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Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:10-13 KJV

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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Another Children's Sermon from WELS

Harley Davidson - Our theme for today's WELS sermon.

WELS Pastor Scott Oelhafen, the author of this...uh....the author.

I Am so Glad that Jesus Rode a 'Hog'

A sermon by Pastor Scott Oelhafen

August 31/September 1, 2003 - Pentecost 12

Text: Luke 8: 26-39
(Posted but no longer available on the congregation's website--Trinity, Waukesha)

[GJ - That particular Sunday marked the 100th anniverary of Harley Davidson. Few ministers can manage a product tie-in so deftly. I hope the Harley Davidson folks preserved this commercial message on their website.]

1. He proved His heavenly horsepower
2. He promoted His heavenly mission
(Special thanks to Trinity member Greg Heichelbeck for parking his Harley Davidson motorcycle in front of our church for this sermon and for loaning me his Harley merchandise for this service).

Dear friends of Jesus,
They came this past week all dressed up and places to go. Did you see them? They came motoring across the country, state, and city, revving their engines. Undoubtedly, you heard them. From the city streets, to the parking lots and even in the hallways, their mommas were proud of them. It was truly a sight to behold. Of course you, know what I´m talking about. School started this past week and students, staff, and parents returned to the classroom. Okay -- that´s not what I´m referring to. Unless, you´ve been sequestered in a cabin in the Northwoods for the past few months, you´ll know that Metro-Milwaukee has welcomed more than an estimated half-a-million Harley-Davidson motorcycle enthusiasts. With their world headquarters here in Milwaukee, Harley-Davidson is celebrating its 100th birthday. It´s a popular motorcycle company holding 46% of the sales in North America.

We have a number of Trinity members that are associated with Harley. If you talk with them, they´ll tell you why someone wants to buy a Harley. They´ll tell you that when a customer is buying a Harley, he or she is buying an image first and a motorcycle second. So what´s the image of Harley-Davidson? Most people get their image from the movies like The Wild One in 1953 or Easy Rider in 1969. Harley riders are pictured as big, tough, rebels without a cause. But, remember these words, your mom probably first spoke to you: “don´t always judge a book by it´s cover.’ Some years ago a young, single school teacher decided to travel across America to see the sights she had taught about. Traveling alone in a truck and a camper in tow, she found herself on Interstate 5, near Sacramento, California. In rush-hour traffic, wouldn´t you know it, her water pump blew. She was tired and scared. In spite of the traffic jam, no one seemed interested in helping her. Leaning up against her trailer, she finally prayed, and this was her prayer: “Please God, send me an angel .. preferably one with mechanical experience.’ Four minutes later, a huge Harley drove up, ridden by an enormous man, sporting long black hair, a beard and multiple tattoos. With an incredible air of confidence, he jumped off his Harley, barely glanced at the young woman, and went to work on the truck. Within another few minutes, he flagged down a large truck, attached the tow chain to frame of the disabled truck. He whisked the truck off the freeway to a side street where he continued to work on the truck. The intimidated teacher was too overwhelmed to speak -- especially, when she read the paralyzing words off his leather jacket – “Hell´s Angels, California.’ Yes, God had sent her an angel she wasn´t expecting. As he finished the repair, she finally got up the courage to say: “Thanks so much.’ Noticing her fear, he looked right in her eyes and simply said: “Don´t always judge a book by it´s (sic) cover. You may not know who you´re talking to.’ And with that, he smiled, closed the hood of her truck, and straddled his Harley. He was gone as quickly as he appeared. “Don´t judge a book by it´s cover.’ Good advice – especially when it comes to the greatest person in history – Jesus Christ. Most people who saw Jesus weren´t impressed by Him. Jesus didn´t have the kind of education or degrees that would´ve attracted attention. He didn´t come from a prominent family – just the adopted son of a carpenter from an unknown hick-town known as Nazareth. Isaiah told us ahead of time in his prophesy concerning Jesus Christ: He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him (Isaiah 53:3). Most people would call Jesus the original “rebel without a cause.’ He certainly didn´t fit in to what most people were expecting in a Savior. Sadly, most people of His day dismissed Jesus as unimportant and irrelevant (like many do today). Jesus didn´t fit in to their lifestyle and His Word didn´t appeal to their way of thinking. So they wrote Jesus off. In doing so, they missed out on a God-centered purpose for life now, and an eternity with God in the future. Let´s not make the same mistake. You probably know the nickname for Harley-Davidson motorcycles, don´t you? They´re known as hogs. If you could see the divine Jesus walking among us, I´d like to think that that Jesus could identify with us as human beings. And I´ll bet that even Jesus would ride a Harley this weekend. I don´t know He´d choose a Harley model like Low-rider, Fat Boy, or Heritage. But, as our sermon text will show us, I Am So Glad that Jesus Rode a Hog. In the Biblical account of demon-possession, we´ll hear again how Jesus rode those demon-possessed hogs or pigs, right out of town. But, Jesus did this for good reasons. Jesus Rode Those Hogs to prove His divine horsepower. And Jesus Rode Those Hogs to promote His heavenly mission.

I find it very interesting, and maybe you do too, that of all the places to go in the United States, Milwaukee, Wisconsin has been chosen by Harley-Davidson riders as they (sic) place to be. It´s a place by a lake. Listen to another gathering by another lake, albeit a smaller one, that´s recorded for the ages for us to visit time and time again. Listen as our sermon reading begins: 26 They sailed to the region of the Gerasenes,[2] which is across the lake from Galilee. 27 When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs. 28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, "What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don't torture me!" 29 For Jesus had commanded the evil[3] spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places. Demon possession still attracts a lot of curious fans, especially in college or around Halloween. Just look at the movies that will be advertised in the coming few weeks. Most people just laugh demon possession off as a Steven Spielberg movie trick or pure science fiction. But, our sermon reading shows us that demon possession is fact, and happens more than we realize. The Bible tells us that there´s a spiritual world behind what we can see (and beyond what news agencies report on), and both angels and demons are locked in a spiritual battle (thank God the book of Revelation tells us that the good angels triumph as do all Christian believers). Think about how horrible demon possession would be: to be controlled by a will not your own. The man of our reading had been demon possessed for some time, away from his family, living among tombs. Actually this Biblical account is recorded in 3 of the 4 Gospel writers. The Gospel writer Mark tells us that the demon would make the man cut himself and cry out at night. What suffering! Listen to what happened next: 30Jesus asked him, "What is your name?" 31"Legion," he replied, because many demons had gone into him. And they begged him repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss. Notice how many demons were in this man. A Roman legion of soldiers numbered between 3000-6000. Incredible – a good-size city (3000-6000) of demons were controlling this man. How horrible, and hopeless! But, one more powerful than Legion had come to this place by a lake and the demons had to acknowledge him. Notice the demons knew who Jesus was: the Son of the Most High God. Though many are quick to dismiss Jesus, even these demons had to admit His identity and bow at his feet. And they knew that Jesus hadn´t come to save them but to judge them. For Jesus had come to do battle with them and they only could retreat. When demons are faced with Jesus – they always lose. Listen to what happened next. 32A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into them, and he gave them permission. 33 When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned. To prove that Jesus has all power of heaven and earth at His disposal, and to prove His horsepower as the Savior, Jesus Rode Those Hogs right out of town. For demons are always destructive.

So let me ask you, can you relate to this account of Jesus? I doubt that many here have been in the presence of the demon: Legion. But, each of us has demons that we have to reckon with. Some of us have to daily face the demons of addiction – maybe it´s the demons of drugs, alcohol, pornography, gossip, or materialism (the quest for more and more). Maybe you just can´t stop. Others have to struggle with the demon of death, that makes you feel all alone because your spouse or parent has died and you may feel abandoned. Still others have to face demons of fear, disease, or divorce. We feel trapped and don´t have a ghost of a chance to escape on our own. We can find help only when we begin to realize that we were born as rebels without a cause, rebelling against our creator in what we say, think, and do and deserve nothing but eternal punishment. Yet, remember the Savior´s presence and His words: Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28). Jesus took our demons, sins, and shame to the cross where He paid the ultimate price – His sufferings and death. Better than a car repair, He paid our way into heaven. And He walked out of the tomb to free us from the ultimate demon of death. Now, He invites us to come to Him and He will give us exactly what we need. Sometimes Jesus chooses to remove those demons with continued prayer, Bible study, and angels of all shapes and sizes who will help us. Sometimes, He chooses to let these demons remain – but always providing His almighty presence, peace, and power. Remember, Jesus Rode a Hog to prove His heavenly horsepower.

But, Jesus also rode that Hog to promote His heavenly mission. Jesus just did what no one else could do. He healed a man who was demon possessed. But, listen to two very different responses to Jesus´ saving activity as our sermon text concludes: 34 When those tending the pigs saw what had happened, they ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, 35 and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus' feet, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 36 Those who had seen it told the people how the demon-possessed man had been cured. 37 Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them, because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and left. 38 The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39 "Return home and tell how much God has done for you." So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him. Can you imagine the crowd shuffling Jesus out of town, after all the good He had done? That´s what happens when people are inconvenienced by Jesus and His Word for our lives. Even though they know the truth, they don´t want what Jesus has come to bring: a new life, a new change from being selfish to being self-less, a change from following sin to following the Savior. And this reaction is the scariest part of our reading – people can actually reject Jesus. You and I can reject Jesus. And Jesus doesn´t force Himself on anyone and He does leave if He´s continually rejected. The second reaction was more amazing and had a happy ending. Jesus had come to be the Savior of the World. That demon possessed man knew it and wanted to tell others. Here we have an unusual witness but one that we can relate to. Jesus gives us the same command: start at home, and let´s talk with our families, friends, and neighbors how Jesus has freed us from Satan´s grip for a life of love and concern for others. There´s no better purpose in life. We too can promote Jesus´ heavenly mission as the Savior of the World. And we can do that today by our encouragement to others, by our invitations, by our offerings and prayers. There just might be someone we know who can be freed from their personal demons if we connect them with Jesus.

Yesterday, I took my family to the Waukesha Expo Center and waterfront by Lake Michigan to see the gathering of Harleys by Lake Michigan. It was amazing to see the chrome bikes, the black leather clothes, and the black and orange t-shirts. But, I guess I was most surprised by the vintage tattoos. I wonder what would happen if I came home with a tattoo to my wife Christine. Do you think she´d like it? The only thing I´d have to wonder about is the pain of removing that tattoo :). But, think about it: you get a tattoo to always remember. Do you realize that each of us are tattooed to God´s hands by virtue of our baptism? We´re tattooed into God´s family, which is even better than being a part of the Harley family. Isaiah tells us in the Bible that God has engraved you on the palms of His hands (Isaiah 49:16). God can always see us and see a way for us to be rescued from our earthly and more important eternal problems. So the next time you see a Harley, I pray you´ll remember: Even Jesus Rode a Hog, to prove His Horsepower and promote His heavenly mission. Amen.


GJ - The apple does not fall far from the tree. Wally Oelhafen was in charge of the Michigan District Mission Board, and he loved, loved, loved the Church Growth Movement. Wally only got angry when the CGM was criticized.


Sceleratissimus Lutheranus has left a new comment on your post "Another Children's Sermon from WELS":

I'm speechless, this is the worst example of preaching I've seen to date. You know the definition of a synod is supposed to be people walking together in common support of the Gospel, but I think WEL"S" is now composed of different elements going in different directions. Sorry, as an Orthodox Lutheran I cannot walk in harmony with this CG/Church and Change bilge!

The First Sunday in Advent

Midweek Advent service this Wednesday, 7 PM, Phoenix time.

Hummingbird by Norma Boeckler

The First Sunday in Advent

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

Bethany Lutheran Worship, 8 AM Phoenix Time

The Hymn # 609 Wachet auf
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
The Epistle and Gradual Romans 13:11-14
The Gospel Matthew 21:1-9
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn # 68 St. Thomas

The Advent of Our King

The Hymn #310 St. Michael
The Preface p. 24
The Sanctus p. 26
The Lord's Prayer p. 27
The Words of Institution
The Agnus Dei p. 28
The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
The Benediction p. 31
The Hymn #361 St. Agnes

KJV Romans 13:11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

KJV Matthew 21:1 And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, 2 Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. 3 And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. 4 All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, 5 Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. 6 And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, 7 And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon. 8 And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. 9 And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.

First Sunday In Advent (Veit Dietrich, Reformation Leader)
Lord God, heavenly Father, we thank Thee, we bless and praise Thee forever, that Thou didst send Thy Son to rule over us poor sinners, who for our transgressions did justly deserve to remain in the bondage of sin and Satan, and didst give us in Him a meek and righteous King, who by His death became our Savior from sin and eternal death: We beseech Thee so to enlighten, govern and direct us by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may ever remain faithful to this righteous King and Savior, and not, after the manner of the world, be offended with His humble form and despised word, but, firmly believing in Him, obtain eternal salvation; through the same, Thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

The Advent of Our King
We have Palm Sunday twice a year. The normal time is one week before Easter. This is the other observation of Jesus entering Jerusalem in triumph.

Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem was clearly an announcement of His Messianic reign. He had the disciples make preparations for it. “The Lord has need of it.” He entered as a king, something lost on our present day readers. He was the Son of David, claiming His throne.
The crowds saw it and praised God.
Even the babes praised God.

Baptists tell me that infants have no faith. First, they have to ignore a newborn’s faith in his own parents. I have seen this many times in baptizing babies. The baby looks at me, a stranger, and howls in fear. The startled look is comical from my viewpoint. When he sees and feels his mother again, he quiets down and relaxes at once. I asked one girl teetering on the brink of agreeing with Baptists, “You have seen this happen many times. The baby has faith in its mother, as a newborn?…And yet cannot have faith in God?”

More significantly, the Bible teaches us that babies have faith.

KJV Matthew 21:16 And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?

When these matters are turned around, the confusion creates chaos in thinking.

As I have said many times before, the New Testament continues the Old Testament teaching of the Means of Grace. God has appointed the Word in visible and invisible forms to convey Christ to us.

The Gospel lesson illustrates the difference between the Scriptures and man’s opinion. Man’s opinion has us seeking God, going to Him, and using our wisdom to make a decision.

The Word of God tells us that Christ comes to us. God has appointed instruments (means) to bring Jesus to us and to keep us in the faith. Those who repeatedly despise the Means of Grace harden themselves against the Gospel and lose the benefits so freely given.

These instruments are called Means of Grace because God gives us His grace in this way and only in this way.

It is easy to see how one confusion leads to another. Non-Lutherans are taught to seek comfort in the visible church (the Roman Catholic Church and now more recently the Eastern Orthodox Church). They supposedly know they are right because these institutions have always been there. It’s like being accepted at Harvard rather than Yale, because Yale represented a conservative reaction to Harvard.

Non-Lutheran Protestants are often taught that prayer is an instrument of grace, the only Means of Grace. That gets them very anxious. How do they receive this grace? They must pray, but how much is enough? What kind of prayer is correct? What should they feel? It is easy to take these people and make them pray in tongues. When that is enough, they are told they can get gold fillings (free) while praying and hear about the dead being raised in local funeral parlors.
Gold fillings and mortuary miracles seem crazy but they are recent claims with plenty of devoted followers.

This makes Lutherans sound anti-prayer, but it is a matter of emphasis. Prayer is the fruit of faith. We can see that in the Bible where prayer is urged after stating once again the Promises of God. The Word creates faith through these Gospel Promises and urges the fruit of faith as the fruit of the Spirit.

But first Christ comes to us through the Word. There we learn all God has done in the past, most importantly - redeeming the world through Christ’s crucifixion. This redemption means the price has been paid for our sins. The Gospel Promises of forgiveness and eternal life create faith and sustain faith.

We doubt and our faith gets wobbly. The Gospel Promises attack doubt at the root – our human reason, experience, and emotions. The wonderful thing about babies is they lack adult reason and experience. They hear the Word at baptism and believe. Loving parents nurture that faith with Biblical training. Everything a child does, even soiling his diaper, is glorifying God, because everything done in faith glorifies God.

It is odd how often Roman Catholic errors get reproduced by Protestants. For instance, we often hear about monks praying for hours, whipping themselves, and making a point of their suffering. Some Protestants do many of the same things, carrying on as publicly as possible, emphasizing their own sanctification, not Christ, who sanctifies us with His Word.

When we try to figure out our lives, the Word shows us that the tangled ball of yarn we live with makes sense according to God’s purpose. I recall when the actor who played Superman was asked about his accident, causing him paralysis and ultimately death, he said, “No, there is no purpose. Things happen randomly.” On the other hand, a believer knows that God’s gracious purpose may seem mysterious at the moment but is not to be questioned. God has the power and uses the power to turn evil into good.

We say Means of Grace, because God always displays His grace rather than demanding our worthiness. In a world of earning everything, the Gospel tells us that Christ has earned this forgiveness for us. The price has been paid, so this redemptive and forgiving message comes to us through the Word, creating and strengthening faith, which receives the grace offered.

Faith is another word for trust, not another word for virtue. Trust comes from the Holy Spirit working through the Word. We experience that trust dramatically when we sing hymns by Gerhard. The Scriptural words, which were forged in times of great personal hardship, are the sweetest comfort for people suffering. And they are lessons to learn for the future when times of trial arrive. If we look closely at the child-like words of faith, they reflect times of great agony that purified his faith.

So the Means of Grace keep producing the nine-fold fruits of the Spirit. But what is the message of these Means?

The message is forgiveness of sin. We are so weak and fallible that we continue as constant reminders of the Old Adam in each one of us. Knowing that God’s grace comes to us in the Word, as forgiven sinners, we strive to be as forgiving as God.

Children all know that the petition – Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive the trespasses of others – is impossible. We think of children as being forgiving, far more so than adults, who get even 50 times for the same slight. But children know they harbor the same feelings. Children are great psychologists, a trait lost immediately upon becoming adults.

The fruit of the Spirit is always going to include forgiveness toward others, patience, and kindness.

When we hear the Word of God and receive Holy Communion, Christ comes to us and we appear before His throne. He knows each and every one of us by name. That is not a small matter.

I just created a family calendar at Lulu. One of my favorite pictures is the whole clan with Yakov Smirnoff. I was looking at that, and I thought, “He was in major motion pictures. He was on TV. He appeared with President Reagan. This is a big deal. And there he is signing our t-shirts.”

That is a very small matter compared to being with Christ, who gives us constant blessings through the Gospel. He did this so our “joy would be complete,” in other words, so our lives would not be like that of others who do not believe.

People often worry, “What about those who do not believe?” Many have turned around the whole picture and have made this man’s problem rather than God’s. It is all up to us, they claim. One traveling phony asked, “How are we going to reach America with the Gospel in 2007?” Of course, he had a product to sell.

When my work changed over to teaching, I learned how often someone has the opportunity to teach the Word, without looking for opportunities. They are abundant. I was asked to teach “Mythology,” a class which offended many Christians. One of the topics was the Flood Myth. So I had a chance to say I thought the Genesis Flood was historically true, that God created through the Word. Naturally one student was especially furious and gave a presentation on the myth of evolution. Every believer in the class was encouraged by the Word and non-believers were challenged in some small way.

My most astonishing class included giving away Christian doctrine books to Mormons who asked for them. I did that without a synodical grant or a mission/vision statement. These things happen all the time, with variations according to what is appropriate.

God provides, so man does not have to force the issue. He has been doing a great job managing things, without my input, so I am going to let Him continue.

Here is one last area of the Word at work. It should never be overlooked or diminished in any way. Parents of children have the greatest possible opportunity for influencing generations to come. No audience is more receptive than one’s children. They adore and trust their parents. In the teen years they test whether those lessons are really valid for all time or just for little children. When children grow up and become parents, they have the chance to repeat the same process.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Drive 08 Goes Stealthy

WELS Pastor John Parlow with Bender, a Satanic figure who twists the Word of God. Why isn't Parlow blushing?

WELS Pastor Buske with Babtist Minister Andy Stanley

Ski's Fifth Day at Drive 08 - with Babtist Andy Stanley. What excitement!

Pastor Ski probably had his babies baptized. But he went to hear and worship with Andy Stanley, whose only doctrinal stance focuses on opposition to infant baptism. I call that open-minded, Ski. I commend you for bragging about it on your blog. Buske and Parlow were there. Who else?

It is my melancholy duty to report that Ski's trip to see Babtist Andy Stanley has disappeared, like Brigadoon, from his blog. The blog archive is gone. Check it out. And I was so wishing to revisit the excitement he felt in shunning WELS professor emeritus Dan Deutschlander in order to drink in wisdom from Andy Stanley.

But wait. I just received an email from a noted doctor of divinity. The link on the main page is gone but the content is still there. Here it is, as reported from deep within WELS:

And some of you Church and Changers thought I never did anything for the cause. Yes, I found Brigadoon 08, I mean, Drive 08. I even found that nasty little Airport meeting WELS has been running--under the radar--if you get my joke. But I had help, lots and lots of help from all over.

Some Church and Changers must think I have a bad memory. They used to say, in plain old Church Growth Movement days, "Oh, that never happened. Where did he get the idea I went to Fuller Seminary? Oh, he exaggerates."

But now a host of people are watching everything Church and Change does. And they are not happy with their offering money siphoned away to finance these wild hair projects, promoting even more doctrinal error. They can trace the movement of money among the Church and Changers.


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Drive 08 Goes Stealthy":

Thanks for this link. This allows "Ski" to speak for himself and no one can accuse of others of misrepresenting him. I hope others share deep concerns about a WELS pastor not merely observing such a convocation but participating in worship and fellowship, and not commenting in the least about the false doctrine that was swirling around him. His glee at meeting Stanley, whom he obviously regards very highly, is rather sickening. This is truly disturbing. I don't agree with quite a bit of your blog and at times cringe at your spirit, but I do thank you for this post. I hope WELS leadership will react to something this blatantly and identifiably wrong in one of the members of its ministerium (and the others of this same ilk by his side).


GJ - Mrs. Ichabod summed up the spirit of this blog in one word - "Satire."

I could spend more time on other things if WELS pastors did more than say a few things during the coffee hour (quietly to one another, speaking softly in Jerusalem lest they be heard on the streets of Gath) 2 Samuel 1:20.

The timid spirit is apparent in the Tendrils paper, a spitball lobbed softly in the direction of Church and Change.

A spirit of retreat and compromise is evidenced in the lack of discipline by the local circuit pope and district pope.

And where is the Little Sect on the Prairie? Pope John the Malefactor freely extends the Left Foot of Fellowship to any pastor who disagrees with him, yet the Mankato Monseignor is silent about Church and Change running WELS.



What is Drive ’08? That’s a great question. Drive is a two day conference for church leaders. During these two days church leaders from the three North Point campuses will share what they have learned over the last twelve years about creating and maintaining awesome ministry environments. The entire conference has been designed around questions from churches all over the world.

Over the two days Andy Stanley (Lead Pastor at North Point) will address the attendees in three main sessions. There will be five break-out sessions that will revolve around questions asked by the attendees. These sessions allow those in attendance to get pretty specific on certain areas of ministry as well as get great feedback.

I invite you to check out my blog while I’m gone. I’ll try to update the blog daily and share what I’ve learned. Please feel free to share your comments.
I’ll see you all when I get back!




Pastor Ski - St. Marcus - Milwaukee
Pastor John Parlow - St. Mark - Depere
Pastor Jim Buske - Lighthouse Youth Center - Milwaukee

May 3rd - May 7th

North Point Church, Alpharetta, GA

Final Main Session with Andy Stanley

A Healthy Staff Culture
- Jeff Henderson

“Leaders don’t get people, they attract them”
- Andy Stanley

DRIVE ’08 - Journal

Day Two

Sunday morning we got up and headed over to North Point Community Church. The facility is huge. The have two huge auditoriums. Each one holds roughly 2,500 people. So for the first morning service, Andy Stanley lead pastor, will preach live in one of the auditoriums and then the other service starts five minutes after the first service. There is live music in both auditoriums, but when it comes to the message a huge screen comes down and Andy is just projected on the screen.

We went to 11:00 AM church. Andy wasn’t even there. North Point has three campuses (They have truly embraced the multi site ministry philosophy.) and he was preaching live at Buckhead. The music was great. Todd Fields is their main music guy and he is phenomenal. The worship atmosphere is always interesting to me. At times it seems that it is almost more like a concert than a worship service, but the people were enjoying worship.

At North Point they have more of a topical or series style of preaching (much like we do Sunday night). Andy was in week two of a series called “Faith, Hope, & Luck”. His printed material is first class. The look of the bulletin look was all about gambling. What I mean is that the artwork had neon signs, slot machines, and dice. It just looks like some serious time was spent on it.

Andy’s message focussed the million dollar question what is faith? The sermon was about 40 minutes, and in summation he said faith is trust in Jesus. One of the best sermons that I have heard Andy preach.

After worship Buske and I headed down to Turner Field for the Braves - Reds game. Turner Field was awesome, people were awesome and the stadium and the game was great. The game was a Braves win, we got to see Griffey for the Reds and Jeff Francoeur (who is a WELS member) had a good day. Braves win 14 to 7.

Drive ’08 - Journal

Day Three

Finally, today was the day that I have been waiting for. The conference begins tonight. What a day. You guys were probably thinking that I just came down here to hang out at baseball games, eat “slaw dogs”, and go to some different churches. Well...

Today started crazy. We went over to Buckhead (one of the multiple sites of North Point, they have 3 sites & about 20,000 worship over a weekend). It was an incredible facility. You can see the pictures above. It was as though they had cloned the main campus and transplanted it at Buckhead. Wow was it awesome. Everyone was mega nice and helpful. The book for notes is so well done and they gave us great “man purse” bags.

We got invited to be a part of the “flash mob”. That is 300 of the first people to pick up their stuff for the conference gets to be involved in 4 secret missions or tasks.

After we registered we headed to the 5 Seasons for lunch. While we were there we heard this voice behind us at a table. Well, we turn around and sure enough there at the table is my old German teacher, Prof. Daniel Deutschlander sitting & eating bratwurst & drinking a beer. As it turns out he is speaking at the Peachtree Conference (I think that is what it is called - WELS churches in the ATL - Tennesee - Alabama area). He asked if we were down for his presentation. I had to say unfortunately, no. The conversation was pretty interesting after that. I mean, telling your old prof. that you are in town, not to hear him is bad enough, but on top of that you are in town to attend a non-denominational church leadership conference... Not normal WELS practice.

Drive ’08 Journal

Day Four

Good morning. I hope that this finds everyone enjoying the day. We started this morning at about 7:00 AM with breakfast. It was a little weird, usually I’m up & going around 5:00 AM & in the office by 6:30 AM. So this was a nice little change. We needed to be at North Point by 8:00 AM for a “flash mob” meeting. We were assigned three tasks. They were:

1.At exactly 12:!5 PM (during lunch) stand up on your chair & dance in place & shake your maracas. Don’t worry Abbie & Megan, I saved them for you. After that sit down like nothing happened. It was hilarious. I never knew John and Jim could move like that. If the WELS ever gets a hold of that video...

2.Right before the main session starts there will be a cue word. Once that word is spoken the “flash mob” is to freeze, no matter where you are or what you are doing, freeze for 2 minutes & then sit down.

3.After Andy is done speaking, stand up and yell, “Road Trip!” Start the chant, for those of you who have seen it... like in Animal House when Belushi starts to yell Toga!

The plan is to take everyone at the conference on a 20 miles road trip in ATL traffic at rush hour to the new site at Brown Bridge I’ll let you know how that works out.

Probably the best way to do journaling from today is to break down every session. Before I do that I want to say this: there is a cool, weird, awesome feeling of unity with the people here. I mean I couldn’t tell you everyone’s name or where they are from, but there is something way cool about all these people here for one reason. That reason being how can I reach more people more effectively. This post will be a little longer than normal, but here it goes...

Break Out Session #1 - A Healthy Staff Culture:

This was so helpful for me as I try to build a heathy team on Sunday night. Great insight. The presenter was the lead pastor at Buckhead (one of the other sites). His name was Jeff Henderson. He used to be the sports marketing guy at Chik Filet. Really gifted guy. In order to have a healthy staff Jeff would say you need the following:

1.The right reason = Vision

2.The right way = Fun

3.The right work = Focus

4.The right people = Everything

The thoughts and points were great. He stressed little things that make so much sense. Staff meetings need to be times of celebration, not times of information sharing. He talked about how important the overall vision and mission are. And how important it is that everyone on the team buys in. No personal agendas. Be committed to the vision and not personal preferences.

I think that last one is the toughest nut to swallow. How often to we simply slide into what we personally want (personal agenda or preference) instead of looking at how what we do effects the vision in a positive or negative way? Do we ever feel as though what we do at St. Marcus is in competition with another part? If so, we need to take a step back and look at the vision. Because that is not unified. A point that continues to come up is irrelevant environments lose people. I know that this is an area that I will continue to work hard on.

Another great point in this session was on burn out. The Jeff said, “Staff burnout is always the leader’s fault. Set margins, hold to them, and know that you are answerable to God.” I thought this was extremely interesting. With the pace that we are going at St. Marcus how are our margins? Do we set them too narrow? Are they too wide? It is always good to look at. And it is always a great reminder that we have wives and families outside of our ministry. We need to start in our homes, because the devil will even use something that we love, like ministry, to hinder God’s work. It becomes imperative that we recharge our batteries & spend time with our families.

Breakout Session #2 - Unforgettable Environments

pretty sweet session. The guy who ran it was named Ted Lowe. He was actually in charge of Married Ministry at North Point. His points were formed in questions. Here are the main points:

1.Who are you targeting?

2.How are you marketing?

3.What are you delivering?

4.How are you evaluating?

All pretty good questions. He made a point that comes up every so often at St. Marcus, is there an issue when we tend to take a marketing view instead of a church view? His point, which I think I have felt but never been able to put into words, was people don’t care about a church; they care about their lives. We as churches have the opportunity, through Jesus to give them purpose. That purpose, of course, flows from what Jesus has done. When your whole motivation for everything flows from connecting people with Christ and giving purpose, lives are changed. That’s where the unforgettable environment comes from. Jesus is what changes lives.

I’ve said this a billion times, “We say all the time that people out there are dying & they don’t know Jesus, but how does that fact change our lives?” Do we become more intentional? Do our actions change? Often, mine don’t. It has to become a process of retraining. We have the greatest message that creates and sustains an unforgettable environment, that’s being all that Jesus has done.

Breakout Session #3 - Connecting Adults To Small Groups

This session was lead by Jenny Boyett. She is in charge of Group Link, which is one of the Small Group programs at North Point. This was a pretty good session. I guess I was looking for more of a how to instead of this is what we do or this might work for you. Most of the information that was shared was theory. They have three types of groups.

1.Next = Informing people about Community Groups.

This is a meeting that happens on the 1st & 3rd Sundays after the worship service. It lasts 30 minutes and is designed to give an overview of the Church and the mission, as well as start to plug people in. I think that this is incredible. It is totally run by lay people and allows them to share their experience and likes about what is going on in the church. Great way to share info in a non-threatening way.

2.Fusion = Moving people toward Community Groups

This is a meeting of singles that come to build friendships and get to know people. This is also intriguing. This is not a Bible Study group. North Point would say that younger people who are Christian want to hang out with other Christians, as well as get to know them, but it is hard. So why not create an environment that this can happen in? This has huge possibilities for Sunday Night. Maybe not everyone is ready for a Community Group, Foundations of Faith, or a formal Bible Study. Maybe they are trying to figure out the “church thing.” This would be a great first step.

3.Grouplink = Connecting people into Community Groups

This meeting is all about connecting people with the Word in one way or another. Whether that be in a public, corporate Bible Study, or a Community Group. This also has huge possibilities for our ministries.

I think there are some great things here that we can tweak & use if we are serious about getting people involved in the Word on a regular basis. I also think that we can do this if we make the process easy and non-threatening. the danger is just to put the pressure on and be relentless motivating the wrong way.

Main Session #2 - Andy Stanley - Becoming A Great Staff

This was just awesome. The opening music could be confused with a rock concert. Lights, guitars, confetti, etc... The staff also ran through the aisles and threw out blow up guitars and microphones for the audience. I used the word audience, simply because congregation sounded kind of weird. To me what was interesting about the opening music portion, was it goes against everything that I have been taught as a Lutheran. We are called to put our emotions in a box. To not be emotional about the music, unless it is a moving hymn. This is tough, I mean, I may not be jumping around with my hands up, but should I look down on someone who does? Is their worship any less acceptable to God? I don’t think so. Maybe, we need to look at this, emotions are good as long as they don’t get out of control. I think that sometimes we also put down music because it is a repeating chorus and doesn’t have the depth of a hymn. Do we always need to do that? Can’t we have different kinds of music? Isn’t there a danger in saying that there is only one way to do things? I personally like variety. Think about it like this, Cherios are good, I like them, they are nutritious, they are good with or without milk. But let me tell you, I love Fruity Pebbles. They are colorful, tasty, & packed with sugar. Does that mean that I want to eat them every day? Probably not, but it doesn’t automatically mean that I want Cherios every day either. Maybe some days i want Frosted Flakes. I like variety.

Anyway, Andy’s session was great. Like I have said. He has this great gift of making things seem so simple. Here are his main points from this afternoon:

1.A great staff is made up of “great leaders.”

2.Best practices for creating a “great staff.”

a.Do for one when you can’t do for all.

b.Systemize top down service.

c.In response to your staff’s key objectives, ask “How can I help you?”

d.Create & maintain a sustainable pace.

e.Celebrate & reward greatness when you see it.

3.Signs that things aren’t so great.

a.Competition between departments.

b.Double standards.

c.Loyalty lectures.

This was great just to hear & to have to look at our ministry and ask the question, “Do we have issues here?” I think that overall we do pretty well. Are there areas that we can improve? Of course.

Do we have a service mentality? I think that it is so easy to slide into serving your own needs or your own perceived needs. I know that I need work in this area. That is just honest. I have come away with a ton of great ideas that I am hoping to implement, sorry I can’t give those away yet.

After the session the three of us stood up & yelled Road Trip! We got the chant going. (Task #3 completed.) Well, add 1,500 cars to ATL rush hour & what do you get? A lot of angry people.

After 30 minutes sitting in the car trying to get out of the parking lot, we went home.

We’re going to get dinner now. Check back to see if there is any new info or to find out if we went late.

Last day tomorrow & then back up north. I sure hope it is warm.

I’m out.

Day Five

Drive ’08 Journal
Whew! Day 5, it has been a heck of a road trip. Today was the last day. As you can see it was jam packed. Before I get into Day 5... Let me just say this, “We should have sat in traffic to go to the Brown Bridge Campus!” Buske & I were bitter. Remember that I had said John got frustrated sitting the parking lot for 30 minutes? So we went to dinner & called it a night. Well, on Day 5 they showed the video for what happened at Brown Bridge. Sweet cookout, the food looked awesome, games and fellowship outside (without snow or cold, I might add) and then a surprise JEFF FOXWORTHY show. Man, how are they gonna top that next year?

Anyway, Day 5. It is kind of crazy, just when you think it can’t get any better, it does. Well, sort of. In the morning they had Q & As for different groups. I went to one that was about linking adults into small group studies. It was well done, but for me it is difficult because everyone is looking for concrete answers on how to solve their own personal small group issues. Many of the questions didn’t apply for us at St. Marcus. However, the leaders were great and had a ton of info.

My final breakout session was entitled Parental Guidance Required. The leader was Clay Scroggins. He kind of looked like Steve James (he’s a St. Marcus member, Steve that is) but he talked with a Texas drawl. He was high energy. Based on his presentation and his passion for kids, I imagine that he rocked it out with kids. The gist of his session was that what happens in the home has a greater influence on the spiritual life of children than what happens at church. Based on that it becomes imperative that parents & the church partner. Here are the steps that North Point uses:

1.Inform Parents - inform them about what is being taught to their children.

2.Partner With Parents - invite parents to be in an environment with their children.

3.Equip Parents - provide parents with the tools to assist in the spiritual development of their children.

Pretty good points and a really good session.

After that session we broke for lunch. John took off for the airport, so Buske and I were on our own. That might sound a little scary, but it is true.

The final Main Session with Andy Stanley was just phenomenal. We began with awesome worship. Today though, they began with a Christian rapper, Toby Mac. Our school kids would have loved it. I’m not sure that they would have believed that it was church though.

When Andy began his session. He started by saying that he was not going to follow his notes in the Drive ’08 Journal Book. Instead he was going to do something that he called, “Recent Random Thoughts On Church Leadership.” He shared 5 points and 5 takeaways. I think that he was at his absolute best this afternoon. Here are the 5 point & takeaways:

1.To reach people no one else is reaching we must do things no one else is doing.

Takeaway - Become preoccupied with those you haven’t reached as opposed to those you keep. This is easier said than done.

Wow, it seems so simple. And yet so hard.

2.The next generation product almost never comes from the previous generation.

Takeaway - Be a student not a critic.

What more can be said? How do we approach things? When things are different & involve change are we scared? Do we criticize or do we look to learn and implement?

3.What do I believe is impossible to do in my field? But if it could be done it would fundamentally change my business.

Takeaway - Pay attention to the people who are breaking the rules.

Crazy sounding isn’t it? We can fight technology and change, but in the end it will pass us and we will become archaic and irrelevant. Not our Message, but the manner in which we present it. Who would have ever thought texting would be as big as it is? How about multi-site church? Video church? These are all things that have changed how we worship.

4.If we got kicked out & the board brought in a new CEO what would they do? Why shouldn’t we walk out the door & then come back in & do it ourselves?

Takeaway - Acknowledge what is NOT working & own up to why you are unwilling to change it.

Some thoughts on this - rarely does the church (in general) get concerned about change until they run out of money. What if we asked some questions before it was too late?

a.What’s in decline?

b.Where are we manufacturing energy? In other words pretending something is important. An example would be if I continued to say that Bible Study was important, but never attended. I’m blowing hot air, “manufacturing energy.” I don’t believe that anyone wants to stand behind that or get involved in something like that.

c.Finally, when are we going to unearth all underlying assumptions? Sometimes, what we assume, is not the reality. Are we willing to dig to find out the truth or are we happy with assuming?

5.When your memories exceed your dreams the end is near.

Takeaway - Don’t let success or momentum overshadow your vision. Keep the out front.

How quickly can we be satisfied? How often do we look at things and say, “Well, it’s not great but it is better than such and such church.” Scary, but we sometimes fool ourselves into thinking like this. Some questions to ponder:

a.What the burden on your heart?

b.What breaks your heart?

That was it. After that Andy just ended and prayed for all the people there & for there (sic) ministries. As you can see from the pictures above, Buske & I got to get a picture with Andy, pretty cool. He is way down to earth. His wife Sandra was there also and she is just great. We actually got to talk to her a little more than Andy. You also notice John with the North Point member who played Bender in one of their sermon series called “Twisted”. The series was all about how Satan twists God’s Word. Finally, there is a photo of Buske & Todd Fields. I’m a little bitter about that one, but you’ll need to ask me why.

Thanks to everyone who read this while I was gone. Be looking for some cool stuff that we will be implementing at St. Marcus, especially in Sunday Night. Thanks also for all the patience. Writing this thing mostly between 1 AM & 2 AM means that there are probably a ton spelling and grammar mistakes. I can’t wait to see you guys on Sunday. Check out the Picture Page for some added photos from Drive ’08.

I’m out!

UOJ Quotations Reveal the Influence of Halle Pietism and Universalism

WELS or ELS or LCMS Pastor: "Someday, my princess, you will grow up to be a UOJ Stormtrooper, just like me. Together we will rule the universe, unless you turn to the Dark Side -
the efficacy of the Word in the Means of Grace."

I. Luther, The Book of Concord, Lutheran Orthodoxy

"The second argument is that 'God desires all men to be saved' (1 Timothy 2:4), and He gave His Son for us men and created man for eternal life. Likewise: All things exist for man, and he himself exists for God that he may enjoy Him, etc. These points and others like them can be refuted as easily as the first one. For these verses must always be understood as pertaining to the elect only, as the apostle says in 2 Timothy 2:10 'everything for the sake of the elect.' For in an absolute sense Christ did not die for all, because He says: 'This is My blood which is poured out for you' and 'for many'--He does not say: for all--'for the forgiveness of sins.'
Luther's Works, 25 p. 375. 2 Timothy 2:10; 1 Timothy 2:4; Mark 14:24; Matthew 26:28.

"The apostle says 'our,' 'our sins;' not his own sin, not the sins of unbelievers. Purification is not for, and cannot profit, him who does not believe. Nor did Christ effect the cleansing by our free-will, our reason or power, our works, our contrition or repentance, these all being worthless in the sight of God; he effects it by himself. And how? By taking our sins upon himself on the holy cross, as Isaiah 53:6 tells us."
Sermons of Martin Luther, ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VI, p. 180. Hebrews 1:1-12; Hebrews 1:3;

"Christ did indeed suffer for the whole world; but how many are there who believe and cherish this fact? Therefore, although the work of redemption itself has been accomplished, it still cannot help and benefit a man unless he believes it and experiences its saving power in his heart."
What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, II, p. 705f. Smalcald, 1537.

"For neither you nor I could ever know anything of Christ, or believe on Him, and obtain Him for our Lord, unless it were offered to us and granted to our hearts by the Holy Ghost through the preaching of the Gospel. The work is done and accomplished; for Christ has acquired and gained the treasure for us by His suffering, death, resurrection, etc. But if the work remained concealed so that no one knew of it, then it would be in vain and lost. That this treasure, therefore, might not lie buried, but be appropriated and enjoyed, God has caused the Word to go forth and be proclaimed, in which He gives the Holy Ghost to bring this treasure home and appropriate it to us. Therefore sanctifying is nothing else than bringing us to Christ to receive this good, to which we could not attain ourselves.
"The Large Catechism, The Creed, Article III, #38, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 689. Tappert, p. 415. Heiser, p. 194.

"But outside of this Christian Church, where the Gospel is not, there is no forgiveness, as also there can be no holiness [sanctification]. Therefore all who seek and wish to merit holiness [sanctification], not through the Gospel and forgiveness of sin, but by their works, have expelled and severed themselves [from this Church]."
The Large Catechism, The Creed, Article III, #56, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 693. Tappert, p. 418. Heiser, p. 195.

Formula of Concord
"These treasures are offered us by the Holy Ghost in the promise of the holy Gospel; and faith alone is the only means by which we lay hold upon, accept, and apply, and appropriate them to ourselves. This faith is a gift of God, by which we truly learn to know Christ, our Redeemer, in the Word of the Gospel, and trust in Him, that for the sake of His obedience alone we have the forgiveness of sins by grace, are regarded as godly and righteous by God the Father, and are eternally saved."
Formula of Concord, Thorough Declaration, III. #10. Of the Righteousness of Faith before God. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 919. Tappert, p. 541. Heiser, p. 250.

"Accordingly, the word justify here means to declare righteous and free from sins, and to absolve one from eternal punishment for the sake of Christ's righteousness, which is imputed by God to faith, Philippians 3:9. For this use and understanding of this word is common in the Holy Scriptures of the Old and the New Testament. Proverbs 17:15: He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the Lord. Isaiah 5:23: Woe unto them which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him! Romans 8:33: Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth, that is, absolves from sins and acquits."
Formula of Concord, SD III. #17. Righteousness of Faith. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 921 Tappert, p. 541f. Heiser, p. 251. Philippians 3:9; Proverbs 17:15; Isaiah 5:23; Romans 8:33.

"The entire Scripture testifies that the merits of Christ are received in no other way than through faith, not to mention that it is impossible to please God without faith, Hebrews 11:6, let alone to be received into eternal life. In general, St. Paul concludes concerning this [matter] in Romans 3:28: Thus we hold then that a man becomes righteous without the works of the Law--only through faith."
Johann Gerhard, A Comprehensive Explanation of Holy Baptism and the Lord's Supper, 1610, ed. D. Berger, J. Heiser, Malone, Texas: Repristination Press, 2000, p. 165. Hebrews 11:6; Romans 3:28.

The sainted Jack Preus (l.) translated Chemnitz and presided over the LCMS after leaving the Little Sect on the Prairie. David Preus (r.) was cousin to Jack and Robert; he led The ALC into altar fellowship with the Reformed. Robert Marshall, next to David Preus, led the LCA into women's ordination. Robert Preus (no photo available) was a UOJ warrior in the springtime of his Norwegian Pietism, but reformed late in life. No one told his sons Rolf and Dan. Well, I did, but they did not listen. I was acquainted with three of these men.

Robert Preus
"But the imputation of Christ's righteousness to the sinner takes place when the Holy Spirit brings him to faith through Baptism and the Word of the Gospel. Our sins were imputed to Christ at His suffering and death, imputed objectively after He, by His active and passive obedience, fulfilled and procured all righteousness for us. But the imputation of His righteousness to us takes place when we are brought to faith." [procured in italics in text]
Robert D. Preus Justification and Rome, St. Louis: Concordia Academic Press 1997, p. 72.

Abraham Calov: "Although Christ has acquired for us the remission of sins, justification, and sonship, God just the same does not justify us prior to our faith. Nor do we become God's children in Christ in such a way that justification in the mind of God takes place before we believe." [Apodixis Articulorum Fide, Lueneburg, 1684]
Robert D. Preus Justification and Rome, St. Louis: Concordia Academic Press 1997, p. 131n.

"The danger is that by use of the term 'subjective justification' we may lose the objective divine act of God by which He declares the individual sinner righteous ex pistews pistin in the instant faith (embracing Christ) is wrought in him, leaving only the one divine declaration regarding the whole world of sinners, calling this an actus simplex, the only forensic act of God, and expanding this to mean that God declared every sinner free from guilt when Christ was raised from the dead, so many millions even before they were born, irrespective of faith, apart from and without faith. This surely wipes out 'justification by faith alone.' Only his faith is reckoned to him for righteousness."
R. C. H. Lenski, Interpretation of Romans, Augsburg Publishing House: Minneapolis, 1963 p. 85. Romans 1:17.

"Nowhere in the bible is any man constituted or declared righteous without faith, before faith; all asservations and argumentations to the contrary notwithstanding." Lenski, Romans, p. 382? Rick Nicholas Curia, The Significant History of the Doctrine of Objective or Universal Justification, Alpine, California: California Pastoral Conference, WELS. January 24-25, 1983. p. 86.

"As to the doctrine in general, he [Lenski] repudiates and ridicules the teaching that on Easter morning God forgave, really forgave, all the world all its sins, really and truly justified the world. He protests against making objective reconciliation, general justification, mean that God on Easter morning did actually pronounce the world, all individuals making up the world, really innocent of all sin and guilt."
Theodore Engelder, Objective Justification, Concordia Theological Monthly, 1933, Ft. Wayne: Concordia Seminary Press, n.d. p. 508. 2 Corinthians 5:18-20.

II. Halle Established Pietism and the Cancer Spread

Johann Albrecht Bengel, 1687-1752, second only to Spener in Pietism's influence, laid the groundwork for Semler's rejection of God's Word.

Anyone interested in Universal Objective Justification (God declaring, in His grace, without the Means of Grace, that the entire world is forgiven but not really forgiven) needs to know about J. A. Bengel, the radical Pietist.

Bengel's daughter married Philip David Burk, who worked closely with his father-in-law on the Gnomon. Burk also published extensively, his works in German still available in various libraries. As far as I can tell, Burk is the first theologian to support justification without faith (UOJ).

And Ph. D. Burk (Rechtfertigung und Versicherung, p. 41) rightly said:

"The difference between general justification and the more common usage of the term justification can be expressed as follows. The latter takes place precisely upon the appropriation of the former." Adolph Hoenecke, Dogmatik, III, p. 354-5

Burk, Philip David, a Protestant theologian of Germany, was born July 26, 1714, at Neu Ren. He studied at Tubingen, was in 1742 pastor nt Bolheitn, and in 1750 at Hcdelfingen, near Stuttgard. In 1758 he was appointed superintendent at Markt-Groningen, and in 1766 he was called for the same position to Kirchheim, where he died, March 22, 1770. He is the author of fïnowmn in Dundecini Prophetus Minores (Heilbronn, 1753), with a Preface by his father-in-law, the famous J. A. Dengcl: — Gnomon Psalinorum (Stuttgard, 1760): — Knuigelischer Fingerzeig auf den wahren Verstand und heilsamen Gebrauch der geirohnlichen Sonn-Fest-itml Feiertäglichen Kvangflien, etc. (Leipsic and Tübingen, 1760-67, 7 vols.) -.—Die Lehre rnn der Reehljerttyiiiig und decen GeiciJtshfit im Jlerzen und Geirissen des Sünden, etc. (Stuttgard, 1763-65, 7 pts.). Sec Winer, Handbuch der then!. Lit. i, 99; During, Die gelehrten Theologen Deutschlands, i, 208 sq. (Cyclopaedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature by John McClintock)

Otto Heick has an interesting paragraph in his History of Christian Thought, volume II. (Heick was my Christology professor at Waterloo Seminary. He often took Mrs. Ichabod and me to supper.)

"Johann Albrecht Bengel spent much time and effort to unlock the mystery of the Book of Revelation. He toyed with the idea of a 'restoration of all.' He also developed in detail a doctrine of the blood of Christ. The body of Christ, he taught, was totally drained of blood on the cross. In the resurrection it was not reunited with the body , but is retained in heaven as the precious ransom of man's sin. In the act of justification the believer is sprinkled in a mysterious manner with the blood of Christ and thus cleansed from his sin. This emphasis on the blood of the Savior played a very important part in the theology of Zinzendorf." (Heick, II, p. 25)

Bengel is pivotal because his creative approach to theology opened the doors to inventing additional theories of justification and a rationalistic approach to the Scriptures. (Read more about Semler below.)

I am only speculating at the moment, but I can see a direct connection between Bengel's blood theory, which is pure Enthusiasm, and his son-in-law's quoted statement in Hoenecke, which is also Enthusiasm. Bengel's version seems to be an allegory of OJ (blood in heaven) and SJ (given to believers). I can only find advocates for UOJ among the Pietists, Universalists, and Methodists (English Pietists).

Here is a description of Bengel from a doctoral student at Trinity Divinity School in Deerfield. The student's words carry great weight because WELS is in fellowship with Trinity.

To have Bengel on your side as a critic of inerrancy is to have a "heavy hitter" in the history of the Christian church. Although he is now largely confined to a passing comment in discussions of the history of textual criticism, Bengel has been described as a leading figure in the history of Lutheran theology-comparable to Martin Luther, J. C. K. von Hofmann, and Adolf Schlatter.7 he has been described as "the exegete of pietism"8 and even "the most important exegete since Calvin."9 In fact, although he is readily recognized as the father of modern textual criticism,10 Helmbold claims that he is also the father of modern scientific exegesis, modern eschatological study, and even the father of those seeking unity among Evangelicals.11

Whether or not one agrees with these estimations (Helmbold's claims, in particular, seem rather generous), Bengel can hardly be dismissed as an "uncritical" pietist with a simplistic faith and little intellectual ability. In addition to a master's degree in philosophy and an honorary doctorate from the University of Tubingen, he published work on the accents of the Hebrew Bible, Spinoza, new editions of classical and patristic texts, the history and methods of textual criticism, a harmony of the Gospels, a history of interpretation and commentary on the book of Revelation, and a study of biblical chronology and salvation history (Ordo Temporum). Bengel also spent twenty-eight years in leadership of the preparatory school at Denkendorf preparing students for the University of Tübingen and ordination for the Lutheran ministry.12

In a history book by the great Henry Eyster Jacobs:
But as historical truth demands it, we let the story be told by a later Halle professor, the eminent Professor Tholuck, whom no one can charge with prejudice against the school of Spener and Francke. "Pietism in Halle," says Professor Tholuck, " reached the summit of its power under Frederick William I. [1 713-40], the soldier king with the Christian soldier's heart, the particular patron of the Halle theological faculty. Under him was issued in 1729 the edict which was promulgated anew in 1736, according to which no Lutheran theologian should hold a position in the Prussian state who had not studied at least two years in Halle, and received a testimonial from the Halle faculty of being in a state of grace.

Gradually the nursery of piety was transformed into a nursery of rationalism. ' God's gifts descend not by inheritance;' this is proved also in the history of the Halle institutions. Every director had the right to chose his own successor; and yet with Ludwig Schultze and Niemeyer the direction passed gradually into the hands of rationalism. Under Baumgarten the interests of piety yielded to those of learning ; and through Semler, Gruner, Nosselt, and Niemeyer, rationalism became the prevalent theology. Only in George Christian Knapp a branch of the old Halle school remained, but reserved and timid, and without any extensive influence. At my [Tholuck's] entrance in Halle in 1826 I found still two citizens who traced their faith to this one deceased advocate of the old school among the clergy." This deterioration, however, was gradual.

Tholuck was Hoenecke's most important professor at Halle University, and Tholuck was probably the most conservative among the Halle rationalists.

Tholuck's Universalism, from The Modern History of Universalism:
Professor Sears, of the Baptist Church in New England, speaks very decisively, on the point that Tholuck was understood to believe in the restitution of all things. "Though as a theologian, Dr. Tholuck is on the side of Orthodoxy, it must be remembered that it is the Orthodoxy of Germany. I feel the more called on to state frankly what I know to be the truth, from the fact that the works of several German critics, of whom he is the safest, have now become so popular in England and America as to demand a translation. This distinguished and excellent man, in common with the great majority of the evangelical divines in Germany, though he professes to have serious doubts, and is cautious in avowing the sentiment, believes that all men and fallen spirits will finally be saved. The current hypothesis (meaning in Germany) is that in the middle state, intervening between death and the resurrection, the righteous will gradually attain to perfection ; and that to all the wicked, whether men or angels, the gospel will be preached, and that they will ultimately accept it and be restored.1"
Professor Sears afterwards gave the subject of a conversation which he had with Tholuck as follows : "One evening, at his house, there was a debate between us on the subject, in the presence of two American gentlemen, now in this country. It made such a painful impression on the mind of the writer, that he can remember not only the ideas, but many of the identical words and phrases employed at that time. The following is the substance of that conversation, which was held in English : —
Tholuck: I suppose that my American brethren would consider me orthodox in general, except in my Universalism. — Sears : They would, most certainly. But with them that one point would be a 1 This announcement was made by Professor Sears, A. 1). 1834. We refer those who wish to look more fully into this subject, to an article entitled, " Professor Tholuck and Universalism," from the pen of Rev. T. J- Sawyer, in the Expositor and Universalist Review, vol. iii. New series, edited by Rev. Hosea Balkm 2d., Boston. Published by Q. W. Bazin & A. Tompkius, 1839.

But with them that one point would be a serious matter. With this sentiment you could not hold a standing in our Orthodox churches. Now, where did you find this doctrine, — in the Bible, or in your philosophy ? — Tholuck: In both. — Sears : What are the passages of Scripture on which you principally rely ? — ' Tholuck: My main passage is 1 Cor. xv. 28. Christ shall overcome all, and hring them in complete subjection to God, who to all men will be their all, their everything. Such language cannot well be applied to those who shall still remain his enemies. Also Rom, xi. 36. For out of him, and through him, and into him, are all things ; i. e. all things proceed out of him as their source of being; by him they are conducted to their proper destination ; and into him they all return, as their eternal resting place. It follows, of course, that they will all be happy ; for happiness consists in being in God. Another passage is, ' Every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess,' &c. (Philip, ii. 9-11.) — Sears: Do you find no passages of Scripture which positively declare the everlasting punishment of the •wicked ? Tholuck : Yes. Matt. xxv. 46, and others like it.— Sears : Can those passages, which you think favor Universalism, be understood in any other sense without violating the fundamental laws of interpretation ? — Tholuck: Yes, they can, but the construction would not be so easy and natural. — Sears : Can the other passages, which speak of endless punishment, possibly bear any other construction ? Tholuck : I do not see how they can. — Sears : Well, what are you going to do with them ? — Tholuck: This is my onlv difficulty. These two classes of texts seem to me contradictory ; I cannot reconcile them. But when I reflect upon the character of God, as a Being of love, I lose all my doubts.

III. The Synodical Conference Drew Its UOJ from the latter, rationalistic stage of Halle Pietism

Walther moved in Pietistic circles in his early life and came to America with the Pietistic Bishop-for-Life Stephan.

"For God has already forgiven you your sins 1800 years ago when He in Christ absolved all men by raising Him after He first had gone into bitter death for them. Only one thing remains on your part so that you also possess the gift. This one thing is--faith. And this brings me to the second part of today's Easter message, in which I now would show you that every man who wants to be saved must accept by faith the general absolution, pronounced 1800 years ago, as an absolution spoken individually to him."
C. F. W. Walther, The Word of His Grace, Sermon Selections, "Christ's Resurrection--The World's Absolution" Lake Mills: Graphic Publishing Company, 1978 p. 233. Brosamen, p. 138. Mark 16:1-8

"Christ's Glorious Resurrection from the Dead the Actual Absolution of the Entire Sinful World Here I would point out two things: 1. That This Is Certain And True, and 2. That Therefore Every Man Who Wants To Be Saved Must By Faith Accept This General Absolution As Applying Also To Him,"
C. F. W. Walther, The Word of His Grace, Sermon Selections, "Christ's Resurrection--The World's Absolution" Lake Mills: Graphic Publishing Company, 1978 p. 230. Brosamen, p. 138. Mark 16:1-8.

"The fact of the redemption and reconciliation of the entire human race through Christ, and with it the forgiveness of all sins for all men on God's part--which, indeed, is precisely what the Gospel proclaims, presents and gives--can by no means become a lie through the unbelief of men...even when the unbelievers don't receive it, but reject it for themselves and for this reason--indeed, for this reason alone--are lost."
Walther's colleague, Theodore Brohm, 1808-1881 Rick Nicholas Curia, The Significant History of the Doctrine of Objective or Universal Justification, Alpine, California: California Pastoral Conference, WELS. January 24-25, 1983. p. 16.

See Valleskey Below for the Same Confusion
"It is contrary to Scripture and the pure Gospel to teach: That forgiveness and justification before God do not involve each other, or that justification and reconciliation are entirely different from each other, as though a person can be reconciled without being justified or justified without being reconciled." Commission on Theology and Church Relations "Theses on Justification" St. Louis: May, 1983, #3.

Valleskey – OJ and CG
"In Christ, God has effected a universal justification, a universal reconciliation, a universal ransom, a universal atonement. Different terms, but all communicating the same message: God in Christ has declared the whole world to be not guilty."
David J. Valleskey, We Believe--Therefore We Speak, Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 1995, p. 71.

Francis Pieper, raised in the Pietistic Wisconsin Synod, was selected by Walther to pass along the false doctrine of UOJ. Pieper established UOJ in the Brief Statement and had his own disciples expand on the Enthusiastic fantasy of the world's absolution on Easter.

"The starting point in presenting the doctrine of the means of grace must be the universal objective reconciliation or justification. This is the procedure of Scripture."
Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 3 vols., trans., Walter W. F. Albrecht, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1953, III, p. 105.

"Now, then, if the Father raised Christ from the dead, He, by this glorious resurrection act, declared that the sins of the whole world are fully expiated, or atoned for, and that all mankind is now regarded as righteous before His divine tribunal. This gracious reconciliation and justification is clearly taught in Romans 4:25: 'Who was delivered for our offenses and was raised again for our justification.' The term dikaiosis here means the act of divine justification executed through God's act of raising Christ from the dead, and it is for this reason called the objective justification of all mankind. This truth Dr. Walther stressed anew in America. He taught that the resurrection of Christ from the dead is the actual absolution pronounced upon all sinners. (Evangelienpostille, p. 160ff.)" part one
Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 3 vols., St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1951, II, p. 321. Romans 4:25

"The resurrection of Christ is, as Holy Writ teaches, the actual absolution of the whole world of sinners. Romans 4:25: 'Who was raised again for our justification.' At that time we were objectively declared free from sin."
Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 3 vols., St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1951, II, p. 348 Romans 4:25

"Scripture teaches the objective reconciliation (o.r. in italics). Nineteen hundred years ago Christ effected the reconciliation of all men with God. God does not wait for men to reconcile Him with themselves by means of any efforts of their own. He is already reconciled. The reconciliation is an accomplished fact, just like the creation of the world. Romans 5:10: 'We were reconciled to God by the death of His Son.' When Christ died, God became reconciled." pt. 1 of paragraph
Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 3 vols., St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1951, II, p. 347f. Romans 5:10

J. P. Meyer, WELS
"Objectively speaking, without any reference to an individual sinner's attitude toward Christ's sacrifice, purely on the basis of God's verdict, every sinner, whether he knows about it or not, whether he believes it or not, has received the status of a saint. What will be his reaction when he is informed about this turn of events? Will he accept, or will he decline?"
J. P. Meyer, Ministers of Christ, A Commentary on the Second Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 1963, p. 103f. 2 Corinthians 5:18-21.

"This applies to the whole world, to every individual sinner, whether he was living in the days of Christ, or had died centuries before His coming, or had not yet been born, perhaps has not been born to this day. It applies to the world as such, regardless of whether a particular sinner ever comes to faith or not."
J. P. Meyer, Ministers of Christ, A Commentary on the Second Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 1963, p. 109. 2 Corinthians 5:18-21.

"Before Christ's intervention took place God regarded him as a guilt-laden, condemned culprit. After Christ's intervention and through Christ's intervention He regards him as a guilt-free saint."
J. P. Meyer, Ministers of Christ, A Commentary on the Second Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 1963, p. 107. 2 Corinthians 5:18-21.

"The administration of the katallage is carried out by means of the Word. The Word is made the vehicle for conveying and applying the katallage to the world. There is no other way of administering it...It is the Word which God established through which the katallage is brought to us and through which we bring it to the world."
J. P. Meyer, Ministers of Christ, A Commentary on the Second Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 1963, p. 110f. 2 Corinthians 5:18-21.

"This doctrine of general justification is the guarantee and warranty that the central article of justification by faith is being kept pure. Whoever holds firmly that God was reconciled to the world in Christ, and that to sinners in general their sin was forgiven, to him the justification which comes from faith remains a pure act of the grace of God. Whoever denies general justification is justly under suspicion that he is mixing his own work and merit into the grace of God.
[George Stoeckhardt, Concordia Theological Quarterly, April, 1978, p. 138.] Pastor Vernon Harley "Synergism--Its Logical Association with General Justification," 511 Tilden, Fairmont, Minnesota 56031, August, 1984, p. 1.

"The entire Pauline doctrine of justification stands and falls with the special article of general justification. This establishes it beyond peradventure that justification is entirely independent of the conduct of man. And only in this way the individual can have the assurance of his justification. For it is the incontrovertible conclusion: Since God has already justified all men in Christ and forgiven them their sins, I, too, have a gracious God in Christ and forgiveness of all my sins."
[Quoted with approval by Theodore Engelder, from George Stoeckhardt, Commentary on Romans, p. 264.] Pastor Vernon Harley, "Synergism--Its Logical Association with General Justification," 511 Tilden, Fairmont, Minnesota 56031, August, 1984, p. 2.

Theodore Mueller
"The resurrection is God's public absolution of the entire world: 'Your sins are forgiven, all sins of all human beings; and there is no exception.' This is the meaning of the technical term 'objective justification.' The objective justification is central to the doctrine of salvation and derives logically from the facts that God's reconciliation, forgiveness, and declaration of 'not guilty' in no wise depend on the attitude or behaviour of human beings. If objective justification is denied, then it must follow that those who are declared righteous in some way have contributed to God's change of heart; justification is then no longer solely the result of God's grace."
[Theodore Mueller, Concordia Theological Quarterly, January, 1982, p. 29.] Pastor Vernon Harley, "Synergism--Its Logical Association with General Justification," 511 Tilden, Fairmont, Minnesota 56031, August, 1984, p. 3.

"The doctrine of the means of grace is understood properly only when it is considered in the light of Christ's redemptive work (satisfactio vicaria) and the objective justification, or reconciliation, 2 Corinthians 5:19-20, which He secured by His substitutionary obedience (satisfactio vicaria). If these two doctrines are corrupted (Calvinism: denial of the gratia universalis; synergism: denial of sola gratia), then also the Scripture doctrine of the means of grace will become perverted."
John Theodore Mueller, Christian Dogmatics, A Handbook of Doctrinal Theology, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1934, p. 442. 2 Corinthians 5:19-20.

"The chief purpose, however, is to keep this article (general justification) before the people for its own sake. It cannot be presented and studied too often. Its vital relation to the subjective, personal justification by faith, cannot be stressed too strongly. It forms the basis of the justification by faith and keeps this article free from the leaven of Pelagianism. Unless the sinner knows that his justification is already an accomplished fact in the forum of God, he will imagine that it is his faith, his good conduct, which moves God to forgive him his sins. And unless he knows that God had him personally in mind in issuing the general pardon on Easter morning, he will have no assurance of his justification."
[Theodore Engelder, Concordia Theological Monthly, July/August/September, 1933. Reissued by the seminary printshop, Ft. Wayne, 1981.] Pastor Vernon Harley, "Synergism--Its Logical Association with General Justification," 511 Tilden, Fairmont, Minnesota 56031, August, 1984, p. 1f.

"Does Missouri teach 'that this, an actus simplex, is the only justification there is'? Yes and no. We do not teach that the objective justification of Easter morning is the only justification there is...But most readers of the Pastor's Monthly know that Missouri teaches that there is a) an objective justification and b) a subjective justification."
Theodore Engelder, Objective Justification, Concordia Theological Monthly, 1933, Ft. Wayne: Concordia Seminary Press, n.d. p. 514. 2 Corinthians 5:18-20

Paul Kelm has just been hired by The Love Shakc to promote Church Growth Enthusiasm. He advocates upside-down theology. Indeed.

"It's just easier for many people to work backwards from the subjective to the objective in their thinking. In fact, upside-down evangelism may start with gospel and work back to law, stating the solution as a prelude to the problem and clarifying both at the cross."
[This is Moravian Pietism, as shown by Walther's Law and Gospel.] Paul Kelm The Evangelism Life Line (WELS), Fall, 1985 p. 5.

WELS Kokomo
"At the time of the resurrection of Christ, God looked down in hell and declared Judas, the people destroyed in the flood, and all the ungodly, innocent, not guilty, and forgiven of all sin and gave unto them the status of saints." (Pastor Charles Papenfuss) WELS, Kokomo Four Statements, 1979. "When God reconciled the world to Himself through Christ, He individually pronounced forgiveness to each individual sinner whether that sinner ever comes to faith or not."
(J. P. Meyer, Ministers of Christ, p. 109) WELS, Kokomo Four Statements, 1979.

"After Christ's intervention and through Christ's intervention God regards all sinners as guilt-free saints."
(J. P. Meyer, Ministers of Christ, p. 107) WELS, Kokomo Four Statements, 1979.

"Objectively speaking, without any reference to an individual sinner's attitude toward Christ's sacrifice, purely on the basis of God's verdict, every sinner, whether he knows it or not, whether he believes it or not, has received the status of saint."
(J. P. Meyer, Ministers of Christ, p. 103) WELS, Kokomo Four Statements, 1979.

"Here the panel feels itself compelled to distinguish between form and content. While the form of the Four Statements is inadequate, the doctrine of objective justification it grapples with is Scriptural. The Four Statements have served to show that there is a doctrinal difference between Faith Congregation and the appellants."
Report of the WELS Review Committee, Hartman, Pohlman Appeal, June 30, 1980. Rick Nicholas Curia, The Significant History of the Doctrine of Objective or Universal Justification, Alpine, California: California Pastoral Conference, WELS. January 24-25, 1983. p. 133.

E. Preuss, LCMS then Roman Catholic
"So, then, we are reconciled; however, not only we, but also Hindus, and Hottentots and Kafirs, yes, the world. 'Reconciled', says our translation; the Greek original says: 'placed in the right relation to God'. Because before the Fall we, together with the whole creation, were in the right relation to God, therefore Scripture teaches that Christ, through His death, restored all things to the former right relation to God."
F. R. Eduard Preuss, 1834-1904, Die Rechtfertigung der Suender vor Gott. Rick Nicholas Curia, The Significant History of the Doctrine of Objective or Universal Justification, Alpine, California: California Pastoral Conference, WELS. January 24-25, 1983. p. 24.

"The chief differences between the contestants [Norwegians and Swedish Augustana] seems to have been in the essence rather than in the effect of Absolution. Both agreed that the Gospel offered the forgiveness of sins, but the one side held that it was given only to those who in faith received it, while the other side said that it was given also to unbelievers, though they did not accept it. Both agreed that unbelievers received no benefit from such an absolution."
J. Magnus Rohne, Norwegian Lutheranism up to 1872, New York, Macmillan, p. 231. Rick Nicholas Curia, The Significant History of the Doctrine of Objective or Universal Justification, Alpine, California: California Pastoral Conference, WELS. January 24-25, 1983. p. 20.

"The teaching of the [Norwegian] Wisconsin Synod is this, that in and with the universal reconciliation, which has occurred in Christ for the whole world--even Judas; the world--even Judas--has been justified and has received the forgiveness of sin. Therefore, according to Luther's clear words ("for where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation"), (even Judas) has become a child of God and an heir of heaven."
Quotation from Gottfried Fritschel, "Zur Lehre von der Rechtfertigung," Theologische Monatshefte, vol 4, 1871, (1-24), p. 7. Rick Nicholas Curia, The Significant History of the Doctrine of Objective or Universal Justification, Alpine, California: California Pastoral Conference, WELS. January 24-25, 1983. p. 2. Wisconsin Synod of the old Norwegian Synod - Charge made by Hasselquist.

Sig Becker
"But if forgiveness comes first, if it is always there, if it is true whether I believe it or not, I do not need to know whether I have faith or not before I can cling to God's promise. I know that my sins are forgiven whether I feel forgiven or unforgiven. I know that my iniquity is pardoned whether I believe it or not. And when I know that, then I know also that I am a believer."
Siegbert Becker, "Objective Justification," Chicago Pastoral Conference, WELS, Elgin, Illinois, November 9, 1982, Unpaginated

"Three of the four [Kokomo] statements, because of their lack of clarity, tend to confuse the issue. But since the disciplined laymen used them to advance their false doctrine, it was understandable that the congregation should also use them in its rejection of the falsehood being advocated. I do not consider any of the four statements to be false doctrine, but I would rather not use the language used in the first, second, and fourth." [conclusion of paper] Siegbert Becker, "Objective Justification," Chicago Pastoral Conference, WELS, Elgin, Illinois, November 9, 1982, Unpaginated.

"Every one of the statements can be understood correctly, even though one must swallow a little hard to accede to the fourth [Kokomo Statement]." Siegbert Becker, "Objective Justification," Chicago Pastoral Conference, WELS, Elgin, Illinois, November 9, 1982, Unpaginated "The first three statements are taken verbatim from WELS sources."
Siegbert Becker, "Objective Justification," Chicago Pastoral Conference, WELS, Elgin, Illinois, November 9, 1982, Unpaginated.

"The forgiveness comes first. Faith is merely the response to the message."
Siegbert Becker, "Objective Justification," Chicago Pastoral Conference, WELS, Elgin, Illinois, November 9, 1982, Unpaginated.

"The doctrine of universal justification is often ridiculed with the argument that if God really forgives sins prior to faith then the Lutheran doctrine of justification by faith becomes meaningless. Such conclusions demonstrate a rationalistic spirit that consciously or unconsciously refuses to be guided by Scriptures alone."
Siegbert Becker, "Objective Justification," Chicago Pastoral Conference, WELS, Elgin, Illinois, November 9, 1982, Unpaginated .

"The two terms are relatively modern. They are not used in the Lutheran Confessions. They are also not really synonymous. 'Universal justification' is a term denoting the doctrine that God has forgiven the sins of all men. Strictly speaking, the term 'objective justification' expresses the thought that the sins of a man are forgiven by God whether he believes it or not. Objective justification is not necessarily universal, but if justification is universal it must of necessity be objective."
Siegbert Becker, "Objective Justification," Chicago Pastoral Conference, WELS, Elgin, Illinois, November 9, 1982, p. 1.