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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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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

William Tabor (WELS) Update:
Working in Texas, Lost a Son

Birth: Oct. 24, 1956
Lawrence County
Indiana, USA
Death: Jul. 31, 2011
San Antonio
Bexar County
Texas, USA

Anthony Jay Tabor Was born in Bedford, Indiana on October 24, 1956 to William and Janice (Brown) Tabor. He passed from this life Sunday, July 31, 2011 in San Antonio, Texas at age 54. Along with his father Jay ran the family business, Cleaning Professionals, Inc., in San Antonio for the past 20 years. Jay leaves behind to cherish his memories, sons Jeff, Adam and Chris Tabor, father William Tabor and his wife Betty; sister Debbie Frick and husband Michael, brother Bill Tabor and wife Jill, step sister Teresa Cairo, nieces Janice Miles, Julia Curtis and Kailee Cairo, nephews Josh and Matt Frick and Jeremy Tabor. Jay was preceded in death by his sister Belinda Tabor and his mother Janice Tabor.
Service Wednesday, August 3, 2011 1:00 pm Porter Loring Mortuary North Chapel 2102 N. Loop 1604 E.
Pastor Michael Frick will officiate. Jay will be buried at Beech Grove Cemetery in Bedford, Indiana at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, August 5.
You are invited to sign the Guestbook at
Arrangements with Porter Loring Mortuary North 2102 North Loop 1604 East San Antonio, TX 78232 - (210) 495-8221

Published in Houston Chronicle from August 4 to August 5, 2011 

William Tabor was the pastor who suddenly decided to join WELS with a group of his members from Scriptural Lutheran (then LCR, now ELS). Tabor joined the WELS ministerium even though circuit pastor Roger Zehms and various WELS leaders knew Tabor was a philanderer. Tabor received a call to Salem Milwaukee, where his mistress was jailed for killing Tabor's wife.

Tabor had a call to Escanaba at the time, they tell me, and off he went to serve his new call. WELS pastors - that is how to get a better call. The WELS leaders did everything possible to keep Tabor out of the hoosegow, and they succeeded. They followed the same pattern with Al Just, who got a short sentence for knifing his wife to death in their bed. Al Just claimed she rolled over the steak knife in bed, and WELS clergy to this day believe his story. A busload of deceived WELS Lutherans came to his trial to support poor ol' Al. I have been told never to mention this again.

The father of the current First VP of WELS, the Dr. Martin Luther College president, spoke on behalf of Al Just at the murder trial.

Let's talk about forgiveness without repentance, without remorse, without truthfulness.

Walther - The American Pope,
Worshiped as a God

These guys worship Walther like he was a god. Walther according to what you posted is a criminal. No other American synod has idolized a man like the LCMS followed by WELS and the ELS. No wonder they cannot get justification by faith right, they are all to busy telling folks they are forgiven when born and rerunning the predestination battle over and over again. I guess Walther was hooked on that because he could not get past the fact that we are saved by faith.


The Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity -
No Live Service October 2, 2011

Trinity 15, 2011 Sermon

Galatians 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.  26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.  KJV Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.  2 Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.  3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.  4 But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.  5 For every man shall bear his own burden.  6 Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.  7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.  8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.  9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.  10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. 

KJV Matthew 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. 25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? 26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? 27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? 28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Creation Teaches Us

Thus far the contrasts are exclusive: either treasures on earth or treasures in heaven. The self-deception thus lies in choosing the one kind in place of the other. Now Jesus turns to the self-deception which would grasp at both. No one can be a slave to two masters. The proposition is again self-evident. The emphasis is on can-be-a-slave with which, as a matter of course, goes the idea of having a master. The matter is viewed exclusively from the standpoint of the slave; hence no one is the subject. How two masters would act in such a case is not touched upon. A slave’s person and his work belong wholly to his master. This excludes the possibility of devoting himself and his work to a second master. Two masters or even more might own a slave jointly and might even share in his service; but this would make the two one, and this thought is thus not a contradiction of the proposition. The thought that underlies this word of Jesus is the fact that no man is his own master; it is ingrained in our very nature that our heart, will, and work be governed by another. The only question is who this other shall be.
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Matthew's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN. : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 278.

Jesus often used illustrations from Creation, because He is the Lord of Creation, the creating Word who fashioned light before the sun and stars existed.

KJV John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.

KJV Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. 3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. 4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

This is a good text for all of us, whether in times of prosperity or recession. In the past there were crises in one currency or another, one part of the world or another. Now the crisis is world-wide and continuing to develop, like a storm that builds up after a flood, making people wonder, “How much more?”

This text requires faith, because anyone without faith will ignore its meaning. No one is against birds and flowers, but this text is about the Master. Jesus observed, “No one can be a slave to two Masters at once. He will love one and hate the other, or be loyal to one and disloyal to the other. That is often observed in human behavior, when someone pretends to be friendly when he is really serving another person, trying to get information or some kind of advantage.

Long ago I warned a well known editor, “Agent X is no longer your friend.” The editor denied this was happening. I said, “He is defending Bohlmann.” Later, Agent X went public with his animosity. He had switched sides and was serving the opposition. We are not capable of serving two sides at once. We pick one over against the other.

As Luther said, just as our relationships are with others in this life, so is our relationship with God. It is either God or mammon, not both.

Jesus warning is about the most important basics of life.

Matthew 6:24b Ye cannot serve God and mammon. 25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

One way to understand mammon is “excess money.” Mammon is represented by desiring to have more and more, to be secure and yet wanting many times more, just to be sure. In many cases today, those who are wealthy are unhappy that they are not many times more wealthy. A millionaire wants to be a centi-millionaire, and and centi-millionarie wants to be a billionaire. Ted Turner was once worth $10 billion and now has to scrape by on $500 million. He had to give up some luxuries.

Here Jesus is reminding us, “God already takes care of the basic needs of life, for believers and unbelievers alike. Look at the plants and animals.”

Luther is quite severe on this topic, which is good to read over and study, because he puts this lesson in the context of faith rather than logic. Either we believe in God or we believe in mammon. If we love mammon, we hate God.

No believer will say, “I hate God,” but Luther’s observation is accurate. We  say that and worry about a dollar left out in the open – someone might steal it. I was laughing to myself about this at the store, because I kept my eyes on our shopping basket after I paid for the goods. We were having some food at the WM Subway, and I did not want someone to leave with the paid-for goods. Luther’s comment stuck me many times, but I still kept my eyes on the cart.

This is the first time in my life where I have seen everyone threatened by financial meltdown. No one I know has been left untouched. Savings and retirement have suffered. Homes have lost 50% of their value overnight. Some things have a rolling effect. Endowments have lost value, so the benefits from those funds are gone. Times of prosperity seem to be a dream.

Matthew 6:26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

The birds fashioned by the Lord of Creation are an excellent example of how our heavenly Father cares for everything. Every single day they start with nothing, yet they sing merrily and look for food.

Blue jays hoard acorns, but for a purpose. God has designed them to nurture and spread oak trees, so they benefit from the food, shade and shelter of the oaks while making sure they have more. Someone said, “Given the concept that the animals themselves (the hardware) have evolved on their own, how does anyone explain the software coding?” (Hardware and software go together, so the question is ironic. Conceding one part of evolution, as a rhetorical trick, makes it clear that design permeates everything we see.)

Believing in Creation and observing it are great habits. Blue jays chose to build a nest outside our bedroom window, in the bush at eye level. Their software directed them to mate and produce a nest together, the female laying eggs, the pair bringing food to the hatchlings. Jays can be very aggressive in attacking those who threaten their young, but they never attacked me for bringing them piles of sunflower seed. Birds cannot live on donated food any more than we can live on Doritos, but it does help them to have some extra nutrition.

Their genetic code moved them to feed their young with great energy and care, so we saw the scrawny little things get bigger and more crowded in their nest.
LI noticed them trying their little wings in place. He said, “Look at that. They wave their wings and say – what are these? Maybe I can fly. And soon they are doing something they never imagined, second nature to them.” We watched them flutter in place a few days – then everyone was gone.

Their software told them to grow up, set up shop somewhere else, find a mate, and start over. I gave them sunflower seeds – for myself and our visitors. We wanted to enjoy their feathers, their military sharpness, their bell-like calls of happiness when food was near. We got to share a tiny bit in what God provided with such lavish bounty.

Now all kinds of birds stop by and peer in the window. Isn’t this where we get the sunflower seeds, crackers, and potato chips?

Clearly Jesus taught this so that birds would be a daily reminder of God’s care for all of us, a reminder of His care for each and every one of us. The birds are so small and insignificant, yet God cares for them. How much more valuable are we, created and redeemed by Him?

Matthew 6:27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
This is interpreted as the span or length of one’s life. That is a real obsession today. In many cases, people have damaged their health by being so anxious and managing their food so severely.  We saw a malnourished baby at the Cleveland Clinic, terribly sick because his parents had some weird hippy organic obsession.

We can see the richest and most powerful Americans dying of one malady or another, because mammon does not buy health. All the doctors and medicine that man can buy will not change that.

Of what help are his great treasures and riches to the Emperor when the hour of death arrives and he is called to die? They are a shameful, loathsome, powerless god, that cannot cure a sore, yea, it cannot keep and take care of itself, there it lies in the chest, and lets it's devotees wait, yea, one must watch it as a helpless, powerless, weak thing. The lord who has this god must watch day and night lest thieves steal it; this helpless god can aid no one. You should have contempt for this lifeless god that cannot help in the least, and is yet so scrupulous and precious; it lets its devotees wait in the grandest style and protects itself with strong chests and castles, its lord must wait and be in anxiety every hour, lest it perishes by fire or otherwise experiences some misfortune. Does this treasure or god consist in clothing, then one must be careful and on his guard against the smallest little insects, against the moth, lest they ruin or devour it.

Matthew 6: 28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

No matter where people live, they can observe the glories of plant life. In Phoenix we had cacti blossoming, flowering trees, and even weeds with delicate flowers. I bought  one plant because it would grow well in the blazing heat. A landscaper said, “Did you do that on purpose?” Another plant was $1.50 at the store, so I bought three. Later they were 7 feet tall and loaded with blossoms, orange flowers loved by humming birds. My neighbor finally talked to me after 10 years. He stopped at the front door and said, “Please prune those bushes. They are growing into my roses.”

In fact, weeds can be quite attractive – in small numbers. Their abundance is a blessing by itself, because they protect and improve the soil in places where delicate plants would not survive. God has designed a plant for every single habitat, one that will thrive in that climate.

As much as people fuss over clothes, no one can dress as delicately as a wild flower. No one can put together the same colors, no matter how many dyes and fabrics are designed to look good.

One of the ironies of history is the silk trade. China guarded it for centuries, the fabric coming from the tiny silk threads of a little worm. Constantinople finally stole some worms and developed their own industry, but it was an industry based on God’s Creation, not on man-made fabrics. What we prize today are the natural fabrics, made from wool, cotton, bamboo, and worms, not the chemical fibers that color so well and feel like plastic bags smothering our bodies.

Some roses will give up enough perfume from one blossom to fill an entire room with their aroma. Fragrant Cloud is one of the best for that. How much we spend to re-create the perfumes of nature – with little success.

Matthew 6: 30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

Here Jesus is emphasizing our lack of faith in God’s care and power. Either we trust in man’s wisdom and schemes or in God’s mercy and love. God serves us in the material and spiritual realms, but mammon is a god that must be served.

All the law salesmen serve their god Mammon, so we must be careful not to fall into their way of thinking. They are clever because their Old Adam talks to our Old Adam so well. Look at how prosperous that minister is! He must know the secrets. Look at his wealthy benefactors. He must know how to reach people.

Instead, these prosperity gurus should ask themselves, “Why does this criminal want to borrow my image to make himself look good?” That has happened many times. I had the files of one minister, who had a talking point paper on how to explain the criminal charges leveled by the government against his wealthy member. I thought, “So the price is being his mouthpiece?” So much for Law and Gospel. Being a finger-puppet pays well in the short run, but not in the long run. “The wages of sin is death.”

The little faith rebuke is aimed at all of us. John 16:8 – The Holy Spirit will convict us of sin, because we do not utterly rely on Him.

Luther used the example of our eyes. We have redundancy in almost everything, including our eyes. We take them for granted, even though we pity a person who is blind. We can do almost nothing for a blind person or for someone going blind from such disorders as macular degeneration.

But if we lost an eye through an accident, we would suddenly value that one remaining eye. What would we do without that? We should get up every morning and thank God for those eyes. Gerhard even has a beautiful German hymn, thanking God for all the senses and for God’s daily care.

When we get older, the eyes do not work so well. My eyes are healthy, but they are no longer good for reading a whole book in a day and grading homework. I think aging is a process of becoming grateful for what is left.

Matthew 6: 31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Our sinful nature puts Mammon first, as if we need to serve that god, while dispensing with the real treasures of life in the Means of Grace. Many have sacrificed their families, too, in the name of being prosperous, important, or “serving the church.” I met one layman’s son who was utterly sick of church from growing up in the home of a father who was the ultimate church volunteer. In fact, another father neglected his own kids to do “youth work” and film all their activities.

The most important congregation is the home. The pastoral epistles teach that clearly.

“Seek first the Kingdom” means first, not second. First cannot be qualified, as in second or third, or at the end.

Jesus has abundant examples of how this righteousness is given to us lavishly through the Means of Grace.

In John 15:1-10, Jesus is the True Vine. We are fruitful through remaining with the Savior.

In John 10:1ff – Jesus is the Good Shepherd, who knows His sheep. His sheep listen to His voice alone and follow Him alone. They know He is as anxious for them as they are for Him.

Quotations from Luther’s Sermon

"In this Gospel we see how God distinguishes Christians from heathen. For the Lord does not deliver these teachings to the heathen, for they could not receive them, but to His Christians...Satan also hears the Gospel and the Word of God, yea, he knows it far better than we do, and he could preach it as well as we, if he only wanted to; but the Gospel is a doctrine that should become a living power and be put into practice; it should strengthen and comfort people, and make them courageous and aggressive."
            Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed. John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids:  Baker Book House, 1983, V,  p. 103f. Trinity 15 Matthew 6:24‑34          

"The Master uses here the Hebrew, which we do not.  'Mammon' means goods or riches, and such goods as one does not need, but holds as a treasure, and it is gold and possessions that one deposits as stock and storage provisions."
            Sermons of Martin Luther V,  p. 107. 

                                The Weak God:  Riches               
"They are a shameful, loathsome, powerless god, that cannot cure a sore, yea, it cannot keep and take care of itself, there it lies in the chest, and lets its devotees wait, yea, one must watch it as a helpless, powerless, weak thing.  The lord who has this god must watch day and night lest thieves steal it; this helpless god can aid no one."
            Sermons of Martin Luther, V, p. 107.

"The walls of our rooms should spit upon us in contempt that we trust more in the god the moth eat and the rust corrupt, than in the God, who creates and gives all things, yea, who holds in His hand heaven and earth, and all that is in them."
            Sermons of Martin Luther, V, p. 108.

                                A Little Bird Shames Us
"Early in the morning it rises, sits upon a twig and sings a song it has learned, while it knows not where to obtain its food, and yet it is not worried as to where to get its breakfast.  Later, when it is hungry, it flies away and seeks a grain of corn,  where God stored one away for it, of which it never thought while singing, when it had cause enough to be anxious about its food. Ay, shame on you now, that the little birds are more pious and believing than you; they are happy and sing with joy and know not whether they have anything to eat."
            Sermons of Martin Luther, V,  p. 114. 

                                Is Christ Our Treasure?     
"Here are no learned, no rich, no mighty ones, for such people do not as a rule accept the Gospel.  The Gospel is a heavenly treasure, which will not tolerate any other treasure, and will not agree with any earthly guest in the heart.  Therefore whoever loves the one must let go the other, as Christ says, Matthew 6:24:  'You cannot serve God and mammon.'"
            Sermons of Martin Luther, I,  p. 154.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

From Eric Gritsch, Who Left the LCA for Missouri

"The confessions know nothing of the denominational system. They certainly know nothing of our present decadent denominationalism. That is, they know nothing either of the structure of our disunity or of the organization through which work for unity must now be done." - Gritsch


Posted with Permission from a WELS Layman

Hey Pastor:

About excessive drinking in WELS - 

"I was taken aback in 2003 attending the WELS biennial convention respresenting the district  at the beer tent right on campus in Watertown. I wondered how that could be, with so many WELS pastors and teachers having gross alcohol problems - plus the rampant societal problems abuse of alcohol has caused this nation.   I was one of them 30 years ago as a WELS teacher. Why would the leadership would suppport tap beer at a spiritual event? Can they  really see how those with less tolerance to such questionable exercises in liberty might be completely turned off?  I don't know if this situation has changed since I last attended but I've felt that the WELS simply is too lenient in attitude after all the carnage that this abuse has caused."

By the by, while we were still a mission congregation here  the WELS pastor assigned to us brought his drinking problem here. Before he left (or was asked to leave?) he absconded with some of our offering money also! Needless to say his exploratory work was unsuccessful.
I had Al Just as a teacher at MLA and knew the unforgettable Tabor brothers there also.  Al Just:  Was my  teacher and coach.  It was really weird talking with him at DMLC while I was taking certification courses and he was out on bail for murdering his wife.   Remorse, what remorse?

I taught at one WELS school for several  years, quit the WELS for a while, but have been involved for the last 20 years here in this state. 

May God bless you!


GJ - The leaders are cruel in allowing alcoholic ministers to wreck congregations without helping the men recover. Alcohol addiction is so common in WELS that no one sees the problem until it blows up on them. I heard one statement from a pastor I just met and knew he was an addict. He volunteered that Valium helped kick up the impact of an alcoholic drink. He left messes everywhere, but he was connected.

The problem begins with the amount of alcoholism in the leadership. One pastor pointed out a Love Shacker and said, "Now that is a drunk's drunk."

"Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son - unless you have a big grant from Daddy Warbucks."

Pixelation in Christian Doctrine

The UOJ Enthusiasts, as Joe Krohn observed on another blog, zoom into the Scriptures or Confessions - to the point of pixelation. Everything is out of focus because they neglect the context.

For example, I wrote a complete sentence in Photoshop, on a tiny file. I expanded several times to pixelate it, posting it above. Now the sentence is so blurred that a UOJ scholar could write several books on its origin, meaning, and influence. However, I am retaining the movie rights.


LutherRocks said...
I had one more comment that I thought of last evening when I was skimming over this post; it is directed at Pr. Webber and those who seem to find this OJ lying next to SJ all the time in scripture and the BoC. I see the problem as a failure to look at Justification in context. UOJ works when you zoom in too far to certain passages; just like other heterodox religions do to make their doctrine work. Ironically, when I read the study notes from the Concordia NIV to a WELS heavyweight re: Romans 3:22-24, he thought it sounded like limited atonement...of course it was taken verbatim from the Zondervan NIV Study Bible. The irony is that Calvinists fall short with the 'all' and UOJers overshoot the 'all'.

Mr. Lindee made a great stride by putting the Ambrose quote in context from the letter. I would only add that where this quote appears in the Apology follows under these headings: Of Justification 1-47; What is Justifying Faith? 48-60; That Faith in Christ Justifies 61-74; That We Obtain Remission of Sins by Faith Alone in Christ 75-121.

So you see it is always in the context of faith; justified by faith in the Propitiator, namely, Jesus Christ.
Joe identified the problem, so I gave it a name - soon to be entered into Icha-slang, pending approval by the Board of Directors.

The LCMS pixelated Romans 4:25 in their Brief Statement of 1932, and no one noticed.

Visit the Only Shrine Built To Honor a Kidnapper.
Bronzies Still Love His Pietistic Antinomianism

Walther organized the mob that stole most of Bishop Stephan's possessions and all of his money, including retirement savings.
They also stole his chalice, forcing him at gunpoint to cross over to Illinois.

Kidnapping and armed robbery can earn someone a nifty shrine, a statue at the Purple Palace, little statues for the dashboard of the car, a bicentennial celebration of falsehoods, and a cool chalice.

In Pursuit of Religious Freedom: Bishop Martin Stephan’s Journey

By Philip G. Stephan (born 1935), New York: Lexington Books, 2008.

My citations will be In Pursuit of Religious Freedom, instead of Stephan, to avoid confusion, since the author is a descendant of the bishop.

Riley Otten, the grandson of Pastor Herman Otten, wrote up the fable of Walther’s work in Perry County. I do not blame Riley, but the people who have falsified Perry County history. Christian News, 9-19-2011, p. 16.

According to Riley, when the Saxon immigrants found out about Bishop Stephan’s adultery, they gave him three choices:
  1. Go to court.
  2. Go back to Germany.
  3. Go to Illinois.
“Then Walther came to set stuff straight. That is how the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod started.”

At the bottom of the page of pictures is a plaque in honor of Walther’s 200th birthday and a statue. $30 plus shipping and handling.

Walther’s Shrine -

The actual events:

January 20, 1839 – The ships landed in New Orleans.

Rogate Sunday Sermon, St. Louis, March 5, 1839 – G. H. Loeber’s sermon  on the 10 Commandments led two women to confess privately to him their adultery with Bishop Stephan. Louise Guenther, who was investigated previously by the courts in German, confessed and asked for absolution. The Christian Church has always held to the strict confidentiality of the private confession. Otherwise, no one would confess sin and seek forgiveness. IPRF, p. 180.

Loeber was disturbed by the two confessions and spoke with Walther, the only other pastor from the group in St. Louis. On May 13, Eduard Vehse and Gustave Jaeckel were invited to discuss this with Loeber and Walther. They resolved to take back the land given to Stephan (40 acres). Stephan also purchased 80 acres with his own money. IPRF, p. 181.

The group retracted their previous defense of Stephan, published in the paper. IPRF, p. 182. The retraction was on May 27th, IPRF, p. 184.
Pastors Walther and Loeber, attorneys Vehse and Marbach, coordinated their efforts without even trying to contact Stephan.

Without any hearing or investigation, the group decided to get rid of Stephan.

On May 15th, Walther traveled to Perry County to gather support among the clergy there and to mislead Stephan about his intentions. Walther (the youngest of all the pastors) changed the title of the land given to Stephan, without telling the bishop. He also involved the Buenger family (the parents of his future wife, who also hid the kidnapped children in Germany) in the plan to get rid of Stephan. IPRF, p. 186.

The group organized by Walther, 300 in all, arrived on the steamer from St. Louis on May 28th. Louise Guenther was among them.

“This hastily assembled group could not even decide its own authority or whether it was purely advisory. Incredibly, a competent administrative council already existed; it had planned the Atlantic voyage, written the regulations for the governance of the group, and purchased the Perry County land. This council had the support and approval of all the people. It is not clear why they made no effort to use this properly authorized group to hear the charges.” IPRF, p. 187.

The trial was held May 30th. The former pastors had resigned their calls in Germany to come over, but they listed themselves as pastors in signing the deposition. That included “Carl Ferdinand Wilhelm Walther, pastor.” IPRF, p. 189

Walther’s brother did NOT sign the deposition. Neither did any theological candidate.

They ordered Stephan to leave (no options).

Before, the mob was lashing the cabin with their whips. They came inside to force Stephan out. Stephan reported (later in IPRF) that they set fires outside, so he was afraid for his life.

The Walther mob stole most of Stephan’s personal belongings and all his money, including the gold he was saving for retirement. They forced Stephan to strip off his clothing in their pursuit of his money.

The Waltherians kept Stephan’s books, which were also quite valuable. Later, Walther tricked Stephan’s son out of the 80 acres belonging to the bishop, bought with the bishop’s own money. Clearly the son had no legal right to turn over property belonging to his father. Walther had no business manipulating the son, who became a Missouri pastor, into donating something not his own.

Walther’s later church, Trinity in St. Louis, kept the priceless chalice stolen from Stephan and will not surrender it to Stephan’s descendants. Pious Lutherans still claim the chalice belonged to the Society but it was a personal gift to Stephan and not theirs to steal.

Stephan slept outside in a tent, that night because the swollen Mississippi could not be crossed. He became quite ill from this and recovered very slowly.

Stephan was forced across the river at gunpoint on May 31st. IPRF, p. 190f and footnote 10. He did some pastoral afterwards in Illinois, where he is buried. His mistress, Louise Guenther, followed him and lived with him during that time.

He lived the rest of his life in poverty, thanks to the actions of the Walther-led mob.


“C.F.W. Walther has been hailed as an ‘American Luther,’” said Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, LCMS president. “He was an avid student of Luther’s writings, and they shaped the transformative role Walther played in 19th-century American Lutheranism. How appropriate that we recognize his bicentennial year! For in his day, Walther recognized the unique role of the Lutheran church in America. That role is ours yet today.”
* Walther Heritage St. Louis/Perry County Tour: Produced by Luther Tours, this unforgettable two-day journey will take visitors to significant Lutheran sites in St. Louis and Perry County, Mo., including the LCMS International Center; Historic Trinity Lutheran Church; Concordia Seminary, St. Louis; Concordia Historical Institute; the Saxon Lutheran Memorial, the Lutheran Heritage Center & Museum; Hill of Peace Lutheran Church; and Concordia Cemetery, where the Walther Mausoleum is located. Tour dates are: Sept. 23-25, Oct. 7-9, Oct. 14-16 and Oct. 21-23, 2011.
* Walther Movie: Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, is producing a high definition video series which will follow the life of Walther, present a history of the LCMS, and – through studying Walther’s life and teachings – provide viewers with a better understanding of the importance of the Holy Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions.
* Historic Trinity Lutheran Church Walther Bicentennial Celebration Service: A special celebration service is set for 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 23, at Historic Trinity Lutheran Church, 1805 S. Eighth St., St. Louis. The service will include special speakers in the church where Walther was a pastor from 1841 until his death in 1887.
* Concordia Publishing House Reformation Theology Research Award: To encourage the study of historical theology, the Professional and Academic Book Team at Concordia Publishing House has organized a special cash award commemorating the 200th anniversary of Walther’s birth for research papers or commemorative sermon and prayer. Announcement of award winners will coincide with the publication of the finalist papers in 2011.
* Walther Look-Alike Contest at Saxon Lutheran Memorial: The Saxon Lutheran Memorial historic site will mark the 200th anniversary of Walther’s birth during the 31st Annual Fall Festival from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8. The festival will include a special “Dr. C.F.W. Walther Look-Alike Contest” as part of the festivities. * Historic Germany tour: LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison and Rev. Jon Vieker, senior assistant to the LCMS president, will host a 12-day tour of Germany, produced by LutherTours, Nov. 30-Dec. 11. The tour coincides with the 200th anniversary of Walther’s birth and will focus on sites that were significant in both his and Martin Luther's lives. Also included will be visits to several of Germany's Christmas markets.
Walther, who was born Oct. 25, 1811, joined the Saxon Germans who immigrated to the United States in 1839, and at the age of only 27 found himself leader of the group that settled in Perry County, Mo. In 1847, Walther played a key role in the founding of the LCMS, which now ranks as one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States with more than 2.3 million baptized members in some 6,200 congregations and more than 9,000 pastors.
“C.F.W. Walther was a towering figure of 19th century Lutheranism,” said Larry Lumpe, executive director of Concordia Historical Institute, the department of archives and history of the LCMS. “His knowledge of and unwavering commitment to the Lutheran Confessions and the theology of Martin Luther provided a firm foundation for the growth and development of the Missouri Synod. Through his tireless ministry as preacher, teacher and writer, he offers a lasting legacy for the church of the 21st century as it proclaims the precious Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world.”

Walther's statue inside his shrine reminds some people of Mariolatry, so the LCMS pastors accustomed to this blarney go for the real thing in the Church of Rome. Notice the angel in the stained glass window, carrying off one of the books stolen from Bishop Stephan. Many years later, Seminex students stole piles of books from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, to start their own little school because "they belonged to us anyway." Payback is tough. Seminex failed and helped bankrupt the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago.

Martin Stephan Forum - The Stolen Chalice

A letter from Ted to 1983 to his son Dick and wife Lea:

“Several years ago mother sent you and Marianne a picture of the gorgeous priceless chalice brought back with the Stephan clan to the USA.  It is in a Lutheran church near the seminary. I asked our Pastor Pebler about it, and he said that he had communed from it many times.  Of late tho, he said that it was placed in a safe place and not used anymore. We are glad you are “monitoring” our investment.”[“Monitoring” is Ted’s wry reference to LCMS and the Stephan possessions which still remain in their hands or in LCMS churches.]

A.C. V on UOJ

AC V has left a new comment on your post "Intrepid Lutherans: Fraternal Dialogue on the Topi...":

In summary, why UOJ is not Truth:

1) Supposed pro-UOJ Scripture references are quoted out of context.

2) Supposed pro-UOJ quotations by Church Fathers are either taken out of context or are so few in number as compared to "Justification by faith" references made by the same author that to say they are pro-UOJ quotes does injustice to the author's intended meaning (same goes for Scripture quotes, too).

3) Many logical fallacies when compared/contrasted to clear Scripture testimony. *** GJ - Acey does not go far enough.
  1. The use of Romans 4:25 shows that the UOJ Stormtroopers are eager to turn the Scriptures inside-out, grab St. Paul by the shoulders, and make him say the opposite of his clear, plain, inspired words.
  2. The UOJ Enthusiasts kidnap the Book of Concord authors and the Age of Orthodoxy theologians, so the justification authors are fraudulently included in the Pietistic pantheon of double-justifiers.
  3. Rationalism rears its head when they say, "If Jesus took on the sin of the world, then the entire world is declared to be free of sin, innocent, and saved."

Justification by Faith - On Intrepid Lutherans.
UOJ Refuted, Rebuked


Fraternal Dialogue on the Topic of "Objective Justification"

Over the weekend, I was monitoring the discussion taking place in our recent blog post, The WEB: A viable English Translation?, which had turned almost immediately from the issue of translations to that of “Universal Objective Justification.” This is due to the fact that the NNIV translates certain sections of the Bible in a way that is heralded by those who support and make propaganda for this teaching, much to the concern of those who question it. Because I was traveling over the weekend, I was unable to participate in the discussion, but kept notes here and there, particularly as Rev. Webber began his participation. Last fall, in one of our posts on the Marquart paper that Rev. Rydecki reviewed (Justification – Marquart, Recap), he and I had what I would consider a “fraternal,” though somewhat vigorous, exchange, from which I benefited. So, reading through the discussion he held with Rev. Rydecki and others over the weekend, I felt that it was appropriate to put my notes together and compose my own challenges – for the sake of feeding a dialogue which needs to happen.

Earlier today, Rev. Webber commented with reference to the doctrine of “Objective Justification” that, “these are times for fraternal and patient discussion, to seek clarification, in the spirit of what Gerhard says.” In a previous comment, he noted that this doctrine has seen protracted and confusing controversy in the recent past. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that such continues to be the case. Our discussion in this forum is neither unusual nor out of place (although some would prefer that the “heat” be turned down a little), and as evidenced by the fact that laymen and clergymen continue to turn discussion to this topic, and the generally high interest and passionate discussion this topic generates, it is one which is very much on the minds of fellow Lutherans.

The following is the notes I had composed, originally intending it as a comment in the previous blog post. After discussion with the other moderators, we decided to make it a full post. Although it is addressed to Rev. Webber (as the comment initially was intended), commentary on this blog post is certainly not limited to him. It is intended as a starting point for a general dialogue on the topic.

Rev. Webber,

Thank you for weighing in on this discussion – I'll repeat what Rev. Rydecki stated, that your opinion definitely has value among us at Intrepid Lutherans. I am also pleased to hear it admitted that there had been continued protracted and confusing controversy regarding the doctrine of justification, and not just by "fanatics" on either end of the spectrum, but among respected theologians like Marquart, Preus and Maier.

You approvingly quoted Marquart as follows:
    A contemporary clarification of justification would have to begin with what the Formula of Concord calls 'the only essential and necessary elements of justification,' that is, (1) the grace of God, (2) the merit of Christ, (3) the Gospel which alone offers and distributes these treasures, and (4) faith which alone receives or appropriates them (SD III.25). The first three items define the universal/general dimension of justification (forgiveness as obtained for all mankind on the cross, proclaimed in the resurrection [see Rom 4:25 and 1 Tim. 3:16] and offered to all in the means of grace), and the fourth, the individual/personal dimension. No one actually has forgiveness unless and until he receives it by faith.
I would first understand from the remainder of your comments that if (1) through (3) is preached, but (4) is not preached, then Justification has not been preached. No faith, no justification. Correct? In other words, so-called "Objective Justification," being only three out of four necessary criteria in the Doctrine of Justification, is an incomplete Gospel, and thus, it is not Gospel. Second, prior to faith and regeneration – that is, "outside of Christ" – individuals stand before God in the filthy rags of their own wreaking sins as "children of wrath" (Eph. 2:1-3). Correct? Or does the scary talk of the New Testament ultimately amount to empty rhetoric? If the Law contained in the New Testament is not empty rhetoric, then for those "outside of Christ" the phrase "in him all humanity was declared to be righteous and was vindicated" has no material value. Correct? This is important because in order to arrive at the conclusion represented by this phrase, one must rely on a syllogism, not Scripture. As you state it, the syllogism goes:
    (major premise) "If righteousness has been proclaimed upon humanity's substitute, then righteousness has in fact been proclaimed upon humanity"
    (minor premise) "In the resurrection of Christ, as he stood in the place of all humanity, he was justified. That is, he was declared to be righteous...
    (conclusion) "...and was vindicated as the representative of all humanity. This means that in him, and in his resurrection, all humanity was thereby justified. In him all humanity was declared to be righteous and was vindicated".
I'm not sure that syllogisms are a good way to do Scripture doctrine – and I certainly do not feel compelled to be automatically bound by them. Even if they are, in this case I question the validity of the minor premise. Scripture states most clearly that Christ bore the sin of the world, as humanity's substitute. That makes Him humanity's substitute with respect to our sin and His atoning work. His obedience under the Law was necessary for the sake of this work, but once His atoning work on the cross was complete, once His work as humanity's substitute was completed, His substitutionary role was also "finished." What Scriptural validity is there in extending His substitutionary role beyond His role as the world's sin bearer? I don't see Scriptural basis for claiming that Christ is the substitute for all humanity in the Resurrection, I only see it in His atoning work on the cross (Rom. 4:24-5:2 is quite clear, "raised again for our justification" is limited to those to whom Christ's righteousness is imputed through faith).

Moreover, I really don't see the necessity that Christ be the bearer of "our" righteousness, rather than His own, and therefore also the necessity of invoking a syllogism over the plain meaning of Scripture to arrive at this conclusion. Supposedly, it is necessary that God see all individuals as sinless, regardless of whether they have faith, if the Doctrine of Justification is to remain monergistic and confer true hope and comfort. Well, it isn't necessary that God see all individuals as sinless prior to faith, and it is a good thing because it isn't true. It is necessary that Christ has atoned for the sins of the whole world, and that Christ now offers to all men the promise of forgiveness of sins, spiritual life and eternal salvation, and freely gives man the faith to believe this promise through the Means of Grace. Man is entirely passive. Scripture testifies to these facts with abundant clarity. We receive these promises through the gift of faith (Eph. 2:8), and faith clings to them as accomplished facts – even though they remain objects of hope until the Day our "redemption draweth nigh" (Luke 21:25-28), in which we will finally receive the righteousness we hope for (Gal. 5:5) and "the end of our faith, the salvation of our souls" (1 Pet. 1:3-9). This is why the Scriptures exhort the believer to "endure to the end" (Matt. 24:8-14) – for apart from faith, we have no forgiveness of sins, no righteousness and no salvation, and in our sin remain "children of wrath" (Eph. 2:1-3).

"But do I have faith?", it is asked. Have I been baptized? Then I, in this outward objective act, have been crucified with Christ – which atoned for my sin – and thus in this death have been freed from sin's condemnation; and I, in this outward objective act, have been buried with Christ and raised with Him into spiritual life as a new creature – and sharing in Christ's Resurrection share also in the declaration of righteousness that He earned (Rom. 6:3-11). In this outward, objective "washing," in which I am entirely passive, I am quickened (1 Pet. 3:17-22), I receive the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38-39) and am declared righteous, I am regenerated (Titus 3:3-7). And having "become righteous" in this way, the promise of God in the Doctrine of Conversion is given full potency. Ezekiel records directly from the lips of God:
    But if the wicked man will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live (Ezk. 18:21-22)
And the author of Hebrews characterizes the New Covenant in terms of God's promises in Conversion, as well:
    For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people... For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more (Heb. 8:10-12)

    This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin (Heb. 10:16-18)
The Christian simply does not need the Doctrine of Justification, in order to secure the Gospel's comfort, to be construed in such a way that God has never seen the sin of the sinner. The Doctrine of Conversion supplies this comfort for us – telling us that God does see our sin, yet as a consequence of turning from that sin to righteousness instead (Repentance and Conversion), our prior life of sin is no longer considered by Him, and is forgotten. Indeed, to so construe the Doctrine of Justification seems to set it at war with the Doctrine of Conversion, even to overthrow it. Why on earth (literally) is such a teaching even uttered by God, if before Him mankind is not seen as sinful in the first place? The fact is, the declaration of righteousness conferred on us through faith and baptism satisfies the righteousness required in the Doctrine of Conversion. It is not my righteousness, it is the perfect righteousness of Christ.

It is no wonder to me that the Concordists point out that
    "[regeneration] is sometimes used to mean only the forgiveness of sins and that we are adopted as God's sons [as opposed to forgiveness of sins plus the succeeding renewal worked by the Holy Spirit]. It is in this ...sense that the word is used much of the time in the Apology, where it is written that justification BEFORE GOD is regeneration" (SD 3:19Reader's Edition).
Here the Confessions speak directly regarding our status BEFORE GOD, and that regarding such, "justification" is not three out of four necessary criteria. The Solid Declaration here, and in the Apology, represent a serious challenge to those who say that, before God, we are forgiven and righteous apart from regeneration. Rather, according to the Confessions, BEFORE GOD our Justification is Regeneration.

Maier, Marquart, Preus and company may have come to "an agreement" of sorts. Fine. Political factors swirl about that episode in ways that would leave any objective person suspicious. Who really knows what factors were involved? For myself, I find the Confessions and Scripture to be much more compelling.

But do the Confessions teach “Objective Justification”? You stated regarding this question:
    By the way, I do not concede that the "objective" side of justification is not taught in the Confessions. With the understanding that forgiveness and justification are essentially synonymous in meaning, the quotation from St. Ambrose quoted approvingly in Apology IV:103 teaches it most clearly.
I examined AP:IV:103. But I also read AP:IV:104-105. Together, they read as follows:
    [103] ...For Ambrose says in his letter to a certain Irenaeus: Moreover, the world was subject to Him by the Law for the reason that, according to the command of the Law, all are indicted, and yet, by the works of the Law, no one is justified, i.e., because, by the Law, sin is perceived, but guilt is not discharged. The Law, which made all sinners, seemed to have done injury, but when the Lord Jesus Christ came, He forgave to all sin which no one could avoid, and, by the shedding of His own blood, blotted out the handwriting which was against us. This is what he says in Rom. 5:20: "The Law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound." Because after the whole world became subject, He took away the sin of the whole world, as he [John] testified, sayingJohn 1:29: "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." And on this account let no one boast of works, because no one is justified by his deeds. But he who is righteous has it given him because he was justified after the laver [of Baptism]. Faith, therefore, is that which frees through the blood of Christ, because he is blessed "whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered,"Ps. 32:1[104] These are the words of Ambrose, which clearly favor our doctrine; he denies justification to works, and ascribes to faith that it sets us free [105] through the blood of Christ. (AP:IV:103ffTriglotta)
I don’t consider this quote to teach “Objective Justification.” Its use by the Confessors was not intended to communicate any such thing, but was used simply to demonstrate to the Romans that St. Ambrose taught Justification by Faith Alone – apart from works – as opposed to justification by faith and works, as the Romans teach. We know this, because they qualify their use of St. Ambrose by stating as much: “These are the words of Ambrose, which clearly favor our doctrine; he denies justification to works, and ascribes to faith that it sets us free.” Given their qualification, don’t you think it is putting words in their mouths to separate a single clause from this citation (“He forgave to all sin which no one could avoid”) and say that on this basis the Confessors clearly taught “Objective Justification?”

But let’s look at St. Ambrose’s letter to Irenaeus. Did Ambrose intend at all to teach “Objective Justification” to Irenaeus, or was this clause merely incidental to some other topic he was addressing? Well, I found the letter. It was a very short letter in which St. Ambrose addressed the question of why God gave His Law, since it only caused further hardship for the condition of man. He was not developing a Doctrine of Justification. Here is the concluding, and pertinent, section:
    At first Moses' Law was not needed; it was introduced subsequently, and this appears to intimate that this introduction was in a sense clandestine and not of an ordinary kind, seeing that it succeeded in the place of the natural Law. Had this maintained its place, the written Law would never have entered in; but the natural Law being excluded by transgression and almost blotted out of the human breast, pride reigned, and disobedience spread itself; and then this Law succeeded, that by its written precepts it might cite us before it, and every mouth be stopped, and all the world become guilty before God. Now the world becomes guilty before God by the Law, in that all are made amenable to its prescripts, but no man is justified by its works. And since by the Law comes the knowledge of sin, but not the remission of guilt, the Law, which has made all sinners, would seem to have been injurious.

    But when the Lord Jesus came, He forgave all men that sin which none could escape, and blotted out the handwriting against us by the shedding of His own Blood. This then is the Apostle's meaning; sin abounded by the Law, but grace abounded by Jesus; for after that the whole world became guilty, He took away the sin of the whole world, as John bore witness, saying: Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. Wherefore let no man glory in works, for by his works no man shall be justified, for he that is just hath a free gift, for he is justified by the Bath. It is faith then which delivers by the blood of Christ, for Blessed is the man to whom sin is remitted, and, pardon granted.

    Letter LXXIII: Ambrose to Ireneaus, who enquired why the Law was even given
Just as the Confessors stated, this section from St. Ambrose clearly teaches Justification by Faith Alone, apart from works – which was fully their purpose in quoting it. In it we see clearly that as a consequence of the Law, man is “guilty before God.” We also see very clearly that the clause “He forgave all men that sin which none could escape” is not given in reference to Justification, but is attached to Christ’s atoning work. We see this as St. Ambrose associates “forgiveness” with the shedding of Christ’s blood, and not His resurrection, but especially given his citation of John the Baptist, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world,” in support of this clause – which is a classic Atonement text,not a Justification text. Finally, following his discussion of God’s Law and the guilt of mankind under it, and the atoning work of Christ, St. Ambrose concludes with Justification – by distinctly attaching it to faith and baptism.

In his letter, St. Ambrose properly concluded a discussion of Law with a preachment of the Gospel. Though this preachment was imperfect, this imperfection was inconsequential to the point the Confessors were trying to make by including it in the Apology.

So, there it is. Let the fraternal dialogue continue!


Daniel Baker said...
Thank you for this post, Mr. Lindee. It clearly and succinctly details and expands upon what I, however imperfectly, was trying to communicate in the other post's discussion.

One question: What did you mean when you stated that St. Ambrose's "preachment was imperfect?" I am not sure what you meant in the context of your post.

Thank you again for posting this and allowing the dialogue to continue.
David Jay Webber said...
"Let the fraternal dialogue continue!"

Maybe in two or three weeks. I just told myself today that I'm glad this has died down, because I am way too busy to keep up with it. I've got way more on my plate right now than usual. So, this will have to wait. But in all honesty I don't know what else I would be able to say.

I've presented the Preus/Marquart exegesis of 1 Timothy 3:16, and have said that I am persuaded of its soundness. You are not.

I've pointed out that in the context of discussing the atoning work of Christ, and Christ's taking away of the sin of the world, St. Ambrose taught that Jesus forgave the sins of "all," and that this objective forgiving is a necessary prelude to the teaching that we are individually justified by faith alone. You point out what I already knew - that this theme is not the main topic of the letter in which it is stated.

You emphasize that an individual's justification before God is by faith in the Gospel. I agree. What I have been seeking to explicate is the full content of that Gospel which must be believed for an individual's justification. If I haven't been able to make that clear by now, I don't know how I ever could.

So, maybe in two or three weeks the dialogue will continue. Or maybe by then everyone will be tired of it, and will not welcome a repetition of what has already been said.
David Jay Webber said...
If you're interested, here is the original Latin of the pertinent section of Ambrose's letter. (The quotation of this letter in the Latin Apology is actually a little bit off from the original, but not in any way that matters too much for our purposes.):

Accipe aliud. Non fuit necessaria lex per Moysen. Denique subintravit: quod utique non ordinarium, sed velut furtivum significare videtur introitum; eo quod in locum naturalis legis intraverit. Itaque si illa suum servasset locum, haec lex scripta nequaquam esset ingressa: sed quia illam legem excluserat praevaricatio, ac propemodum aboleverat pectoribus humanis, regnabat superbia, inobedientiaque sese diffuderat; ideo successit ista, ut nos scripto conveniret, et omne os obstrueret, ut totum mundum faceret Deo subditum Subditus autem mundus eo per Legem factus est, quia ex praescripto Legis omnes conveniuntur, et ex operibus Legis nemo justificatur; id est, quia per Legem peccatum cognoscitur, sed culpa non relaxatur, videbatur Lex nocuisse, quae omnes fecerat peccatores.

Sed veniens Dominus Jesus, peccatum omnibus, quod nemo poterat evadere, donavit, et chirographum nostrum sui sanguinis effusione delevit. Hoc est quod ait: Superabundavit peccatum per Legem: superabundavit autem gratia per Jesum; quia postquam totus mundus subditus factus est, totius mundi peccatum abstulit, sicut testificatus est Joannes, dicens: Ecce agnus Dei, ecce qui tollit peccatum mundi. Et ideo nemo glorietur in operibus, quia nemo factis suis justificatur: sed qui justus est, donatum habet, quia per lavacrum justificatus est. Fides ergo est quae liberat per sanguinem Christi; quia beatus ille cui peccatum remittitur, et venia donatur. Vale, fili, et nos dilige; quia nos te diligimus.
Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...
Great post, Mr. Lindee!

Sometimes we make justification so complicated. I want to share a very simple definition of justication given by Chemnitz in his Loci, almost in passing, since this is what the Lutheran Church had been teaching about justification all along:

In the case of our justification, which is the full and perfect acceptance of the believer unto eternal life, certain effects in our life, such as the new obedience, follow rather slowly because of the weakness of our flesh. (Loci, electronic edition, p.555)

And since we're bringing Latin into the discussion, here's the original in Latin:

Sed in justificatione, quae plena et perfecta est acceptatio credentis ad vitam aeternam; quidam effectus in hac vita propter carnem languide sequuntur, ut nova obedientia...

We can speak of the causes of Justification (the grace of God, the merit of Christ and the instrumental cause of the Means of Grace). We can speak of how Justification is received (through faith alone). But if we want to understand what Justification is, it is just what Chemnitz says, "the full and perfect acceptance of the believer unto eternal life."

Justification was not viewed by Chemnitz as the "full and perfect acceptance of the unbelieving world unto eternal life." So to speak of the justification of all people as something that has already taken place simply doesn't fit with the (16th Century) Lutheran view of Justification. It (that is, "to be fully and perfectly accepted unto eternal life") is certainly offered to the whole world in Christ, but it has not taken place for the world that remains outside of Christ. Unbelievers have not been "fully and perfectly accepted unto eternal life." To say otherwise seems to be a more recent innovation.
Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...
Another great quote, from Luther:

Meanwhile, however, to make us righteous also in this present life, we have a Propitiator and a mercy seat, Christ (Rom. 3:25). If we believe in Him, sin is not imputed to us. Therefore faith is our righteousness in this present life. (LW, vol. 27, p.64)
Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...
One more for today, which highlights that there is no blanket forgiveness pronounced on all people, but that there is one place where men are shielded from condemnation - only in Christ, and therefore, only believers - those who take shelter behind Christ, are sheltered. It is not "the world's righteousness" that serves as the foundation for our faith, but "the righteousness of Christ."

They do not consider it worthwhile to remember how often I have adduced what Paul says [Rom. 8:1] to the effect that, although there is sin—for he had previously said much about sin—still there is there no condemnation [for those in Christ Jesus]. The reason why there is no condemnation is not that men do not sin, as Latomus in lying fashion suggests, but because—as Paul says—they are in Jesus Christ; that is, they repose under the shadow of his righteousness as do chicks under a hen. Or as is said more clearly in Rom. 5[:15], they have grace and the gift through his grace. So they do not walk in accordance with sin and sinful flesh; that is, they do not consent to the sin which they in fact have. God has provided them with two immensely strong and secure foundations so that the sin which is in them should not lead to their condemnation. First of all, Christ is himself the expiation (as in Rom. 3[:25]). They are safe in his grace, not because they believe or possess faith and the gift, but because it is in Christ’s grace that they have these things. No one’s faith endures unless he relies upon Christ’s own righteousness, and is preserved by his protection. For, as I have said, true faith is not what they have invented, an absolute—nay, rather, obsolete—quality in the soul, but it is something which does not allow itself to be torn away from Christ, and relies only on the One whom it knows is in God’s grace. Christ cannot be condemned, nor can anyone Who throws himself upon him. This means that so grave a matter is the sin which remains, and so intolerable is God’s judgment, that you will not be able to stand unless you shield yourself with him whom you know to be without any sin. This is what true faith does. (LW, Vol. 32, p.239)
LutherRocks said...
Bravo. May the Lord continue to bless His faithful servants.