Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Error of Modern Missouri - The Classic Study of Waltherian UOJ.
Lenski Translated Part of This Volume.
Stellhorn Was One of the Stephanites

The Error of Modern Missouri

Its Inception, Development and Refutation

Authored by Friedrich A Schmidt, Frederick W Stellhorn
Introduction by Conrad H L Schuette, Richard C H Lenksi
Contributions by H A Allwardt, H Ernst
Edited by George H Schodde
Translated by C B Ghodes, W E Tressel, Richard C H Lenski
Edition: 1
This volume, first printed in 1897, was occasioned by the 1880s schism in American Lutheranism. It presents three lengthy treatises on the subject of predestination defending the mainstream Lutheran "intuitu fidei" (Latin: in view of faith) perspective over against a revived deterministic view held by some Lutherans.

The Missouri Synod headed by CFW Walther believed the Bible taught an absolute "single election", which is Augustine's deterministic (and some say, fatalistic) view, but only affecting the saints, a view held by some theologians early in the Reformation.

The Ohio Synod believed the Bible taught an election that preserved some of man's responsibility and freedom in matters of salvation, whether they be saved or damned (Lutheran Scholasticism's view since the 1600s). Using his foreknowledge, God identified and elected those who naturally would resist at times, but would overall cooperate willingly with God's Gospel grace, and have faith at the end of their mortal lives. In other words, none are saved against their will.

F. W. Stellhorn

The first treatise, by Dr. F. W. Stellhorn (translated from the German by R.C.H. Lenski), has three parts: 1) a dogmatic-historical introduction, 2) what the Formula of Concord and the Old Lutheran theologians say, and 3) a debunking the Missouri Synod's doctrine called the election of grace.

The second treatise is by Dr. F.A. Schmidt, titled "Intuitu Fidei." It is translated by Lenski and C.B. Ghodes. Its three parts are: 1) explicating the doctrine of "intuitu fidei," 2) whether the Old Lutheran theologians departed from the Lutheran confessions when they taught "intuitu fidei," and 3) whether "intuitu fidei" is taught in the Book of Concord.

The third treatise is a testimony against the false doctrine of predestination recently introduced by the Missouri Synod, translated by Lenski and W.E. Tressel. The treatise begins with theses prepared by H.A. Allwardt and Prof. H. Ernst, and a discussion of those theses by pastors who left the Missouri Synod over that doctrine. Appended is a history of controversy by H. A. Allward.


GJ - Fox Valley called this Inuitu Fidei, the Faith of the Eskimo, a funny reflection on their reactionary opposition to anything against the Great Walther, not to mention their obsession with pretending to know something.

I confess to never reading this entire book, but it is a classic benchmark in the history of the LCMS. I would rather start with St. Paul, the Reformation leaders, Concordists, and post-Concordists, but the LCMS-ELS-WELS grows misty-eyed about the Good Olde Synodical Conference. 

Stellhorn came over with the Perryville sex cult, so we can see that a division developed.

As I understand it, Lenski's family was pushed out by Waltherian fundamentalists.

Walther referred doubters to his own work, but this one has hundreds of quotations from the European Lutherans, who were real scholars, not just college graduates like Stephan's disciple and disciplinarian.

This book is a bargain, so it is well worth  buying for those who want to study the history. We know that the LCMS and tourist sites deceive everyone about the sex cult origin of their synod. This is, at the very least, another look at the original debates by those who took part in them.

Walther himself was a bully who had to have things his way. Missouri was keen on driving away anyone who disagreed with Walther, as the CFW sycophants took over. They lost the Lenski family and a universally acknowledged New Testament scholar. They divided Lutherdom, which is now united around justification without faith - a sad, tragic victory for Stephan's waterboy.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Luther's Sermon for the 18th Sunday after Trinity. Matthew 22:34-46

Norma Boeckler

Luther's sermon for  the EIGHTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY. Matthew 22:34-46

This sermon is not found in the c. edition. Erl. 14, 163; W. 11, 2249; St. L. 11, 1686.

Text: Matthew 22:34-46. But the Pharisees, when they heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, gathered themselves together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question, trying him: Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law? And he said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second like unto it is this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments the whole law hangeth, and the prophets.

Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, saying, What think ye of the Christ? whose son is he?

They say unto him, The son of David. He said unto them, How then doth David in the Spirit call him Lord, saying, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Till I put thine enemies underneath thy feet? If David then calleth him Lord, how is he his son? And no one was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.


* The Substance of this Gospel.

* Where unbelief is, there is also stupidity and unrighteousness. 2.


1. The foundation and kernal of the law. 3-5.

2. The law must be kept by the heart. 5-10.

3. To what end has the law been given. 6-7f.

* The custom of the Jews in that they offered their children to Moloch. a. The origin of this custom. 8-9. b. How and why God had displeasure in this custom.

4. The law must accommodate itself to our love and our need. 11-13f.

* The ceremonies and statutes of the Papists. a. They must give place to love. b. How and why the Papists are so strict that they neglect the commandments of God. c. What we should think of the Papists being so strict about their ceremonies. 16-17.

* A Judgment on the state of the priests and monks.

5. There are but few persons who understand the law.

6. Whether nature and reason can understand and fulfill the law. 20-21.

7. When and how the law is correctly preached.

8. There is no person who fulfills the law of God. 23-26.

* All people are alike in the inner wickedness of their hearts. 27.


1. The Gospel frees us of an evil conscience.

2. How the Gospel teaches us to become free from the law. 29-31.

* Faith and works.

* To what extent Christ can be called the son of David. 33 -34.


1. The two commands in this Gospel, of the love of God and of our neighbor, condemn us all, not to say anything then that the law Justifies us.
2. The Spirit of God alone fulfills the commandment. Therefore all that pertains to us is against and contrary to the law of God, as St. Paul says in the third chapter of Romans.

3. Seeing all depends upon love, works do not Justify, but faith alone.

Blessed is he who has faith.

4. Christ is both God and man, and David’s son and David’s Lord; therefore he is also the only mediator between God and man, as St. Paul says to Timothy, 1 Timothy 2:5.

1. This Gospel consists of two questions. In the first the lawyer on behalf of the other Pharisees asks Christ: Which is the great commandment in the law? In the second the Lord asks the Pharisees and the lawyer: Whose son is David? These two questions concern every Christian; for he who wishes to be a Christian must thoroughly understand them. First, what the law is, and the purpose it serves; and secondly, who Christ is, and what we may expect from him.

2. Christ explains here to the Pharisees the law, telling them what the sum of the whole law is, so that they are completely silenced both at his speech and his question, and know less than nothing of what the law is and who Christ is. From this it follows, that although unbelief may appear as wisdom and holiness before the world, it is nevertheless folly and unrighteousness before God, especially where the knowledge of the two questions mentioned above is wanting.

For he who does not know how he stands before the law, and what he may expect from Christ, surely has not the wisdom of God, no matter how wise and prudent he may pretend to be. Let us therefore consider the first question, namely: What the law is; what it commands and how it is to be spiritually interpreted.

3. When the lawyer asked Christ, which was the great commandment in the law, the Lord said to him: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second like unto it is this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments the whole law hangeth, and the prophets.”

4. As if the Lord would say: He who possesses love to God, and love to his neighbor, has all things, and therefore fulfills the law; for the whole law and all the prophets point to these two themes, namely: how God and our neighbor are to be loved.

5. Now one may wish to ask: How can you harmonize this statement, that all things are to be comprehended in these two commandments, since there was given to the Jews circumcision and many other commandments? To answer this, let us see in the first place how Christ explains the law, namely, that it must be kept with the heart. In other words, the law must be spiritually comprehended; for he who does not lay hold of the law with the heart and with the Spirit, will certainly not fulfill it. Therefore the Lord here gives to the lawyer the ground and real substance of the law, and says that these are the greatest commandments, to love God with the heart and our neighbor as ourselves.

From this it follows that he, who is not circumcised, who does not fast nor pray, is not doing it from the heart; even though he may perform external acts, he nevertheless does nothing before God, for God looketh on the heart, and not on our acts, 1 Samuel 16:7. It will not profit a man at all, no matter what work he may perform, if his heart is not in it.

6. From this arises another question: Since works are of no profit to a man, why then did God give so many commandments to the Jews? To this I answer, these commandments were given to the end that we might become conscious whether we really love God with all our heart, and with all our soul, and with all our strength, and in addition our neighbor as ourselves; for St. Paul says in Romans 7:7 (3:20), that the law is nothing but a consciousness and a revelation of sin. What would I know of sin, if there were no law to reveal it to me?

Here now is the law that saith: Thou shalt love God with thy heart, and thy neighbor as thyself. This we fulfill if we do all that the law requires; but we are not doing it. Hence he shows us where we are lacking, and that, while we ought really to do something, we are doing nothing.

7. That the Jews had to practice circumcision was indeed a foolish ceremony, yea, a command offensive to reason, even though it were given by God still to-day. What service was it to God, to burden his people with this grievous commandment? What good was it to him, or what service to a neighbor? Yea, and it did not profit the Jew, who was circumcised. Why then did God give the command? In order that this commandment and law might show them whether they really loved God with all their heart, with all their soul, and with all their mind, and whether they did it willingly or not. For if there were a devout heart, it would say: I verily do not know why God gave me circumcision, inasmuch as it does not profit any one, neither God, nor me, nor my neighbor; but since it is well pleasing to God, I will nevertheless do it, even though it be considered a trifling and despised act. Hence, circumcision was an exercise of the commandment, Thou shalt love God with all thy heart.

8. It was also a foolish command God gave to Abraham, to slay his son, Genesis 22:2. For if reason had been the judge in this, both it and all mankind would have come to no other conclusion than this: It is an unfriendly and hostile command, how can it be from God, since God himself said to Abraham that he would multiply his seed through this son, and it would become as innumerable as the stars of the firmament and as the sand by the sea. Therefore it was a foolish commandment, a grievous, hard and unbearable commandment. But what did Abraham do? He closes his senses, takes his reason captive, and obeys the voice of God, goes, and does as God commanded him.

By this he proved that he obeyed from the heart; otherwise, even if he had put his son to death a hundred times, God would not have cared for it; but God was pleased that the deed came from his heart and was done in true love to God; yea, it came from a heart that must have thought: Even if my son dies, God is almighty and faithful, he will keep his word, he will find ways and means beyond that which I am able to devise; only obey, there is no danger. Had he not had this boldness and this faith, how could his fatherheart have killed his only and well beloved son?

9. The Jews later wanted to follow this example and, like Abraham, offered their children unto God, hoping thereby to perform a service well-pleasing to God; but it was far from it. These poor people came to the conclusion:

The service of Abraham was pleasing to God, therefore will ours also be, and consequently they killed one child after another. O, how many healthy, noble and beautiful children perished! The prophets protested against this service, they preached, warned and wrote against it, telling the people that it was deception, but all was in vain. Yea, many a prophet lost his life because of this, as the history in the books of the kings shows.

10. But why was this service of the Jews displeasing to God? For the reason that it did not come from their heart, and was not done out of love to God; but they simply looked upon the service, and did it without the command and word of God; but God saith: My dear sirs, I was not concerned about the fact that Abraham offered up his son, but that he proved by this act that he loved me with his whole heart. There must be first love in the heart, then follows the service that will be pleasing to God; for all the works of the law tend to the end thereby to prove our love to God, which is in the heart; which love the law requires, and wall have above everything else.

11. We are also to notice here that all the works of the law are not commanded merely for the purpose that we simply just perform them; no, no; for if God had given even more commandments, he would not want us to keep them to the injury and destruction of love. Yea, if these commandments oppose the love of our neighbor, he wants us to renounce and annul them. Take the example of this, I recently gave you: Moses brought the children of Israel out of Egypt, leading them for forty years through the wilderness, and not one of them was circumcised, although it was commanded them. Where was their obedience to the commandment?

Was God not angry with them because they did not obey his commandment? No, there was a higher commandment in force at that time, namely, that they were to obey God who commanded them to come out of Egypt in haste to the promised land. By their marching they daily obeyed God, and God accepted it as obedience; otherwise he would have been angry, in that they did not keep his commandments. Both the need and the love were at hand, which set aside all commandments, for it would have been unbearable to endure the pain of circumcision and at the same time the burden of the journey. Therefore love took the place of the commandment of circumcision, and thus should all commandments be kept in love, or not at all.

12. In like manner Christ excused his disciples, as is recorded in Matthew 12:3-4, when the Jews accused them of transgressing the law, of doing on the Sabbath that which was not lawful to do on the Sabbath day, when they plucked the ears of corn and ate them. Then the Lord gave them to understand that they were doing no wrong, as if to say: Here is no Sabbath; for the body needs food, necessity demands it; we must eat, even though it be on the Sabbath. Therefore the Lord cited the example of David, which he laid before the Jews, and said, “Have ye not read what David did; he and they that were with him, when he was an hungered, how he went into the house of God and ate the shew bread which was not lawful to eat, nor for those that were with him, excepting for the priests?” 1 Samuel 21:3f. Then David ate the bread, though he was not a priest, because hunger pressed him to do it. Neither did Ahimelech the priest violate the law in giving the bread to David, for love was present and urged him to give it. Thus even the whole law would have had to serve David in his need.

13. Therefore, when the law impels one against love, it ceases and should no longer be a law; but where no obstacle is in the way, the keeping of the law is a proof of love, which lies hidden in the heart. Therefore ye have need of the law, that love may be manifested; but if it cannot be kept without injury to our neighbor, God wants us to suspend and ignore the law.

14. Thus you are to regulate your life and conduct. There are in our day many customs, many orders and ceremonies, by which we falsely think to merit heaven; and yet there is only this one principle, namely: the love to our neighbor, that includes in it all good works. I will give you an example we recently heard. Here is a priest or monk, who is to read his prayers or the rules of his order, or to hold mass, or say penance. At this moment there comes a poor man or woman to him who has need of his help and counsel. What shall this priest or monk do? Shall he perform his service, or shall he assist the poor man? He should therefore act prudently and think:

True, I am required to read my prayers, hold mass, or say penance; but now on the other hand, a poor man is here; he needs my help and I should come to his rescue. God commanded me to do this; but the others man devised and instituted. I will let the mandates of men go, and will serve my neighbor according to God’s commandment.

15. However, very seldom do we think that the precious service of holding mass and reading prayers should be put in the background; and such a humble service, as you regard it, should have the preference. But what is the reason? The reason is that these dream-preachers, who have nothing to present to us but the ordinances of men, have made us so timid and fearful that we came to the conclusion, if we did not regulate ourselves in everything according to their preaching, heaven itself would fall. Yea, they would rather let ten poor people starve than fail to say one mass. We find even to-day many monks or priests who rather let a poor man freeze, than violate their statutes and ordinances. So lamentably and miserably have they been deceived by their godless preachers and teachers, and by their superiors, who with their statutes and devilish ordinances have drawn, and are still drawing, them away more and more from the law of God to our own notions.

16. These are the principal fruits of unbelief and godlessness, which, as the Scriptures declare, provoke God. Should not God be angry with me, if he commands me to show my neighbor love, and I go and follow my own or other people’s dreams? It is as if a master said to his servant: Go and work in the field, and the servant went and desired to wash the dishes. Should not the master rightly be angry with such a servant? Thus it is also with God. He wants us to keep his commandments, and to regard them more than the commandments of men, and all the commandments to be subservient to love, so that all be comprehended in these two commandments, of which the Lord here speaks in this Gospel: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul and with all thy mind, and thy neighbor as thyself.”

17. Do you want to do something pleasing to God, then do it out of genuine love. That the Jews practiced circumcision, fasted much, prayed much, and performed other like services, was not pleasing to God, for it did not come from the heart, as this commandment requires: Thou shalt love God with all thy heart. Thus it will be also with you, even though you should belong to the Carthusian friars, or to a still more exacting order; all would avail nothing, if you had not the love of God. From this you are to conclude, all works are nothing, that do not originate in love, or are against love. No commandments should be in force, except those in which the law of love can be exercised.

18. From this it now appears what a misleading calling that of the monks and priests is, in that they wish to merit heaven through their works alone, and they also bind the people to do good works, in order that they may thereby merit heaven, which is a cursed and godless service. Hence, as already stated, the law is to be only an exercise to prove our love; otherwise, aside from love, God never inquires about works, no matter how excellent they are.

19. You can now see how many people know what the law means: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and thy neighbor as thyself.

Surely they are few who know it, and fewer still who keep it. How can they keep that which they do not know? We are blind and our nature is totally blind, and so is also human reason. It knows nothing so imperfectly as that which the law of God requires.

20. Now here Christ shows the Pharisees and the Scribes a twofold kindness. In the first place, he dispels their blindness and teaches them what the law is. In the second place, he teaches them how impossible it is for them to keep the law. Their blindness he dispels, in that he teaches them what the law is, namely: that love is the law. Human reason cannot comprehend this nowadays any more than the Jews did then, for if it had been possible for human reason to comprehend it, the Pharisees and Scribes, who at that time were the best and wisest of the people, could have understood it; but they thought it consisted alone in performing the external works of the law; in giving to God, whether it be done willingly or unwillingly; but their inward blindness, their covetousness, and their hardened heart they could not see, and thought they thoroughly understood the law and were fine fellows, holy and pious people; but they stood in their own light. For no one is able to keep the law unless his nature is thoroughly renewed.

21. Therefore consider it an established fact that reason can never understand and fulfill the law, even though it knows the meaning of the law. When do you do to another what you want him to do to you? Who loves his enemy from his heart? Who loves to die? Who willingly suffers disgrace and shame? Dear sir, point me to a man who enjoys to have a bad reputation or to live in poverty! For nature and human reason flee entirely from this, are afraid, terrified and shocked; and if it were possible, as far as it were in their power, they would never suffer such misfortune. Human nature alone will never be able to accomplish what God in this commandment requires, namely, that we surrender our will to the will of God, so that we renounce our reason, our will, our might and power, and say from the heart: Thy will be done. And indeed, nowhere will you find a person who loves God with his whole heart and his neighbor as himself. It may indeed happen that two companions live friendly together; but even there hypocrisy is hidden, which continues until you are wounded by him; then you will see how you love him, and whether you are flesh or spirit.

This commandment therefore requires me to be friendly with all my heart to him who has offended me; but when do I do this?

22. Thus Christ desires to show us that we preach the law rightly, only when we learn from it that we are unable to fulfill it, and that we are the property of the devil. This we learn from experience, and it is shown now and then in the Scriptures, especially by St. Paul when he says in Romans 8:7-8: “Because the mind of the flesh is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be,” and it follows, that they who are in the flesh cannot please God.

23. Hence, take to thyself this commandment: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and think upon it, contemplate it, and search what kind of a law it is; how far you are from fulfilling it, yea, how you have not yet even made a beginning to suffer and to do from the heart what God demands of you. It is pure hypocrisy, if anyone wants to creep into a hiding-place and think: Oh I will love God. Oh, how I do love him, he is my Father! How gracious he is to me! and the like. Yes, when God does our pleasure, then we can easily say such things; but when he sends misfortune and adversity, we no longer regard him as our God, nor as our Father.

24. True love to God does not act in this way, but in the heart it thinks and with the lips says: Lord God, I am thy creature; do with me as thou wilt; it matters not to me. I am ever thine, that I know; and if thou desirest, I will die this very hour or suffer any great misfortune; I will cheerfully do so from my heart. I will not regard my life, honor and goods and all I have, higher and greater than thy will, which shall be my pleasure all my days.

But you will never find a person who will constantly regulate himself according to this commandment; for the whole life you are living in the body, in the five senses, and whatever you do in your body, should all be so regulated as to be done to the glory of God, according to the regulations of this commandment, which saith, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, with all thy mind.” As if Christ said: If you love God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind, then nothing will be lacking; you shall experience it in your daily life, namely: when everything you do, whether you wake or sleep, whether you labor or stand idle, whether you eat or drink, is directed and done out of love to God from the heart. In like manner your mind and thoughts will also be directed wholly and entirely to God, so that you will approve of nothing you are not certain is pleasing to God. Yea, where are those who do this?

25. And this part where he says, “With all thy mind,” argues powerfully against the writings and teachings of man, upon which he especially depends, and thinks thereby to obtain a merciful God and merit heaven.

Such imagination of the human reason draws us in a wonderful manner from this commandment, so that we do not love God with all the mind; as has been done hitherto, and is still done at the present day. For these priests and monks think nothing else than that God is moved by the mass and by other human inventions; but he abhors it and does not desire it, as is said in Isaiah 29:13: “In vain do they serve me, because they are teaching such doctrines which are only the commandments of men.” Matthew 15:8-9. The commandment here requires you to consider nothing good that is against God and against everything he has commanded or forbidden. It thus requires, you to give yourself wholly and entirely to him in all your life and conduct.

26. From this you can conclude, there is no human being who is not condemned, inasmuch as no one has kept this commandment, and God wants everyone to keep it. There we stand in the midst of fear and distress, unable to help ourselves, and the first knowledge of the law is, that we see our human nature is unable to keep the law; for it wants the heart, and if it is not done with the heart, it avails nothing before God. You may indeed do the works outwardly, but God is not thus satisfied, when they are not done from the heart, out of love; and this is never done except man is born anew through the Holy Spirit. Therefore God aims to accomplish through the law nothing more than that we should in this way be forced to acknowledge our inability, frailtry and disease, and that with our best efforts we are unable to fulfill a letter of the law. When you realize this, the law has accomplished its work. This is what Paul means when he says in Romans 3:20, “Through the law is the knowledge of sin.”

27. From this it appears clearly that we are all alike, and are one in the inner wickedness of the heart, which the law reveals, when we look into it rightly. Therefore we might well say, If one is good, then all are good.

Therefore no one should accuse another. It is indeed true that in public and gross sins there sticks a deeper sin; but the heart is alike bad, unless it be renewed by the Holy Ghost. But what shall I do when I once recognize my sin? What does it profit me? It helps me very much, for when I have come thus far, I am not far from the kingdom; as Christ says to a scribe in Mark 12:34, who also knew that the works of the law were nothing without love.

28. But what shall we do to get rid of our bad conscience? Here follows now the other part of this Gospel, namely, who Christ is and what we can expect of him. From him we must receive and secure freedom from a wicked conscience, or we shall remain in our sins eternally, because for this purpose is Christ made known and given by the Father, in order that he might deliver us from sin, death, from a wicked conscience, and from the law.

29. We have now heard what the law is, and how through the law we come to the knowledge of sin; but this is not enough, another has a work to do here, whose name is Christ Jesus; although the first, the law, must indeed remain; yea, it is necessary. For if I have no sense of my sins, I will never inquire for Christ; as the Pharisees and scribes do here, who thought they had done everything the law commanded and were ready to do yet more; but of Christ they knew nothing. Therefore, first of all, when the law is known and sin revealed through the law, it is then necessary that we know who Christ is; otherwise the knowledge of sin profits us nothing.

30. But the law is known, when I learn from it that I am condemned, and see that there is neither hope nor comfort anywhere for me, and I cannot even help myself, but must have another one to deliver me. Then it is time that I look around for him who can help, and he is Christ Jesus, who for this purpose became man, and became like unto us, in order that he might help us out of the mire into which we are fallen. He loved God with all his heart and his neighbor as himself, and submitted his will to the will of his Father, fulfilled the law in every respect; this I could not do and yet I was required to do it. Therefore, he accepts him; and that which he fulfilled in the law, he offers me. He freely gives me his life with all his works, so that I can appropriate them to myself as a possession that is my own and is bestowed upon me as a free gift. He delivers us from the law, for when the law says, Love God with all thy heart, and thy neighbor as thyself, or thou wilt be damned, then I say, I cannot do it. Then Christ says: Come to me, take me and cling to me by faith; then you shall be rid of the law.

31. Now this is accomplished in the following manner: Christ has through his death secured for us the Holy Spirit; and he fulfills the law in us, and not we. For that Spirit, whom God sends into your heart for the sake of his Son, makes an entirely new man out of you, who does with joy and love from the heart everything the law requires, which before would have been impossible for you to do. This new man despises the present life, and desires to die, rejoices in all adversity, and submits himself wholly and entirely to the will of God. Whatever God does with him, is well pleasing to him. This Spirit you cannot merit yourself, but Christ has secured and merited it. When I believe from the heart that Christ did this for me, I receive also the same Holy Spirit that makes me an entirely new man. Then everything God commands is sweet, lovely and agreeable, and I do everything he desires of me; not in my own strength, but by the strength of him that is in me, as Paul says in Philippians, 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ that strengtheneth me.”

32. But you must take heed, that you do not undertake to secure this faith in Jesus Christ by your own works or power, or that you think lightly about this matter; for it is impossible for the natural man; but the Holy Spirit must do it. Therefore beware of the preachers of self-righteousness, who simply blabber and say: We must do good works in order to be saved.

But we say that faith alone is sufficient to this end. Our good works are for another purpose, namely, to prove our faith, as you have already frequently heard from me.

33. Now this is the purpose of the question the Lord put to the Pharisees:

What think ye of Christ; who is he and whose Son is he? But their answer, in that they say, He is the son of David, the Lord rejects and obscures their answer and refers to a passage from the Psalm, in order to leave them in doubt; so that no one is able to answer him a word.

34. However, when David calls Christ his Lord, in that he says in <19B001> Psalm 110:1, “But the lord said unto my Lord, ‘Sit thou on my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool,’” it is to be understood that David speaks of him both as God and man, for according to the flesh alone he was the son of David. Paul also joins these two when he says in Romans 1:1-4: “I am called to be an apostle, separated unto the Gospel of God, which he promised afore through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh; who was declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” But it is something to know that Christ is Lord; for this has might and power and is especially comforting in the time of affliction. But concerning this I have said more elsewhere and will therefore now close, and pray God for grace.

Jackson Rose Farm, Part Two

These are the red KnockOut doubles in full bloom after a severe pruning 3 weeks ago.
There are also two pink KnockOuts and two white KOs.

Each Queen Elizabeth Rose has a memorial plaque.

Close up of the second one.

Mr. Lincoln - ok, I will use the tripod next time.

Veterans Honor glows like red velvet in the garden,
and the blooms are fragrant and long-lasting.
This was the straw bale and slug mating center.
Now the soil is extra fertile for tomatoes next summer.

Peace would not stand still in the autumn breeze.

The rustic fence is an extension of the Jackson Bird Paradise.
Elderberry just fruited. Lantana is blooming - my bargain plants from Lowe's.
Stage one of cardboard and newspaper mulching
to let the Honeysuckle Vine take over and swamp the stump
next summer.

Jackson Rose Farm, Part one

Friday, October 2, 2015

Thank You Forrest Bivens for Exposing the UOJ Bait-and-Switch Hoax

WELS seminary professor  Forrest Bivens, is a Fuller alumnus, 
like David Valleskey and Larry Olson.
Probably all the leaders of WELS have been trained at 
Fuller or its clones.

Some of us have been exploring the dark underworld of cowardly Universalism - UOJ - for years. We are familiar with the essays that slide from citing Luther to channeling Knapp, Rambach, and Stephan. Some ask, "Who are Knapp, Rambach, and Stephan?"

The authorities for the UOJ chattering class are not Luther, Melanchthon, Chemnitz, and Chytraeus--honored in the Book of Concord--but obscure and seldom studied anti-Christians.

Knapp was the last of the old Pietists at Halle University, a school started to teach Biblical piety yet quickly transformed into anti-Biblical rationalism. The pivotal modern theologian for the 20th century, Schleiermacher, was educated at Halle and taught rationalism there. My witty sainted friend in the Anglican tradition called Schleiermacher's style "faith without belief."

I doubt whether any of the blowhards praising the doctrine of Knapp, Rambach, and Stephan have spent any time studying Knapp and Schleiermacher. In my misspent youth I studied all the key modern theologians - Schleiermacher, Barth, Rahner, Kueng, and Tillich. My Notre Dame professors were keen about their favorites, so surviving the classes meant studying the liberal theologians as well as well as the current stars of football team. Yes - that - important. Joe Montana was one.

I got closer to Montana at the recent Walmart meeting than I ever did
at the Notre Dame Library.

In the last 150 years or so, the mainline apostates have taken over the teaching of higher education in theology. Few university theologians are believers. Like Barth, they know how to double-talk, letting the believers think they are doing something more than engaging in creative writing. The UOJ of Barth is important, because he is the main theologian of Fuller Seminary, the Harvard of leaders in the LCMS, WELS, ELS and the micro-mini sects.

I thought the study of modern theology was wasted time for many years, but I realized from reading the efforts of the Synodical Conference that the nightmare was starting over again - faith without belief. With considerably less skill, the SynCon writers start with the stars of the Reformation and quickly switch into their anti-Christian, unionistic agenda.

Forrest Bivens is not the only one to do this, but his essay at a worship conference (!) was so obvious that it saved me from looking for more examples. I ran across many other samples of the same Dreck from the swells of WELS, preserved in the Holy of Holies, the WELS Essay Files.

Why is Bivens important?
  1. He and his pal David Valleskey went to Fuller Seminary, bragged about it, and lied about it.
  2. Bivens and Valleskey taught at The Sausage Factory in Mequon.
  3. Both men seldom resisted the urge to promote UOJ - universal forgiveness without faith.
  4. Their dogma is exactly the same as ELCA's, which explains why WELS and ELCA can work together so smoothly - as in Jeske's Change or Die! conferences.
  5. This essay has canonical status by virtue of its inclusion in the WELS Holy of Holies.
  6. WELS is more obvious about UOJ but they reflect the nincompoopery of Missouri on UOJ.
  7. Jay Webber used to complain about the maladroit expressions of UOJ in WELS, but wow - look at his wandering, deceptive, and sloppy Emmaus essay.

Just to be clear - the Chief Article of Christianity is justification by faith.

6] This article concerning justification by faith (as the Apology says) is the chief article in the entire Christian doctrine, without which no poor conscience can have any firm consolation, or can truly know the riches of the grace of Christ, as Dr. Luther also has written: If this only article remains pure on the battlefield, the Christian Church also remains pure, and in goodly harmony and without any sects; but if it does not remain pure, it is not possible that any error or fanatical spirit can be resisted. Formula of Concord, III, The Righteousness of Faith.

The other famous quotation about justification by faith uses Master and Prince in the same argument. Later it was said that it is the article on which the true Church stands or falls. Therefore, these three phrases are used when talking about justification by faith, but the switch is made - without explanation - to justification without faith:

  1. Chief Article in the entire Christian doctrine.
  2. The Master and Prince, lord, ruler, and judge.
  3. The Article on which the Church stands or falls.

Bivens began by quoting from his copy of What Luther Says!

“The article of justification is the master and prince, the lord, the ruler, and the judge over all kinds of doctrines; it preserves and governs all church doctrine and raises up our consciences before God. Without this article the world is utter darkness and death.” (Martin Luther, What Luther Says, Vol. 2. p 703.)

But what is Bivens' description of justification? He asked the question himself and answered on the first page of his essay.

What precisely is this “master and prince, lord, ruler and judge” over other doctrines? Justification is a declaratory act of God, in which he pronounces sinners righteous. As revealed in the Bible, this declaration of God is made totally by grace and on account of Jesus Christ and his substitutionary life and death on behalf of mankind. To phrase it somewhat differently, God has justified acquitted or declared righteous the whole world of sinners. He has forgiven them. They have been reconciled to God; their status in his eyes has been changed from that of sinner to forgiven sinner for the sake of Jesus Christ. Since all this applies to all people, the term universal or general justification is used. In our circles an alternate term, objective justification, is also used. If justification is universal, it must also be objective - sinners are forgiven whether they believe it or not. This is precisely what Scripture teaches in Romans 3:23-24, when it says, “There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. “ All have sinned and all (sic) are justified freely by God’s grace. Ibid.

Forrest Bivens, 
The Primary Doctrine in Its Primary Setting: Objective Justification and Lutheran Worship
Prepared for the WELS National Conference on Worship, Music and the Arts
Carthage College, Kenosha, Wisconsin, July 23, 1996.

So this is the primary doctrine taught by their seminary professor at their national worship conference!

One can hardly find source material more efficacious than this - not exactly ad fontes, but more like ad cloacam.

Cloaca Maxima, Rome

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Resources for Studying Justification by Faith and Universal Objective Justification

"The Holy Spirit teaches man better than all the books; He teaches him to understand the Scriptures better than he can understand them from the teaching of any other; and of his own accord he does everything God wills he should, so the Law dare make no demands upon him."

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 280. Pentecost Sunday John 14:23-31.
Luther’s statement about the Holy Spirit is the most read on the Ichabod blog, with more than 100,000 views. The post contains the graphic, the quotation in the text, and some Biblical passages on the efficacy of the Word.

To Study Justification by Faith in the Bible

Isaiah 55, Mark 4, and Hebrews 4 – the efficacy of the Word.

Jesus teaches in John 16 that "not believing on Me" is the foundational sin.

Isaiah 55 and Romans 10 have been called the Means of Grace chapters of the Bible. 

Romans 10 could also be called a faith chapter, since Paul connects the preaching of the Word with the creation of faith.

Romans 3-5 – Justification by Faith is taught after all forms of justification by the Law or by works are dismissed as inadequate and misleading.

Two Ignored Justification by Faith Treasures – Melanchthon’s Apology of the Augsburg Confession and Luther’s Galatians Commentary

Both works are easily available on the Net, and both find a place in the Book of Concord. Although Melanchthon wrote the Apology or Defense of the Augsburg Confession, the princes and clergy made the document their confession as well. Luther considered himself a “theologian of the Augsburg Confession” and the Book of Concord editors did as well. The editors of the Formula of Concord commended Luther’s Galatians Commentary for additional study of justification. The entire book cannot be included in a concise confession, but this recommendation is the highest possible praise for Galatians, the best work on justification by the greatest theologian and Biblical scholar of the Christian Church. Therefore, one cannot dispute the justification by faith or invent new twists—like universal justification and double justification—and claim to be an orthodox or Confessional Lutheran.
Lutherans seldom concede that all their denominations were conceived in an era of Pietism, when Spener and his cohorts had a very special place in the hearts of the founders. They were escaping the secularism of the state church in Scandinavia, and avoiding the law in Germany. The Stephanite exodus was deliberately Pietistic, and the Walther circle followed Pietistic leaders (Kuehn and Stephan) and studied Pietistic authors – Rambach, Arndt, A. H. Franke, Spener, and Fresenius. Zion, p. 38.

All the groups were strangely alike in their unionism, combining Lutheran and Reformed communion (Wisconsin Synod and the General Synod), and indifferent to the Book of Concord at first. They looked to Halle University as the center of Pietism and engaged in conventicles or cell groups, which have been brought back in the name of Fuller Seminary’s Church Growth Movement. The founders of ELCA, like Missouri and WELS, struggled with Lutheran identity but went back to rationalistic Pietism of the past, including the universal justification of Halle University, Rambach, and Knapp. The history is sad and the details endless. Now all the Lutheran leaders agree on the whole world forgiven—without the Word or faith or the Means of Grace—and work together through Thrivent Insurance.
The Apology of the Augsburg Confession is a great but overlooked treasure. The essay on justification by faith illustrates why Luther held his colleague in such high esteem.
Faith is that my whole heart takes to itself this treasure. It is not my doing, not my presenting or giving, not my work or preparation, but that a heart comforts itself, and is perfectly confident with respect to this, namely, that God makes a present and gift to us, and not we to Him, that He sheds upon us every treasure of grace in Christ. Apology IV, 48.

Melanchthon did not omit repentance, as the opponents of justification by faith do. They offer cheap grace that promises people being born forgiven and even being guilt-free saints in Hell, a potent sign of theological illiteracy.

For the Gospel convicts all men that they are under sin, that they all are subject to eternal wrath and death, and offers, for Christ's sake, remission of sin and justification, which is received by faith. The preaching of repentance, which accuses us, terrifies consciences with true and grave terrors. For the preaching of repentance, or this declaration of the Gospel: Amend your lives! Repent! when it truly penetrates the heart, terrifies the conscience, and is no jest, but a great terror, in which the conscience feels its misery and sin, and the wrath of God. That Faith in Christ Justifies, Apology, IV, 61
Few can write as clearly and concisely as Melanchthon, so it is no wonder that with all objections to UOJ answered in advance, none of these bravehearts want to quote him. The sub-headings in this section are worth noting. By themselves they create a framework that does not allow for universal justification without faith.
76 To attain the remission of sins is to be justified, according to Ps. 32:1: Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven. By faith alone in Christ, not through love, not because of love or works, do we acquire the remission of sins, although love follows faith. 78 Therefore by faith alone we are justified, understanding justification as the making of a righteous man out of an unrighteous, or that he be regenerated. That We Obtain Remission of Sins by Faith Alone in Christ. Apology IV, 76f.

Luther’s Galatians Commentary in the Formula of Concord
At the end of the section on The Righteousness of Faith (nota bene), Solid Declaration, the Concordists write:
Concerning what is needful furthermore for the proper explanation of this profound and chief article of justification before God, upon which depends the salvation of our souls, we direct, and for the sake of brevity herewith refer, every one to Dr. Luther's beautiful and glorious exposition of the Epistle of St. Paul to the Galatians. Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, The Righteousness of Faith, III, 67.
Luther wrote his final version of his Galatians Commentary so there would be no doubts about the apostle’s inspired teaching. This commentary is easily obtained in many version, in older English, in the American Edition of Luther, and so forth. One only needs to Google the name of the book to find a variety of editions, from print editions to free ones on the Net. But Fallowes’ statement in the graphic is still true today – the commentary is almost extinct and forgotten, with Stephan, Walther, and Barth exalted as the true prophets who will explain universal justification.
Melanchthon and Luther worked closely together, and Melanchthon’s work at Augsburg in 1530 became the confession of Luther, the theologians, and the Protestant princes. These two articles teach the efficacy of the Gospel Word, the exclusive work of the Holy Spirit through the Invisible Word of teaching and preaching, and through the Visible Word of the Sacraments. These are called for the sake of brevity, the Means of Grace.

Article IV: Of Justification. Augsburg Confession
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.
Article V: Of the Ministry. Augsburg Confession
1 That we may obtain this faith, the Ministry of Teaching the Gospel and administering the Sacraments was instituted. For through the Word and Sacraments, as through instruments, 2 the Holy Ghost is given, who works faith; where and when it pleases God, in them that hear 3 the Gospel, to wit, that God, not for our own merits, but for Christ's sake, justifies those who believe that they are received into grace for Christ's sake.
4 They condemn the Anabaptists and others who think that the Holy Ghost comes to men without the external Word, through their own preparations and works.

The transition from the New Testament to the Augsburg Confession is easy, since the Reformers thought of their work as explaining the text of the Bible, not defending the doctrine of their professors and relatives. For that reason, universal justification is found nowhere in Luther, Melanchthon, Chemnitz, the Book of Concord, or Gerhard. Other theologians of the Reformation and Concord era, such as Chytraeus, Hunnius, and P. Leyser, are just as clear about justification by faith alone.
Luther understood well the persecution of the Word by Satan, in both ways – the outward persecution by exile, murder, imprisonment, and destruction – but also the subtle and more effective approach of steady correction and improvement.
No one says, “I am against Luther and the Book of Concord. Even those who know nothing of the Confessions will say, “I am Confessional Lutheran, orthodox, and I hold a quia subscription to the Book of Concord.” But most Lutheran leaders immediately begin to improve on Jesus, the Apostles, Luther, and Melanchthon by redefining justification as universal forgiveness and condemning the Spirit’s creation of faith as a work of man. Luther saw this long ago –

After this manner doeth the devil hinder the course of the Gospel, both on the right hand and the left, but more on the right hand, by building and correcting, than on the left by persecuting and destroying. Kregel edition, p. 22.
The building and correcting have accumulated enough to occupy an entire landmass, as Douglas Adams might say. All of Walther’s works were based on UOJ. His disciple Francis Pieper wrote his own Dogmatics focusing on UOJ, using the double justification language of the Calvinist Leonard Woods Jr. The followers of Walther and Pieper formed the faculty of the Wauwatosa Seminary, which was later located in Mequon, all extolling their eccentric mix of Pietism, rationalism, and scholasticism. The WELS essay files are packed with endless repetitions of UOJ, which is proclaimed as the Chief Article.

The words of Luther are used to overturn Luther’s doctrine – more importantly – the inspired and infallible revelation of the Bible. Forrest Bivens is one of many examples quoting Luther to overturn Luther, in 1996. Thus –

Forrest Bivens rejects the Chief Article,
by calling justification without faith the Master and Prince of all doctrines.

“The article of justification is the master and prince, the lord, the ruler, and the judge over all kinds of doctrines; it preserves and governs all church doctrine and raises up our consciences before God. Without this article the world is utter darkness and death.” (Martin Luther, What Luther Says, Vol. 2. p 703.)
After quoting Luther so effectively in the very first paragraph, Bivens corrected Paul, Luther, Melanchthon, Chemnitz, and the rest thus –

What precisely is this “master and prince, lord, ruler and judge” over other doctrines? Justification is a declaratory act of God, in which he pronounces sinners righteous. As revealed in the Bible, this declaration of God is made totally by grace and on account of Jesus Christ and his substitutionary life and death on behalf of mankind. To phrase it somewhat differently, God has justified acquitted or declared righteous the whole world of sinners. He has forgiven them. They have been reconciled to God; their status in his eyes has been changed from that of sinner to forgiven sinner for the sake of Jesus Christ. Since all this applies to all people, the term universal or general justification is used. In our circles an alternate term, objective justification, is also used. If justification is universal, it must also be objective - sinners are forgiven whether they believe it or not. This is precisely what Scripture teaches in Romans 3:23-24, when it says, “There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. “ All have sinned and all (sic) are justified freely by God’s grace. Ibid.

The second all In Romans 3 is inserted by the New NIV and Bivens, which is why the Mequon faculty has forced the New NIV on WELS. If someone reads this aloud, one finds the wording moving craftily into UOJ. Therefore, UOJ is the Chief Article without it, the world lies in utter darkness. Bivens made Universalism his creed and ELCA his ideal fellowship in this deceptive and manipulative statement. No one needs to wonder why a putative Lutheran seminary faculty demands a paraphrase that omits the Sacraments and desecrates justification by faith.
The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod may be more diversified but the official language remains UOJ. David Scaer has obnoxiously stated –
Claiming that God still counts sin against the world denies both the atonement and justification. By Christ's atonement all mankind appears to God as righteous...but subjective justification has no life of its own; it makes objective justification personal, which is only a facet of the universal atonement. The Third Use of the Law, 2005.
Whoever denies objective justification reduces justification to the act of believing and does not believe in it at all. Logically, he denies the atonement and preaches that man is responsible for his sins. Ibid.
Although Scaer is famous for his bizarre declarations, this is really a classic imposition of guilt on anyone who dares to believe, teach, and confess justification by faith.