Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "UOJ - No Wonder WELS Loves Willow Creek":
1. For the benefit of your newer readers, could you briefly restate your position on justification? How do you define justification? In your view, when and how does it occur?
2. Both the Beckman and Zarling papers state that the Kokomo statements are inadequate representations of the doctrine of objective justification as interpreted by WELS. The statements were taken out of context from the Meyer book, and became a sort of de facto "litmus test" during the controversy. Are they really still used by WELS today?
Thanks for the clarification.
The Scriptures and Lutheran Confessions are very clear about justification by faith. The Holy Spirit works through the Gospel to plant faith in the hearts of those who hear the message (including infants being baptized). Faith receives the Promises of God and the blessings offered: forgiveness of sin, the fruits of the Spirit, eternal life.
Faith is not the cause of salvation. Faith is the result of Gospel proclamation. The statement below is a perfect expression of what I believe and a complete repudiation of UOJ and its bastard child, the Church Growth Movement.
"On the one hand, it is true that both the preacher's planting and watering and the hearer's running and willing would be in vain, and no conversion would follow, if there were not added the power and operation of the Holy Spirit, who through the Word preached and heard illuminates and converts hearts so that men believe this Word and give their assent to it. On the other hand, neither the preacher nor the hearer should question this grace and operation of the Holy Spirit, but should be certain that, when the Word of God is preached, pure and unalloyed according to God's command and will, and when the people diligently and earnestly listen to and meditate on it, God is certainly present with his grace and gives what man is unable by his own powers to take or to give. We should not and cannot pass judgment on the Holy Spirit's presence, operations and gifts merely on the basis of our feeling..."
Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article II, Free
Will, 55-56, The Book of Concord, ed. Theodore G. Tappert, Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1959, p. 531f.
Obfuscation by WELS
WELS is both for and against its own position, depending on the audience. Another exponent of ambiguition on justification is Rolf Preus, who switches back and forth with regularity.
Any quotation or paraphrase that reveals the real WELS is "taken out of context." Long verbatim quotations are "taken out of context." UOJ is the constant drumbeat of WELS today, but Meyers-Kokomo is "taken out of context." Every so often FIC will repeat the false doctrine of God declaring the whole world righteous, free of sin.
I know of a WELS pastor who periodically grills a member on whether that person adheres to the Kokomo Statements.
UOJ is taught in the ELS (Pope John the Malefactor), LCMS (early Robert Preus, but repudiated in his last book), and above all - in ELCA. UOJ is Universalism in another dress.