sins of THE WHOLE WORLD.” Then in Article 8 we


Anonymous said...

read, “The Saving EFFECTIVENESS of Christ's Death: For it was the entirely free plan and very gracious will and intention of God the Father that the enlivening and saving EFFECTIVENESS of his Son's costly death should work itself out in all his chosen ones, in order that he might grant JUSTIFYING FAITH to them only and thereby lead them without fail to salvation. In other words, it was God's will that Christ through the blood of the cross (by which he confirmed the new covenant) should effectively redeem from every people, tribe, nation, and language all those and only those who were chosen from eternity to salvation and given to him by the Father; that he should grant them faith (which, like the Holy Spirit's other saving gifts, he acquired for them by his death); that he should cleanse them by his blood from all their sins, both original and actual, whether committed before or after their coming to faith; that he should faithfully preserve them to the very end; and that he should finally present them to himself, a glorious people, without spot or wrinkle.”

The Calvinist makes a distinction between the Atonement and Justification, they see them as two separate events. They divide along the lines of sufficient versus efficient, which I see little difference in Dr. Maier’s position on this. The atonement becomes this efficient for all but not really therefore in the end only sufficient and awaiting justification itself to make the whole operation efficient or effective. The real distinction lay in “is it objectively so or not” not sufficiency versus efficiency, the later awaiting my part on the equation. For who cares or needs just a “sufficient atonement” awaiting my faith? What happens when I or someone confesses as Luther confessed, “I cannot believe by my own will or power in my faithful Savior Jesus Christ but am called by the Gospel by the Holy Spirit”. To look to or for faith to make the whole operation real or efficient for myself is shear idolatry as Luther says of those who baptize on the basis of faith (a.k.a. believers baptism). An effective atonement or justification is an objective one, only an objective Word from outside that is sure can cause the very faith everyone is wrangling about. One cannot bifurcate an objective atonement and a subjective justification, the later of which, which is supposedly only effective (justifying faith that in the end garners real justification) and create, cause or sustain faith. Because one must necessarily ask always, “Do I really believe being the heart is sinful above all things”?

“because you know as well as I that a Calvinist does not have real regard for the means of grace!” We agree whole heartedly on this, the Calvinist operates in the Gnostic realm concerning the Word and Sacraments no doubt about that.

It is an interesting discussion, and don’t think I’m upset or anything, our skin is thicker than that! You are a better warrior for confessional Lutheranism than I and I’m MUCH comforted by your defenses of the Gospel. I’m just not agreeing on this point, but then again my background is deeply Calvinistic and it sounds to my ear Calvinistic. As the saying goes once you’ve been burned by something you are pretty sensitive to any thing that hints of its odor.

Yours truly,


Anonymous said...


This does not prove at all that I believe what you say. Yes I do believe that unbelievers go to hell. This is precisely where we disconnect, I think. Yes, all who name the name “Christian” will say “unbelief” is damnable eternally. But like faith it must be defined precisely and right sided not up side down. Allow me to elaborate.

It’s similar to how one sees the unforgivable sin. Unbelief damns because of what it is by nature not its magnitude, frequency or otherwise measurable quantity in a set of judiciary balancing scales. It damns because by its very nature rejects the ONLY thing which can save it, Christ. It’s a positive rejection of Christ not crime of quantity that “rises to the level of” and thus now is damnable. The insidiousness of sin is ultimately that “I” want to be self justified, which is of course unbelief. Such does not believe the Law, what it says, why it’s published (as the hammer of God) but reinterprets it. Such does not thus believe (trust) the Gospel because, “why do I need it”.

Before I became a Christian, some 32 years, I was an atheist. And I can tell you that the number one thought is self justification. That’s why I didn’t believe, trust Christ. I knew the historical reality of Jesus and never denied it. I even considered the possibility that He was exactly Who He said He was. But I didn’t in the end see Him as God but the opposite. Atheism is an odd reality, it denies God publically but it formulates an informal “god” as it were. And so back then if I were to “have a god” that I might call “god” or similar, like evolution, I would formulate that such a god sought righteous people, self made. The very rejection of Christ as an atheist is the very rejection of Him dying actually for my sins. In fact upon conversion dramatically at 32 that’s what I saw. It was both a tearful and terrifying moment for me. My conversion was dramatic, instantaneous from rank unbeliever to believer in a moment at the derelict word “My God, My God why hast Thou forsaken Me”, that Christ cried out. There was this terrifying moment, however, when the new and old seemed to rage, the apex of an epic battle or turning point in which my old self justification wanted to regain the ground at that moment. And the unbelief battling was precisely to throw off that I needed Jesus. But here is the kicker, it was to throw off a real Jesus that really died for me. It was the teetering point of the unforgivable sin from which such hardness of heart can never be recovered. That’s why it was a utterly terrifying and horrifying moment to me, because I saw it so possible. That I could in fact reject the objective fact of Christ for me, from which there could be no recovery. Nothing greater could be said than, “My God, My God why hast Thou forsaken Me” to convert me. I saw, as it were the monster within and what he was capable of. Nothing, I mean nothing, has nor ever will terrify me more than that. That’s when I knew I had to fight to be baptized. I wanted it right away, though I couldn’t at that very moment obviously, lest the monster gain the ground later on between that moment of the Word and some later moment.

Anonymous said...

The monster was that Jesus indeed paid for the sins of the world and all was forgiven even “unbelief”, as many think of it. But what cannot be unforgiven is that utter “I don’t want forgiveness”. Why? Because it cannot, it walks away from the very forgiveness. It doesn’t want forgiveness it wants self justification and that is not forgivable by its very nature. People who go to hell simultaneously, to borrow Luther’s wording, do and do not want hell. They don’t think they deserve the utter abandonment of God, the fear of death, the second death that is eternal, yet they want self justification which constitutes that very hell. Thus, they both want and do not want hell. What they really want is God in hell with them and call it “heaven” in which God is pleased and loves them for their self justification effectively deifying themselves and making God worship them. But fallen man would never so crassly state it that way lest he reveal his real motivations.



L P said...


The Calvinist makes a distinction between the Atonement and Justification, they see them as two separate events.

No they don't. They see Atonement as Justification. They see Atonement as Limited because Justification is not enjoyed by everybody the the Atonement must not have happened for all! Hence, Limited Atonement, they judge what is happening to the Atonement by what they see in Justification and conclude Jesus did not die for all. The use of sufficient and efficient explanation is not a distinction that Calvinists are making between Atonement and Justification. Remember, they say efficient for the elect? Hence, they do not link the Atonement being bridged by the Means of Grace and so Justifies a man through the faith produced by the Means of Grace. We do not use that paradigm. They are just trying to make blunt the hard knife that Calvinism makes God look like the Muslim's Allah.

As I said the Calvinist is doing this:
Atonement = Justification (which is what UOJ does). The Calvinist pulls Atonement to the side of Justification concluding that because the two are the same, Jesus did not die for every one. Hence, he makes conclusions about the Atonement.

What the UOJ is doing is the same principle but in a different direction.

The UOJer sees Atonement = Justification and since he sees Atonement to be universal, he says that Justification must be universal too! Hence, he pulls Justification on the side of the Atonement.Hence, concludes that Justification is universal too.

Further, read your own quotation, in it faith is an after thought in Calvinism, not the very means of justification. It is playing lip service to faith. Because if the elect are already viewed as saved by any means, then bringing them to faith is an after thought, hence, JBFA is being played in the lips.

The same is true for UOJ language
I think we should stop for a moment and think that we are both doing what I call - plating the bogey man card , Calvinist label being the bogey man label.

That is why at the end of the day we should leave the discussion on Calvinistic or Lutheran etc to the side and first go to Scripture. Our evidence should be from Scripture, is there evidence that Justification = Atonement?

Maier's counter exegesis of Rom 4:25 complies with my research. Pieper is unique in taking Rom 4:25 to be something that happened in the past. Stuhlmacher and Lenski both reputable NT exegetes (specially Lenski) do not take Rom 4:25 like Pieper does.

There are more passages alluded to as support that atonement = justification.

I am not saying that Pieper is wrong in all places of theology, note that is not what I am saying. I believe he was right and mostly right in many places, I am sure. At this point he over stated the case, which of course started with Walther.

We believe that Atonement is not limited and is universal, this I believe, absolutely. Tetelestai - Paid in Full, Jesus said on the Cross.

However, the enjoyment of what Jesus has won - righteousness for the sinner, his righteous life lived under the Law without sin, benefits only those who put their trust in that Atonement. This faith cannot be worked up or induced by the sinner, it is produced only through the Means of Grace - which are also God's GIFT to the human race. This I believe.


L P said...


For your review and as I have promised...from the BOC

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

How about this...FC III under rejections as false:
10. That the promise of grace is made our own by faith in the heart, and by the confession which is made with the mouth, and by other virtues.

Hence, this says we are not to look for anything inside us even our faith, but keeps us looking to Christ.

What I like about FC and SD is that it is keeping the article of justification pure.

I have some more but my eyes seemed to have failed me last night, I thought I had 3 more BoC passages that help us reject the notion that though we are justified through faith in Christ, faith can be made to look inside (NOT!)

Hope this helps,


Anonymous said...


I’m not attempting to play out the Calvinist bogey man. I was actually a Calvinist. I understand that doctrine well. I didn’t just emptily confess it I lived it. I understand well the difference between Calvin and Owen. Your statement holds true for Owenian Calvinism but not Continental Calvinism. At the risk of me myself sounding like I defend Calvin here; you need to be very aware of today’s Puritan/Owen Calvinist anachronistically re-interpreting John Calvin.

The sufficiency is considered an objective reality to wit Christ died for the sins of the ENTIRE world. Calvin himself said specifically that “the world” means everyone without exception as to time and space, to not be atoned for by Christ death, said Calvin, one would have to be taken “out of the world”. It’s not until you hit puritan Owenian Calvinism that the term “the world” begins to morph into “just the elect”. And you see this in particular in Jonathan Edwards work (e.g. “Sinners In the Hands of an Angry God) in which Edwards point blank states that over millennia in the OT God left unto eternal damnation the reprobate as He does, says Edwards, most of mankind (“their foot will slip” excerpt from the sermon, as he likens them to a spider being held over by a thin thread the fires of hell and wrath). Most American living Calvinist today and TULIP loving Baptist are Owenian Calvinist (e.g. John Piper, RC Sproul, etc…) and thus redefine “the world” to mean “the elect”. Calvin himself did not do this. Thus the atonement for Calvin and the continental Calvinist is specifically and factually and objectively universal. It is not until one gets to justification that the elect are defined (NOT at the atonement), when by faith or lack thereof the elect “emerge” and are justified. The continental Calvinist, including John Calvin, make a distinction between atonement and justification, and the dividing line is in fact faith. It is here were the issue of faith for Calvin becomes a form of works, shown in the Lord’s Supper, a faith that reaches up. It is not until you get to Owen and the Puritans that this dividing line begins to blur and disappear and is as you state atonement = justification. Consistent Owenian Calvinist do not view the atonement/justification the same way consistent Continental (John Calvin) Calvinist do. Though the later are not the majority voice for “clavinism” broadly speaking. To be sure the Owenian Calvinist “broaden the election” from Justification into the Atonement, but the Continental Calvinist don’t and never did and the division is faith that arises “in justification” not atonement. But this faith does not come really and always with the Word and never the Sacraments, it comes “in front of, back of, to the side of, below or above” the Word in the secret operation of the Spirit. So that the Word is only ‘effective’ part of the time and the sacraments are not effective without faith first ever.

So to a Calvinist ears when he/she hears a Lutheran say, “You know the atonement was indeed universal but for the justification to actually take place (so that one goes to heaven or hell in the end) you must have faith in that atonement. That’s just an old Calvinist style throw back into one’s self looking for faith and pretending to be proclaiming the gospel. If you wish to actually know the damage Calvinism does to the faith and mind of the believer, yes, that’s how it works.

It’s kind of like Luther’s old battle with the devil concerning election in which he, Luther, replies to the devil, “devil I don’t care if I’m elect or not, I am baptized and if I’m baptized I have the promise of eternal life both in body and soul, you go up into the fiery heaven and find out if I’m elect if it so concerns you” (my paraphrase).


L P said...


Thanks for pointing out the Owenian-Calvinist view, I had that in mind because that view dominates the landscape.

Faith in Calvinism is not generated by means. No matter what formulation is made at the end of the day, because they do not tie up faith with the Sacraments then faith is detached from means. So for the Continental, they have the Word but no Sacraments.

However, how would you (and I think you do) affirm justification by faith as taught and confessed in the BoC?

Is there warrant from Scripture, as I go back again, that Atonement = Justification, in that at Jesus' resurrection as per Pieper's thesis, God pronounced the whole world Righteous?

I have evidence from both Scripture and BoC that justification is through faith ALONE. I do not have evidence that they teach justification without faith or justification prior to faith

Here is from FC III 3] 1. Against both the errors just recounted, we unanimously believe, teach, and confess that
Christ is our Righteousness neither according to the divine nature alone nor according to the
human nature alone, but that it is the entire Christ according to both natures, in His obedience
alone, which as God and man He rendered to the Father even unto death, and thereby merited
for us the forgiveness of sins and eternal life, as it is written: As by one man's disobedience
many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One shall many be made righteous, Rom. 5,
4] 2. Accordingly, we believe, teach, and confess that our righteousness before God is (this
very thing], that God forgives us our sins out of pure grace, without any work, merit, or
worthiness of ours preceding, present, or following, that He presents and imputes to us the
righteousness of Christ's obedience, on account of which righteousness we are received into
grace by God, and regarded as righteous.
5] 3. We believe, teach, and confess that faith alone is the means and instrument whereby we
lay hold of Christ, and thus in Christ of that righteousness which avails before God, for whose
sake this faith is imputed to us for righteousness
, Rom. 4, 5.
6] 4. We believe, teach, and confess that this faith is not a bare knowledge of the history of
Christ, but such a gift of God by which we come to the right knowledge of Christ as our
Redeemer in the Word of the Gospel, and trust in Him that for the sake of His obedience alone
we have, by grace, the forgiveness of sins, are regarded as holy and righteous before God the
Father, and eternally saved
7] 5. We believe, teach, and confess that according to the usage of Holy Scripture the word
justify means in this article, to absolve, that is, to declare free from sins. Prov. 17, 15: He that
justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the righteous, even they both are abomination to
the Lord. Also Rom. 8, 33: Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that


L P said...


Here are Pieper's words again...

Now, then, if the Father raised Christ from the dead, He, by this glorious resurrection act, declared that the sins of the whole world are fully expiated, or atoned for, and that all mankind is now regarded as righteous before His divine tribunal

Notice how he equates the Atonement with Justification. Fair enough I still would not be upset with that, give me Scripture that says they are one and the same thing! Example was Rom 4:25 yet the wisdom of Lutheran exegetes are against this. There is more I know but this illustrates my skepticism.

In so much that justification(being declared righteous) and faith in the Gospel are co-equal and in so much that faith is never produced without the Means of Grace, then Justification never happens without the use of the Means of Grace. Yet the Pieper quote may easily suggest and does that mankind have been declared righteous without the means of grace! Now who is being Calvinistic here?

Look again at the quote. If you chop off the bolded words, what Pieper says would have been PERFECT! He added the last phrase and so - indeed overstated the case. That over stating has plenty of consequences. For ideas do have consequences.

Lastly, this controversy is answered by proper distinction of Law and Gospel (my belief). What does precisely the Law accuses us of? Because to know this, we shall know what the Gospel is for it answers the Law.

The Law says these are God's commands from you, you violated them, you are guilty of sin (transgression of the Law), you deserve to die and receive the judgment of God in hell. The Gospel answers this - Jesus lived the perfect righteous life for you, obeyed all the commands of God and in the end paid for your guilt, your sins, receiving the wrath of God in his body thus suffering the wrath of God on your behalf. This is atonement.

Equating atonement to justification is a rational reasoning which Calvinists do. Concluding that atonement is justification is a leap of logic not warranted from Scripture.

See my note to Boaz on my BOC quote how the BoC affirms JBFA yet prevents us from looking at faith as a work. The BoC does not sound nor even have a hint of universalism, it is not universalistic in its speech. One would have to be thick to accuse or even read universalistic undertones in the BoC. It suffers no such reproach.

It is suggested that the criticism of Pieper on this point was a straw man. There is no straw man if the assertion is that he overstated his case, and to show where his statements may have gone over the rails. I do not hold Pieper infallible, that is obvious by now I suppose.


At first I thought UOJ was UOA for I affirm UOA and so adopted UOJ terminology too. Not until I looked to Scripture and heard what UOJers are saying that I retreated. My training was in philo and maths and I was trained not to collapse categories if you have no evidence for it. Hence, never assume because assumption is also a leap of logic.

I was gagged at Wittenberg Trail when I brought this up a year or so ago. Their attitude was -- Pieper/UOJ is right, anyone else who suggests this/he could be wrong on this point is in error - end of story. Go away. So I went and I now interact almost never.


Anonymous said...

"I was gagged at Wittenberg Trail when I brought this up a year or so ago."

Shame on you, Lito. That statement is absolutely FALSE. As an administrator of the Wittenberg Trail (WT) I can unequivocally state that Lito has NOT been gagged and is absolutely free to post as he wishes on this topic.

Lito was not able to gain any headway with his false teachings about OJ on the WT and stopped pursuing the topic any further on the WT when it was clear that his unscriptural ideas were not accepted, but refuted by several of us on the WT.

Lito is more than welcomed to continue posting on the WT, but he is not welcome to bear false witness against the denizens of the WT and should now publicly repent of the falsehood he is propagating against the WT.

Anonymous said...

PS — Lito has an active account on the WT and continues to freely post there. In fact, he just posted some remarks three hours ago in a thread on baptism. Lito has hardly been "gagged" or anything remotely close to it.

Brett Meyer said...

Jim Pierce, can you provide a link to the LCMS confession concerning Universal Objective Justification that is considered by all in the LCMS to be the BoC level confession of UOJ? No one has been able to provide this but certainly it should exist since this doctrine is the central doctrine of LCMS' confession.


Anonymous said...


I would clarify that for any Calvinist one ultimately has neither Word nor Sacrament because even the Word only works effectively some of the time. That’s why I bring out the analogy of two men hearing the same Gospel same time and only one “converts”. This is something oft missed concerning all forms of Calvinism. It’s simply a logical extension of Calvin’s view of the Sacraments.

I recall a story told by a well known living Calvinist in our day when he recounts a preaching experience he had many years ago. He goes to explain the Holy Spirit working as one person in a room of many came to faith. He finds it stunning and says how this miracle occurred and was the Holy Spirit working. No doubt. But it illustrates the point about Calvinism, the Holy Spirit is not seen so much to always be working or there when the Word is present, but only in that “behind the scenes working” that ultimately manifests itself (in this case a profession of faith). It’s a logical outcome of their view of the sacraments, it’s the same logical outcome the Baptist come to concerning the sacraments, and ironically it’s the same logical outcome Philip M. came to concerning the LS – that the sacraments (and the Word) are real objective things and not just actions or ceremonies. They are living and objectively real, not just ceremonies or actions. Which is ironic when the Baptist (and some Reformed) who accuse Lutheran’s of following “just empty ceremonies”. For it is ultimately they who only do this with believers baptism or a memorial meal, it’s not a thing to them but a ceremony by their own confessional definition (e.g. Christ’s body and blood are not there, just bread and wine and we are “just doing it” prescriptively, like memorial day or something). They fail to see this. That’s what happens when one turns Christian religion into “just actions” and not real things. The Gnostic connection if you will.

That’s why Calvinist and Baptist fail to be able to explain what exactly IS the resistance of the Holy Spirit. Ever thought about that in that paradigm? Because the operation of the Spirit is in that mysterious background it almost seems pointless to say to someone as Stephen did, “…why do you always resist the Holy Spirit”. Because the Spirit is disconnected from the Word operating only some of the time with the Word, which is where Calvinism gets it plausible deniability to the charge that it says the Spirit operates without the Word, because when He does operate the Word is around. It’s not like Pentecostalism (which is just the logical extension of Calvin’s thought on this whole matter and the sacraments anyway). That’s why down the historical line Calvin’s is the great great grandfather of all Charisma, the dogma has at length taught them to seek the Spirit elsewhere implicitly. Why do you think the Puritans, all Calvinist, scrapped themselves raw for “signs of conversion”. So when Lutherans skip and “tra la la” down these subjective roads, they may rest assured they will be lead astray.

Here Luther warns well (from Scripture) that where there is no Word there is no Spirit and no faith, and where there is no faith as Paul says all is sin. And that means in religion to! Thus, Calvinist oft stated Gnostic, “we must elevate our minds to contemplate…” (which he often says, especially concerning the Supper – could there be a more Gnostic statement than that? That’s practically the very essence of Gnosticism stated), is really an enticement away from Christ (though he was himself blind to it).



L P said...


Let me clarify what I said... and I think you should read first what I wrote before pouncing on the slightest chance to find fault in me, you must be frustrated that you are not able to subdue my evidences and arguments for Maier's thesis.

Here it is I was gagged at Wittenberg Trail when I brought this up a year or so ago. Their attitude was -- Pieper/UOJ is right, anyone else who suggests this/he could be wrong on this point is in error - end of story. Go away. So I went and I now interact almost never.

Did I mean on the subject of anything, WT admin has gagged me? Of course not, looked at the context and the bolded words, I interact but rarely. I went away --- from the topic of UOJ/OJ. The "gagging" was in the context of UOJ/OJ, the fact that my OJ thread was closed down, not by me the originator of the thread, but the moderators (of which you were one). I did not say I was banned.

Lito was not able to gain any headway with his false teachings about OJ on the WT and stopped pursuing the topic any further on the WT when it was clear that his unscriptural ideas were not accepted, but refuted by several of us on the WT


If I was not able to gain headway, then why did you have to close my thread? IMHO, you closed it for the very fact you were afraid that I might be getting some head way! I think you were afraid that some might get the point and question UOJ too. I suggest the truth was just too upsetting and too hard to take, that is why the thread was closed.

If I did not gain head way, you should have allowed it to die of its own accord, you should have nothing to fear, the Internet is a market place of ideas. But that is not what happened, you had to close it.

I have not accused UOJers of false doctrine yet, as I said I used to adopt that language too until I stopped and thought and observed of what have been said.

However, my skepticism, my questioning and my challenge of UOJ you have branded as false doctrine.

I think you should be calm down and be careful of who you accuse of false doctrine or bearing false witness.


Anonymous said...

I'm sorely disappointed with your response Lito. You falsely accused the WT of silencing you ("gagging") on this topic. You have born false witness against the WT. You were not silenced, or "gagged" on this topic. And now you want to try to minimize your false accusation of "gagging" and try to spin pointing out your false accusation as an act of desperation. Shame on you for being so dishonest, Lito.

Anonymous said...

PS — The reason why your thread was temporarily closed was made clear in the thread itself. One person decided to jump into the discussion (not you) and add remarks claiming those teaching OJ were teaching a false gospel.

Again, you weren't being "gagged" (silenced), Lito.

Anonymous said...

And, I should clarify the above with that it was the inflammatory nature of how the charges of a "false gospel" were being made and resulting complaints to admins that was cause for the thread being closed. In short, closing the thread had nothing to do with Lito or the topic.

L P said...


This is just a red herring. You are swerving off the topic on Maier's paper.

If it had nothing to do with me, in my opinion, at least it did have something to do with the topic.

Your very words give the wisdom of your decision away. If one of the respondents have that opinion - that UOJ is a false doctrine, and that people were complaining to the admin (you being part of it) then that means you favored already those who complained.
Hence, there was bias.

In other words, no one is allowed to call or express an opinion that UOJ a false doctrine.

You said the thread was temporarily closed ?

Who is spinning a thread here Jim?

Very well you imply that I am welcome to speak on the topic of UOJ at WT, now do you think after all that experience and the fact that I have this blog I can be bothered doing that?

So why don't you open up a thread on UOJ and I respond?


L P said...

Here is Brett's comments.

I see by the recent comments made on the Maier Paper thread that my calling UOJ a false gospel has caused some problems.

Jim Pierce said...
PS — The reason why your thread was temporarily closed was made clear in the thread itself. One person decided to jump into the discussion (not you) and add remarks claiming those teaching OJ were teaching a false gospel.
5:25 AM

With my post above concerning faith I didn't mean to harm Lito's discussion. There does seem to be an unusual level of hypersensitivity to someone calling a doctrine false. Only slighly less sensitive is the calling of a beloved theologian's confession of said doctrine wrong or false. With this approach when can any issue be addressed with openess and clarity on both sides. Maybe it's an unfortunate result of the issue being held too much by emotion than Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions.

In Christ,

L P said...


You are correct.

There is absolute hypersensitivity at the slightest suggestion.

I am a former RC and I deliberate with RC on Lutheran faith and they call us heretics and into false doctrine and consigned to damnation... all the time.

It is really amazing, some Lutherans who do not always agree with what Luther said about the Jews etc. are considered OK and not into false doctrine because they disagree with Luther.

But wait till you disagree with Pieper and Walther on UOJ, let's see where that leads you.

We know where that will lead you, you will be shunned and called a person propagating false doctrine because you did not agree with UOJ.

I must be absent in class when some one declared Pieper and Walther the Lutherandoms' Pope.

How sad, we cannot even carry a sane discussion on the topic.


Anonymous said...


Yes. Temporarily closed is correct and not spin. The post is in the WT archives now, but should be open for comments. That is besides the point, though. I am sorry to read your latest response. I will not be returning to your blog. You know where to find me if you have anything further to say.

L P said...


Here is your WT mail to me sometime Jan 2008.


The thread on objective justification was locked by Eric early this morning. Due to some sort of bug on the site you were able to post again in the thread (something you shouldn't have been able to do if the site is working properly). As a board admin I reverted the thread back to its previous state prior to your response and moved the thread
into our archives. I apologize for any confusion that this may cause. Eric's reasons for locking the thread are actually much like my own, i.e.
there isn't really much more that can be stated in that thread that hasn't been written already. If you have questions don't hesistate to ask me.

That WT mail you sent me does not give the right impression that it was just temporarily closed. Of course, I went back today and sure enough I am able to comment again. You have admin rights at WT and I don't. Hence, you have the advantage over me I am at your mercy in this situation- you locked it and now you re-opened it, making me look like an idiot.

Can you show me any communication on your part that you are informing me of its temporary closure and that you have re-opened it again? I miss that one.

I responded to your informing me that it was being locked so no comments may come in and that it was being moved to archive by saying to you that I will resort the topic in my blog recognizing the controversial nature of the topic. I then asked you to specify in the thread that you were locking it so that people may not get the impression that it was my is how you responded to that request...

On January 30, 2008 at 11:46 AM, Jim Pierce wrote:

Hmm... I'm sorry, but I am not able to reopen the
discussion to add a note.

Isn't that convenient? A bug prevented you from clarifying the reason for the lock down.

Here are more of your words...
I don't think this is a huge issue, since we
aren't locking many threads. However, please keep
in mind the following:

"The WT has been designed to be a place to ask
questions and discuss issues in a genuine spirit
of brotherly love. It is not a place for extended
discussions of internal synod matters or debates
on issues already resolved by the Word of God."

A thread will be locked if we move beyond a
discussion of learning the particulars of a
doctrine into debating why that doctrine is wrong.
Since the context of the thread just locked was
objective justification, I will point out that the
doctrine of OJ is both biblical and found in the
confessions (while not explicitly named) AND that
is the predominate view of most Lutherans. So, the
issue of OJ has been settled for most by the clear
Word of God. Given that is the case, once the OJ
thread moved into debate as to the truth of the
doctrine it was clearly time to close the
discussion. Frankly, the tipping point for that
thread was the fellow's posting where he pretty
much stated that OJ is a false gospel that
blashphemes God. I suspect Eric would not have
locked the thread if that post had not been made,
but I can't really speak for Eric.

I would encourage you, though, to continue your
debate with Pr. Lassman in PMs if you feel that
you have more to chat about. I am pretty sure Pr.
Lassman will dilligently respond to your points
when he has the time.

In Christ,


Do you recall that Papal pronouncement?

BTW, doing a PM ( a private message) is not the same as doing a discussion forum for the more audience to see.

You are disappointed, and I am sad. This issue cannot be discussed sanely.


L P said...

Lastly Jim,

You are welcome here in this blog to defend and speak plainly as you deem fit. We agree on creation as I recall and we agree on other issues. Since you cannot tolerate disagreement on this issue, that is your choice to shun this blog. I certainly welcome you here and your disagreement.

One of the reasons why I am Lutheran today is because I was in another Lutheran list where I saw sane and calm headed discussions of issues, giving me the impression that they were reasonable and unbiased people, wanting to come close to Scripture. I thought Lutherans are like this as a norm.

Unfortunately, I never ban anyone as a rule. I let their arguments and evidences stand under their own merits.

My best wishes to you,