Thursday, July 24, 2014

How We Deal with Inevitable Rot

The article about downtown Milwaukee sinking is a fascinating read for anyone who has lived in the area. To create large structures, wooden pilings were driven into the marshland, to provide a base. Borers are eating away at the wood, so buildings are tilting and sinking. "Change and decay in all around I see...."

Charles Darwin was fascinated with the earthworm's ability to bury structures by creating soil, but he never grasped the divinely ordered purpose of the earthworm in improving soil. Four decades of study left him clueless about the design of the creature. If earthworms were not so common, we would have lecture series on them.

Rot is inevitable, so the real issue is how we deal with it. The Chinese recognized that they needed to return plant waste to the garden. This became Sir Albert Howard's contribution to agriculture in India, where the climate used up the soil rapidly. How can they grow tea without good soil?

I think of yard waste in terms of using it again. The bushes have their trimmings used for mulch or in the compost. The crepe myrtle will yield a lot of leafy scrap with relatively soft branches. That will be good for air pockets in the compost and new ingredients before the autumn leaves are added.

Agent Orange devastates tender plants.

The backyard gardens need plenty of shade to turn the grass into compost for planting in the spring. I tried to compromise in the corn patch and get some vegetables growing late, but Agent Orange feasted on the seedlings instead. I can use leaves and mulch to cover where I will plant in the spring. Downed branches from the latest storm will hold the leaves in place.

Some people plant green manure. They start beans or another nitrogen fixing plant. Before winter, they get out their 12 horsepower rototillers and osterize their soil. Instead, they should just let the frost kill the plants,allowing the roots to rot into the soil with their nodules of fixed nitrogen. The soil creatures are designed for this, not for being eviscerated and tossed around like grain in a threshing machine.

Here are some deep roots for rotting into the soil -

  • Dandelions - fleshy roots rot into channels for rain and transport.
  • Sunflowers - their stalks also serve as perches for birds during their hunt for food in the snow.
  • Corn - this heavy feeder has extensive roots, so they can give back a lot of the soil ingredients they tied up while creating sweet corn.

Big leafy plants are going to have a good root system, which we loathe when weeding. If the weed is not obnoxious, let it rot into the soil by cutting the plant just above the surface.

White Goosefoot, called Lambs Quarters and Wild Spinach.
This robust weed is really a nutritious plant, loaded with vitamins and calcium.
I had plenty of Goosefoot growing in Midland, and I ate it whenever I was gardening. If I went around spraying everything with pesticide and herbicide, the plant would be less enticing. A patch of Wild Spinach is good for eating and for composting. In the back of the yard, it can serve as a screen and a place where ground-nesting birds can feel safe. I recall killdeer nesting in my weedy-herbal patch in Midland. The mother was offended that I lived nearby.

A pile of branches can harbor the wrong animal and even be a fire hazard, but in the short run, branches on the ground are a bird haven. They love to have some elevation when searching for food in the grass. They also perch there after bathing on or under the bird spa along the fence. Branches give up insect larvae and harbor insects, so a bunch of branches can be a good source of bird food as well.

I took tossed out Christmas trees and put them in the backyard for bird shelters in the Midland winter. The dry skeletons became part of the compost in the spring. Once I bought garbage bags of leftover popcorn after a public event. Soon after, we had a record snow. I went out daily and tossed handfuls of popcorn in the snow. Soon I had resident birds cooing the moment I walked toward the garage, where their food was stored.

Likewise, a large tree overlooked the Midland yard, which served as the choir loft for birds observing me dig in the garden. I definitely felt watched. When I overturned the soil with my shovel, the prelude began. Happy hunting followed when I went inside.

Preying Mantis.

My favorite pesticide was Little Ichabod. He took to blocks of wood and got rid of asparagus beetles for me. He came inside with green fingers from crushed beetles. Then we went modern and got some preying mantis eggs.

WELS Playing Little Boy Games

One WELS pastor started another anonymous blog, Polluted WELS, where he can dither and dodge anonymousely. After begging people not to use name-calling, like "Calvinist," he engaged in it himself. That is easy for a nameless person with a partial, defective education.

The WELS pastors are so afraid of using their own names that they claim I am hosting the blog and attacking myself for credibility. One of the bizarre traits of WELS clergy is their illegal use of other identities, which was fairly common in the Fox Valley eructations.

One reader pointed out something I noticed - WELS clergy never grow up. They are still adolescents in the dorms, playing hateful pranks, avoiding their studies, vowing they will never grow up in Never-Never-Land.

In fact, Mark Jeske and Richard Starr and another WELS pastor had a pact. The last one to get married would get a refrigerator. Starr lasted the longest and got his prize fridge. Why would a minister want to avoid getting married? That means growing up and giving up the narcissism of youth. Playing Peter Pan is so much more fun. Thus the Mequon Mattress Room.

Those who do not use their names, not even an anonymous identity, can grill others, name-call, and act silly with their dog notes. (Dog Notes are the yellowed dogmatics notes that make up the backbone of WELS false doctrine. The original author was J. P. Meyer, author of three Kokomo Statements. The new editor is Tim Glende's uncle, so we know they are infallible.)

If the blog ever became serious, WELS would shut it down, but this is useful for the leaders, who will find out the author and contributors. The Intrepids used their names and soon the clergy were gone, including the Founder.

When enough idiots say the same thing about justification, the drivel turns into dogma, and the dogma into practice. Jack Cascione and Paul McCain quoted Ed Preuss with approval.

Robert Preus used this abomination in his worst essay ever, when his lobby was driving WAM out of the Ft. Wayne presidency. He found it difficult to back away from the assassination. Like LBJ and another assassination, he repented before he died and recorded his confession.

Whenever the Gospel begins to take root, Satan and his minions rise up to destroy it. They scatter, but do not destroy. Some doubters return to their folly. Others see how horrible UOJ dogma is. Still others search the Scriptures and rely on the plain teaching of the Holy Spirit rather than the philosophical acrobatics of the poorly trained clergy.

That Sinking Feeling - In Milwaukee

"Pay no attention to St. Marcus leaning."

The sinking city: Dozens of buildings in Milwaukee…sinking! There’s a problem and it’s deep underground

MILWAUKEE (WITI) — If you ever look up in Milwaukee, even just a little bit, you can’t help but notice we have some amazing architecture here — buildings that were built to last. But some of them may not last much longer. There’s a problem…and it’s deep underground.
On Milwaukee food tours, hungry walkers can feast their eyes on a strange phenomenon.
“As we’re walking through the Third Ward — how the bricks are starting to crumble a little bit, and the buildings are beginning to lean,” Theresa Nemetz said.
You can even feel the problem under your feet.
“You see the sidewalk is beginning to settle. The city has actually come through and shaved down the sidewalk,” Nemetz said.
So what’s happening here?
Dennis Barthenheier has dug a giant hole in his basement to find out.
“I noticed this large crack that`s along the wall line here. It’s coming apart…and I know why,” Barthenheier said.
Much of Milwaukee was built on a marsh. Around the turn of the century, for stability under foundations, contractors used steam-powered pile drivers to sink into the soggy land below thousands of wood pilings — tree trunks stripped of their branches and bark.
A concrete gap — basically the building foundation, was placed on top.
Milwaukee landmarks were made this way. Among them: Milwaukee’s City Hall, the Mitchell Building. the Button Block, the Pabst, and the Riverfront Building that houses the Milwaukee Repertory Theater.
“A couple years ago we started seeing cracks, basically — in the walls,”  Chad Bauman, Managing Director of the Milwaukee Repertory Theater said.
Floors are no longer level. There are growing gaps under the doors — and a tell-tale sign of the source: wharf borer beetles.
“This wall has come down almost two-and-a-half inches,” Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s Chief Building Engineer Mark Uhrman said.
Signs of the building sinking are everywhere. Wood wedges temporarily support the floor above.
The technique of setting foundations on wood pilings was nothing new. It had been done in Europe for centuries.
“The pilings need to be kept wet. This sounds counter-intuitive, but things that are wet permanently rot slower,” UW-Milwaukee Professor of Geosciences Doug Cherkauer said.
In parts of Milwaukee, the water table has fluctuated — and pilings have been exposed to air.
“They’re starting to rot,” Cherkauer said.
How long they’ve been rotting, nobody knows. And why the water table has gone down is disputed. Cherkauer, a hydro-geologist says he isn’t even sure it has.
“As far as I know, there are no monitoring wells anywhere in the downtown area, so we don`t know what the groundwater conditions in Milwaukee actually are,” Cherkauer said.
But we do know the buildings are sinking — dozens of them.
In the basement of the Milwaukee Repertory Theater, they’re getting ready to remove the rotten wood and replace it with a new foundation.
That brings us back to Dennis Barthenheier — and the large hole he’s dug in his own basement. Fixing sinking buildings is his specialty. The repair at the Repertory Theater will be one of his big projects this year. In his basement, he’s just discovering the depth of the problem.
“That wood that you see should be all the way up and into the bottom of that concrete — but it is gone. It’s rotted away,” Barthenheier said.
So here’s how Barthenheier stops the sinking. He digs down, and each rotted piling is cut off below the water level. One by one, steel jacks are installed. Then, a new concrete form is filled to close the gap between the old cap and the new piling top below.
“All we`re doing is extending the concrete down further to make sure the wood is submerged in water,” Barthenheier said.
But with potentially thousands of pilings rotting under buildings in Milwaukee, it’s a big job.
“We have water in our basement and we WANT water in our basement,” Milwaukee Repertory Theater Chief Building Engineer Mark Uhrman said.
You might be wondering: What if the water table goes down? Won’t the pilings rot again?
As part of the repair, they’re often installing reverse sump pumps. In your basement, the sump pump kicks in when the water gets high. Here, it kicks in when the water gets low, and pumps water in from the city system to keep the pilings wet.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Brett Meyer - On Polluted WELS

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I was listening to Pastor Frey's sermon. Around 33:30 he stated "You can walk up to anyone and say "your sins are forgiven."
Isn't this a diminishing of the Law? So long as a person remains outside of Christ he remains under God's Wrath and is doomed to hell.
Another way to put it is why would a person think they need to believe in Jesus their savior unless they first realize they need saving? This can only be brought about by an application of the Law. To ignore that step seems dangerous and foolish.
He states " You can say your sins are forgiven and that's a fact."
Would it not be better and more Scripturally accurate to say "Your sins have been paid for"?
Just wondering
July 23, 2014 at 2:06 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Mr. Amendall,

You said this: [i]"WELS is confused on their definition of the Office of the Ministry."[/i]

What do you mean by that exactly?

- Mr. Abbott
July 23, 2014 at 2:12 PM
Blogger Gregory Jackson said...
Anonymous - it worked great for Ski, for the various felons, including DP Ed Werner, who went to state prison, as did Vicar Scott Zerbe. It is the perfect message for the Me Generation. Do what you want. WELS's Meditations, March-May 2014, for Monday, 17 March 2014. The howler is in the second column reads: "No matter what you did yesterday -- or failed to do -- and no matter what you will do tomorrow, God has forgiven you."
July 23, 2014 at 2:32 PM
I have heard stories - good ones.

Blogger Brett Meyer said...
I was once told that Synod officials hated me for my approach to the defense of Christ’s Chief Article – one Justification solely by the gracious gift of faith in Christ alone. It is my experience that what they hate is the doctrine itself as I’ve been called an Antichrist, heretic and even a disciple of Pastor Gregory Jackson by the clergy and laity of the WELS, ELS and LCMS for using Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions to teach, promote and defend Christ’s doctrine of Justification while exposing the false gospel of Objective Justification. The discussions available on the internet are many. But most recently there was a revealing discussion of UOJ on this blog which exposes what the WELS teaches and rejects concerning the doctrine of Justification – Objective Justification is completely contrary to Scripture.

"However, if anything is undertaken against the Word, faith, and the honor of God, we are in no wise to preserve silence, are to bear it far less patiently. Then we should offer stubborn resistance."
What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, III, p. 1308. Sermon, 1523.
Martin Luther to George Major:

"Therefore, do not speak to me of love or friendship when anything is to be detracted from the Word or the faith; for we are told that not love but the Word brings eternal life, God's grace, and all heavenly treasures." 19 " In matters concerning faith we must be invincible, unbending, and very stubborn; indeed, if possible, harder than adamant. But in matters concerning love we should be softer and more pliant than any reed and leaf and should gladly accommodate ourselves to everything." 20 "Doctrine is our only light. It alone enlightens and directs us and shows us the way to heaven. If it is shaken in one quarter (in una parte), it will necessarily be shaken in its entirety (in totum). Where that happens, love cannot help us at all." 21 " But this tender mercy is to be exercised only toward Christians and among Christians, for toward those who reject and persecute the Gospel we must act differently; here I am not permitted to let my love be merciful so as to tolerate and endure false doctrine. When faith and doctrine are concerned and endangered, neither love nor patience are in order. Then it is my duty to contend in earnest and not to yield a hairbreadth." What Luther Says, II, 637f.

July 23, 2014 at 2:47 PM
Blogger Brett Meyer said...

"It is by your silence and cloaking that you cast suspicion upon yourself. If you believe as you declare in my presence, then speak so also to the church, in public lectures, in sermons, and in private conversations, and strengthen your brethren, and lead the erring back to the right path, and contradict the contumacious spirits; otherwise your confession is sham pure and simple, and worth nothing. Whoever really regards his doctrine, faith, and confession as true, right, and certain cannot remain in the same stall with such as teach, or adhere to, false doctrine; nor can he keep on giving friendly words to Satan and his minions. A teacher who remains silent when errors are taught, and nevertheless pretends to be a true teacher, is worse than an open fanatic and by his hypocrisy does greater damage than a heretic. Nor can he be trusted. He is a wolf and a fox, a hireling and a servant of his belly, and ready to despise and to sacrifice doctrine, Word, faith, Sacrament, churches, and schools. He is either a secret bedfellow of the enemies or a skeptic and a weathervane, waiting to see whether Christ or the devil will prove victorious; or he has no convictions of his own whatever, and is not worthy to be called a pupil, let alone a teacher; nor does he want to offend anybody, or say a word in favor of Christ, or hurt the devil and the world."
Martin Luther, quoted in Bente's Historical Introduction, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 94.

"Therefore nothing but a satanic, seductive, and sinister strategy is involved when we are called upon to yield a bit and to connive at an error for the sake of unity. In this way the devil is trying cunningly to lead us away from the Word. For if we adopt this course and get together in this matter, he has already gained ground; and if we were to yield him a fingerbreadth, he would soon have an ell."
What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, III, p. 1411f. Ephesians 6:10-17.
July 23, 2014 at 2:48 PM
Blogger Ben Wink said...
Isn't this all a symptom of a larger problem that comes with Church Growth attitudes? When you reduce the work of the church to a numbers game, you want to increase those member numbers, correct?

What is the easiest way to do that? By having a watered down message that appeals to everyone, regardless of Scripture truths and accurate doctrine. If this means telling everyone that Jesus loves them and that everyone is absolutely amazing in the eyes of God the Father, then so be it. You achieved your results and more people have shown up because of the weak tea version of Christianity you just served.

All I ever hear, consistantly pounded over and over again is "God's love" and "the Gospel message". Yet where is the Law? Is not the Law equally important? What meaning does the Gospel have, when you minimize the Law or eliminate it altogether? You then just want to get rear ends in your pews or your theater seating or whatever.

It is getting to the point that the supposed crackpots with the placards that say "Repent for the End is NEAR!" signs are actually getting more closer to the point of Scripture than certain sermons by trained pastors I've been privy to have cross my ears.

The Bible is quite clear in having both Law and Gospel be equally important. Without the Gospel, you end up in desperation and the cul-de-sac of works righteousness. Without the Law, you end up with a lovey dovey message that sounds great here on earth, but won't sound so great for an eternity.

But as people don't by nature like to hear that they are sinners and that's a negative and won't help our numbers, so intead we will lead with the Gospel instead and mention the Law in passing, if at all. And I don't think that I'm exaggerating this phenomenon. Look at some of the websites for these churches and just see the gooey messages of love oozing everywhere. This smarmy nonsense isn't true love.

True love means telling someone that they are a sinner, that God hates sin, and that they are condemned to an eternal hell.

True love then tells someone that God sent His Son to be the atoning sacrifice for those that believe in Christ as their Savior, through the gift of faith from the Holy Spirit.

Maybe when churches focus on the totality of the Word and present and teach the entire Scripture, not just the parts that get pews filled, then some balance will come. But I'm not holding my breath.

Shockaroo - TLH Hymns Sung Beatifully by a Quartet - CLC

Here is the site for TLH hymns on a CD.

And an entire website for free recorded music.

Guilty As Charged

Polluted WELS Blog

OCP said...
I'd love to believe that myself, but it's quite hard with how I have seen WELS handle anyone who brings it up.

I have brought it up. In personal and public conversations (not just websites that will be copied and pasted onto someone else's blog, used to advance their personal agenda. Hence my "pathetic" anonymity.) And I have had very civil discussions, without ever being called a heretic, nor calling anyone else in the discussion a heretic. And I still have my call. I have even been elected or appointed to several conference, district, and Synod positions. So I don't think I haven been "handled" by WELS.

So I have to think there is a difference between my situation and that of those who have been "handled" by WELS. I don't know what that difference is, but to say that anyone who brings this up gets "handled" is not accurate. And I know that because I have lived it.

And now, having made myself the target, I think I'll back away from the keyboard for a while...

GJ - If you care to read the thread of 102+ comments so far, you will see this anonymous writer has plenty of snide remarks and typos to prove he really is a WELS pastor.
I can accuse OCP of this. "You read Ichabod!" That is a sin, but WELS Meditations says all sins are forgiven all people, past, present, and future.
WELS's Meditations, March-May 2014, for Monday, 17 March 2014.  The howler is in the second column reads:  "No matter what you did yesterday -- or failed to do -- and no matter what you will do tomorrow, God has forgiven you."
UOJ has consequences.
The tyrant on the left will unburden himself to the WELS teachers.

WELS Youth Fun and Games.

Your CMO funds at work, starting a rival service
a few blocks away - same toxic message.

UOJ sermon from St. Paul WELS, not far from The CORE, starting at 32.40.

All the usual Universalistic baloney is recited, without any support.

Solar Power Adds to the Compost

Atlantic Giant pumpkins are good examples of solar power used by plants. They take in water and minerals from the soil, but they also collect energy from the sun.

The heavy feeders, like corn and pumpkins, have large leaves and long growing seasons to put together the carbohydrates for the fruit or seed. Sunflower produces oil and minerals, more than just about any other plant in the garden. Other stars are potatoes, dandelions, and broccoli. The cabbage family is loaded with nutrition.

I invited my gardening neighbor to toss his green trash into my compost, and he does that. My pile is on the corner of my property and adjacent to his garden. His example led me into opening up the front and back yards for gardening. Since I am breeding red wiggler earthworms in my compost, near his garden, undocumented aliens are crossing the border into his yard.

If my giant pumpkins mature in time for Halloween, some will be used by neighbors and family - as long as they don't need a flatbed truck to haul them away. Next year - I will grow some reasonable Halloween style pumpkins. I can grow very large orange ones and some white ones. I have plenty of space in the back. It can become an obstacle course for the bunnies that use the grassy alley between lots - an unusual feature in this neighborhood. Some mow their communal alley. Others let long grass grow and toss odds and ends there.

I will have leaf and vine trash in the compost. Old pumpkins will go in as well. The seeds are great for squirrels and birds, so I can put some of the guts out on the ground for their food and amusement. The interior of pumpkins is moist and gooshy, good for the compost environment.

The despised dandelion contributes too, thanks to regular mowing. Few of my dandelions grow up and spread their leaves for a big flower. The persistent herb sends down a powerful taproot, which can be pulled out only after a heavy rain. Otherwise it breaks off and starts over.

The taproot is good for drilling into soil layers, bringing up minerals, and providing an elevator shaft for soil creatures. Some have pulled up dandelions with earthworms on the taproot. "You wrecked my elevator, for a quick trip to the soil surface." What would the earthworm find at the top? - dead leaves and insects to devour and recycle in the soil. A big rosette of dandelion leaves provides shade, too.

According to the Jackson Theory of Random Activity,

"A lot of positive work will create good results over time, even when individual actions seem inconsequential." G. Jackson

I have used this theory in higher education, in earning degrees and certifications, in reading books, and in publishing. Sometimes I had to pass a certification test on property insurance, pension plans, or networking. Those tests had no plots, no interest for me. I passed 16 certification exams, failing 3 of them early on, and they definitely led to something.

In publishing - I can never predict what will have an impact, so I sow abundantly.

One leaf is nothing in compost - an entire season of leaves
will have an impact on the soil.

Creation and the Means of Grace
The Fuller-driven church planners and planters make me laugh. They run about like chickens with their heads recently removed. They earn their pay getting laity and pastors to do the same. One theory is that getting people involved keeps them as members, so manufacture activity to hold them.

Activity is great, if the Means of Grace are central:

  • More original sermons - no plagiarism.
  • More Bible studies without the Cliff Notes material.
  • More services of Holy Communion.
  • More pastor visits where the Word of God is discussed.
  • More infant baptisms during the service.

One retired WELS pastor gave up in disgust, because he said, "I never accomplished anything." He was looking at his congregation, which his fellow pastors raided after he dared to stand up to Church Growth. He did not even consider the impact of faithfully teaching the Word or communing or baptizing. He was just as brain-washed (superficially I hope) as his Fuller mentors.

If we pursue work where the Holy Spirit is united with the Word, the results will be effect and God-pleasing, not necessarily man-pleasing.

A lot of Means of Grace activity will result in grace blessing members and non-members alike.

The cucumber trash in my compost is only a tiny bit of the volume. How much good can it do? But it will contribute. Its effect will be experienced over time as the recycled organic matter rejuvenates the soil. And if I did not think so, there would be no compost, no murmuration of starlings above our house, no bunny nicknamed Agent Orange.

Agent Orange is only too happy to thin my plants,
so they have more room to grow.

Culture Devours the Agenda

"Thanks to Thrivent, my tummy is so big."

Someone observed:

The WELS might be likened to Potemkin village. 

That Ski would get passed from the Northern Wisconsin to the South Central, after reflection, comes as no surprise.

It is a Goethe once remarked: "The Church has a good digestion."

In another conversation, it was expressed similarly - "Culture devours the agenda." In an established institution, whether a business or church. the corporate culture is so powerful that one can predict the outcome of trying to change it alone.

the only denominations thoroughly owned by a business,
and it follows the ELCA doctrinal agenda.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Laity Deserve Plenty of Responsibility for Apostasy

I am happy to lay a lot of responsibility at the feet of clergy, especially the paid drones of the synodical structures.

But the laity deserve plenty of blame, too. They have let all these things happen, step by step, without any real, persistent objections.

Moreover when destructive laity do their best to undermine a faithful pastor, his or her fellow members do nothing to stop the corrosive effect upon the congregation.

This is your DP.

The laity will always sob and mourn when their adulterous pastor is caught and kicked out. As one layman said about a promiscuous minister in downtown Moline, "Everyone liked him."

WELS has all their members paper-trained to spy for the synod and carry water for the false teachers. I have heard interesting stories about a relatively independent pastor whose meetings are immediately faxed to the synod officials - who "never know anything" about everything else. And what they do know, they forget five minutes later, if it proves useful for them.

Every single person is charged with maintaining fidelity to the Word of God - not veneration of the Holy Mother Sect. Many become atheists, step by step, as they pardon and excuse the indefensible, until they hate the Gospel and use their position to undermine faith.

Who Else To Lead the Teachers?
If You Object, Tim Glende Will Sue You in Court,
Or Start an Anonymouse Blog Against You

June 15-18, 2015

"May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
A conference for principals, ECM directors, teachers,
pastors, and all school leaders. 
 The WELS National School Leadership Conference, hosted by the WELS Commission on Lutheran Schools, is designed for WELS/ELS members working in the field of education at early childhood, elementary, and secondary levels to provide a large scale opportunity to come together to learn from God’s Word, from experts in education, and from each other.

SOUL - Tim Glende, pastor of St. Peter in Appleton WI

MIND - Todd Whitaker, author and motivational speaker 

BODY - Willow Sweeney, "Top 20 Training"
Worship with Koine'
Laugh with Fish Sticks Comedy 



GJ - I guess Ski was too busy moving his still to have a speech copied and pasted in time.

See If This Debacle Fits Your Situation

Four years after it was built, WELS foreclosed on its new building in Savoy, Illinois.
Of course, Tim Glende, the Wonderboy, Ski-daddled out of town, to let someone else take the fall.

One grizzled veteran observed that WELS has a deliberate plan of liquidating the more traditional churches while heavily promoting latte and rock congregations that bury Lutheran worship, music, sermons, and creeds with the name Lutheran.

Another part of the plan is to establish diaper changing academies ("schools") to generate funds for the pastor's pals. These nursery to Kindergarten centers like to use Christian Academy in their names, but there is nothing particularly religious about snacks, naps, and graduating from Kindergarten.

Kindergarten was started by the clever Germans to get children ready for school. No one ever thought of calling playtime school or an academy.

Who decided to enter the competition for cheap, offering-subsidized child-care? In effect, the congregation gives the ladies a boost in income by contributing money to babysit non-members - a mission!

The LCA once used that ploy. If they were dumping money on something and no Lutheran benefited from it, the project was "pure mission." I heard that stated with the proper stained glass tremulo in the voice of the DP/bishop.

Here are two truly stupid ideas, which are doubtless found elsewhere in Lutherdom. I know the Michigan segment of the LCA routinely closed and sold parishes to balance its local budget. All the Lutheran sects are strapped for funds now. Their new-found love for each other is just part of a plan to form an effective merger and close a lot of duplicated facilities:

  • Bethany Lutheran College
  • Wisconsin Lutheran College
  • Martin Luther College
  • Concordia, Mequon.

They already have plans for closing Martin Luther College. The idea is to organize death with dignity. If WELS is good at anything, it is euthanizing schools and congregations.

A little note from a now-forgotten Lutheran sociologist.

Authority is not taken, but surrendered.

Pastors and congregations have surrendered authority to the ecclesiocrats ever since the Great Depression. The earlier motivation was to save money while consolidating
. Now the power is consolidated. If the vast majority stand up to the greedy, self-centered, corrupt synod politicians, the spineless cowards will bare their fangs but back away.

Stand up for the Word and Sacraments or stifle yourself when sinful nature takes its course.

WELS stole this independent congregation and its endowment fund.
No one objected in print.
Get in line to have your congregational assets stolen.
PS - Wayne Mueller published this poison without anyone objecting.

The Seekers, Doo Wop, and Gardening

I always wonder when I see a bio that lists Bach and some heavy metal band as favorites. The two clash, unless the cacophony has destroyed their eardrums. One precludes the other.

Although I had precious little musical talent, my mother kept me in instrumental music, fencing me in and encouraging me. Band and orchestra means playing good music. Once we played the Gillette theme song in band, but we usually memorized Sousa and other classics, plus arrangements of classical music.

Flute music included quite a bit of private lessons, funded by my mother, who thought she should have had more training herself. Private lessons from a German expert meant Bach, Mozart, Telemann. The Goldfinch concerto became a favorite, even though people claim Vivaldi wrote 800 pieces that all sound alike.

When my undergraduates were talking up rock music, I did my imitation of rock, which consisted of hitting a chord and screaming. For another class I did a rap about English, unfortunately captured on a smartphone.

My counter to that undergraduate class was playing Pachebel's Canon on a Bose as they entered class. They loved it so much that they copied down the name so they could buy a copy.

Looking for some music, I found The Seekers had a lot of music posted - and a great, long career with long gaps when they were not singing as a group. They sang in harmony and their lead singer Judith Durham always hit the notes perfectly. They sang a lot of Gospel songs in their concerts.

That led to Doo Wop, which I thought was fun to hear again. There are many collections on the Net, since people suddenly realized the era was almost over. Even the healthiest singers are aging out of the picture. The performances on the embedded link are uneven, but they illustrate the norms of harmony and clearly articulated lyrics.

I played the Marcels' version of Blue Moon for our grandson. He said, "Those singers are old!"

The principles are gardening are similar to music. And people violate gardening principles all the time - with bad results.

One distant neighbor has two crepe myrtles growing together with a dogwood, with an evergreen bush jammed up close, all trying to stay alive. Across the top is a common vine. The mass is probably heaven for insects and birds, but it looks terrible. Four untrimmed bushes together look like the old fad of stuffing a phone booth. One alone would be beautiful and eye-pleasing.

Gardening has heavy metal, too. One way to kill emergent weeds is to include arsenic in the dose of fertilizer. The arsenic will kill birds that eat the earthworms killed by arsenic.

I noticed that regular mowing does the most to eliminate crab grass, so why put arsenic on the grass.

Clearly our local rabbit has figured out Sassy's outdoor times, but an abundance of planting has meant an abundance of growth.

Chaos intervenes at times, as creatures look for food and nesting material in the mulch and newsprint. Others see the birds feeding well, so they invite themselves in for a salad of fresh greens and sprouts, plus a drink of water from 12 different dishes.

Abundance triumphs over those who take advantage, because the Creation will always assert itself in time. When we tempt the wild creatures, they are going to succumb to the pangs of hunger rather than stick with the dry, dusty food of the open fields.

One of John Wayne's early moves came when the family's five acres of black-eye peas were eaten down to the soil by rabbits, when they went away for a few days. The new biography said the parents gave up after that incident.

I had relatives who moved from Ohio to Iowa because they could not stay alive on the free plot of land in Ohio. That led to my family being Iowa-Illinois instead of Ohioan, Evangelical rather than Seventh Day Adventist. My aunt said the experience was so bitter for them that her parents did not even want to visit the old homestead. But it was home for part of her childhood, and she insisted.

Just as there is an abundance of blessings in Creation, so there is an abundance of grace through the Word and Sacraments, the Instruments of God's Grace.

They are not an opinion, not a tradition, not an option for those in the Lutheran brand, but the Means of Grace established in the Scriptures, ordained by Christ, and taught by the Holy Spirit.

Rabbits, Sassy, and the Garden

Sassy was waiting for that ball to be tossed again at the park.

Sassy and I took our usual evening walk last night, in spite of the heat and humidity. The day before she casually wandered down a street we normally do not take. Usually she asks permission by looking up at me and smiling. Or, she may refuse to move, just looking in the direction she wants to go, but smiling.

She uses the assumptive close often - "Of course you want to take me this way." Or - "Since we are done with the walk, let's go for a ride." She plants herself near the car, looks up, and smiles.

But this was subtle. She kept walking slowly, sniffing the vegetation. She walked around a car parked in a yard, and I saw the plan. Eight children were in a front yard, playing. She wanted to meet them all. They recognized her missing leg, and everyone said, "Aww." One of the two mothers hinted it was time for Sassy to move along after a certain amount of fussing and petting.

Sassy walked up to her and delivered a couple of kisses, worked the crowd a little longer, and came along with me. One boy wanted to hang onto her by the tail. His mother told him not to. I added, "That a tail, not a handle." He smiled. Like a lot of children, he wanted to keep her around longer.

The Rabbit
Sassy does not have a chance against squirrels and rabbits, but she tries. She found one in a yard we often pass. She jumped toward it and stopped, then began sniffing around on the ground. The rabbit knew enough not to break into a run. Sassy continued sniffing until the rabbit was completely at ease. Then Sassy dashed toward it, the closest she had ever come to one. She kept with the rabbit across the yard and gave up.

I found a rabbit having supper in our yard, not far from the fence garden. That explained so many plants that started to grow and disappeared. The Malabar spinach has a total of two plants growing, and I began with 50 or 100 seeds.

Nevertheless, the entire fence garden is green with growing sunflowers, gourds, pumpkins, bush and pole beans. There are some empty spots, but we will have enough to enjoy and to share.

2 Corinthians 9:6-10King James Version (KJV)

But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:
(As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever.
10 Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;)

More Proof of Inbreeding in Fox Valley

If one part is off, then the rest are also in the wrong place or order or emphasis.

A Dialogue on Justification

Several people have suggested that I look to the ELDoNA in my search for Confessional Lutheranism. I admit that I have looked to the ELDoNA with a great deal of interest and agreement over the past several years. 

My biggest question is their position on the doctrine of justification, specifically their rejection of universal objective justification.

I'll admit that I'm torn on the issue. I read some Synodical Conference writers and am convinced that UOJ is Scriptural. Then I read ELDoNA writers and am convinced that UOJ is unscriptural. I am convinced that some Synodical Conference writers have gone to improper extremes in explaining UOJ. I am worried that some ELDoNA writers might go too far to the other extreme.

For these reasons, I'd like to devote this post to an open discussion on UOJ. I've seen other such discussions run quickly off the rails, so I'll establish a few ground rules:

1. Please avoid dominating the discussion by posting frequent, lengthy comments.
2. Please don't question the faith or the salvation of others.
3. Please base your arguments on Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions.
4. Please assume the best rather than the worst about other positions.
5. If you post anonymously, please use some sort of pseudonym.

To begin the discussion, I'll ask for reactions to the following statement:

Justification can be viewed universally and objectively in this sense: that the sins of the world were imputed to Christ on the cross, but in his resurrection, they were no longer imputed to his account. This non-imputation of the world's sins to Christ's account is universal and objective in the sense that Christ is the Substitute for the entire world. This justification was declared upon Christ and exists only in Christ, and does not apply to those who, because of unbelief, are outside of Christ.


OCP said...

I'll not respond to your statement. It looks good to me, but I'll leave that to others. I wish to comment instead on this endeavor, and on the who recent "controversy."

My impression -- after some study, but not as much as others have done -- is that this whole thing is an unfortunate mix of some semantics, some talking past each other, some regrettable overstatements, and some uncharitable assumptions.

Jesus died for the sins of the world - no one disputes that.
Only those who have been brought to faith by the Holy Spirit working through the means of grace are saved - no one disputes that (despite accusations to the contrary).

So the debate becomes about the terms we use, how we express this - specifically the fact that the unbeliever's sin is paid for by Christ, yet through unbelief they are still in their sins. Much like Law and Gospel, so much seems contradictory, but we must let the two seemingly contradictory statements both stand (e.g., "God hates sinners." "God loves sinners." Both are true statements from Scripture, yet it seems that they cannot both be true. We must let both stand and Law and Gospel.).

It seems that when Scripture is talking in the universal sense, that it doesn't usually (maybe ever) use the word "justification." It uses words like "atonement" instead. "Justification" is used primarily (maybe exclusively) in what we call the subjective sense.

So we need to choose our terms carefully. Clearly there are some terms in Scripture used in a universal sense, there are some used in a subjective/individual sense, and there are some that ride the fence. Herein lies the challenge - defining our terms, speaking as Scripture speaks, without overstating things.

At one extreme lies universalism, at the other extreme is a limited atonement (that Jesus' death was only for believers). I don't know of any in our circles who teach either extreme (although some of Jackson's disciples seem to sound like they're coming pretty close to a limited atonement, but to make that accusation would be uncharitable). Yet there are accusations all around. WELS might have at times gone too far in stressing the objective nature of justification (the Kokomo deal, the very regrettable "I am saved, so are you" campaign from a few years back), but WELS does not teach universalism, or an individual forgiveness apart from faith, despite accusations to the contrary.

So while I think the WELS has overstated things at time, I don't see false teaching there, nor reason to break.

To me, it seems like a whole lot of semantics, which when we're talking about Scripture, isn't unimportant, but probably doesn't need the level of venom that we see too much today.

And that we will probably see in further comments on this post. I wish you God's blessings in trying to have a civil discussion...

Anonymous said...
As a fellow pastor I've also been torn on the issue (an issue which seemed so simple as a kid. Believe in Jesus as your only savior and you go to heaven. I seem to recall Jesus saying something about faith like a child...I digress). I've read both sides of the issues. Some gentlemen from both sides have seen to go to extremes to tear down the other.
I guess, when I preach to my members and make prospect visits, I explain sin. According to God's laws, God's requirement for heaven is simple. Be perfect as I the Lord God am perfect. Then we look at the Ten Commandments and see how poorly we failed. Then we come quotes from Ezekiel 18 - the soul who sins will die and from Romans 6 - the wages (payment) for sin is death and the terrifying reality sets in. I deserve death. Physical death and eternal death, for I have sinned against the eternal God.
Then along comes this message of good news: Jesus is my substitute.
He lived a perfect life in my place. He paid my penalty by suffering death and hell on the cross.
Atonement was made. Everything needed to make up for my sins and failures is there in Christ.
To reject Him is to reject my substitute and the forgiveness and freedom he won for me.
To believe in Him, hold him up as my only savior and substitute is to receive as a free gift from Him his perfect life and the forgiveness of sins, and all of this according to his own promises (Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved. Whoever does not believe will be condemned from Mark 16:16).

Now, as you noticed nowhere in there did I use words like objective or subjective justification. Those are words I expect to find in dogmatics books. But if I'm trying to witness to someone I want to put it as simply as possible.
Romans 3 - All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God...
(maybe take some time in witnessing to reveal the person's personal sins)
...and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
(Any person who is not grafted to the Vine, is cut off from the only source of life and forgiveness. Only in Jesus is a person saved)

I'm not sure if this adds anything to the conversation. But frankly, I have grown tired of listening to both sides of the argument. All I want to do is continue to point my members and my prospects to Jesus Christ, who was crucified for the sins of the world- myself included and who was raised from the dead as He promised, showing that sin, death and the devil have no power over Jesus and therefore, have no damning power over those who are in Christ Jesus.
So long as a person remains outside of Christ, they remain on the one way track to hell. Once, through the Gospel message of what Jesus has done, the Holy Spirit brings that person to faith/trust in the saving work of Christ (standing as our substitute for both a needed perfect life and a needed sacrifice for sin)that person is on the track to heaven.

A tired and worn pastor, seeking to shepherd his sheep.
-Mr. Overhill

p.s. Matthias- thank you for dedicating a post to this topic, as well as laying down some ground rules. God's blessings in your continued effort to be a faithful shepherd.

Anonymous said...
I'm sorry for double posting but I'd like to thank OCP for a good post. Simply let God's Word speak for itself. Let the Law says what the Law must. Let the Gospel say what the Gospel must. And may God help us speak carefully.
-Mr. Overhill.
Joel Dusek said...
One thing to remember in this controversy is that it grew originally out of a response to the Calvinist doctrine of "Limited Atonement". The Biblical view that the Atonement was universal has since devolved through Lutheran history into the idea that Justification is universal and has a dual nature of Objective and Subjective. I have no doubt that those who historically developed these statements did so with the best of intentions, but these terms are misleading.
Justification is by faith in Christ and the Promise alone. Those without faith are not justified, though their sins have been atoned for.
Vernon Knepprath said...
From 'This We Believe; section on Justification':
"This is the central message of Scripture upon which the very existence of the church depends."

Yet different WELS pastors will teach justification as if there are different teachings. How can this be, with a teaching that is a central message of Scripture? I've heard WELS pastors say that the WELS "This We Believe" statement on justification is poorly worded, everyone knows this, even the writers of the statement would agree. How can this be? They accept that a statement they wrote poorly is OK when it is a central message of Scripture?

I think the explanation for the confusion is simple, just as I believe the Biblical teaching of justification is simple. Things get complicated when people feel the need to add and subtract from Scripture. The problem begins by using the word "objective", and it only gets worst when people try to justify the use of the word.

I believe Jesus died for the sins of the world. I believe those who have faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior, a gift of the Holy Spirit given to us through the Means of Grace, have forgiveness of sins. I think Scripture teaches this. I think the Creeds and Confessions reflect this.

How do people subtract from Scripture with regard to justification? They do this by diminishing the importance of faith. I just don't see Scriptures diminishing the importance of faith. But I see some WELS pastors, as they stumble over their definition of objective justification diminishing faith.

Faith is one of the three solas, alongside grace and Scripture. I don't see faith being diminished there. When we say we believe in the forgivenss of sins in the third article of the Apostles Creed, what are we thinking? How else can we explain the forgiveness of sins in the third article of the Apostles Creed, if it is not in conjunction with the work of the Holy Spirit, the gift of faith?

I said in an early comment on this blog that the teachings are changing in the WELS. Go back and look at my earlier comparison of the Gauswitz and Kuske catechisms. Needless to say, I was raised and taught with the Gauswitz catechism, by WELS pastors. And when the Kuske catechism was introduced, I found it peculiar and disturbing that some WELS pastors insisted that the Kuske catechism be used to train our children. Why the insistence of one over the other?

Matthias Flach said...
Vernon, that exact line from TWB has been in my mind. WELS says that UOJ is the central message of Scripture and they're willing to remove pastors for denying it. ELDoNA on the other hand, now rejects the teaching of UOJ.

Thus, it doesn't seem possible to call this a matter of overstatements and semantics (though, like OCP, I often get the impression it is). There must be some substantive difference, I'm just having trouble figuring out what it is.

For the record, I can't agree with WELS that UOJ is the central message of Scripture, when it only seems to be found in some debatable exegesis of a few passages. It seems to me that the vicarious atonement is the central message of Scripture.
Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...
"Justification can be viewed universally and objectively in this sense: that the sins of the world were imputed to Christ on the cross, but in his resurrection, they were no longer imputed to his account. This non-imputation of the world's sins to Christ's account is universal and objective in the sense that Christ is the Substitute for the entire world. This justification was declared upon Christ and exists only in Christ, and does not apply to those who, because of unbelief, are outside of Christ."

The first part of what you have presented here is more or less the Waltherian/Preusian version of UOJ. The most common version taught in the WELS is not a justification declared upon Christ, but a justification declared upon all sinners *for the sake of Christ.* I contend that both positions are wrong.

The Scriptures do not speak of a "justification of Jesus" in any forensic or vicarious sense. Jesus did not need to be forgiven of our sins. On the contrary, He was sorely punished for our sins. What does it mean to be "forgiven" if He had already suffered the full penalty for the crimes? It is very poor exegesis to take the words from 1 Tim. 3:16 and apply them to a forensic justification from sin, as the Waltherians have done. Besides, I contend that it is a philosophical and non-scriptural leap to take what is true "in Christ" and apply it to the whole world of sinners who are not "in Christ."

As for the concluding sentence of your statement, it cannot be reconciled with the teaching of UOJ, because the essence of UOJ is that the "whole world" or "all sinners" have been absolved, justified, and forgiven. UOJ teaches that all people *are* in Christ (and somehow outside of Christ at the same time!).

It is a very harmful thing to teach, as UOJ does, that only *some* of those whom God has forgiven and justified will be saved, namely, believers. I teach my people that "forgiven" means "forgiven," and "justified" means "not condemned to hell." These truths apply to believers only.

To assert that God has declared the whole world to be righteous in His sight, while at the same time God damns some of these justified people to hell, is incongruous with the inspired record. Faith lays hold of Christ, whose merits are imputed to faith. This is how sinners are justified. Period.

For those who want to pretend that this is all a non-issue or an argument over words or not divisive of fellowship, they need only look at the official actions of the WELS against those who teach justification by faith alone. I'd be happy to recount the events of the past two years to anyone who wants to listen. The WELS insists (upon threat of removal from office) that its pastors must proclaim that God forgave and declared all sinners righteous 2,000 years ago, in opposition to the Holy Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions.

I appreciate your willingness to carry on a dialogue, and since you seem to be serious about studying and investigating this issue, I would guess you've already read the publications available on the ELDoNA website. If you are interested, I have also written an exegetical paper on Romans 3-4 which can be found here:

I admit that I really do not care for anonymous dialogue, especially since I have already paid dearly for my non-anonymity (and yet the Lord has gracious given me something far better than what I formerly had). "Matthias," I would be more than happy to carry on an actual dialogue with you via e-mail, phone, or in person, and I think I have proven to be trustworthy when it comes to guarding the anonymity of others. I hope to hear from you.
Joe Krohn said...
"To assert that God has declared the whole world to be righteous in His sight, while at the same time God damns some of these justified people to hell, is incongruous with the inspired record."

This is where you go off the tracks.

Jesus said that he did not come to condemn the world, but to save it. And He did that. It is man who condemns himself.
Vernon Knepprath said...
Matthias said: "WELS says that UOJ is the central message of Scripture and they're willing to remove pastors for denying it".

Isn't it interesting that on the basis of a 'perceived' central teaching of Scripture that is not the 'real' central teaching of Scripture (I agree with you), WELS would choose to remove pastors. But when it comes to the matter of practicing theology of glory over theology of the cross, there is no action. Theology of glory is, after all, much of what Church Growth and Contemporary Worship is about, focussing on what people do, instead of focussing on what God did and still does.

A WELS pastor can go on public record of how authentic he feels to be able to wear jeans instead of a robe in a worship service. But it's not the jeans or the robe that is the biggest issue of concern, it's that a WELS pastor believes by his stated words that this action, his action, makes him authentic. And so, one is led to believe that because this pastor wears jeans, he will pave the way for hearts to be receptive to the Holy Spirit. And the synod heads who would remove a pastor for teaching justification by faith, take no action with a pastor who seems to act like wearing jeans is part of the Means of Grace.

This is where the whole plea to "trust your brothers in the WELS" no longer holds water, but leaks like a rusty bucket.
Matthias Flach said...
One thing that I struggle with is this idea of incongruity. Law and gospel are inherently incongruous. So, how can we tell if a position is incongruous because it's wrong or because it properly reflects the distinction between law and gospel?

Side A says, "How can God condemn some if he has already justified all?" To which side B replies, "That's just the distinction between law and gospel."

Side B says, "How can God make atonement for the sins of the world but still refuse to justify the world?" To which side A replies, "That's just the distinction between law and gospel."
Warren Malach said...
Anyone who has studied the history of the Lutheran Church in the US should recognize that the current controversy over the doctrine of Objective Justification is simply a replay of the controversy in the Synodical Conference over the doctrine of Election in the 1880s.
In both controversies, the errorists have placed man's faith in front of God's grace and thereby put sinful man and what he does at the center of the Christian doctrine of salvation rather than God in Christ's "grace for grace," (John 1:16.) In both controversies the errorists have sincerely thought that, by exalting man's faith, even over God's grace, they have kept "Sola Fide" in its proper place in Lutheran teaching, forgeting that "Sola Gratia" must come BEFORE "Sola Fide," even as Scripture teaches: "By GRACE you have been SAVED, THROUGH faith..." (Eph. 2:8.) It is truly tragic when, as is seen in both controversies, Christians who otherwise might be standing shoulder to shoulder against heterodoxy find themselves at odds over such fundamental doctrines. Consider this historical fact: the descendents of those church bodies which in the 1880s taught or tolerated the error of "intuitu fidei finalis" against the orthodox teaching of "sola gratia"--the Ohio and Iowa Synods--ultimately merged into other heterodox church bodies and ended up's ELCA. If one subscribes to one error, even trying to champion Lutheranism's "Sola Fide," it becomes that much easier to fall for another. Let those who deny Objective Justification tell us where they stand on the doctrine of Election, and one can see the historical parallel.
Joel Lillo said...
Warren Malach,

That was one of the best, most concise, arguments in favor of Objective Justification I think I've ever read. Very well done!
Matthias Flach said...
Warren, I have to disagree completely with Joel's assessment of your comment. It's exactly the sort of argumentation that I was trying to avoid. It's an attempt at guilt by association (without any actual association) and without any Scriptural or Confessional support. It's also uncharitable. I've read pretty much everything written by ELDoNA on the subject, and in not one case have I observed them putting faith before grace or erring on the matter of election.
Warren Malach said...
Matthias Flach, I wrote a comment in a blog, not a doctrinal dissertation. Do you want me to copy on to this blog a doctrinal dissertation? At the risk of appearing to question "where you are coming from," I have also read things written on either side of the controversy, and must ask, if you are going to expect such of me: What is YOUR Scriptural and Confessional evidence for the rejection of the doctrine of Objective Justification as publicly taught by the WELS, ELS, CLC, LCMS, etc.?
Matthias Flach said...
Warren, I haven't stated that I reject the doctrine of objective justification.

Besides, if someone is going to teach a doctrine, shouldn't the onus be on them to prove from Scripture that such a doctrine exists?
Matthias Flach said...
Also, if you're going to make the accusation that a group of pastors puts faith before grace and errs on election, shouldn't you provide some proof?

I guess what I'm sick of is hearing WELS people defend UOJ by saying, "Well, if you don't believe in UOJ, you're automatically making faith a good're automatically guilty of teaching intuitu're automatically rejecting the gospel..." and so on.
Warren Malach said...
Uh...have you REALLY read any of the doctrinal writings defending Objective Justification? And NONE of them cited/quoted Scripture to explain the doctrine? Can you supply a list of these "Scriptureless" doctrinal writings? I'd like to know about them.
My invitation still stands: ask those who deny Objective Justification what they believe about the reason for their election (hint: look for such terms as "GNADENwahl.")
Warren Malach said... I have to copy into this blog the writings of those who oppose Objective Justification ALSO?
I can share your sense of nausea; I also get sick of listening to the "confessional Lutherans" who are utter Pharisees about worship forms, in direct violation of FC X.
I also love the Common Service and the treasury of Lutheran hymnody, but when rank traditionalism regarding forms of worship is elevated to doctrinal orthodoxy, the Gospel Itself is being replaced with a human idol.
Vernon Knepprath said...
Warren, I too must respond to your comment. It is true what you say that an errorist makes faith a work. But I have never, on this or other blogs, seen those who take issue with how some would teach justification, claim that faith is a work of man. I was very clear in my statement regarding faith, that it is a gift of the Holy Spirit provided through the Means of Grace. When the statement that faith is a work is applied or even directed towards those who have been very clear in their words that faith is a gift of God, not a work of man, such an argument becomes a straw man argument.

Regarding Joel's comment, this wasn't an argument for objective justification, it was an argument against justification by faith, defining faith as a work by man. What's interesting is that many who teach objective justification also teach subjective justification, which is justification by faith. Does this mean that subjective justification is justification by faith where faith is a work by man? I hope not, but it's a logical conclusion to draw, since the most ardent supporters of objective justification, at least their version of objective justification, almost always define faith as a work by man. It is not a Scriptural definition of faith, it is not my definition of faith, nor is it the stated definition of faith by many others on these blogs.
Matthias Flach said...
Warren, you've now broken the ground rules repeatedly. If you'd like to continue discussing this issue, please change your tone and your method of argumentation.
Warren Malach said...
Mr. Knepprath, I really can't comment on your "logical conclusion," because I don't base my doctrine upon human logic and rationalism. Scripture warns me not to trust such things, but to trust only the Word of God Itself.

I would be very interested to know who it is, to your knowledge, teaches Objective Justification but denies Subjective Justification. I have NEVER heard of such individuals.
Subjective Justification follows Objective Justification: "By grace are you saved, through faith," (Eph. 2:8.) The Apostle Paul speaks of both being "justified by grace" as well as being "justified by faith," and those are Objective and Subjective Justification.

But with reference to your remarks, you are creating a false analogy regarding "justification by faith." Those who believe in Objective and Subjective Justification do not believe that Subjective Justification or justification by faith is a "work by man," they believe in what Eph. 2:8 teaches. What you are talking about is the problem of those who deny Objective Justification; they take the passages which speak of "justification by faith" as contrasted with justification by works and put them into opposition to God's objective grace in Christ, His "Easter Absolution," thus making faith by default a "work by man" and rejecting the meaning of the very verses which they quote and cite.
Warren Malach said...
Matthias Flach, it is obvious that you cannot deal with those who disagree with you and the agenda of your blog, which you of course control. Since this may be my last posted statement here, permit me to encourage you to develop some honesty and integrity in your ministry and if you don't agree with the doctrine of the WELS, then LEAVE it, and join a synod in which you can function with integrity.
And don't say that someone hasn't warned you!
Matthias Flach said...
Warren, I'm not sure what you're referring to regarding my "agenda". I've already stated several times on this blog that I'm torn between those who hold to and those who reject UOJ. Perhaps it's you who can't deal with people who dare to disagree with you?

Now, to the substance of your argument. You state:

The Apostle Paul speaks of both being "justified by grace" as well as being "justified by faith"

That simply isn't the case. Your exegesis is flawed. Paul speaks of being "justified by grace, through faith". I've never heard anyone try to use that passage to teach UOJ.
Matthias Flach said...
Warren, you also mention Christ's "Easter absolution". I think this seems to be the crux of the matter. Paul Rydecki's argument is that Scripture says nothing about an Easter absolution. Perhaps you or someone else could point to a passage of Scripture that describes this Easter absolution.
Warren Malach said...
Matthias Flach, if you don't know what to believe about the doctrine of Justification, HOW can you publicly preach and teach God's Word as a called pastor?

My references were to individual verses which say "justified by grace" (Rom. 3:24, Titus 3:7) and those which say "justified by faith," (Rom. 3-5.) I have REPEATEDLY quoted and cited Eph. 2:8 ("by grace, through faith,") or haven't you noticed?

Just because YOU haven't heard of anyone use a certain verse a certain way doesn't mean that it isn't a legitimate use of Scripture. Do you do independent study of Scripture, or only according to "the tradition of the fathers"?

Pastor Rydecki--who had to be "pried out" of the WELS because he lacked the integrity to enter into a state of confession over against its teachings and leave the synod himself, along with some others who will remain nameless--rejects the clear teaching of Rom. 4:25 that Jesus was "raised again for our justification." That is the "Easter Absolution" of our Lord. QED
Matthias Flach said...
Alright, Warren, I've given you plenty of warning. You obviously aren't here for a fair and open discussion. I'm sorry that I have failed so miserably by not having every truth of Scripture figured out perfectly. I'm sorry that I desire to discuss the truths of Scripture.

I'm sorry that I have to ask you now not to post here anymore.
Matthias Flach said...
My apologies to those who came here for a calm and reasoned discussion. Hopefully we can get things back on track.

Warren's response to my questions does bring to mind another question that I've often wondered about.

I've long noticed there seems to be a great deal of reluctance in the WELS to discussing UOJ. I've often gotten the impression that UOJ is simply settled doctrine, not something to be questioned or discussed by anyone.

Has anyone else noticed this? If so, why is this? Insecurity? Another reason? I honestly don't know.
Jon Amendall said...
Why is it difficult to teach Justification by Grace through Faith? Why must additional adjectives and explanations be appended?
Augsburg Confession, Article IV: Of Justification.

1] Also they teach that men cannot be justified before God by their own strength, merits, or works, but are freely justified for 2] Christ's sake, through faith, when they believe that they are received into favor, and that their sins are forgiven for Christ's sake, who, by His death, has made satisfaction for our sins. 3] This faith God imputes for righteousness in His sight. Rom. 3 and 4.

Pretty simple. Leave it alone.
Joel Dusek said...
Malach wins the prize for fastest descent into Urinary Olympics.

Mr. Flach, indeed. I believe the reluctance is not just in discussing UOJ, the reluctance is in opposing official WELS teachings. Some are convinced WELS is right no matter what. You have referenced the cultish Papist mentality of WELS elsewhere on this blog, and I applaud you for that. (As I like to call it, "The Holy See of Milwaukee".) A reasoned and calm discussion in WELS is only available at WELS approved conferences and symposia.

Keep up the good work.
Joel Lillo said...
The recent conversation here is getting me more and more convinced that "Matthias Flach" is, in fact, Greg Jackson.
Joel Dusek said...
Silver Medal, Lillo.
Matthias Flach said...
Really, Joel? Simply asking for a discussion of UOJ means that I must be Greg Jackson? That's the only reason anyone would ever want to discuss UOJ? My initial position is included in the body of this post. Read it. It's not Jackson's position, not at all.
Gern B. said...
Justification can be viewed universally and objectively in this sense: that the sins of the world were imputed to Christ on the cross, but in his resurrection, they were no longer imputed to his account. This non-imputation of the world's sins to Christ's account is universal and objective in the sense that Christ is the Substitute for the entire world. This justification was declared upon Christ and exists only in Christ, and does not apply to those who, because of unbelief, are outside of Christ.

Matthias, whoever you are, this is correct. Please do not inquire of P. Rydecki. Please.
Ben Wink said...
To be fair about this and say whatever you'd like about him, Dr. Jackson has never been shy about saying his name when commenting. He doesn't go the anonymous route for as long as I've read him or his blog. 

But because saying the name of "Greg Jackson" immediately gets a reaction apparently, preconceived notions materialize. It is same as a liberal not agreeing with a conservative on a topic and calling the conservative a "racist". The word is a touchstone and immediately plants prejudice. 

Because apparently "Greg Jackson" is the same as "Boogeyman" in certain circles, they resort to pigeonholing others. Frankly I admire the discussion going on with this blog. The blogger is honest about his motivations and the only ones taking cheap shots are those that cannot argue effectively.

So to claim that this writer of this blog is Greg Jackson is quite disingenuous.
Anonymous said...
*sigh* was really hoping to have a discussion free from name calling and slander. Anyways...
Matthias, as stated before, I am also torn on the issue. It took Luther several years to figure things out. If you would like another example, look to the disciples. I will not fault you for wanting to look into the matter. In fact every pastor should desire to look more deeply into justification.
So to your question, why does it seem that many in the WELS are reluctant to discuss UOJ? I fear that anyone who wants clarification is cast as dissident. Perhaps the root of this can be found in past problems like Kokomo. At our most recent conference a paper as given on UOJ. The presenter allowed questions. Many were willing to ask for clarification, but no one was willing to ask "is this truly scriptural" or "is this the best way to speak of justification"? I am in the camp that our language does need to cleaned up-as seen from the example of the "this we believe" quote mentioned earlier.
As before, my prayers are with you and your sheep. Keep pointing them to Christ alone, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross.
God be with you,
Mr. Overhill
Anonymous said...
From "God So Loved the World" by Lyle Lange:

"When we speak of objective justification, we mean that justification is complete. It does not need to be completed by faith or any other work. It is finished, perfect. God has declared the world righteous for Jesus' sake. This is an objective reality, whether anyone believes it or not. Even if the whole world rejected the message of the gospel, it would still remain an objective raelity that god had acquitted the world of sin."

"God justified the world on the basis of Christ's substitutionary life, death, and resurrection. Therefore, God tells us to announce to all people that their sins are forgiven. This is what Jesus did to the paralytic. He said to him, 'Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven' (Matthew 9:2). He did not say to him, 'Your sins are forgiven IF you believe.' The announcement was simply one of good news: your sins are forgiven. It is done; there are no strings attached. The old Adam with its work-righteous attitude is so active that people always want to attach conditions to the gospel. They want to believe that God's justification of sinners won't be complete until they have done their part. However, Scripture is clear. There is nothing we can do; there is nothing we need do. Jesus did it all. God justified the world because of Christ's work. On the cross, Jesus declared, 'It is finished' (John 19:30). In Hebrews 10:10-14, the writer declares three times that Jesus made one sacrifice for the sins of all. There is no need for any further sacrifice. God has justified the world freely apart from anything we do (Romans 3:24-25)."

"Faith is not a good work that completes what Christ did. Justification does not depend on faith to be completed. Rather, through faith God gives to believers the benefit of what Christ did. It is, as our dogmaticians have said, the receiving instrument. Faith is what God works in us that we may receive the benefit of justification."

From the Formula of Concord:

"For faith does not make people righteous because it is such a good work or such a fine virtue, but because it lays hold of and accepts the merit of Christ in thep romise of the holy gospel. For this merit must be applied to us and appropriated through faith if we are to become righteous through it. Thus, the righteousness that out of sheer grace is reckoned before God to faith or to the believer consists of the obedience, suffering, and resurrection of Christ because he has satisfied the law for us and paid for our sins." (Formula of Concord Solid Declaration III:13,14)

I am a WELs member. I am an MLC student. I believe this is what the Bible teaches about objective justification. I believe this is what the Confessions support about objective justification.

- Mr. Abbott
Anonymous 2 said...
Maybe the best way to discuss the WELS teaching on objective/subjective justification would be to study and discuss the presentation of that teaching in the essay by D.P. Jon Buchholz. This essay is much more "official" than the bizarre Kokomo nonsense.
Matthias Flach said...
Mr. Abbott, thank you for providing those quotations. Doesn't Lange, though, set up a strawman when he writes, "Faith is not a good work that completes what Christ did". No one is saying this! I'm convinced that if any consensus can be reached on this issue, we need to burn the strawmen, this one first.
Anonymous said...
From "God So Loved the World" by Lyle Lange:

"Scripture makes it clear that all people by nature are born in sin and are under the wrath of God. Sin is universal. Paul wrote, "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Paul continues by stating, "and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus" (Romans 3:24). For whom did Jesus die? Scripture tells us that Jesus died to pay for the sins of the world:

"The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, 'Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!'" - John 1:29
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one ando nly Son, that whoever beleives in him shall not perish but have eternal life." - John 3:16
"God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." - 2 Corinthians 5:19-21
"He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world." - 1 John 2:2

"The context of each passage is clear. Jesus did not die to pay for the sins of only those elected to salvation. There is no inclination of a figure of speech in any of these passages. 'The world' equals all people. God punished every sin in Christ, and he forgave every sin in Christ."

"Scripture indicates God earnestly desires the salvation of all sinners (1 Timothy 2:4, 2 Peter 3:9). In fact, God is so serious about saving sinners that he takes an oath to make this clear (Ezekiel 33:11). No one will go to hell because God did not want him saved. The Old Testament makes it clear that the Messiah's mission was to save all people. The Lord promised Abraham that through his descendant all nations of the earth would be blssed (Genesis 12:3). Peter told Cornelius, 'All the prophets testify about him that everyone who beleives in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name' (Acts 10:43). The New Testament also makes it clear that salvation is for all people. The angels and Simeon declared that the good news about Jesus was meant for 'all people' (Luke 2:10,31,32). Jesus declares that 'whoever believes' will be saved (John 3:16,18). Jesus commands the gospel be proclaimed to all the world. The apostles indicated that Christ atoned for the sins of the whole world."

From the Formula of Concord:

"Therefore, if we want to consider our eternal election to salvation profitably, we must always firmly and reigidly insist that, like the proclamation of repentance, so the promise of the gospel is universalis, that is, it pertains to all people (Luke 24:47). Therefore, Christ commanded preaching 'repentance and the forgiveness of sins in his name to all nations.' 'for God so loved the world that he gave his only Son' for it (John 3:16). Christ has taken away the sins of the world (John 1:29); his flesh was given 'for the life of the world' (John 6:51); his blood is 'the atoning sacrifice for...the whole world' (1 John 1:7; 2:2). Christ said, 'Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest' (Matthew 11:28). 'God has imprisoned all in unbelief, that he might have mercy on all' (Romans 11:32)." (Formula of Concord Solid Declaration XI:28)

I am a WELS member. I am an MLC student. I believe this is what the Bible teaches about universal justification. I belive this is what the Confessions support about universal justification.

- Mr. Abbott
Anonymous said...
Mr. Flach, I understand that no one here is saying that ("Faith is not a good work that completes what Christ did"). I was simply quoting the whole passage from the book to support the teaching of objective justification.

- Mr. Abbott
Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...
Matthias, I do appreciate your attitude. It's refreshing. When I speak of "incongruity," what I'm referring to is that there are dozens of Bible passages that clearly speak of God's manner of justifying sinners being by faith, and that clearly speak of unbelievers as being not justified, but under God's wrath and condemnation. Whereas there are no passages that positively, much less clearly, state that God justifies people (any people, much less all people) *not* by faith. This is why I said that the teaching of UOJ is incongruous with the inspired record.

Someone mentioned Rom. 4:25. I'm willing to defend the exegesis I provided in the link to my paper, if anyone wishes to deal with it. I didn't get to Romans 5 in this paper, but will at some point in the future.

Here is something interesting that I didn't include in that paper, but that illustrates well Paul's usage of the phrase "raised for our justification."

We confess every Sunday about Christ in the Nicene Creed: "...who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven..."

The phrases "for us men" and "for our salvation" in the Greek of the Nicene Creed are exactly the same construction as the phrases Paul uses in Rom. 4:25, using the preposition dia + accusative, clearly expressing the purpose (final cause) of Christ's coming, not that "our salvation" already "existed" before He came down.

In other words, Christ was raised for the purpose of justifying us (by faith), just as Abraham was justified by faith in Him who raises the dead.
Matthias Flach said...
Paul, do you reject, then, Gerhardt's interpretation of Romans 4:25?

As God punished our sins in Christ, because they were laid on him and imputed to Him as our Substitute, so in the same
manner He, by raising Him from the dead, absolved Him by this very act of our sins which had been imputed to Him, and thereby He absolved in Him also us."
Anonymous said...
I will admit that I'm no expert in theology. I'm in the teacher track at MLC, so I haven't studied the original languages at all. But I personally think that what the Bible says about objective justification and universal justification are pretty clear. I still don't really understand why people have problems with it. I've never run into any of the teachings about UOJ that many people claim that the WELS teaches. Maybe I'm just being naive or something.

- Mr. Abbott
Anonymous said...
I am no theologian...but here is my take on this issue.

Many times in academia, individuals want to play the "great mind". They come up with some theory that in actuality is not uniquely different, and then spend the rest of their lives defending it.

So, an article gets published in Forward in Christ in which UOJ is supported (Christ's death covered the sins of the entire world), but no mention is made that this gift is only made effective when the Holy Spirit brings a person to faith by the means of grace (Word and Sacrament).

Rather than going the extra distance with a few extra sentences, the apologist of UOJ leaves the reader hanging.

You can almost hear the tone of "Oh, I am just so educated and smart...bask in my wisdom".

Perhaps this is because our Seminary primarily only has professors with Master's degrees that their may be a feeling of inferiority. Doctoral dissertations are often dismissed for what is in essence unoriginal research.

Another example is when WELS was trying to adopt the new NIV edition. What was the rush. One statement was "we need to be able to cite biblical references in the papers presented at the Seminary". You can't use another edition, like the King James version, for that without worrying about copyright infringement. I don't mean to slam the WELS educational institutions, but they are not Harvard, Princeton, or Yale.
Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...
I don't reject Gerhard's statement. In fact, that's why I translated all of Gerhard's commentary on Romans (soon to be published), because UOJers keep taking that one sentence of his (poorly translated at that) out of context. Gerhard, too, viewed Rom. 4:25 as a final (purpose) clause, that we may be justified by the risen Christ. He also (at the end) referred to Christ's resurrection as a type of "absolution," but he also limited those who are now absolved to believers (as evident from his list of Bible passages that refer to the same thing), far different than Walther's supposed Easter Absolution of "all people."

His whole statement from the Romans commentary is as follows:

But if someone further inquires: In what sense and respect, then, is our justification, which consists in the remission of sins, attributed to the resurrection of Christ?

We reply: It should be taken in this way.

(1) With respect to the manifestation, demonstration and confirmation, because the resurrection of Christ is the clear testimony that full satisfaction has been made for our sins and that perfect righteousness has been procured. Jerome on this passage: “Christ rose in order that He might confirm righteousness to believers.” Chrysostom, Homily 9 on Romans: “In the resurrection it is demonstrated that Christ died, not for His own sins, but for our sins. For how could He rise again if He were a sinner? But if He was not a sinner, then He was crucified for the sake of others.”

(2) With respect to the application. If Christ had remained in death, He would not be the conqueror of death, nor could He apply to us the righteousness that was obtained at such a high price (Rom. 5:10, 8:34). But since He rose from the dead and ascended into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God, He thus also offers to the world, through the Word of the Gospel, the benefits obtained by His suffering and death, applies them to believers, and in this way justifies them. With respect to this application, Cardinal Toletus (in his commentary on this passage, and Suarez, Vol. 2, in part 3, Thom. Disputation 44, p.478) acknowledges that our justification is attributed to the resurrection of Christ, writing thus: “Christ, by His suffering, sufficiently destroyed sin. Nevertheless, in order that we might be justified and that sin might be effectively remitted to us, it was necessary for the suffering of Christ to be applied to us through a living faith.” Christ arose, therefore, for the sake of our righteousness, that is, so that our faith might be confirmed, and in this way we might be effectively justified. The Apostle notably says that Christ died for our sins and was raised, not for the sake of δικαιοσύνην [righteousness], which is contrasted with sins in general, but διὰ τὴν δικαίωσιν ἡμῶν, “for the sake of our justification,” which consists in absolution from sins.

(3) With respect to the actual absolution from sin. By delivering Christ into death for the sake of our sins, the heavenly Father condemned sin in His flesh through sin (Rom. 8:3). He condemned it because it had sinned against Christ by bringing about His death, even though He was innocent, and so He withdrew from sin its legal right against believers so that it cannot condemn them any longer. He also condemned it, in that He punished our sins in Christ, which were imposed on Him and imputed to Him as to a bondsman. So also, by the very act of raising Him from the dead, He absolved Him from our sins that were imputed to Him, and consequently also absolves us in Him, so that, in this way, the resurrection of Christ may be both the cause and the pledge and the complement of our justification. The following passages pertain to this: 1 Cor. 15:17, 2 Cor. 5:21, Eph. 2:5, Col. 2:12-13, Phil. 3:8-10, 1 Pet. 1:3.
Paul Kuske opposes UOJ and refuses to take communion in WELS.
Will the District Pope kick him out?