Pastor Steve Spencer asked me to comment on his upcoming sermons, to be posted on the Intrepid blog.
Brett Meyer commented already, and I posted it. I wanted to go over the sermon, line by line, before I said anything. Since the sermon is published, I do not need to sit down with Steve, hold his hand, and tell him his sins (Matthew 18).
First of all, I am extremely disappointed that the Intrepids vowed to unite against Church and Change, but devoted most of their energies to teaching against justification by faith. Rydecki began by reversing himself, within hours. Lindee caviled and joined the retreat. Jay Webber should be renamed Blister, because he always shows up after the work is done.
Their blog has been eager to republish the non-Lutheran opinions of the UOJ circle of favored authors: Zorn, Kretzmann, etc. They carefully avoid the real issues.
Spencer's sermon reminded me of the one written by Kretzmann. The favorite slogans were muted but present. As they once said about Paul and emancipation, "UOJ trembled on their lips but was not spoken."
Here is the critical paragraph from Spencer:
Yes, according the Bible Christ had to rise again. The Victor over death could not remain a prisoner of death. Peter told the Jews, "God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the FACT!" (Ac. 3:15) God did this because He was pleased with the Son's work on earth on behalf of all people. And through Jesus' resurrection God made known His divine pleasure. "Christ was raised for our justification," Paul tells us. (Ro. 4:25) We know that God has totally forgiven all our sins. Therefore, by our faith, given to us through the Means of Grace – the Gospel in Word and Sacrament – Christ's resurrection assures us that our religion, which preaches Jesus' resurrection, brings to us sinners victory over death. We do indeed have the "sure and certain" hope of everlasting life!
The partial citation of Romans 4 is dishonest, especially because the verse has been used fraudulently ever since the 1932 Brief Statement to prop up universal absolution. There is nothing wrong with the passage, so why is it truncated and used as a UOJ motto?
KJV Romans 4:22 And therefore it [faith] was imputed to him for righteousness. 23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
The ending of Romans 4, an entire chapter about Abraham being justified by faith, transitions into this classic statement:
Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Quoting Spencer again - "God has totally forgiven all our sins."
Our is ambiguous. All the sins of believers, or all the sins of the world? The statement is double-minded. UOJ fans will say "of the world," but the Bible teaches "of believers." One must reject UOJ to teach justification by faith; one excludes the other.
As Reu noted, using a statement two ways at once is one sign of unionism.
The treatment of the efficacy of the Word is lacking, although there is a passing mention of the Means of Grace, one which is also ambiguous, taking its clue from Jon Buchholz, who wants to eat his cake and still have it. Everyone is forgiven, according to DP Jon, so people need the Means of Grace to tell them this.
The UOJ fanatics merge and confuse atonement and justification.
LutherRocks has left a new comment on your post "Confessional Lutheran Theology Does Not Tolerate W...":
Much worse they teach a Gospel separating the Spirit from the Word and the Means of Grace. I know this as I was told that my sins were forgiven before I was born. I ask you then...for what good was my baptism?