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Sunday, September 2, 2012

Book Review of Theses Opposed to Huberianism (UOJ).

Book Review by Pastor Gregory L. Jackson, PhD

Theses Opposed to Huberianism:
A Defense of the Lutheran Doctrine of Justification. By Aegidius Hunnius.
Translated by Paul A. Rydecki, Repristination Press, Malone, Texas, 2012.

ISBN 978-1475186543

Blogger Paul McCain’s heart is broken, because people all over Lutherdom are discussing and debating justification by faith. Thus we see that Universal Objective Justification has reached the third stage of false doctrine. As Augustine wrote, paraphrased by Krauth, in the first stage, false doctrine is a minority view. “We are weak and harmless. We should have our say.” Next they ask for an equal say in all matters. Finally, when in control, the opponents of sound doctrine tolerate no dissent whatsoever.

Those who want to understand this conflict should buy and study this excellent little book, which consists of two parts. The first one deals with election. The second part concerns justification.

WELS Pastor Paul Rydecki has provided a clear, readable translation.  Readers will be astonished beyond measure about the way Hunnius seems to be dealing with the UOJ advocates of today. Hunnius provides the justification arguments while Huber offers an early version of UOJ.

This is how the conflict began. Samuel Huber had a background in Calvinism, but  agreed with Lutheran doctrine and joined the faculty of Wittenberg University in 1592. Polycarp Leyser and Aegidius Hunnius were already on the faculty. Leyser was an editor of the Book of Concord. Although Huber subscribed to the Book of Concord, he began teaching against it. He was so disruptive that the faculty discussed the matter and removed him from his teaching post.

Therefore, UOJ has its roots in Calvinism. Justification by faith is the correct Biblical, Lutheran teaching.

I am going to quote some useful theses and discuss them in light of the war against justification by faith. The doctrine of the Means of Grace is the peculiar glory of the Lutheran Church, but UOJ is the peculiar shame of the Synodical Conference, thanks to the syphilitic bishop Martin Stephan, and his loyal pupil, C. F. W. Walther.

Part I – Election

Thesis 27
Secondly, since Dr. Huber is not content to say that God elected all men to life in Christ, he either explicitly applies this appendix as a phrase to be declared in addition, or he implicitly teaches it as something that is to be understood, that, in fact, all men have been elected to life, whether they believe in Christ or not.  The question is whether this explanatory phrase (which uncovers the whole mind of the antagonist and clearly shows how he veils what he really means to say) is in agreement with the prophetic and apostolic Scriptures or not. (p. 26)

“Whether they believe or not” is the key to the UOJ leaven, taught in the LCMS, WELS, the ELS, and the fragments of the Synodical Conference. This was condemned immediately after the Book of Concord, while the key Lutheran orthodox leaders were working to preserve the orthodox doctrine of the Christian Faith.

Thesis 70
And since the whole world does not receive this Son, he, now in his consequent will, determines the decree of eternal election, expressed in these words: “…that everyone who believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”  And again, “Whoever believes is not condemned; whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he does not believe in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.” (p. 31)

Thesis 73
For this reason, the Book of Concord agrees that this statement of the Savior selected from the sixth chapter of John is, without any ambiguity, to be explained as a decree of election, with this stipulation: "With these words, Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, who is in the bosom of the Father, has announced to us the will of the heavenly Father and thus also our election to eternal life: 'Repent and believe in the gospel, for the kingdom of heaven has drawn near!'  And in another place he says: 'This is the will of him who sent me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life.' And elsewhere: 'God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that everyone who believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.'" (p. 32)

Walther’s justification without faith (UOJ today) is in harmony with his election without faith. But the orthodox Hunnius was not so eager to leave faith behind. Walther and his disciples have continued to adopt the Calvinistic attitude toward the Arminian definition of faith – as a virtue or decision. The Waltherian crypto-Calvinists do not realize how conditioned they are to see the world in the terminology of the hyper-Calvinists, because the efficacy of the Word, the work of the Holy Spirit through the Word, and the Means of Grace are foreign concepts to them.

Thesis 77
Therefore, if you remove the cardinal question driven between us and Huber and ask, "Whom did God decree to save in the purpose of his eternal election?", there Christ and Paul answer unanimously: "Those who believe in Christ," and "no one except for them," says the Epitome of the Book of Concord. (p. 32f.)

Thus far a Christian should occupy himself [in meditation] with the article concerning the eternal election of God, as it has been revealed in God's Word, which presents to us Christ as the Book of Life, which He opens and reveals to us by the preaching of the holy Gospel, as it is written Rom. 8:30: Whom He did predestinate, them He also called. In Him we are to seek the eternal election of the Father, who has determined in His eternal divine counsel that He would save no one except those who know His Son Christ and truly believe on Him. Formula of Concord, Epitome, Election, XI, 13 – quoted in part in Hunnius, p. 32f.

We can see that Walther’s election apart from grace is the Siamese twin of justification without faith, both concepts in opposition to the Scriptures and the Confessions.

Thesis 122
But neither should it be missed that Paul writes that the believing Thessalonians are certain of their election (1 Thessalonians 1).  But how can they be certain?  Is it for this reason, that all men are certain (as was to be concluded from the principles of the Huberian doctrine)?  Not in the least, but for this reason, that the Gospel of Christ was efficacious in them.  “You know,” says the Apostle, “your election, for our Gospel went out to you not only by word, but also with power and with the Holy Spirit.” Consequently, they were certainly able, by the efficacy of faith, to discover that they were included in the number of those whom the Lord elected to salvation from the beginning. (p. 43)

Thesis 123
And what could confirm our undertaking more powerfully than what we read in 2 Timothy 2?  Here, after mentioning Hymenaeus and Philetus, who overturned the faith of some, Paul immediately, by the manifest antithesis of condemned and predestined, lays out this memorable sentence: "The foundation of God stands firm, having this seal:  The Lord knows those who are his."  It is most definitely certain that this section of Pauline text speaks of predestination, and that it describes believers only. It cannot be otherwise. It is as if he were to express it markedly in so many words: “The Lord knows his believers.” (p. 43)

This is another indication that the efficacy of the Word, taught so clearly by Paul and Luther, was foundational in the Book of Concord and afterwards. Nevertheless, the foundation has been abandoned in favor of gimmicks, entertainment, high-priced coffee bars, Babtist seeker services, and the degradation of the sermon itself.

In his Galatians Commentary, commended by the Concord editors, Luther spoke of his doctrine of faith, not his doctrine of no-faith.

Part II – Theses Concerning the Huberian Universal Justification of Believers and Unbelievers

Those who cannot get the efficacy of the Word and the Means of Grace straight will also fail in teaching the Biblical concept of justification. As one reader wrote in a comment, the key concept is imputation. When and how are sins imputed or counted as forgiven?

Thesis 1
Huber professes such a justification, for the sake of which Christ has properly, in fact and in very deed, conferred redemption on the entire human race in such a way that sins have been equally remitted to all men, including the Turks, and that all men (including unbelievers) have received remission of sins, and that the whole human race has, on that account, been received into the grace and bosom of God. (p. 57)

If someone simply hears this statement, without the mention of Huber, he will say, “That is what I learned at Mequon. Becker and Valleskey taught that.” And a graduate of Ft. Wayne would say, “So did David Scaer!” A silver-haired pastor would say, “J. P. Meyer taught that too. Three of the Kokomo Theses are right from his book. I have the new edition with the same wording, from WELS, NPH.”

An ELS pastor would agree, “I heard that everyone in Hell is forgiven of all sins.”

Thesis 2.
Hence he says that all those to whom the Gospel is proclaimed are designated as “elect, justified by God, sanctified, redeemed,” and some of these are said to be “believing and converted.” (p. 57)

Thesis 3.
This universal justification of the entire human race he considers (even without respect to faith in Christ) to be fully completed, sins having been remitted on account of the satisfaction made by the Son of God and swallowed up in his own blood and wounds. These things he says concerning his justification. (p. 57)

That sounds just like DP Jon Buchholz in his convention essay. Everyone is saved, finished, complete. Those who teach such nonsense are authors of confusion and sponsors of Church and Change.

Thesis 5.
This notwithstanding, we most willingly grant that there is a righteousness that avails before God for the entire human race, a righteousness that has been gained and acquired through Christ, so that if the whole world were to believe in Christ, then the whole world would be justified. With respect to this, Paul writes in Romans 5 that “through one man’s justification (dikaioma), the gift has spread toward all men for justification (dikaiosis) of life.” Nevertheless, no one is justified nor does anyone receive remission of sins from this acquired universal righteousness without the imputation of this acquired righteousness of Christ11. But the imputation of righteousness does not take place except through faith. (p. 58)

This is a statement that all justification by faith, Means of Grace, efficacy of the Word, Holy Spirit working through the Word laity and pastors would accept gladly accept and teach. The UOJ Hive clearly opposes this statement, because they tear apart lives and murder souls with their Easter absolution, which is often taught as Good Friday absolution. That is how confused and contradictory their dogma is. The same person will often teach both dates, with no proof for either fantasy.

The reason is – as Enthusiasts they merge, conflate, and amalgamate the atonement and justification. After inventing a justification without faith they plead that they really do teach justification by faith too – that is the one that really works.

Thesis 6.
Hence Paul, when he expressly discusses justification in Romans 3 and 4, does not know of a justification apart from faith, and especially as Galatians 2 plainly says, “Man is not justified except by faith in Jesus Christ.” (p. 58)

Everyone needs to ask – “If this was so clear to the Wittenberg faculty, with the Book of Concord newly published, why are Lutherans insisting on the opposite view, the opinion of Samuel Huber?”

Hunnius condemns the UOJ Enthusiasts with the theses following.

Thesis 7.
Outside of faith in Christ and without it, man remains in condemnation, according to John 3, “Whoever does not believe has already been judged.” And again, “Whoever does not believe in the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him.” And Mark 16, “Whoever does not believe will be condemned.” If such a one has already been judged, if the wrath of God remains upon him, if he will be condemned, then in what beautiful way has he been justified? In what splendid manner have his sins been remitted unto him? Indeed, where sins have truly been remitted, there all wrath and condemnation are gone (Rom. 8). “Blessed are they whose sins have been remitted” (Psalm 32). Now then, are all men blessed? Even unbelievers? Turks? Reprobate Jews?

Thesis 8.
Therefore, it is certain that no one receives remission of sins for the sake of Christ except the one who believes in him (Acts 10). Nor is anyone justified from his sins except the one who believes in Christ (Acts 13).

Thesis 9.
But let Huber explain to us the mystery of this universal justification of his, and let him set forth in detail when these unbelievers, who have never believed and are not going to believe in the Son of God, ever received the remission of sins and were justified before God?

Thesis 10.
Now, was it perhaps from eternity in that (as he imagines) universal election? In that case, they are said to be born into this world justified, that is, with a universal justification having taken
place before they came into existence12. Thus they will be proclaimed to be born sons, not of wrath, but of grace, for whom original sin does not matter at all before God, since it was already forgiven from all eternity, even without faith.

Thesis 11.
How then will Christ’s statement in John 3 stand? “Truly, truly I tell you, unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven; what is born of flesh is flesh.”

Thesis 12.
If, however, he responds that, in the person of our first parents, sins were forgiven to their entire posterity when the absolution from sins was announced to them by the pronouncement of the promise about the seed of the woman, not even then will Huber’s doctrine be able to stand.

Thesis 13
For since those first-formed human beings were not justified nor did they obtain forgiveness of sins without faith in the promised seed, why would we affirm something different about their posterity, that sins have been indisputably remitted to them and that the righteousness of Christ has been extended to them whether they would believe in their times or whether they would not believe?

Thesis 14
For thus in this grace, in this justification their posterity are born, if they immediately received, in their first parents, the forgiveness of sins before they ever came into existence13. Nevertheless, since from Adam and Eve, not God’s grace, not remission of sins, not justification, but sin and, on account of sin, wrath and indignation, death and condemnation have spread to all men (Rom. 5), therefore, neither can this explanation stand.

Thesis 15.
If, however, Huber should then affirm that all men were justified and obtained remission of sins by strength of the merits of Christ (even without faith) when Christ, on the cross, made satisfaction for the sins of the whole world, were not, then, at the time when his Passion was taking place, even Caiaphas and other most sworn enemies of the Lord Jesus justified from sins and freed from the wrath of God? And since the indignation of God would never rise up horribly against them, they understandably felt no dread at that flagrant crime by which they crucified the Lord of glory!

Thesis 16.
But let Huber also cut this knot: do the unbelieving Jews, Turks, etc., after they were thus
justified at one time without faith, still retain this justification, or do they lose it again?

Thesis 17
If they retain it, will they then be saved with all Christians and the faithful? If, however, they lose it, then let Huber answer, how and for what reason would they lose it? This justification cannot be abolished for them through unbelief, because they are supposed to be justified without any regard to faith (which is also what makes them unbelievers).


narrow-minded has left a new comment on your post "Book Review of Theses Opposed to Huberianism (UOJ)...":

This is a recent Kilcrease post from Steadfast Waltherans:

"Then when we explain in very clear terms how our position is not universalism, they flood us with quotations from the BoC about the importance of faith, when we’ve already explain [sic, sic?] them that you have to tap into God’s grace with faith! It’s maddening and counter-productive. Greg Jackson and his crew are like the Debbie Wasserman-Schultz of Lutheranism."

This sounds strikingly similar to Walther's Easter Sermon. Note the decision theology and the lack of the Means of Grace. Note the emphasis on man's work. Walther could just as well have said, "You just have to 'tap into' your justification." Keep calling JBFAers synergists, UOJers. 


Pastor emeritus Nathan Bickel has left a new comment on your post "Book Review of Theses Opposed to Huberianism (UOJ)...":

Ichabod - Great posting to begin another week!

Upon first reading, this, your review; I was reminded of the following Scripture of Christ and His encounter with unbelieving Jews:

>>>>>> ........21 Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come. 22 Then said the Jews, Will he kill himself? because he saith, Whither I go, ye cannot come. 23 And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins...... <<<<<<<< - John 8:21-24

Surely Christ was saying that their unbelief would spiritually damn these unbelievers; regardless if these unbelievers were supposedly (as the UOJ assertion falsely contends) acquitted from the demands and eternal consequences of the Law through Christ's all encompassing Atonement for all human sin.

24 "I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins......"

Further on in this John 8 chapter, (verse 28) Jesus makes the statement that when He is crucified these unbelieving Jews would know that he is, who he claimed to be. But, that is a far cry from belief [faith] in Him.


Thesis 16.

But let Huber also cut this knot: do the unbelieving Jews, Turks, etc., after they were thus
justified at one time without faith, still retain this justification, or do they lose it again?

Thesis 17

If they retain it, will they then be saved with all Christians and the faithful? If, however, they lose it, then let Huber answer, how and for what reason would they lose it? This justification cannot be abolished for them through unbelief, because they are supposed to be justified without any regard to faith (which is also what makes them unbelievers).

Nathan M. Bickel

How unsettling, to realize that Walther, Stoeckhardt, and J. P. Meyer
are allied with hyper-Calvinism and Pietism.


Extra Nos article and comments.