The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
Ustream

NT Greek Lessons - Thursdays, 7 PM.

Saved worship files and Greek lessons are at the live worship link.

email: greg.jackson.edlp@gmail.com,
which works as gregjacksonedlp@gmail.com too.

Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
Book of Concord Selections
Bente's Historical Introductions,
and Martin Chemnitz Press Books

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Doug Lindee - WELS Member - WELS Is a Cult.
Justification by Faith.

Douglas Lindee has been active
with the Intrepid Lutherans.



Mr. Douglas Lindee said...
Vernon,

I couldn't agree more. Though I've been preoccupied over the past couple months with pressing business concerns, I have definitely been keeping up with the dialogue on IL. What amazes me about the dialogue between Rev.'s Lawson (ACLC) and Rydecki (ELDoNA) over the past couple months is that, FINALLY, there is an open, calm and coherent discussion on this serious matter (a matter which is clearly NOT settled, but which, it is now fully apparent, has been disputed off and on for 400 years) between two capable disputants who are respectfully disposed toward one another in public. I met Rev. Lawson, very briefly, while attending the 2013 Colloquium and Synod of the ELDoNA, and he struck me then, as he does now, as simultaneously a thoughtful steady man, and a man of conviction. While these characteristics naturally go together, one might not get that impression from the manner in which this issue has been discussed in other forums. Certainly, one would not get that impression by reading the accounts of Schmidt -vs- Walther

I no longer find it odd that such a thing does not, and will probably never, happen in WELS – on this or any other consequential matter of doctrine or practice – and have entirely ceased looking for or expecting that any such thing will ever happen among them. There is a continuing strident refusal to openly discuss important matters. Rather than find it odd, I recognize it for what it is – as a foreboding cultic tendency. People who get sucked into cults lose their self-identity – their concept of self becomes indistinguishable from the group, and apart from the group's leadership they feel as if they have no guidance and no hope. Positional authority is a psychological weapon among such leaders, and they use it to retain the dedication of their followers and to urge them toward greater productivity in the interest of the group. I'm beginning to see now, what I denied existed when my friends and family first warned us about this sort of thing when we joined WELS over a decade ago. [GJ - I added the blue; the red was in the original.]

Continued in next comment...
Mr. Douglas Lindee said...
...Continued from previous comment.

That isn't to say that Confession isn't important. In fact, it is because Confession is such a critical matter that we all must be diligent to make certain that our Confession is True. As stated many times on this blog, a person's Confession proceeds from the convictions of his own Conscience – the seat of his self-identity – as an expression of what he is convinced is True. For the Christian, his self-identity is bound together and inseparable from his identity in Christ and the teachings of Scripture. Since our knowledge of the Truth is imperfect, and since our convictions change with time and experience, this means that an individual's Confession needs to continually be reaffirmed, for, as we have also stated on this blog, when he is called upon to make Confession, he is not speaking to his friends, but is standing before his executioner. Confession and Martyrdom are terms that are defined relative to one another:

Those who cheerfully confessed Christ before the heathen magistrate at peril of life, but were not executed, were honored as confessors. Those who suffered abuse of all kinds, and death itself, for their faith, were called martyrsor blood-witnesses.
(Schaff, P. [1996]. History of the Christian Church (Vol. 2, Ante-Nicene Christianity). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers. [Reprinted from the fifth edition of Volume 2, originally published in 1889]. pg. 76.)

And we Lutherans have always recognized the connection of Confession to Martyrdom. This is what Luther did when he stood before the Roman Emperor and representatives of the Pope at the Diet of Worms, maintaining his Confession and refusing to recant. This is what the German Princes did when they presented their Confession to the Roman Emperor and representatives of the Pope at Augsburg. Indeed, this connection remains part of our Rite of Confirmation in which we expect our confirmands to give the following oath:

Do you, as a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, intend to continue steadfast in the confession of this Church, and suffer all, even death, rather than fall away from it?
(The Lutheran Agenda. [1946]. St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. pg. 24)

Continued in next comment...


Mr. Douglas Lindee said...
...Continued from previous comment.

As a layman, I can tell you for a fact, there is no way in the world I could stand before my executioner on the grounds of UOJ. Die over that doctrine? No way. I have no sure foundation on which to defend it. It claims that on account of Christ's work, "God has already DECLARED the whole world of sinners – each and every individual who has or who will ever exist – to be righteous and forgiven before Him", but it cannot adduce a single passage of Scripture where it quotes God having made this universal declaration. This is significant, because the only foundation for my Confession that I would have to offer my executioner as a defense, would be the very words of God Himself, as He has preserved them in the Bible; but nowhere is this "declaration", to which some Lutherans would bind my conscience as the centerpiece of the Christian religion, to be found in its pages. Instead of Scripture, I would be forced defend such a confession by descending into philosophical jibber-jabber, replete with paradox and fantasy.

On the other hand, the attestation in Scripture for the doctrine of Justification by Faith Alone is to be found practically everywhere, in direct positive – and thus also CLEAR – terms. 

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:1-2)

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8)

And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:13-18)

...Baptism does also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him. (1 Peter 3:21-22)

I am justified by faith, and this is what saves me from eternal condemnation. Apart from faith I am not forgiven; quite the opposite, apart from faith I am condemned. I know that I have been given saving faith, and thus also righteous standing before God and eternal salvation, NOT because of the strength of my convictions (which, in my human weakness wax and wane), but by the objective fact of my Baptism through which the promises of Jesus Christ are conferred. And there can be no question that I was baptized – I have documented proof, signed by the witnesses who were in attendance and notarized. In times of distress, when my faith is weak, I don't look to some universal declaration of God that is nowhere recorded in the Scriptures; I look to my Baptism and the promises clearly attending it, and thus know that God has given me faith, and with it forgiveness, life and salvation.










What I Want for Reformation Day



http://ichabodthegloryhasdeparted.blogspot.com/2013/10/wels-motto-read-mark-and-erase-big-push.html

Vernon Knepprath said...
I thank God that this blog [Intrepid Lutherans] and a small handful of other Confessional Lutheran blogs still exist, because more often than not, these kinds of discussions are not to be found within the local churches, either because of neglect or by intent. These discussions are truly amazing. They are generally orderly and respectful, with a few exceptions. Every person has a chance to respond, so the one-sided nature and unsubstantiated accusations in articles such as what showed up in a recent edition of Christian News does not stand for a lengthy time unanswered, with the implication that somehow those unsubstantiated accusations are true. But most importantly, the simple truths of Scripture shine through again and again.

The Scriptural teaching of justification is simple, and only becomes complicated when people change the definition of words or add/subtract from what Scripture says.

The Scriptural truth of justification is reflected in many of the simple traditional 'teachings' of the Lutheran Church, at least where thay have not yet been corrupted or omitted or ignored. Some of the simple teachings I am thinking of are 'three solas', the Apostles Creed and the Means of Grace. By design, the Scriptural truths of justification are clear in all of these and more.

As the Apostles Creed is removed from more and more Lutheran worship services, can there be doubt of what purpose is being served? As the Sacraments are hidden from view and removed from the main body of worship, is there really any wonder as to the intent? As the importance of 'Scripture alone' and 'faith alone' are diminished in the three solas, should we not be more concerned? All of these, in their own way, are facilitating a slow but certain rewrite of the the Scriptural truth of justification.

God's Word clearly teaches that we are justified by faith. And God's Word doesn't change.

Vernon

WELS-LCMS-ELS quickly moved from communing ELCA members
to having congregations that hid both sacraments, the Creeds, liturgy, and
the name Lutheran.
Who advocated communing ELCA members in his own congregation?
Jay Webber - UOJ guru.


***

GJ - Every so often, someone writes, "I do not agree with you," or the writer takes pains to tell me someone else does not agree.

That has never been the point of writing. I have no need to control another person's publishing, even though the Committee to Silence Ichabod meets frequently. I would rather see doctrinal opponents post more often and more frankly. Discussion is good for doctrine.

What do I want for Reformation Day, once the Hurray Luther! Three solas! business is over?

I want people to like - the way I do:

  • Luther, reading his sermons throughout the week.
  • Lutheran hymns, using them throughout the church year and playing them during the week.
  • The Concordists, especially Melanchthon and Chemnitz, subordinate only to Luther.
  • The American confessors - Lenski, Jacobs, Krauth, Reu, Loy, Schmauk, and L. Fuerbringer.
  • The King James Bible and The Lutheran Hymnal.





Schroder, Buchholz, and Spencer Want To Shut Down Intrepid Lutherans.
Back Up the Blog If You Like the Posts

Rydecki and Spencer - First and Only Intrepids Conference -
And then there were none.


Just between you and me, the Intrepid Lutherans blog will probably shut down very soon.

Rydecki has been making merry with excellent posts - something that will NOT go unpunished in WELS, the not-so-secret hideout of Stalinism, parochialism, drunken and abusive pastors.

"I think we kicked that sucker out, and he is still posting on our blog."

"Boss, that is an independent blog, not really ours."

"They all belong to us. Off with their heads."

Buchi has cured his chapped hide, funded Rick Johnson,
cuddled with Jeff Gunn, and kicked out Paul Rydecki.
Stop helping the cause - go back to real estate deals, Jon-Boy.


There is a way to back up the whole blog, so I suggest you do that. The Issues in WELS blog was erased suddenly and many posts lost - except my researcher, a doctor of divinity, saved the best ones.

WELS has been circling the drain for a long time. The so-called reformers, Schroeder and Buchie, have only made it worse:

  • More anti-Biblical than ever before, with the New NIV.
  • More anti-Confessional, backing The CORE, The Bridge, and other blasphemies.
  • More Jeske-subservient. We will always remember Buchie as the bad-boy DP who signed the petition against Jeske's mischief, then endorsed Jeske at the WELS convention. "Faith makes us bold," as Luther wrote, and Buchie has no faith.
  • More anti-Christian, yes even worse than Mischke (Burn in Peace) and Gurgel (May God smite you with DP Patterson as a boss). Schroeder and Buchie are all out for UOJ, which proves they know nothing about the Scriptures or Lutheran doctrine.
When bookkeepers become Synod President,
adopt a grumpy cat as a pet.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Images Smuggled from the WELS Change or Die! Early Learning Center





The Joel Hochmuth men's bathroom.

When WELS Leaders Close Down Intrepid Lutherans, Vulgarity Like This Will Take Over



http://www.thebridgemuskego.org/

When I expressed my enjoyment of traditional music rather than rap, a Lutheran sent me this, posted above. I like the original song, but this was a screechy mess. I wanted to pen a polite reply about like the song rather than the performance.

This is what I learned next - it was played at The Bridge, Peter Pan's newest version of The CORE - at St. Paul (WELS) Muskego.

On The Bridge websty:

Loved this video and want to know if it was part of the service? Thanks! Lol The Bridge at St. Paul's This song was played at the very end of the service. October 28 at 10:02pm via mobile · Like..



"Our big idea at the service for the morning was "Find Life." After we wrapped up the service, our worship leader Mike Westendorf invited Alicia to give us a song that reminded us of the joy of being alive… she delivered : )


Did I mention Peter Pan is a big deal with Church and Change?
Not so far today?




This genius is the senior pastor.

WELS Motto - Read, Mark, and Erase.
Big Push To Close Intrepid Lutherans.

SP Mark Schroeder does not want anyone to air
the foul aromas of UOJ in public.
Stay tuned for the next post.

Pastor Paul Rydecki:

http://www.intrepidlutherans.com/2013/10/exploring-hubers-doctrine-further.html

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2013


Exploring Huber's doctrine further


The following dialogue is my response to this comment by Pr. Rob Lawson. It is far too long for the “Comments” section of the blog, so it has been made into a separate post. The various ‘speakers’ are identified for the sake of clarity. If other participants in this dialogue would like to have similar lengthy responses posted as a post rather than as a comment, we can accommodate them in the same way if they send in their reply via e-mail, preferably already in HTML format.

Lawson: Walther neither ignored, nor was he was ignorant of, Hunnius' later condemnation. The rest of the paragraph that you quoted states: "The Wittenberg theologians (Gesner, Leyser, Hunnius, and others) did not want to tolerate Huber's expression: "Christus contulit proprie redemtionem toti generi humano," that is, "Christ imparted redemption to the entire human race in the proper sense," because the actual imparting, "as it is taken in the theological schools," refers to the appropriation."

Rydecki: Yes, that’s an interesting way for Walther to minimize the devastating condemnation Hunnius leveled against Huber’s teaching of universal justification. Walther makes it seem like it’s just the expression (which occurs in Thesis #1 of Hunnius’ 20 Theses opposed to Huber’s universal justification) “Christ conferred redemption” that the Wittenberg theologians didn’t like. I don’t know if Walther failed to read past Thesis #1, or if he just figured Hunnius was having a bad day. According to the Theses Opposed to Huberianism and the larger description of the problem in A Clear Explanation of the Controversy, it was much more than just a matter of inaccurate expression, and it was much more than just this one expression. I commend these two works for study and discussion. As Hunnius explains over and over, the Lutheran Church did not teach any sort of universal justification.

Lawson: Walther was simply pointing out that the faculty at Wuerttemberg didn't seem to get quite as bent out of shape about Huber's doctrine of "universal justification" as did the Wittenberg faculty. Wuerttemberg noted mainly a terminological difference (which they didn't like) and not a substantive one.

Rydecki: Actually Tom Hardt himself debunks Walther’s claim in footnote #28 of his paper, noting that the response of the Tuebingen theologians was quite early in the conflict and “cannot be used to cover the conflict in general, which is suggested by the inclusion of those words in C. F. W. Walther’s edition of J. W. Baier: Compendium.” In other words, Walther’s inclusion of the Wuerttemberg theologians’ conclusion in the Baier Compendium was misleading. Walther tried to use the early response of the Tuebingen theologians to make the case (or at least he gives the impression) that the whole thing was primarily a matter of disagreement over terminology. Even Hardt, who supports Walther’s Objective Justification, recognizes Walther’s error in that regard.

Even so, the Wuerttemberg theologians, as you say, didn’t like Huber’s terminology, while the Wittenberg theologians unequivocally rejected his terminology. Why, then, did Walther and H.A. Preus go on to adopt that very terminology? And why does it bother the supporters of universal justification so much to be linked to Huber, if, according to Walther, his doctrine was substantively orthodox and nothing for orthodox Lutherans to get bent out of shape about? If Walther’s followers think that Huber was basically orthodox with regard to justification and that the Wittenberg theologians taught justification wrongly (since they rejected Huber’s teaching of it), then it would seem to be the honest thing to just come out and say so.

Lawson: There was, after all, a temporary reconciliation between Huber and Wittenberg in 1594 (which the faculty at Tuebingen also signed on to). It fell apart not because of Huber's doctrine of universal justification per se, but because of where he took it.

Rydecki: I have seen no evidence whatsoever in Hardt or anywhere else that Huber’s doctrine of universal justification was ever found to be acceptable by anyone in Wittenberg, once they learned what it was. Again, as Hardt points out, this temporary reconciliation (February, 1594) was very early in the conflict. Hunnius explains (in A Clear Explanation, April, 1594) that, at first, they were wondering if it was just a difference of terminology, but after further investigation it became clear that it was the concept itself that was flawed. There is plenty of evidence from 1594, from 1597 (Theses Opposed to Huberianism), and from subsequent years that Huber’s universal justification was always found to be wrong, and that the temporary reconciliation that took place was due to Huber’s temporary retraction of some of his statements.

Furthermore, it is the positive teaching of Hunnius concerning the article of justification that demonstrates the error of universal justification just as much as his negative statements about Huber’s doctrine. There was no teaching of universal justification—by that or any other name—in the Lutheran Church. There never had been, according to Hunnius, from the time of Luther on. There was a teaching of the universal satisfaction made by Christ, and the universal will of God for man’s salvation, and the universal call by God to all men in the Gospel, and the universal merit of redemption and reconciliation, but only the particular doctrine of election, and only the particular doctrine of justification.

Lawson: At least that's Tom Hardt's take in his essay "Justification and Easter" in the Robert Preus festschrift. Here is the extended quote from Hardt (sorry for the length). I'm sure you've read it, but for others who haven't…

Rydecki: Yes, I have read Hardt’s essay a couple of times. In fact, I have Hardt’s essay to thank for directing me to study Huber and Hunnius in the first place. Before I read Hardt, I had no idea about either Huber or Hunnius. I simply believed what my seminary professors had always told me, that the Lutheran Church has “always taught” universal justification, especially due to Paul’s words in 2 Cor. 5:19. Then I read Hardt’s account of the controversy between Huber and the Wittenberg faculty, including the section where he quotes the Wittenberg faculty: “Never does Paul teach universal justification. For as far as concerns 2 Corinthians 5, the words ‘not imputing their trespasses unto them,’ they are not to be understood universally about all men regardless of faith.” So I appreciate Hardt’s work and his scholarship, without being able to agree with all of his conclusions, because they do not appear to be supported even by his own evidence.

Hardt: … When confronted with Huber’s interpretation of Romans 5:19b, where he understands ‘all’ to include also unbelievers, his opponents [i.e., ‘men such as Egidius Hunnius, Polycarp Leyser and Samuel Gesner’] introduce a distinction, saying that ‘condemnation as far as it concerns the debt belongs to all men but as far as concerns its execution (“ACTU”) belongs only to impenitents and unbelievers. So the offer of God’s grace and Christ’s merit is universal but as far as it concerns its execution (“ACTU”) it is limited to believers only, who are excluded from condemnation through the benefaction of Christ, grasped by faith.’ Hunnius et alii thus do not reject the idea of a universally valid grace. Against Huber, however, they reject the idea that somehow this grace would already be conferred on the individuals through the universality of atonement, a notion that they think to be present in Huber’s works.

Rydecki: The conclusion of the Wittenberg theologians regarding Romans 5 noted by Hardt is also cited in A Clear Explanation. I wonder if Hardt grasped the argument of the Wittenberg theologians on this point. Hunnius explains it this way (p.64):

Hunnius: And if Dr. Huber were teachable, the learned and vigorous response of the Wittenberg theologians could have abundantly satisfied him. This is how they respond to Huber regarding that passage championed by Huber, Romans 5: “On the contrary, isn’t your conclusion manifestly overthrown by that very passage that you cite, clearly demonstrating that there is no valid reason for your opposition? To be sure, just as the condemnation pertained to all men by guilt , and nevertheless actually pertains only to the impenitent and unbelieving, so also the gift of the grace of God and the merit of Christ is certainly universal. Nevertheless, it is actually restricted to believers only—those who are released from condemnation by the benefit of Christ, who is apprehended by faith.” Thus far the Wittenberg theologians.

Rydecki: There was never any controversy over the idea of “universally valid grace.” The Wittenberg theologians confessed that all along. What they rejected was the idea that grace would be conferred on all men in such a way as to justify unbelievers, which Huber most certainly did teach. “To justify sinners” is the conferral of grace on sinners. To speak of God absolving or justifying the whole world of sinners while not conferring grace on the whole world of sinners is simply absurd.

Hardt: Huber rejects this accusation as a calumniation, assuring that he has only ‘called universal justification that whereby God, considering the satisfaction of Christ, has because of this become propitiated toward all mankind, accepting it as if everyone had made satisfaction for himself.’ He assures that every individual must partake of this gift by faith in the Word and the sacraments. On the surface this seems to be an assuring convergence of views, which explains the temporary reconciliation between the parties.”

Rydecki: Hardt here betrays how he has been influenced by a Waltherian view of an Easter absolution, following theWaltherian paradigm of 1) God’s act of pardoning all men on Easter Sunday, followed by 2) God’s handing out of the already-universally-issued pardon in the Means of Grace, followed by 3) Man’s reception of the pardon by believing that all men have already been pardoned. Hardt therefore views Huber’s statement as a convergence of views and as a positive development, since Hardt is reading the Easter absolution back into the minds of the Wittenberg theologians. Indeed, as demonstrated in the original post, Huber goes on to describe his teaching of justification in almost the exact same words used by the Synodical Conference, asserting that, while all men have been justified by God, no one “possesses” justification until he believes. But it was this very teaching that the Wittenberg theologians went on to condemn.

Hardt: At length no reconciliation, however, was possible. The reason cannot, strictly speaking, be said to be the fact that Huber insisted on using the unusual term ‘universal justification’ or on maintaining the idea that all mankind had been given, in some sense, part of Christ’s universal, substitutionary righteousness.

Rydecki: Here is an example of Hardt’s conclusion not being supported by the evidence. Nowhere did the Lutheran theologians teach that mankind, in any sense, had been “given part of Christ’s righteousness.” On the contrary, they rejected that very teaching, stating over and over that Christ’s universal righteousness, while acquired for all men, is only given or shared or imputed to men by faith.

Hunnius: 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 of life has spread toward all men for justification (dikaiosis).” But no one is justified nor does anyone receive remission of sins from this universally acquired righteousness without the imputation of this righteousness acquired by Christ. But the imputation of righteousness does not take place except through faith. (Theses Opposed to Huberianism, Concerning Justification, Thesis #5)

Hardt: It is necessary to go more deeply into the confusingly rich material. According to our conviction the essential aberration in Huber’s doctrine on justification was in the eyes of the faculty of Wittenberg – where the main struggle took place – its teaching of unicam iustificationem, only one justification, viz. the universal one, while denying the individual one as a divine action.

Rydecki: Again, Hardt’s conclusions are not supported by the evidence (it would be helpful to be able to review the original source from which Hardt quotes—I have been unable to acquire it). He assumes that the Wittenberg theologians taught two justifications—a universal one and an individual one, as Walther does. He faults Huber, not for teaching universal justification, but for not also teaching a divine justification by faith.

Part of the problem may be his translation of “unicam justificationem” as “only one justification.” The Latin provided by Hardt states: Quod videlicet unicam iustificationem eamque omnibus hominibus absque respectu fidei ex aequo communem, contra Scripturam statuit. Literally, “Namely, that he maintains, contrary to Scripture, a singular (or 'single-faceted' or 'unique' or 'unparalleled') justification, and it common to all men equally without respect to faith.” Hardt’s translation of “only one justification” is weighted to bring about the logical conclusion that “there must be more than one justification,” thus paving the way for Walther to agree with the Wittenberg theologians. But the translation “only one” is not supported by the Latin.

Instead, as Hunnius explains, both in Hardt’s citations and in the two books previously mentioned, the Lutheran theologians explicitly denied any teaching of a universal justification by the Lutheran Church. They did, indeed, teach only one justification—the one that happens only to individuals, only by the Word, only by faith (cf. Ap.:IV:67).

Hunnius: Our Churches have always taught and still teach the justification that is by faith and that pertains to believers, but that by no means extends to the whole world. Besides this justification by faith, Dr. Huber teaches some other justification that is equally common to the entire human race. (A Clear Explanation, p. 57)

Hardt: The accusation is: ‘1) He affirms a universal justification, whereby all men are equally justified by God because of Christ’s merit, regardless of faith. 2) He denies faith’s or the believer’s individual justification to be by God or a special action of God, whereby He justifies only believers. 3) He states faith’s individual justification to be only men’s action, whereby they apply to themselves by faith the righteousness of Christ.’”

Rydecki: Hardt seems to miss the import of the first accusation against Huber. He seems to be interpreting this first accusation, not as an “accusation,” but as a concession of a point that Huber was teaching rightly, while the next two accusations reveal the point of divergence from the Wittenberg theologians. But in fact, all three enumerations areaccusations against Huber. He was wrong 1) for teaching a universal justification of all men apart from faith; 2) for denying that justification by faith is a divine act; and 3) for turning justification by faith into a work of man.

Hardt: This is not a mere question of phraseology: ‘We do not deal only with terms but mainly with realities … It is intolerable in the church of Christ that he, contrary to Scripture, states that there is only [sic] one justification common to all, equally and regardless of faith … Also when he affirms universal remission of sin in his sense, … denying the individual one by God.’ Huber’s opponents have discovered that the kind of individual justification that Huber confesses to be necessary for salvation – he never embraced universalism or the final salvation of all men – was a move from man toward God, whereby the individual applied to himself the benefits of the once-forever event. No real divine justification took place in this latter action. Huber’s opponents think that this opinion ‘tastes of pelagianism.’ They point to such Scripture passages as Romans 4, Psalm 32, and Acts 3:19, where the individual remission of sins is said to take place as a direct action of God. Against Huber’s only [sic] one action by God they do not, however, teach a corresponding only one action taking place in the individual’s justification. Rather, they teach a double set of actions, two acts by God, one in Christ and one in the believer. They stress that they ‘do not simply consider, approve and explain two different aspects (nudos respectus) but different acts of God …: one universal, viz. performed by Christ, another special one, consisting in an application, which is no less a work and an act of God than the former one.’

Rydecki: Here Hardt asserts a teaching among the Wittenberg theologians of a “double set of actions.” Indeed, they did teach “two aspects” to the remission of sins (duplex remissio —“a two-faceted remission of sins,” not “two remissions of sins”!). The first aspect is that act of God by which Christ “acquired” or “obtained” righteousness for all men, which is universal. The second aspect is the act of God by which He applies the righteousness of Christ to the sinner by means of the Word, by means of faith, which is individual. However, neither aspect by itself results in anyone’s “justification.” Hardt errs, as did Walther, in identifying each of these actions separately as “justification.”

Hardt himself explains what the universal “action” was to which the Wittenberg theologians were referring: “The universal act of God toward mankind that Huber’s opponents want to maintain is described in the following way: ‘The benefit of redemption has been obtained and acquired for the entire world’, ‘the righteousness has been obtained for us.’”

To use a mundane analogy (begging the reader's forbearance), one might compare the Wittenberg theologians’ “two-faceted justification” with a “two-faceted car repair.” First, the mechanic goes out and acquires brand new engines for every car in the world. Second, he places one of them in your car. Both aspects are necessary in order for your car to be repaired. To assert that the mechanic’s acquisition of billions of engines is, “in some sense,” the repair of the whole world of cars is as ludicrous as asserting that Christ’s acquisition of righteousness for all men results in the justification of the whole world of sinners.

As cited above from the Theses Opposed to Huberianism, the obtaining and acquiring of redemption and righteousness for the entire world was never in dispute. That these things are the equivalent of a universal absolution or justification of all men, apart from faith, is what Huber asserted and the Wittenberg theologians denied. To acquire righteousness for all is not the same thing as “to justify all,” as Hunnius explains at length in the two works cited above, for the act of justification includes intrinsically the application of the righteousness of Christ, and that application is only made by faith, as Hunnius explains clearly in A Clear Explanation, p.60:

Hunnius: Here one may ask Dr. Huber when he thinks all this took place. When were all sins remitted equally to the entire human race? He has to confess one or the other—that this took place either from eternity, or in time. But it will be clearly demonstrated shortly that neither of these options can be true. We interpret those things that the Scripture contains regarding the redemption and reconciliation of the world (or of the human race) concerning the benefit gained and acquired through the death of Christ, and concerning the sufficiency of that merit of Christ—that it is sufficient for the whole world to be reconciled, justified and saved, if the whole world were to believe; that it was also intended for the world and acquired to this end, that all men should thence obtain salvation through faith. Meanwhile, God has never intended it to mean that it avails for justifying or for remitting sins without faith, through some sort of general remission of sins or justification, which is also supposedly done among those who never have faith, never had faith, or never will have faith. He who does not believe, says John the Baptist, will not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him (John 3). Therefore, regarding those who never believe in the Son of God, from them also the wrath of God was never withdrawn (not even for a moment).

1 COMMENT:

Vernon Knepprath said...
I thank God that this blog and a small handful of other Confessional Lutheran blogs still exist, because more often than not, these kinds of discussions are not to be found within the local churches, either because of neglect or by intent. These discussions are truly amazing. They are generally orderly and respectful, with a few exceptions. Every person has a chance to respond, so the one-sided nature and unsubstantiated accusations in articles such as what showed up in a recent edition of Christian News does not stand for a lengthy time unanswered, with the implication that somehow those unsubstantiated accusations are true. But most importantly, the simple truths of Scripture shine through again and again.

The Scriptural teaching of justification is simple, and only becomes complicated when people change the definition of words or add/subtract from what Scripture says.

The Scriptural truth of justification is reflected in many of the simple traditional 'teachings' of the Lutheran Church, at least where thay have not yet been corrupted or omitted or ignored. Some of the simple teachings I am thinking of are 'three solas', the Apostles Creed and the Means of Grace. By design, the Scriptural truths of justification are clear in all of these and more.

As the Apostles Creed is removed from more and more Lutheran worship services, can there be doubt of what purpose is being served? As the Sacraments are hidden from view and removed from the main body of worship, is there really any wonder as to the intent? As the importance of 'Scripture alone' and 'faith alone' are diminished in the three solas, should we not be more concerned? All of these, in their own way, are facilitating a slow but certain rewrite of the the Scriptural truth of justification.

God's Word clearly teaches that we are justified by faith. And God's Word doesn't change.

Vernon

LPC said...
Pr. Paul,

Thanks for bringing out Hardt's work into this discussion. I wanted to dig into his work but never found the time. I am glad you found the time to examine his work and to relate it to this debate.

LPC

Mr. Douglas Lindee said...
Vernon,

I couldn't agree more. Though I've been preoccupied over the past couple months with pressing business concerns, I have definitely been keeping up with the dialogue on IL. What amazes me about the dialogue between Rev.'s Lawson (ACLC) and Rydecki (ELDoNA) over the past couple months is that, FINALLY, there is an open, calm and coherent discussion on this serious matter (a matter which is clearly NOT settled, but which, it is now fully apparent, has been disputed off and on for 400 years) between two capable disputants who are respectfully disposed toward one another in public. I met Rev. Lawson, very briefly, while attending the 2013 Colloquium and Synod of the ELDoNA, and he struck me then, as he does now, as simultaneously a thoughtful steady man, and a man of conviction. While these characteristics naturally go together, one might not get that impression from the manner in which this issue has been discussed in other forums. Certainly, one would not get that impression by reading the accounts of Schmidt -vs- Walther.

I no longer find it odd that such a thing does not, and will probably never, happen in WELS – on this or any other consequential matter of doctrine or practice – and have entirely ceased looking for or expecting that any such thing will ever happen among them. There is a continuing strident refusal to openly discuss important matters. Rather than find it odd, I recognize it for what it is – as a foreboding cultic tendency. People who get sucked into cults lose their self-identity – their concept of self becomes indistinguishable from the group, and apart from the group's leadership they feel as if they have no guidance and no hope. Positional authority is a psychological weapon among such leaders, and they use it to retain the dedication of their followers and to urge them toward greater productivity in the interest of the group. I'm beginning to see now, what I denied existed when my friends and family first warned us about this sort of thing when we joined WELS over a decade ago.

Continued in next comment...
Mr. Douglas Lindee said...
...Continued from previous comment.

That isn't to say that Confession isn't important. In fact, it is because Confession is such a critical matter that we all must be diligent to make certain that our Confession is True. As stated many times on this blog, a person's Confession proceeds from the convictions of his own Conscience – the seat of his self-identity – as an expression of what he is convinced is True. For the Christian, his self-identity is bound together and inseparable from his identity in Christ and the teachings of Scripture. Since our knowledge of the Truth is imperfect, and since our convictions change with time and experience, this means that an individual's Confession needs to continually be reaffirmed, for, as we have also stated on this blog, when he is called upon to make Confession, he is not speaking to his friends, but is standing before his executioner. Confession and Martyrdom are terms that are defined relative to one another:

Those who cheerfully confessed Christ before the heathen magistrate at peril of life, but were not executed, were honored as confessors. Those who suffered abuse of all kinds, and death itself, for their faith, were called martyrsor blood-witnesses.
(Schaff, P. [1996]. History of the Christian Church (Vol. 2, Ante-Nicene Christianity). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers. [Reprinted from the fifth edition of Volume 2, originally published in 1889]. pg. 76.)

And we Lutherans have always recognized the connection of Confession to Martyrdom. This is what Luther did when he stood before the Roman Emperor and representatives of the Pope at the Diet of Worms, maintaining his Confession and refusing to recant. This is what the German Princes did when they presented their Confession to the Roman Emperor and representatives of the Pope at Augsburg. Indeed, this connection remains part of our Rite of Confirmation in which we expect our confirmands to give the following oath:

Do you, as a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, intend to continue steadfast in the confession of this Church, and suffer all, even death, rather than fall away from it?
(The Lutheran Agenda. [1946]. St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. pg. 24)

Continued in next comment...
Mr. Douglas Lindee said...
...Continued from previous comment.

As a layman, I can tell you for a fact, there is no way in the world I could stand before my executioner on the grounds of UOJ. Die over that doctrine? No way. I have no sure foundation on which to defend it. It claims that on account of Christ's work, "God has already DECLARED the whole world of sinners – each and every individual who has or who will ever exist – to be righteous and forgiven before Him", but it cannot adduce a single passage of Scripture where it quotes God having made this universal declaration. This is significant, because the only foundation for my Confession that I would have to offer my executioner as a defense, would be the very words of God Himself, as He has preserved them in the Bible; but nowhere is this "declaration", to which some Lutherans would bind my conscience as the centerpiece of the Christian religion, to be found in its pages. Instead of Scripture, I would be forced defend such a confession by descending into philosophical jibber-jabber, replete with paradox and fantasy.

On the other hand, the attestation in Scripture for the doctrine of Justification by Faith Alone is to be found practically everywhere, in direct positive – and thus also CLEAR – terms.

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:1-2)

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8)

And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:13-18)

...Baptism does also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him. (1 Peter 3:21-22)

I am justified by faith, and this is what saves me from eternal condemnation. Apart from faith I am not forgiven; quite the opposite, apart from faith I am condemned. I know that I have been given saving faith, and thus also righteous standing before God and eternal salvation, NOT because of the strength of my convictions (which, in my human weakness wax and wane), but by the objective fact of my Baptism through which the promises of Jesus Christ are conferred. And there can be no question that I was baptized – I have documented proof, signed by the witnesses who were in attendance and notarized. In times of distress, when my faith is weak, I don't look to some universal declaration of God that is nowhere recorded in the Scriptures; I look to my Baptism and the promises clearly attending it, and thus know that God has given me faith, and with it forgiveness, life and salvation.

Classic Ichabod - The Epic Fail of Paul McCain, MDiv - Matt Harrison's Campaign Manager



http://ichabodthegloryhasdeparted.blogspot.com/2010/07/epic-fail-of-paul-mccain-mdiv.html



Tuesday, July 27, 2010


The Epic Fail of Paul McCain, MDiv

Paul McCain has no call and never earned an advanced degree.
Nevertheless, McCain still thinks he is Barry's assistant,
and pretends to be the SP-in-waiting.


LCMS Commission on Doctrinal Review
Decision regarding challenges filed against Concordia:TheLutheran Confessions.AReader’sEdition(CPH, 2005).

It is the decision of the review panel of the Commission on Doctrinal Review that the doctrinal review certification of Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions. A Reader’s Edition be revoked because of numerous passages and features of the volume which are “inadequate, misleading, ambiguous, or lacking in doctrinal clarity” (Bylaw 1.9.2.g). Specifics of the objectionable passages and features are discussed below.

Background 
When Concordia Publishing House released Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions. A Reader’s Edition of the Book of Concord in June of 2005, the volume was widely anticipated, vigorously promoted, and quickly distributed. The book was beyond doubt very attractively produced, and a low price also encouraged rapid sales, even among people with little or no previous familiarity with the Book of Concord. The first printing of 40,000 copies sold out within about four months.
There is a great deal to celebrate and praise about a “reader’s edition” of the Lutheran Confessions. No one questions the obviously appealing presentation of the volume. The inclusion of historical commentary, timelines, and illustrations enable readers (especially laypeople) to find their way into the texts of the Confessions which might otherwise remain unknown to them. We note with joy that the publication seems to have stimulated a renewed interest in reading and studying the confessions, and we commend the publisher for making such an important book available. Our Synod can be richly blessed by a widespread and deep study of the doctrine to which our congregations, pastors, and teachers pledge themselves.

Despite the many positive aspects of the new volume, some features drew criticism. Almost immediately after the release of the book, formal challenges were submitted to the Commission on Doctrinal Review, as allowed in Bylaw 3.9.3.2.2. The chairman received three such official challenges from members of the Synod, two of which were identical in substance, and he appointed three members of the Commission to serve as the review panel in compliance with the procedure outlined in the Bylaws.

That panel’s careful review of the volume has dismissed a number of the challenges raised, but has also identified some passages and features which are problematic in various ways, some of which must be described as “inadequate, misleading, ambiguous, or lacking in doctrinal clarity” (Bylaw 1.9.2.f). We have identified lapses in sound historical scholarship, ambiguous or questionable doctrinal statements and explanations, unexplained peculiarities in the translation, and (perhaps most seriously) a general failure to distinguish clearly between what is actually the text of the Confessions and all other nonconfessional material.

While all members of the review panel agreed on the identification of these problems, we wrestled long and hard over how to respond to them. Many of these problems might have been overlooked or ignored in another kind of publication, since they do not involve direct statements of false doctrine. In the end, however, the panel decided that an edition of the Book of Concord should be held to a higher standard than other writings, because it will itself be used as a standard by which other books are judged and evaluated. By that higher standard, we think the volume here under consideration stands in need of serious improvement. For that reason we have decided to mandate such changes by the only means available to the Commission (i.e., by revoking the book’s doctrinal review certification).

The publication of this new edition of the Book of Concord was met with enthusiasm and genuine interest, for which we are grateful. That enthusiasm is a sign of the love for and commitment to our Confessions throughout our Synod. But the great attention gained by the volume also makes the doctrinal challenges raised against it more serious. The members of the Commission on Doctrinal Review and the review panel have no desire to discourage this upsurge of interest in the Lutheran Confessions. We do not want to reject the edition outright, for there is a great deal to be applauded in any book which helps make the doctrine of our church more widely accessible. Much less do we want to discourage the wide reading and study of the Lutheran Confessions by clergy and laity alike. Our goal in presenting the following recommendations is to help make the volume as good as it can possibly be, to the end that our Synod may be strengthened in genuine unity, through the clear and bold confession of the truth of the gospel in all its articles.

Recommendations and Summary of Changes Needed 
The review panel appointed to consider doctrinal challenges to Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions. A Reader’s Edition have identified the following points for correction and improvement before rerelease of volume.

A. The most important point in need of revision is the clear and unambiguous distinction throughout the volume between the actual texts of the confessional documents themselves and all other material (editorial introductions, historical explanations, section titles, Bible references inserted, etc.). In many cases this can be accomplished by changes in format or arrangement of the material (so that there are clearer distinctions than presently in the volume), or by specific attribution of editorial comments.

B. In order to make clear to the reader how the volume was produced, the material now in Appendix C (“About This Edition”) should be combined with the Preface, and supplemented with some explanation about how the editors consulted different original texts and variant readings, and what criteria were used for selecting a reading for this edition. The Preface should explain the editorial choices between the Latin and German texts in more detail than the current paragraph at the bottom of p. 680. It is probably better to put Appendix D (“Preface to the Concordia Triglotta”) with the other front matter, as well.

C. Sufficient explanation must be given about the inclusion of texts or documents (such as the Saxon Visitation Articles) which were not part of the original Book of Concord, especially in cases where the material was not included in the underlying Bente/Dau translation. Similarly, the editors must indicate and offer the reader explanatory notes when material that could arguably be included in the Book of Concord (such as the Marriage and Baptismal Booklets) is not included. The question of what is and is not part of the confessional text is an important matter to any church which regards the Confessions as authoritative.

D. Substantive departures from the translation of Bente/Dau should be noted and explained, and the reader provided with the older Bente/Dau reading for reference. Examples of such departures would include (but are not necessarily limited to) the passages discussed below at LC, Creed, 66, and Tr 11. This is particularly important in a volume which does not claim to be a new translation, but rather to “update” Bente/Dau.

E. Generally, the editors should refrain in the introductory material from asserting as facts statements which present applications of confessional passages to contemporary controversies, about which there is legitimate theological or scholarly debate. (An example of this difficulty would be the matter discussed in point 11 in the following section.)

F. Care should be taken not to alter the translation of passages, or phrase introductory material, in a way that opens the door to a view of the pastoral office which is not in agreement with the public position of the Synod. Examples of such points of concern include the translation of Tr 11 and 72, and perhaps also the inclusion of (previously omitted) material in the SC Table of Duties, and introductory comments to AC V and AC XIV.

G. A number of unclear or imprecise formulations in the Glossary should be rectified. (E.g., the definition given of “Sacrament” ascribes a “sacramental” significance not just of the pastoral office but of the person of the pastor, in a way that moves beyond our church’s position. Definitions of “Keys” and “Saint,” for example, are likewise in need of revision.)

H. Because the book was so widely and actively promoted, and because it sold rapidly in large numbers, it will not be sufficient simply to make the changes indicated here and rerelease the volume without further public comment. Some sort of explanation of these concerns and the ways they are being addressed should be publicized as widely as possible, to make it possible for people to continue to use the first edition without confusion. Indeed, even if the publisher should decide not to release a revised edition along the lines we describe here, it would still be necessary to make widely available a description and explanation of the items identified by our review.

I. Revisions undertaken to address these concerns should reviewed independently of the original doctrinal review. The sheer importance of the volume suggests that multiple reviewers might be employed. Steps should be taken to ensure a proper degree of objectivity and confidentiality in the selection and work of the reviewers.

Detailed Discussion of Points Raised by Challengers 
The primary task of the review panel was to evaluate the specific objections which were brought forward, and this (as will be seen) was a sizeable task. In the following discussion of concerns raised by challengers, each objection will be summarized in bold type, and the review panel’s evaluation and decision will follow in regular type.
It is important to recognize that the challenges were of very different kinds. Of the 44 points raised by challengers and evaluated below, the review panel found 21 to present no significant doctrinal concerns at all; these were primarily small matters of style or nondoctrinal editorial choices. Ten raise legitimate concerns over textual issues. Nine identify inadequate, misleading, or inaccurate statements in the editorial material. Four point out passages where at least some additional clarification or explanation is needed to account for significant changes from the underlying Bente/Dau translation.

1. The translation of Large Catechism (hereafter LC), Creed, 66 (page 432) (“Even if we concede that…”) is misleading or erroneous, and distorts Luther’s meaning; introduces new teaching into the Large Catechism; conflicts with Romans 1 & 2 and with Acts 17. This change is “an unwarranted, incorrect, misguided, and misleading editorial comment.”
The rendering is a rather loose paraphrase of the German, and introduces an interpretive slant that reads Luther’s concessive clause as a contrarytofact conditional. This is not the plain meaning of the German grammar here; such a construction would normally require a subjunctive rather than the indicative, which the original has here. But whatever the
1
weaknesses of the translation of this passage, the McCain edition rendering does not do violence to the substance of the paragraph, which is that mere monotheism leaves a person under God’s wrath and without the promise of his forgiveness. In other words, even if the translation is wrong, it does not involve false doctrine.
There is concern that this editorial change was prompted by recent controversial use of this particular passage, and not by any clear inadequacy or error in the underlying Bente/Dau text. The change from Bente/Dau at this point could be perceived by some as an attempt to “spin” a passage of the Confessions in order to settle a contemporary argument. This appearance of
2
some kind of manipulation of the confessional text is both inadvisable and unnecessary.
Since the new rendering of this text departs significantly from all previous English
translations, it would probably be best to place it in brackets alongside the translation on
which this new edition is based (Bente/Dau), and an explanatory note might be added.
2. The translation of Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope (hereafter Tr), 11 (page 321) (“He also teaches that the Church is more than the ministers.”) is misleading
3 4
or erroneous, and changes the sense of both Bente/Dau and Kolb/Wengert , which use different words to assert the superiority of the church over the clergy.
1
For convenience and brevity, this discussion will follow the general convention of referring to English editions of the Book of Concord by the name of the primary editor(s): Jacobs, Bente/Dau, Tappert, Kolb/Wengert, etc. It is not the intention of this usage to assign personal responsibility for every detail of the text under consideration to the lead editor of Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions. A Reader’s Edition.
2
Cf. the short “theological observer” column by Charles Arand and James Voelz, “Large Catechism, III, 66,” Concordia Journal 29.3, 232234, which is a response to John G. Nordling, “Large Catechism 111, 66, Latin Version” on pages 235239 in the same issue. Another helpful “theological observer” is Thomas Manteufel, “What Luther Meant,” CJ 29.4, 366369.
3
The editors of Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions. A Reader’s Edition present their version as “based on the English translation in the Concordia Triglotta [1921] by William H. T. Dau and Gerhard F. Bente” (page 7). The Triglotta English version, in turn, was based closely on the 1882 translation of Henry Jacobs. The English translation included in the Triglotta will be referred to here as “Bente/Dau.”
The change seems to follow the German, even though both Bente/Dau and the rest of the present edition seem to be based on the more original Latin. No reason is given for opting to follow the German at this point, a decision which departs from the Bente/Dau text which serves as the basis for the McCain edition.
Melanchthon’s argument in this section has to do with refuting papal claims of superiority, and the McCain edition’s rendering seems to miss this context. The traditional English translation (“superior to” or “above”) is preferable, on both textual and contextual grounds.
Some might perceive this as another example of reading a contemporary issue into the Confessions, rather than as a simple translation issue. Those who favor a stronger emphasis on the authority of the pastoral office would not be attracted to the Bente/Dau or the Kolb/Wengert reading, since both of those put the clergy under the authority of the church. The new McCain edition reading would at least allow a certain parity between pastor and church.
3. Scripture references not found in the original are inserted (very often throughout the volume). This changes the original text, since it is not clear that the authors had such verses in mind, or would have interpreted the verses in the way implied by their inclusion in the various articles. This is done without comment or clarification, thus introducing the implication that the Confessions themselves understand these passages in a way not necessarily intended by the original authors.
This editorial practice can at times be very misleading. It cannot be argued that such additions and insertions into the confessional text constitute merely an “updating” of the Bente/Dau translation.

One example can illustrate the problems inherent in such a practice. In the text of AC VIII, the McCain edition interpolates a reference to Matthew 13:2430 (the parable of the wheat and the weeds), implying that the original would have us understand Jesus’s parable as a picture of the church. Of course, the nonspecialist reader (to whom the McCain edition is directed) will not have any way of knowing that the Bible reference here is not part of the original text of the confession. If he is very careful, however, he will notice that such an application of the parable to the church contradicts the explicit reference (which is in the original) in Ap VII/VIII.19, where “the field” is clarified as referring to the world, not the church. (Incidentally and inexplicably, the McCain edition puts the word “not the Church” in italics in this place in the Apology, implying some kind of emphasis which is entirely lacking in the original text. The use of italics for emphasis throughout the text must be carefully checked for accuracy.)
Bible references which are not part of the actual text of the Confessions themselves should not be interpolated into the text without some kind of clear indication that these references
The Book of Concord: The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, edited by Robert Kolb and Timothy J. Wengert, translated by Charles Arand et al. (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2000). This edition is referred to here as “Kolb/Wengert.”
DR Decision re: Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions. A Reader’s Edition 5 of 15
5
are editorial additions. The method of BSLK, where references to Bible passages (that are apparently alluded to in the text) are printed in the margins, might solve this problem. Alternatively, square brackets might be employed, following the editorial practice of Kolb/Wengert. But the practice in the McCain edition blurs the distinction between the text of the Confessional documents and editorial material, a problem throughout the volume. Because this volume presents itself as the authoritative Confessions of the Lutheran church, that distinction should always be unambiguously drawn. What is at issue here is not really a question of whether the editorial material is “correct” in its interpretation or explanation or not (although such correctness is obviously an important matter in its own right), but rather the necessity to faithfully and accurately present the text of the Confessions themselves without omission, addition, embellishment, or distortion. The McCain edition as it stands does not do this consistently.
4. The editor’s reference in the introduction to Augsburg Confession (hereafter AC) XIV (page 64f) to “the apostolic rite of ordination” emphasizes ordination rather than the call itself, which is the central point of AC XIV. This seems to make ordination a requirement for a valid call, rather than the public recognition of the call. It is unclear what is meant by “an official call from the Church,” or why “Church” is capitalized in this context.
There is a history of argument among American Lutherans (even between groups who want to remain faithful to the Lutheran Confessions) about church and ministry. There have also been recent tensions in our own Synod between, on the one hand, those who would emphasize the congregation’s call of individuals to carry out the functions of word and sacrament, and on the other hand, others who would stress the office of the holy ministry as a distinct and divinely instituted “Stand” into which a man is admitted through ordination. Given this history and tension, it is easy to read the editor’s references to “the apostolic rite of ordination” as somewhat problematic. It may also be noted that while ordination is here called an “apostolic rite,” the sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion are called “Church rites” in the glossary (p. 691, under “sacrament”). Even if it is not the intention of the editor to promote an understanding of the pastoral ministry which is not consonant with the Synod’s position, it can easily be supposed that some would make such use of this passage as it currently reads.
The question of why “Church” (singular) is always capitalized in the McCain edition while “churches” (plural) is never capitalized remains unanswered. Some nuance or distinction seems to be implied, but the readers are left to figure it out for themselves. Suffice it to say that this distinction reflects neither the German, nor the Latin, nor Bente/Dau. The distinction hardly seems to correspond to common modern English usage. If no distinction in meaning is intended, then this consistent editorial practice is misleading and should be changed.
5. The edition is based on the Bente/Dau translation of 1921, which was in turn based partly on inferior and inadequate texts of the original documents. The present edition
Die Bekenntnisschriften der evangelischlutherischen Kirche, 11th edition (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1992).
ignores the real advances in scholarship and research since the 1920’s, and thus cannot be considered an adequately accurate version of the Book of Concord today.
The question of the underlying text of English translations of the Lutheran Confessions is vastly more complex than a reader of the McCain edition is led to suppose. Bente/Dau was based on the German edition of 1580 and the Latin of 1584. Since the Bente/Dau English version appeared alongside the German (of the 1580 Dresden edition) and the Latin (1584, Leipzig), that English version’s occasional alternation between following the German or the Latin in various documents and passages could not confuse the reader for long (at least a reader who was able to check the original languages behind that translation).
However, the new McCain edition neither follows Bente/Dau consistently, nor offers any clues about where or why substantial departures from Bente/Dau are incorporated in the new text. This much is sure: the present McCain edition does not present the reader exactly with a translation of either the 1580 Dresden text or the 1584 Leipzig text. The English presented here is really a hybrid text which incorporates readings from both the underlying 16th century editions used in Bente/Dau, even though those underlying editions are here used somewhat differently than in Bente/Dau (that is, the McCain edition will sometimes follow the Latin where Bente/Dau followed the German, and vice versa).
Of course, textual eclecticism is not wrong or indefensible; practically every English Bible is based on an eclectic “hybrid” text of many Biblical manuscripts. What is problematic is the complete lack of any discussion of this approach, or even any indication that there could be a discussion (or even disagreement) about what are the original, or best, or authoritative texts of the various documents included in the Book of Concord. This silence is probably intended to simplify the reading of the text for nonspecialists. But it seems to push simplicity to the point of obscuring genuine and legitimate questions about the meaning of the Confessions. The understanding and sophistication of modern lay readers of the Book of Concord should not be underestimated.
.6. In the AC, the present edition covers over the important and often illuminating differences between the equally official German and Latin originals, by presenting a single English text which does not really reproduce either the Latin or the German accurately, but invents a kind of hybrid paraphrase.
.Please refer to the earlier comments about textcritical issues under point 5 above.
.7. Similar to the complaint about the text of the AC, there is a problem with the Tr. The editors of the present version have picked readings from the Latin and the German without any clear reason or logic for the alteration, and have failed to indicate where such changes between text traditions occur. They have also reproduced some textual errors from the Bente/Dau (e.g., Tr 66: “enemies of the Church,” where the original reads “enemies of the gospel”).
.Please refer to the earlier comments about textcritical issues under point 5 above.
2. 8. In the Small Catechism (hereafter SC), Table of Duties, the section entitled “What the Hearers Owe to Their Pastors” is inserted, even though it was not originally part of the

SC, nor was it included in the editions of the Book of Concord said to be used by the editors. (It was in a 1540 edition of the catechism, and there included some further Scripture references which are not included in the present volume.) Also, the section entitled “What Subjects Owe to the Rulers” was neither original in Luther’s 1529 text of the SC nor included in the Book of Concord. (It seems to originate in a 1542 edition of the catechism.)
To a certain extent, this is another question of which text the McCain edition is following. Obviously, as the challenger concedes, there is nothing objectionable about the Bible verses included in these sections. The challenge calls into question whether these verses, arranged under these topics, and placed into this location, are in fact to be included into the “official” text of the Confessions.

On the one hand, the McCain edition does not pretend to tackle such questions afresh, but rather claims to present an “update” of Bente/Dau. On the other hand, passages such as this one clearly demonstrate that this “update” can and does include significant departures from the Bente/Dau text. That being the case, it is important for the editors to alert the reader by means of footnotes to places where such substantive departures have been made, and to offer the reader guidance about what justifies or motivates these departures.

.9. Both the Marriage Booklet and the Baptismal Booklet are omitted from the present edition, even though they appear to have better attestation in editions of both the catechism and the Book of Concord than the material mentioned above in the Table of Duties.
.Please refer to earlier comments about textcritical issues under point 5, and the observations about significant decisions of what material should be included under point 8 above.
.10. In the Large Catechism (hereafter LC), Commandments, 46 (page 389), following an early distortion of the text, the present edition inserts a “not” and misreads the sentence which should read: “Just leave it to the devil and the world to deceive you with their appearance…”
.This is an example of an imperfect translation following an inferior underlying text, but it is a minor point and does not involve a doctrinal error.
2. 11. The editor’s introduction (page 514) asserts that Formula of Concord (= FC), Epitome (= Ep) X cannot be used to defend liturgical diversity among individual congregations, claiming that the discussion only refers to German territorial churches with their consistories, superintendents, etc. This opinion of the editors should not be included as if it were an uncontestable fact.

The editors may be correct in the historical point that “churches” in FC X probably referred to territorial churches rather than individual local congregations. But that reference was by no means the point or focus of the article, and such a historical observation does not explicitly support the bald assertion about contemporary application made in the introduction. There are too many differences in history, polity, and social environment between churches of sixteenth century Germany and twentyfirst century America to permit such a facile equation of principles and practices of worship.

It is generally inappropriate for the editor to insert such absolute claims about debatable contemporary questions, when the question of how to apply the Confessions to today’s life in the church is by no means settled in every case.

It is important to remember here that we are not dealing with a private writing about the Formula of Concord and its historical background, or with a book in which a modern author makes an argument about the proper application of the Confessions to issues facing us today. Rather we are considering a volume that presents itself as the public and official doctrine of our church. There would be no objection to the editor making such an argument in a book about the Confessions or in an essay or article; in fact, this is exactly the sort of assertion and argument one would expect in such a work. However, in a volume that presents itself as “The Lutheran Confessions” the editors should take pains to avoid offering tendentious opinions in their comments, and to restrict themselves to factual information (which should, as mentioned elsewhere, always be adequately identified as editorial material) that will help readers read and understand the documents themselves.

12. Following the Bente/Dau edition, the Catalog of Testimonies (page 651ff) and the Saxon Visitation Articles (page 676ff) are included, the latter with no introduction to clarify its relation to the Book of Concord. This creates the impression that they are to be regarded as part of the Book of Concord.
It is difficult to know what to make of the inclusion of these documents, especially the unexplained appearance of the Visitation Articles. Also it should be noted that some of the appendices are documents that approach “confessional” status, while other appendices, formatted in either exactly the same way or very similarly, are modern editorial material. Tucked away as Appendix C (“About This Edition,” page 680) are some very brief comments which should have been in the Preface. Appendix D reproduces the introduction to the Concordia Triglotta (which included the Bente/Dau English version on which the McCain edition is supposed to be based), and this should also have been placed at the beginning. Such matters of inclusion and arrangement of the appendices certainly do not involve doctrinal error, but they contribute to the general ambiguity in the whole volume about the boundary between confessional text and editorial comment.
2. 13. Throughout the volume, headings and section titles are inserted which are not in the original text. Introductory and editorial comments are interspersed before each article of the AC and elsewhere, with no explanation anywhere to make clear that these comments are not part of the original text. A whole section of editorial material, “Controversies and the Formula of Concord” (pages 521531), is inserted between the Ep and the Solid Declaration (= SD), and this section is not unambiguously identified as material inserted for the present edition. It is set in the same size and font of type as the FC itself.

The point about section headings seems trivial at first glance. But the general problem of interspersing editorial material throughout the text of the documents is much more serious.
Some of the editorial material is printed in a slightly different font, but the difference is slight, and (more importantly) that distinction is nowhere pointed out or explained to the reader. The insertion of the “Controversies” section between the Epitome and the Solid Declaration is especially confusing. As the challenger has pointed out, this material is not distinguished from the Formula of Concord itself by a different font, and it is not identified anywhere as new material added by the editors.

Should we be concerned with editorial matters such as layout and fonts? Ordinarily such things would not need attention in a process of doctrinal review. However, in this case the layout contributes to ambiguity about what is (and isn’t) the actual text of the Confessions, and that ambiguity is a very serious matter, even if it does not involve a direct statement of false doctrine.

.14. In the introduction to AC IV, the editor presents a “purely forensic doctrine of justification” which is an inaccurate reduction of the true doctrine presented in AC IV and the relevant article of the Apology (= Ap).
.The challenger is perhaps reacting to a socalled “forensic” reduction of the gospel to a “legal fiction,” but that is not the only or proper understanding of “forensic” justification, which (properly understood) is clearly the Lutheran position. This challenge does not have any merit.
.15. In the introduction to AC V, the editor introduces and asserts a “clerical” view of ministry rather than reflecting the article’s own stress on the means of grace.
.By itself, this point would probably not raise substantial objections. But it can easily be construed as part of a pattern of “editorializing” in support of a particular theological faction or current in today’s church, under the guise of offering introductory comments to the Confessions.
2. 16. In the introduction to AC XIV, the editor’s phrase “theologically qualified” tends to imply “seminary trained” as a sine qua non for called and ordained ministry. It also introduces the phrase “apostolic rite of ordination,” which is never used in the Confessions and is never clarified or defined by the editors.

The objection to the phrase “theologically qualified” is not substantial. One cannot necessarily infer “seminary training” from a comment about theological qualification for ministry. After all, the notion that pastors should be theologically competent and well qualified is thoroughly biblical, and the editor does not claim any seminary or any other educational system as mandatory.
On the other hand, there is a need to change or explain the phrase “apostolic rite of ordination” to avoid a wrong understanding of the pastoral ministry. Please refer to the earlier comments this phrase under point 4 above.

17. In the introductions to both the Smalcald Articles (hereafter SA) (page 282) and the FC (page 530), an unfair and inaccurate caricature of Philip Melanchthon is repeated, following Bente. The onesided charges have been refuted by recent scholarship, but are here repeated and perpetuated, distorting the historical truth and introducing an antiMelanchthon bias especially to the understanding of the Formula.
The historical assessment of Philip Melanchthon is not a doctrinal matter. But repeating Bente’s notorious antiMelanchthon bias is not an adequate presentation of the current state of confessional scholarship. As mentioned elsewhere, an edition of the Book of Concord must be held to high standards, also in terms of historical scholarship.
.18. In the introduction to SA III, 10 (page 308), the editors say, “Only men who have been judged capable of discharging the ministerial office should be ordained.” However, the article does not designate the sex of pastors, and the male reference here distracts from the main point, which is to ensure that the church is not deprived of pastors by the refusal of Roman bishops to ordain evangelical clergy. The editor’s contemporary concerns (in this case an opposition to women clergy) are inserting themselves into the Confessions here.
.The challenger seems to have a different axe to grind here. It should be stated that the Lutheran Confessions give neither theological nor historical support for the ordination of women to the pastoral office, and it would be inappropriate to manipulate a translation of the Confessions in an attempt to create such support. However, it is worth asking whether the McCain edition is intended to appeal to a broad spectrum of Lutherans who are genuinely interested in the Confessions, or only to those who support the Missouri Synod’s conviction that only males should be ordained to the pastoral ministry. In other words, is this meant to be a ‘Missouri Synod Book of Concord”? The guiding principle should be that the edition should not allow contemporary issues or interests (such as, in this case, guarding against the unbiblical practice of women pastors) to be determinative of how texts of the Confessions are translated or introduced.
.19. In the introduction to the Tr (page 326), the editors inappropriately introduce a critique of 19th and 20thcentury Roman Catholicism into discussion of 16thcentury document.
.Anachronistic polemics are not a matter of doctrine with which our review should be
concerned.

.20. In introductory comments for the Eight Commandment in the LC (page 414), the editor misrepresents Luther’s explanation when it is said, “The greatest violators are false preachers who, by their false doctrine, speak ill of God and His name.” This thought is not part of Luther’s explanation, and seems to be aimed at the conduct of our contemporary controversies.
.This item may highlight a relatively small slip of scholarship in the editorial introduction, but does not constitute a doctrinal error which is substantially “inadequate, misleading, ambiguous, or lacking in doctrinal clarity.”

.21. In the introduction to the FC, the editors identify “the Bible, and the Bible alone,” as the sole source of doctrine. In doing so, they deny the biblical doctrine that all human beings have a natural knowledge of God’s existence and power and attributes.
.This passage is unobjectionable. The challenge raises a broader question about the Reformation principle of sola scriptura. The text of the McCain edition can certainly be understood in a way congruent with that principle. The editor’s comment does not seem to be directed against the natural knowledge of God among nonChristians, but against the erosion of Biblical authority in the church.

.22. In introductory comments to FC Ep II (page 495), the editors express the opinion that “We should stick to the pattern of sound doctrine and refrain from introducing novel ways of speaking about Bible teachings. We should use the very words and phrases used in the Lutheran Confessions to explain the Bible. It is very unwise to take timetested words explaining one thing and use them to explain another. This only leads to confusion and error.” This impulse toward “repristination” is not the emphasis of the article itself, and distorts the meaning.
.The editorial comment in question is inadequate and misleading, because it misrepresents the content and argument of FC Ep II.

.23. In the section on “Controversies” (page 521f), Editors claim that no one who denies the 3rd use of the law can be regarded as truly Lutheran. But this distorts the argument, and puts forward the claim that Christians can encounter the law without threat, which conflicts with the teaching that lex semper accusat.

.The challenger takes up the long argument about the third use of the law, but the McCain edition material here is not erroneous. It would have been helpful, perhaps, to describe in a historical introduction how and why Lutherans who want to be faithful to the Confessions have disagreed so sharply about this question.

.24. In FC Ep X, 3 (page 514), and very often elsewhere, the editors have attempted to update Bente/Dau by recasting the sentence structure in a way that twists the meaning or emphasis of the original text. In other words, an effort to simplify has resulted in oversimplification, and sometimes distortion. In the passage from FC Ep X mentioned, the new version suggests that there are some Church ceremonies which are commanded by God’s Word and are thus part of divine worship—an idea very far from the thrust of the article in question.
.The challenge refers to small matters of translation which do not constitute serious flaws in the McCain edition. Any translation of such a large and complex work can probably be improved or polished in various places, but not every translation error (or weakness) is fatal.

.25. Throughout the volume, the new version refuses to use “inclusive language” but uses male pronouns where references would permit a more inclusive rendering. Such a practice belies the claim to “update” the version of Bente/Dau for 21stcentury American readers.

.While a generic use of male pronouns and the words “man” or “men” (meaning human beings generally) may no longer be considered standard academic usage, neither is such usage clearly archaic or erroneous. This seems to be a matter of stylistic or editorial preference, not a doctrinal issue.
.26. Throughout the volume, notes which would have explained nuances or ambiguities in the text are absent, resulting in an oversimplified text that does not reflect the full meaning of the original.
.Please refer to the earlier comments under points 1 and 5 above.
.27. In the Preface to the Augsburg Confession, the edition mixes Latin and German texts.
.Please refer to the earlier comments about textcritical issues under point 5 above.
.28. In AC XIII, the version here translates the German “einsetzen” as “ordain” rather than “institute” as it usually does. This is misleading and unclear.

.This is a minor translation issue, and does not constitute a substantive error or inadequacy.
.29. In AC XXVIII, 5 (page 84), “commandment” is inaccurate translation of the German “Befehl.”
.This is a minor translation issue, and does not constitute a substantive error or inadequacy.
.30. In AC XXVIII, 66 (page 88), the edition omits phrase “for a time” which indicates that some apostolic mandates were temporary.

.This is probably a minor mistranslation or a simple oversight. On the other hand, such an omission could offer an opportunity for someone to construct an illegitimate argument about the permanence of all “apostolic mandates.” This should be corrected in a future edition.
.31. In AC XXVIII, 67 (page 88), “canon laws” is an inadequate and misleading reduction of “ancient canons” (German).
.This is a minor translation issue, and does not constitute a substantive error or inadequacy.
2. 32. In Ap IV, 5, the edition follows Bente/Dau, and mixes Jonas’s version into the Latin original and implies that the law comes only in the Old Testament and the gospel only in the New Testament.

.33. In Ap V (III), 78 [i.e. Ap IV, 129] the Latin “igitur” (“therefore”) is left untranslated.
.This is a minor translation issue, and does not constitute a substantive error or inadequacy.
3. 34. In the Tr 67 (page 330), the Latin “hominibus” in Ephesians 4:8 is rendered as “to men,” which can be read as negating the important and helpful gifts given to female teachers and church workers.

.35. In Tr 72 (page 330), the new version departs from Bente/Dau to translate “by having their pastors do it,” which is a paraphrase of “adhibitus suis pastoribus.” Bente/Dau and Kolb/Wengert simply translate this phrase, “to ordain pastors for themselves.”
.This is one of those places where the manner in which the McCain edition departs from its “basis” (Bente/Dau) implies a bias in favor of a strong emphasis on clergy authority. It is difficult to read this change as anything other than an effort to bolster the role of pastors. It is unjustified on strictly linguistic grounds, and the Bente/Dau rendering of the phrase was certainly not archaic, complex, or unclear.
.36. In Tr 79 (page 331), the phrase “these men” is not in the Latin or German.
.This challenge seems to arise from oversensitivity to the gender issue which can be noticed in some other items that were challenged. The translation does not contain an error or substantive inadequacy at this point.
.37. In the LC regarding the Ten Commandments, 172 (page 404), the translation should read “civil and spiritual government” rather than this version’s “civil and Church leadership.”
.This is a minor translation issue, and does not constitute a substantive error or inadequacy.
.38. In the LC, Commandments, 179 (page 405), the translation should read “you shall not kill” rather than this version’s “you shall not murder.”
.This is a minor translation issue, and does not constitute a substantive error or inadequacy.
4. 39. In FC Ep VI, 4 (page 504), the phrase “start evil and selfcreated forms of worship” is unsupported by the Latin, and does not reflect accurately the German.

Please refer to the earlier comments about textcritical issues under point 5 above.
This is not an error, but a minor translation issue, or rather another example of the editors’ choice to use male pronouns and words in a generic way.
While this could be viewed as a rather minor issue of translation, the challenger suggests that this passage is part of a consistent pattern of changes and editorial comments in the McCain edition which militate against innovation or variety in worship forms (cf. point 11 above concerning the introduction to FC Ep X). The editor also comments dismissively about a pastor writing new liturgies (in the “Controversies” section inserted between the Epitome and the Solid Declaration, page 524).
Even if one is sympathetic to the position favored by the editor on worship matters, it is questionable whether it is appropriate to introduce changes (not clearly supported by the original text) into the translation of the text of the Confessions to promote such a contemporary agenda.

1. 40. In FC Ep VI, 5 (page 504), the German “soviel” (Latin “quatenus”) is translated as “because” in the McCain edition (“These works are done by believers because they are regenerate”), rather than as “to the extent that.”
.41. In FC Ep X, 7 (page 515), the German “wann sonst” (Latin “si modo”) mistranslated as “as long as” rather than “when otherwise.” The implication is that this mistranslation makes the article seem to focus on when it might be proper to condemn another church.
.This is a relatively minor translation issue, and does not constitute a substantive error or inadequacy.
.42. In FC SD Rule and Norm, 1 (page 536), the edition introduces a thought alien to the article when it renders the sentence, “we should have a unanimously accepted…” and “all evangelical churches should confess…” The German states simply that there is such unity.
.This is a relatively minor translation issue, and does not constitute a substantive error or inadequacy.
.43. In FC SD VI, 2, the translation of the sentence about the works of believers being acceptable to God is incorrect. It is claimed that the paraphrase of Bente/Dau here results in a serious distortion of the meaning.
.This is a minor translation issue, and does not constitute a substantive error or inadequacy.
2. 44. In FC SD X, 14, the German “den hohen Artikel” is translated as “the outstanding article” when a better rendering would be “the eminent article” (as in Bente/Dau).

This is a minor translation issue, and does not constitute a substantive error or inadequacy. This is a minor translation issue, and does not constitute a substantive error or inadequacy.