Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Confessional blah blah

Whenever I encounter a Lutheran identifying himself as "confessional", I go catatonic.

What does that mean? It does not mean the person believes in JBFA, it usually means the person believes the opposite; it usually means the person is a Universal Objective Justification adherent, i.e. a Huberite.

Take the case for example of "Lutheran" bloggers in the Internet. You will often read about them going on and on about the ancient traditions of the church discussing finer points of detail and so on. In fact, such people careless about whether or not UOJ is true or false. Often they think this is a minor point of disagreement. So they go to war on the liturgy, they go to war on lots of peripheral issues, they go fighting about what is minor -- always considering that the major issue is done deal already. They consider the doctrine of justification as something that can be set aside, because they think they got this down pat right.

You see when you become a UOJer everything becomes boring, you need something to get excited about.

So what is happening in Lutheranism is something I have seen before in Charismanic Evangelicalism.  When I was in it, the "in" word was "Reformed" so and so. That prefixing of identifying one's self with such a label is a way of getting traction, a way of getting an audience, you might say. It is a way of saying - look man, I am cool.

So when I read folk in Lutherdom saying "I am confessional" etc etc blah blah, often the cynical side of me comes out, I do a lot of LOLing. Because my friend, what some really mean by that is that they are really "synodical", meaning they are a follower of their synod and their synod's extra Biblical pronouncements.

The word "confessional" has been polluted. What matters if you ask me is not what the label one tacks on to oneself, what matters is what really the person believes and teaches and confesses. The label worths nothing.

When you think justification is no longer an issue, my theory is that you will fight for something else.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Mourning with you


About 80% of the readers of this blog come from U. S. A.

Dear friends, my heart goes out to you. Like you I am also in pains I feel the hurt with what just happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

My prayers go out to those who have been directly affected by this tragedy.

This is Christmas, it is in general a sweet time for children. This is a terrible tragedy for those parents who lost their kids in this senseless act.



"Morgan Freeman's" brilliant take on what happened yesterday :

"You want to know why. This may sound cynical, but here's why.

It's because of the way the media reports it. Flip on the news and watch how we treat the Batman theater shooter and the Oregon mall shooter like celebrities. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris are household names, but do you know the name of a single *victim* of Columbine? Disturbed
people who would otherwise just off themselves in their basements see the news and want to top it by doing something worse, and going out in a memorable way. Why a grade school? Why children? Because he'll be remembered as a horrible monster, instead of a sad nobody.

CNN's article says that if the body count "holds up", this will rank as the second deadliest shooting behind Virginia Tech, as if statistics somehow make one shooting worse than another. Then they post a video interview of third-graders for all the details of what they saw and heard while the shootings were happening. Fox News has plastered the killer's face on all their reports for hours. Any articles or news stories yet that focus on the victims and ignore the killer's identity? None that I've seen yet. Because they don't sell. So congratulations, sensationalist media, you've just lit the fire for someone to top this and knock off a day care center or a maternity ward next.

You can help by forgetting you ever read this man's name, and remembering the name of at least one victim. You can help by donating to mental health research instead of pointing to gun control as the problem. You can help by turning off the news."


Apparently Freeman denies ever saying this in his Facebook. I wish he had said it because there is more truth to the above critique than we care to admit. We should give credit to whoever hacked into his account - he might as well, come out and own up to it because there is some brilliant insight in that piece.


Monday, November 26, 2012

You can end your career by just one paragraph

I am loyal to my alma mater. She is good to me. She gave me free education and also provides me with paid work from time to time.

A refreshing aspect is the culture of my faculty where the only description I have is that of egalitarianism. It does not matter what your title happens to be, you stand on the merits of your ideas and that is where you are judged.  Even those more senior than you treat you as an equal.  They do not treat you like a kid.  I remember one particular seminar when our dean spoke. As typical there is Q & A at the end of a public lecture. I was impressed of how the dean was allowed to suffer due to the cogency of the questions thrown at him, even by junior lecturers.  No one is sacred. No one is treated like a god or a guru.

In university world rankings, my university used to be among the top 50 but lately she has dropped to the 60s group. Of all the universities here, she has the most controversial history.

This year we are commemorating the 10th year anniversary of the shootings that happened in 2002. That year a disturbed Chinese student open fired in his economics class. From memory, he killed two of his classmates. A couple of professors went in to subdue him. That is probably the most significant incident but there is another one.

Around that year too, the Vice-Chancellor of my university was forced to resign. The VC is like your CEO, while the Chancellor is like your President. The first is like the Prime Minister while the second is like your Head of State having more a ceremonial role. Why did he have to resign?

The story went that our ex-VC was guilty of plagiarizing several times.  The first couple of times were when he was not even our VC yet and they happened 20 years before coming to our university! One might say that happened in the past it should not count. Not so. The third incident was discovered by one of our professors while reading the VC’s book on the connection of drinking with alcoholism.  This book was also published many years before he stepped into our university. The ex-VC authored his book but he copied some sections word for word even punctuation from another book. It was so appalling that the professor who discovered this labeled the act as an act of serial plagiarism. In the end none of the Council members (Board of Trustees) needless to say, he was asked to resign.

 In academia, you can really end your career by one act of sloppy or lazy referencing. It does not seem to be the case in the world of Internet theology blogging.  It seems church people and theologians have a very poor standard compared to academia.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Hunnius proves Steadfast Waltherians are Huberites

UOJers, all of them, teach that there is a justification that has occurred 2000 years ago to the whole human race. Since this occurred before you were born, then this occurred outside of faith. They call this objective justification.

What is the favorite Scripture they use to promote this?

 It is Romans 4:25. They believe right here in this verse, St. Paul is teaching a justification that occurred without any reference to faith

 Here is an example.

 1.) From again Steadfast Waltherian group found here, Jim Pierce writing:

In wrapping up my answer, we can talk about the entire human race, or the world, being justified—just as the Scriptures do (Ro 4:25)—as the action God took in response to Jesus’ resurrection from the dead where the Law is concerned
2.) From my interaction with one adherent of UOJ:

ME: "Joe it is different because Brett and I do not believe in the starting point that there is justification that has happened FOR all men without faith or without regard to faith. That is difference. The difference is that we do not posit or assert a universal justification." 
Joe: You are speaking against Romans 4:25.

3.) Again from a post just recently by a Steadfast Waltherian blogger found here. To prove the existence of an objective justification that occurred outside of faith, the blogging pastor says this (apparently taken from Francis Pieper):

Romans 4:25: He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. “To refer to the words: Who was raised again for our justification,” to the so-called subjective justification, which takes place by faith, not only weakens the force of the words, but also violates the context.”3

It is evident just from the sampling on how Romans 4:25 is being used that without a doubt, UOJers in general and the Steadfast Waltherians in particular believe in a justification that occurred without reference to faith.

What does Aegidius Hunnius say?

Hunnius : 
Thesis 6
Hence Paul, when he expressly discusses justification in Romans 3 and 4, does not know of a justification apart from faith, and especially as Galatians 2 plainly says, "Man is not justified except by faith in Jesus Christ."

Did you read that? According to Hunnius, in Romans 3 and 4, St. Paul DOES NOT KNOW OF A JUSTIFICATION APART FROM FAITH.

Since UOJers are quoting Romans 4:25 to prove this, and obviously verse 25 is part of Romans 4,  these people I quoted above KNOW of a justification without faith.  Here Hunnius, a well known old orthodox Lutheran assails them or they boldly contradict him.

This is where American Synodic Lutherans are peculiar to the rest of the Protestant world.  It is only they who take Romans 4:25 that way. They are also peculiar amongst the rest of the Lutheran world! According to Bruce Church if we count the Lutherans who believe this stuff, there are only 2.5 Million of them who teach this stuff, out of some 45 Million (or so) Lutherans in the world.

The Hunnius quote I provided proves that the Steadfast Waltherians are Huberites or at least shares the conviction of Huber on this point...and that is not a good thing. If I were you I won't get involve with that. False teaching is a dangerous thing and we ought to be fearful of it. I know I am.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Steadfast Huberites and their upside down Justification

This post is dedicated in honor of those Lutheran ministers who are today suffering for opposing the Huberian false doctrine of Universal Objective Justification.

Many visitors of this blog are now sick of me posting against the Huberism of UOJers but I speak for one reason – UOJ is not Biblical and it is an improper way of speaking about the central doctrine of the Christian Church. The BoC speaks a lot about speaking. In the BoC one will encounter the phrase “properly speaking” many times. As for me, I speak against UOJ because it is an old heresy from Samuel Huber. It is a false way of speaking about what God does and has done in relation to how a sinner is made right with God. I got no other agenda and I hold no animus to those I disagree with. 

A few months ago, the Steadfast Waltherians ran a post by Jim Pierce on their Doctrine of Justification. I say “their doctrine” because I do not believe it is the Biblical doctrine of justification that they hold. The article in question is found here.

I won’t go into the fine details but the reader should notice therein how Biblical concepts have been taken in isolation taking their cues from a denominational work called the LCMS Christian Cyclopaedia.  I liken this behavior to the Jehovah’s Witnesses expositing Biblical teachings using their New World Translation Bible.

I will cut to the chase and go down to the bottom summary of the post, where we read:

In wrapping up my answer, we can talk about the entire human race, or the world, being justified—just as the Scriptures do (Ro 4:25)—as the action God took in response to Jesus’ resurrection from the dead where the Law is concerned, as the following explains. The Law condemns the whole world (saint and sinner alike) and, because of Christ and what He did, the Law now has no hold on the whole world, since God receives the sacrifice of His Son which atones for each and every sin and thereby the requirements of the Law are fully satisfied by Christ. When we talk about the sins of the world being absolved, or forgiven, we are talking about a reality that holds for the world in Christ. That reality is excellent news for everyone, since it means we are not justified by our own works of the Law, but by God’s grace alone, through faith alone in Christ Jesus. Indeed, Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us and received by faith alone; thereby we are justified by what we Lutherans like to describe as the “alien righteousness of Christ” which is outside us, or not our own.

I got so many things to say but I will home in on the statements I have highlighted above. These statements are contrary to the Holy Scripture.

Firstly when Mr. Pierce said, “the Law now has no hold on the whole world”, what are we to make of this antinomian thesis? It is a perversion of the Law and bulldozers no less than two Biblical texts that come to mind…

a.)   Romans 6:14 says 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. Who are those not under the Law? It is not the whole world. The “you” in the verse does not refer to generic human beings; rather it refers to “you, the (Roman) Christians who believe in Christ”. They are the ones who are not under the Law since they have become believers in Christ so they are now under God’s grace.
b.)    The other passage is Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
What the post suggests is that since Jesus Christ died for the whole world, that means the world is no longer under the Law and thus not under condemnation. This is not true, why would God send people to perdition? This idea runs contrary to John 3: 36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

Let me resurrect A. Hunnius against Pierce …
Thesis 7
Outside of faith in Christ and without it, man remains in condemnation, according to John 3, "Whoever does not believe has been judged already." And again, "Whoever does not believe in the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him." And Mark 16, "Whoever does not believe will be condemned." If such a one has already been judged, if the wrath of God remains upon him, if he will be condemned, then in what beautiful way has he been justified? In what splendid manner have his sins been remitted unto him? Indeed, where sins have truly been remitted, there all wrath and condemnation are gone(Rom. 8). "Blessed are they whose sins have been remitted" (Psalm 32). Now then, are all men blessed? Even unbelievers? (Muslims?), Reprobate Jews?

So now we come to the second part, Pierce continued saying… Indeed, Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us and received by faith alone.

Note now the intent of this statement, this implies the imputation of Christ’s righteousness has already happened to all and this is now a matter of believing to receive. Note further that another concept tied up to justification is the imputation of the righteousness of Christ.
Pierce and Co are indeed putting confusion to where there should be none, for what is the point of receiving already what has already been imparted – righteousness of Christ? To Pierce and his cohorts, this precedes faith and when believed nothing fresh happens to you, you are simply believing what has always been there, no new creation is being created.  This is a perversion of the Scriptural teaching on imputation of righteousness i.e. Justification. For in toto, these people believe that the imputation of Christ’s righteousness or Justification, happened already first apart from faith when Christ died and was raised.

Let us see what the Scripture says here, recall Romans 4
: 21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. 22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. 23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification
 Thinking and Bible literate Christians will not deny that the imputation of righteousness on Abraham happened not before he believed but at the point of his believing. In fact even old orthodox Lutherans would oppose Pierce’s understanding. An example of this is Quenstedt (credits:Ichabod)

Let me again resurrect A. Hunnius against these Waltherian-Huberites for indeed these UOJ defenders believe in a Justification that already occurred apart from faith and before faith came to be… What does Hunnius say regarding this matter?

 Thesis 5
...Nevertheless, no one is justified nor does anyone obtain remission of sins from this acquired universal righteousness without the imputation of this acquired righteousness of Christ. But the imputation of righteousness does not take place except through faith.

Thesis 6
Hence Paul, when he expressly discusses justification in Romans 3 and 4, does not know of a justification apart from faith, and especially as Galatians 2 plainly says, "Man is not justified except by faith in Jesus Christ."

Incidentally since UOJers love Romans 4:25 as their champion verse proving a justification that occurred to all mankind, we can now quote Hunnius who says that Romans 4 included, knows of no justification that has occurred before people were born or before they believe. By this quote we can once again dismiss that UOJ is a Huberite revivalism since for them Romans 4 knows of a justification apart from faith.


Sunday, September 02, 2012

UOJers are Huberites, their denials are futile

In the book Theses Opposed to Huberism, by Dr. Aegidus Hunnius, translated by Rev. Paul A. Rydecki from the Latin, here is what the translator says about Dr. Samuel Huber, the Reformed/Calvinist turned Lutheran who ended up being dismissed by well known orthodox Lutherans of his day,...

Rev. Rydecki writes in the preface:

Most  notably,  reacting to  Calvinism's  double predestina tion, Huber began to teach that God had elected all men in eternity to salvation  ("universal  election"), and  that  God had  not only redeemed the entire human race through the substitutionary death of Christ  (which  the  Lutheran theologians also  taught), but  that God, for the sake  of the merits of Christ,  had also  justified  the entire  human race,  apart from  faith  ("universal  justification").   In spite  of his teachings of universal election and  justification,  Huber appears never to have reached the conclusion of modern  Universalism  that the entire  human  race will eventually be received into eternal  life.  He continued  to insist  that  faith was essential for obtaining eternal salvation and that a person who rejected the Gospel would thereby forfeit the justification already pronounced upon the human race.

When  Huber's  novel terminology  and  doctrine  were  re jected by the faculty at Wittenberg,  Huber then  began to accuse his colleagues, especially Leyser and Hunnius, of Calvinism. When no reconciliation  could be achieved even after the intervention of foreign theologians,  Huber was dismissed  from his professorship at Wittenberg and banished  from the country in 1595.   Nevertheless, his polemical writings and public accusations against the fac­ ulty at Wittenberg continued  for several  years, prompting  inter­ mittent  responses by both Leyser and Hunnius 

Observe the UOJer's position:
a.) They deny they are universalist, just like Huber.
b.) They affirm that the human race have been justified universally, apart from faith, just like Huber. See their synodical statements, you will find they teach in effect that God has declared the world already righteous in Christ. Just ask them if man by virtue of Romans 4:25 (their favorite mishandled verse) have been declared righteous already, apart from faith.
c.) When confronted of making faith of no consequence, they deny that too, and like Huber insist on faith, and its lack forfeit the one stated in b.)

Observe further, UOJers call pejoratively their critics as Calvinists, just like Huber!  Observe too how UOJers insists on UOJ/OJ/SJ terminology! Even Robert Preus, prior to his Justification and Rome book insisted on these categories and terms too! You can read their blabbering on this terminology - just wander of at Steadfast Lutheran (Waltherian) blog.

Now ask yourself the question, if Huber (and  by extension UOjers)  was correct on justification, why did the signers and editors of the Book of Concord banish him from their company?

Of course, when you tell UOJers they are Huberites they find this truth hard to swallow and so they deny they are. They play blind. 

Isn't there truth in the saying, if something walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and swims like a duck, it is a duck?

Now please do not get me started on Hunnius' Thesis #1, because the more there the UOJer will be indicted by that thesis and their denial will show they are exercising sophistry.