The Glory Has Departed
Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence
Bethany Lutheran Worship on
Thursday, January 27, 2011
“Whoever denies objective justification reduces justification to the act of believing and does not believe in it at all. Logically, he denies the atonement and preaches that man is responsible for his sins.”
LCMS Professor David Scaer, Concordia Seminary, Ft. Wayne
Jackson – Justification by faith means not believing in justification by faith? How the minions must drool as they listen to Scaer contradict himself, nudging them toward a priesthood in Roman Catholicism or Eastern Orthodoxy. The two sentences quoted above are assertions without evidence or argumentation. Scaer’s logic is at war with Scriptural revelation.
All this is put beautifully by an old Lutheran theologian of our church,
We are redeemed from the guilt of sin; the wrath of God is appeased; all creation is again under the bright rays of mercy, as in the beginning; yea, in Christ we were justified before we were even born. For do not the Scriptures say: ‘God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them?'’ This is not the justification which we receive by faith...That is the great absolution which took place in the resurrection of Christ. It was the Father, for our sake, who condemned His dear Son as the greatest of all sinners causing Him to suffer the greatest punishment of the transgressors, even so did He publicly absolve Him from the sins of the world when He raised Him up from the dead. (Edward Preuss, "The Justification of a Sinner Before God," pp. 14-15)
LCMS Seminary President Robert Preus, 1981,
Jackson – The “old Lutheran theologian of our church” is deceptive, since Preuss abandoned teaching at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, to join the Church of Rome and promote papist doctrines there – all because God sent him the sign of a glorious sunset! (L. Fuerbring) This phrase should
scream falsehood at people – “we were justified before we were born” – yet Cascione quoted this article with reverence and awe. Fortunately, Dr. Preus retracted this position in his final book, Justification and Rome. Lutherans should observe that he quoted a dead papist when Church Growth flourished at Concordia, Ft. Wayne and the faculty endorsed Church Growth principles. But when Preus wanted to warn his faculty and his synod against Romanism, just before he died, he argued for justification by faith and against UOJ.
Sig Becker, 1982
“It has been argued that the polloi of this verse clearly indicates that Paul did not mean to say that all would be justified in and through Christ. It has even been said that “many” means “not all.” This is an argument unworthy of Lutherans who have always opposed the Calvinistic notion that the words of Jesus in which he says that his blood was shed for many (Mt 26:28) and that he had come to give his life as a ransom for many (Mk 10:45) are proof for the doctrine of limited atonement.”
Sig Becker, Objective Justification, 1982
Jackson – Polloi in Greek means many, and Greek is precise. This sounds like Alice in Wonderland, where words mean whatever Humpty Dumpty declares at the moment. Moreover, Becker claimed that the proper translation of the word polloi was an argument unworthy of Lutherans but typical of Calvinists, a quick shift from fantasy to guilt by association.
Sig Becker, 1984
“That God has punished the sins of all men in Christ finds few questioners among Lutherans who are still interested in such questions as those we are discussing today. But, sad to say, there are some Lutherans who want to be conservative and orthodox who find it very difficult to say with equal fervor and vigor that God has forgiven the sins of all men in Christ.
Anyone who is at home in the literature of the old Synodical Conference surely must know that this was the unanimous and unquestioned position of our Synodical Conference fathers. We will make no effort to demonstrate that fact with actual quotations.”
Sig Becker, Universal Justification, 1984
Jackson – This claim is pure deception, since the Missouri Synod did not teach UOJ in its 1901 catechism, as shown by Pastor Vernon Harley’s translation. Also, UOJ was not taught in Missouri statements before the 1932 Brief Statement, which was one among many. The UOJ faction has elevated the 1932 document above all previous statements, which have disappeared down the memory hole. They also choose to emphasize their 1932 statement as if it transcends and replaces the Book of Concord. That is, they choose to teach UOJ from the 1932 statement while quoting the Book of Concord.
Sig Becker, UJ, 1984
However, we should be aware that also a Calvinist, who would most assuredly reject the doctrine of universal justification, could perhaps feel perfectly at ease with the concept of objective justification. Strictly speaking, the term objective justification means that a sinner is justified by God whether he believes it or not. Many Calvinists believe that this is true of the elect. While they might therefore be willing to accept our terminology when we speak of “objective justification” they would vehemently reject the concept of “universal justification” because that would conflict with their doctrine of limited atonement.
Jackson – Here Becker admitted what former Calvinist L. P. Cruz has contended many times, knowing this from his own training and experience: Objective Justification is Calvinism. Becker’s verbal backflips do not rescue any of his new terms from the influence of Calvin, since Luther taught justification by faith alone.
Previous to this development in the mid-19th century, Lutherans used the terms “universal justification” or “general justification.’ Even Stoeckhardt, a contemporary of Schaller and Francis Pieper, is more comfortable with the older term, “general justification.” In an article entitled “General Justification,” he states,
The article of justification remains pure, firm and unshaken if we keep in mind the statement of doctrine and faith concerning general justification, if we hold firmly that the entire world of sinners has already been justified through Christ, through that which Christ did and suffered. (George Stoeckhardt, “General Justification,” Concordia Theological Monthly, 42 (April, 1978), p. 140.)
David Beckman, 1983
Jackson – “General” is a vague term to translate the original German word – allgemeine. The German adjective means “every single one,” so universal is the best translation. All these writers dance around the truth that they are promoting a new concept, alien to the Lutheran Church and the Confessions. However, Halle theologian George Christian Knapp taught it before Walther landed in America.
But, sadly, Satan worked and continues to work within the Lutheran ranks. Some wanted to make justification an act of God “at the moment of faith” and so they denied and even rejected universal, objective justification. For instance, Gottfried Fritschel in his article Zur Lehre von der Rechtfertigung made a false distinction between reconciliation and justification. He wrote that the whole world, with the exception of no one, has been reconciled with God in Christ. Forgiveness of sins is bought for all men. However, only when the sinner has experienced the wrath of God and in faith takes hold of Christ, only then does God look on him in Christ. In regard to justification he uses phrases like “now and not before” in regard to the act of justification.
Nate Bourman, 2010
Jackson – The Holy Spirit used two different terms. Most UOJ fanatics recognize that “justification” always means “justification by faith” in the Bible and the Book of Concord. From the context, reconciliation means the Atonement. The Stormtroopers can make their argument work only by making the Atonement of Christ and justification by faith the same action. Therefore, they cannot articulate any meaning for the Means of Grace which is harmonious with their bizarre claims.
Our Lutheran Confessions have no separate article on Objective Justification; the closest we can come to a paragraph of formulation for this doctrine is in Article IX of the Formula of Concord, under the doctrine of election. But even that is not really sufficient or suitable for stating the orthodox position in a clear and unequivocal manner. For our Fathers it was not difficult at all to consider objective and subjective justification under the same heading, and they were apparently unaware of any need to separate them or distinguish between them. But such was and remained the case only so long as the orthodox had a clear understanding of the nature of faith; once that understanding was gone, it became necessary (at the end of the last century) to begin making such as distinction.
Daniel Deutschlander, 1977
Jackson – If only the greatest theologians of the Christian Church (Luther, Melancthon, Chemnitz, Chytraeus) had enjoyed the wisdom and foresight of the Synodical Conference! Lacking here is the fact that Pietism brought UOJ to the Lutheran Church, through Halle University. The Synodical Conference began attacking faith, the chief attribute of the Christian, according to Luther, while teaching justification without faith.
The forgiveness acquired by Jesus for all at the cross gives us confessional Lutherans, among all the church bodies of the world, the highest motivation to share our Savior. In contrast to the “Jesus Saves” churches, we don’t preach a salvation that is incomplete and just waiting for the sinner to do something to complete the transaction. We proclaim boldly, “Jesus Saved,” past tense, finished, certain… God’s objective justification not only saved us (sic – sentence fragment, automatic fail in Freshman English 101).
Jon Buchholz, 2005
Jackson – District President Buchholz told me, a few years after giving this paper, that “no one in WELS teaches that everyone is saved.” Not having this revelation from the Essay Files, I still replied, “There was an evangelism campaign in WELS recently. The banner for the public said – “I am saved, just like you.”
We have seen that the terminology of an objective and a subjective justification is common property within our Synodical Conference. There is no reason why we should not use it in our discussions with each other. Nevertheless we still have a preference for the simpler terminology of a general or universal, and of a personal justification, To use these simpler terms will show that we are concerned about the substance of the doctrine rather than one single mode of expressing it.
Edward Reim, 1955
Jackson – All the replacements for “justification by faith” mean “universal forgiveness, without faith.” A hog in a tuxedo is still a hog.
The direct consequence of this change in the relationship between God and man was the justification of the whole world, the declaring of every sinner righteous before God. For that is the meaning in positive terms of what St. Paul here states negatively: “not imputing their trespasses unto them.” It is impossible to overemphasize this statement. For in our own time, even in our own Synodical Conference, this vital truth is being endangered, both by direct attack and by neglect.
Richard Jungkuntz, 1954
Jackson – In fact, no aspect of the Christian faith should be emphasized at the expense of another. The chief characteristic of a sect is to make one concept their sole fake Gospel message – rapture, holiness code, ecstatic speech and behavior. UOJ has turned the revealed mystery of the Atoning death of Christ for the sins of the world into an alien opinion – universal forgiveness without the Word, without faith, grace without the Means of Grace. Where did God reveal this precious truth?
On Romans 5, 19 he [Lenski] comes out with the flat statement: “Nowhere in the Bible is any man constituted or declared righteous without faith, before faith,” all asseverations and argumentations to the contrary notwithstanding.” Dr. Lenski plainly recognizes no biblical doctrine of objective justification and is very clear in stating so. His divergence from Dr. Stoeckhardt on this point cannot merely be passed off as an exegetical question of minor consequence, since it involves the central teaching of Scripture, the articulus stantis et cadentis ecclesiae.
E. Wendland, 1951
Jackson – By calling UOJ a “biblical doctrine,” Wendland condemned Lenski by definition. OJ is biblical, so anyone doubting it is against the Bible. And – Lenski disagreed with Stoeckhardt! But here, gentle readers, is where UOJ turns from heresy into lunatic, slapstick comedy – denying justification without faith is a sin against the Chief Article of the Faith, the central teaching of Scripture, the article on which the Church stands or falls. The Chief Article is “justification by faith” and not universal forgiveness without faith.
We quote from President Mischke's newsletter of June, 1982.
A word of caution may, however, be in place. It may be well to remind ourselves not to divide "objective" and "subjective" justification as if they were two totally different things which can be treated in isolation from one another. They are rather the two sides of the same coin, and there can be no "saints" or salvation without faith. To teach otherwise would indeed be universalism. (Mischke, C.H. The President's Newsletter, June, 1982.)
Jackson - Jay Webber recites the same nonsense, “two sides of the same coin,” even though he makes fun of WELS all the time and mocks the Mankato leadership unless he is near the Little Vatican on the Prairie at the moment. SP Carl Mischke was the worst leader of WELS, ever, until Gurgel took over for 14 years. Mischke promoted UOJ and the Church Growth Movment, making Paul Kelm the theological leader of the sect.
We are not pressing the word beyond what it can bear if we say that, when Paul says that God justifies the ungodly, he is asserting that God declares the unbeliever just. The fact that the unbeliever by rejecting God's verdict deprives himself eternally of the joy and comfort that this message gives does not make the declaration of God untrue. (Becker, OJ, 1982, p. 3)
Jackson – Judas Iscariot, Hitler, Mao, and Stalin are guilt-free saints too. That is still being taught at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary. No wonder the Synodical Conference of today has rested its hopes of the money given them by a divorced adulterer.