The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

The Lutheran Library Publishing Ministry

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
Ustream - Sunday, 10 AM Central.


Thanksgiving Eve - 7 PM Central Time.

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
Martin Chemnitz Press Books

Norma A. Boeckler Author's Page

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson's Author's Page

Thursday, June 25, 2015

New Improved History of Justification - Shocking, Horrifying, But Edifying

Not unanimous at all - Justification by Faith:
The Gausewitz Catechism
The LCMS KJV Catechism.
The Missouri 1905 German Catechism.

Justification by Faith Book – 

The Real History of Objective Justification

Rough Draft

Webber made a staggering and unbelievable claim when he described his propaganda essay as a work of historical theology. The boggy, verbose, and undisciplined effort avoided key points of history and revealed a lack of knowledge – or candor – about most of it.

The Dogma Is Older Than the Term
First we have to distinguish between the term Objective Justification and the concept. The concept arrived among Lutherans long before the term was used. Since Walther is the gold standard of doctrine for Webber and other synodical drones, it should be added that OJ is a term later adopted by Walther, blessed, by Walther, and used by his minions.
Hoenecke used General Justification, which may sound neutral, but the German word really means :”every single one” so the German term has the same force as universal. To make this redundantly clear, WELS has generally used Universal Objective Justification lately, because the sect has made a fetish of their favorite doctrine. Using Universal and Objective together is repetitive in meaning, similar to saying “a very unique” destination when unique literally means one of a kind.

But WELS has not been blessed with literate writers for a long time, so they have their UOJ and others their OJ. Sig Becker, a Missouri convert to WELS, tried to make distinctions about some of these terms, but his explanations were distinctions without a difference.

Huber the First Professor of OJ in Lutheranism
Some think Objective Justification is very much like Calvinism. Our researcher is working on a separate essay about this. Dr. Lito Cruz believes this to be true, and I would add that Calvin’s scheme is harmonious with OJ.

Calvin separated the Holy Spirit’s work from the Word and Sacraments, using the term sovereign. Because the Spirit is sovereign, He may make a sermon effective or he may not even appear. Calvin did not write this once but many times, as described by a Harvard doctoral researcher and published in his excellent book on this topic. This separation of Word and Spirit is called Enthusiasm by Luther and the Book of Concord in the overlooked Smalcald Articles, where Enthusiasm is condemned.

Notice how Calvinism is remarkably close to Walther’s “election without faith.” For Calvin, God has predestined a small percentage of all church members to eternal salvation and the rest of the world to eternal damnation. That is Calvin’s double predestination. The tiny yield is because of God’s grace, and truly shows God’s grace, they claim. Mark Twain observed that a Calvinistic sermon reduced the number of saved to such a small number that it was not really worth the trouble. The Waltherians like to emphasize Grace! - disparaging the Means of Grace by thought, word, and deed. So their grace is a faux-grace, since they tear down or ignore the Instruments of Grace, the Word and Sacraments. Thus Missouri and its siblings passed easily into Pentecostalism and Church Growthism. Worship has been left behind in favor of entertainment.

The rationalism of Calvin certainly infected his followers, who often live up to the slogan “Young Calvinist, Old Unitarian.” This slogan fits entire countries, as evidenced in the Calvinistic history of New England, and other parts of America. The greater the Calvinistic influence, the more quickly rationalism takes over.

Missouri has often been infatuated with old time Calvinists, because many Calvinists were early to use English in America (unlike Missouri) and the traditional Calvinists seemed to be allies against Modernism.

WELS, Missouri, the Little Sect on the Prairie, and the Coveting Legalistic Cult have all cast longing eyes over the fence at other Protestant groups, the loopier the better. Fuller is their Mecca, and Willow Creek is their local haven. The first one to open the gate was Samuel Huber, and they have yet to admit this fact, quoting their Pietist leader Walther to confirm the truth of their denial.



Samuel Huber, Wittenberg OJ Errorist Defeated by Concordists
Huber was a Calvinist who became a Lutheran, long enough to be on the Wittenberg faculty. He began attacking justification by faith from within, like his descendants in the Synodical Conference. The Objective Justification salesmen of today would like to disassociate themselves from Huber, but they teach essentially the same dogma. Walther also could not accept this, because all the arguments against Huber also address Walther’s errors. The answer, say the OJ Fan Club, is to agree with Walther that Huber was not truly in the OJ camp, just a demi-semi-OJist.

Pastor Paul Rydecki summed up the issue this way on Intrepid Lutherans:

Even so, the Wuerttemberg theologians, as you say, did not 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.

 

This post-Concord conflict is summed up well by Pastor Paul Rydecki:


Hunnius takes apart Huber’s (and the official WELS) doctrine piece by piece, concluding with this observation about Huber’s supposed “confessional subscription” to the Lutheran Book of Concord:
And what will Dr. Huber reply to the Book of Concord, which, in citing these very words from Romans, explicitly confirms that those things mean nothing other than that we are justified by faith? This is what the Book of Concord says in the Latin edition, page 666: “Therefore, these statements are equivalent and clearly mean the same thing, when Paul says that we are justified by faith; or that faith is imputed to us for righteousness; and when he teaches that we are justified by the obedience of one Mediator, who is Christ; or that through the righteousness of one man, justification of life comes upon all men. For faith does not justify on account of this, that it is such a good work, or that it is such a splendid virtue, but because it apprehends and embraces the merit of Christ in the promise of the Gospel.” Thus far the Book of Concord.  If the Pauline phrase (that “through the righteousness of one Man, justification of life comes upon all men”) clearly means the same thing as that other statement, “We are justified by faith” (as the Book of Concord clearly and emphatically asserts), then the interpretation is rejected by the sentence of the Book of Concord that imagines from these words of Paul a justification apart from faith—one that extends also to those who have never had faith and never will. Dr. Luther says it even better in [his lectures on] the second chapter to the Galatians: “Where Christ and faith are not present, there is no remission of sins, no refuge, nothing but pure imputation of sins and condemnation.”

Rydecki continued –

According to Hunnius, one cannot honestly claim to be a “confessional” Lutheran while at the same time teaching a justification apart from faith based on Romans 5:18.  His quotation from Luther is also highly relevant.  How long will the WELS continue to claim to be a “confessional Lutheran” church body? How long will the truly confessional Lutheran pastors in the WELS remain in voluntary fellowship with the synod that officially condemns the Gospel of justification by faith alone in Christ as heresy?

A unionist tries to pooh-pooh similarities. In the end, false teachers demand and appreciate a translation of the Bible that repeats their error and appears to canonize it – the New NIV.
However, the core of Objective Justification, however it might be explained, is declaring the entire world forgiven of its sin. That is where Huber started, and that is what Polycarp Leyser and Hunnius opposed.

Leyser was respected enough to be one of the editors of the Book of Concord and an expert in discussions about justification.

Spener founded Pietism, promoting cell groups
and unionistic cooperation with the Calvinists.


Pietism
Pietism really has two major eras in Europe, starting with Spener and his immediate followers, peaking with the establishment of Halle University with the mission of promoting Pietism. Soon after, Halle became the center of rationalism in Europe, and F. Schleiermacher, an alumnus and teacher, earned his place as the pivotal modern theologian – advocating faith without belief.

The second era of Pietism was a reaction to the rationalism that took over clergy training and the institutional church in Europe. Those who dissented were called mystics and Pietists, and many found it difficult to find acceptance or positions in the establishment.

This is very important – all the American Lutheran groups were established with this background of Pietism. The American Luther leaders were either trained at Halle (Hoenecke), trained by Halle students (Walther by Stephan), or associated themselves closely with Halle, - Muhlenberg taught there.

All the American Lutherans groups were greatly influenced by the spirit of union with Calvinism, hiding doctrinal differences among Protestants, and looking for gimmicks like the revival. This rationalistic Pietism was keen on denominational cooperation and allergic to any high church tendencies (as they imagined them) – the liturgy, frequent Holy Communion, and the Book of Concord.

Thus the ingredients of the Wisconsin Synod, the Missouri Synod, and the Evangelical Lutheran Synod were Pietistic. So were the founders of The American Lutheran Church and the Lutheran Church in America.



Hoenecke and Halle University
The passage in Hoenecke’s Dogmatics dealing with General Justification offers no refuge for UOJ, but the author does quote the son-in-law of Johann Bengal (1687-1752), who worked closely with and edited his father-in-law’s work. Bengal was a Wuerttemberg Pietist. Hoenecke studied the Confessions on his own after graduating from Halle University. One of the last of the Pietists, Tholuck was his mentor. Tholuck was a Universalist and admitted it gladly. Hoenecke was not.

Rambach supports Walther, Webber, and Buchholz.


Rambach and Halle University
Rambach is especially important because:
  • Webber quoted him favorably on Objective Justification.
  • The first baptism hymn in The Lutheran Hymnal is Rambach’s.
  • Rambach was a loyal Halle Pietist.
  • Rambach gives us a definite data-point on UOJ being taught at the central school for all Lutherans in North America.
  • Rambach taught – “In His Person all mankind was justified and absolved from sin and curse.
Rambach advocated teaching 1 Timothy 3:16 as all mankind being justified when Christ rose from the dead. Although Bishop Martin Stephan did not graduate from Halle University, we know that his version of justification was life-changing for CFW Walther. We also know that Walther taught the same form of justification all his career. Therefore, the Easter absolution of the entire world, without the Word and without faith, is definitely an effect of Halle’s lasting influence.



Walther-Pieper
The Synodical Conference mythology has the Great Walther cleansing American Lutheran theology because he actually studied Luther’s works. The official LCMS history site conveniently overlooks Martin Stephan as the real founder of the Synodical Conference and starts with 1847. The Missouri Synod pretends 800 people followed their bishop out of Dresden and Europe so they could remain orthodox, not because he was under house arrest for adultery and financial improprieties.

Walther learned Easter absolution, instead of justification by faith, from Stephan, and never departed from that position. The result of Walther’s loyalty is having a significant percentage of Midwestern Lutherans adhering to the teaching of a university dropout – Stephan. Just as important, and often denied, the Walther circle was exclusively Pietistic, adhering to Stephan after their first cell group leader - Johann Gottlieb Kuehn - died. Stephan was a Bohemian Pietist, called by the Pietist congregation in Dresden, which gave him the legal authority to hold cell group meetings in his congregation.

Walther picked Francis Pieper to follow him and changed the election of seminary professors so that CFW could have his way at the national convention instead of waiting for district conventions to vote on the matter. Pieper and subsequent leaders rehashed the Easter absolution of Halle and Stephan as if it were Luther’s doctrine, faithful to the Scriptures, and in harmony with the Book of Concord.



General Synod and the General Council
The General Synod grew from the Halle Pietism of Muhlenberg and suffered under the unionism of Samuel Smucker’s desire to have an American Lutheranism devoid of the efficacy of the Word and Sacraments.

The General Council broke from the General Synod over these issues and found an anchor in the Book of Concord. Although the Synodical Conference groupies like to toss stink bombs at the Muhlenberg tradition, all Lutheran groups struggled to some degree to deal with the enormous gap between their Pietistic teaching and practices and the Reformation doctrine of Luther and the Concordists.

The Missouri Synod continues to look to Walther as the Great Prophet who explains all doctrine and answers all questions for us. That led them off the cliff while the Muhlenberg descendants looked to the Confessions and resisted naming their youth group the Muhlenberg League, or the Jacobs League, or the Schmauk League.

The General Council rejected the revivalism of the General Synod and led the mother synod back to healthier doctrine and worship – even the liturgy, creeds, and Confessions. That began to water down with the 1918 United Lutheran Church in America merger, which opened the door to mainline Protestantism and Universalism.



Edward Preuss and Herman Amberg Preus
Most UOJ advocates stop at the shrine of Edward (Eduard) Preuss to adore his little book on justification, first published in German. As Pastor Paul Rydecki has pointed out, the essay combines UOJ and a bit of justification by faith, which continues to be the official stance of the LCMS. Some of the most ridiculous statements in Lutheran history can also be found in this essay, and they have been quoted with approval by Robert Preus, Paul McCain, and Jack Casione.

As Ludwig Fuerbringer noted in his early history of the LCMS, Edward Preuss joined the Roman Catholic Church after he saw a particularly bright sunset as a message from God to join the papists – and he did. Edward Preuss became their guy to argue their dogma – and he did. Some might offer him as an Enthusiast who bounced from one false doctrine to another – as he did.

Herman Amberg Preus (1825 - 1894) is a symbolic martyr of Objective Justification. He would not deviate from his Justification of the World writing, so his congregation forced him out on Good Friday, earning him the credentials of a Preus family leader and victim of persecution. Preus and his son came back to the same parish position soon after. His great-grandson was Robert Preus.



Herman’s Great-Grandson Robert Preus, Early Proponent, Later Opponent of OJ
Jack Preus became president of the Missouri Synod and helped his brother Robert become president of the practical seminary, earlier in Springfield, later in Ft. Wayne. Jack attacked Walter A. Maier II for teaching justification by faith, holding up Robert as the expert on Objective Justification. The shaming worked and Robert became president of the seminary. When Ft. Wayne was busy promoting Church Growth under Robert Preus, it was also emphasizing Objective Justification. Kincaid Smith earned his Doctor of Ministry (STM) degree in Church Growth in those years. He said, “The program was all Church Growth.” The Ft. Wayne Trio—Jay Webber, Jack Cascione, and Paul McCain—came from the same era at Ft Wayne: OJ and Church Growth disguised as Lutheran orthodoxy and Confessional doctrine.

McCain and Cascione both argued for Preus being an OJ advocate by publishing his little essay, which glowingly endorsed Edward Preuss’ nonsense on being born already justified – although OJ does say the same thing in other words.

Like Rolf Preus, the Ft. Wayne Trio avoids dealing with Robert Preus’ Justification and Rome, which Rolf and brother Dan edited after their father’s death and published posthumously. The book clearly and decisively rejects justification without faith and articulates justification by faith, not only in Preus’ words but also in the words of those often claimed to be Objective Justification teachers – e.g. Calov.

If someone can comprehend plain English, which is debatable in today’s Lutheran groups, the Preus book shows that the post-Concord theologians knew of Objective Justification and clearly opposed it.

Walther never changed and always wanted to be top dog, but Preus continued to study and he did change. Like the Rambach quotation and Walther’s many statements, the Preus book is a major data-point in the attack on justification by faith.



The Kokomo Statements
Pastor Papenfuss ignited a storm in WELS and Missouri by teaching in the parish what he learned in seminary – and never heard before that.

This is how the controversy developed:
1. Pastor Papenfuss began teaching UOJ, and the two families were alarmed by his claims.
2. Papenfuss gave them J. P. Meyer's Ministers of Christ to study. That made the families even more alarmed. The same book is in print today with the same outrageous statements.
3. The families wrote down the three most offensive statements from J. P. Meyer and asked if that was WELS teaching. They also added the fourth, which was from an old discussion on this, one between the Swedes (justification by faith) and the Norwegians (UOJ). Papenfuss agreed to the fourth statement being added.
4. Eventually the families received separate letters, each one listing the four statements and telling them that they were being kicked out of the congregation for NOT believing those statements. Not believing in Unbelief Justification is an excommunication offense in WELS. The irony is endless.
WELS continues to deceive its members about their false doctrine. At one point WELS told people that the Kokomo Statements were a parody of the synod’s stance, written by the two families, when in fact WELS used them to kick out both families. WELS has called Objective and Subjective Justification “two sides of the same coin,” an explanation not found in the Scriptures and certainly lacking in the Book of Concord and the post-Concordist theologians.

Note this official walking back of the Kokomo Statements, now erased from the WELS.net website:

The so-called Kokomo Statements should not be taken as representative of WELS teaching. Much that has been put out and circulated about the Kokomo Statements has been a misrepresentation of the WELS position. The Kokomo Statements were not drawn up by anyone in WELS as a presentation of our position. They were drawn up by opponents of the WELS position. Three of the statements are taken from WELS sources, but taken out of context, they caricature the WELS position and should not be taken as as (sic) an adequate presentation of WELS teaching. Anyone circulating the Kokomo Statements as a representation of the WELS position is not giving a fair and balanced presentation of WELS teaching.

JP Meyer’s book has been treated as an embarrassment to WELS, but recently the book was re-issued and “edited” by the same seminary professor who agreed with kicking out the two families – Armin Panning. The same professor who never caught on to the Word consecrating the elements of Holy Communion – Sig Becker – aggressively endorsed the Kokomo Statements.

Since then, District President Jon Buchholz has pretended to question JP Meyer while endorsing the same dogma. Jay Webber has written his little essay doing the same, forgetting his earlier loathing of the Kokomo Statements.

Kokomo Flotsam and Jetsam –
Look at the 1978 graduates with Papenfuss - Mark Jeske (Change or Die!), Stroh, Starr, Schumann the Born-Again Atheist, Curia the UOJ Scribe, Jim Witte (DMin in Church Growth, Church and Change founder), Marcus Manthey - Defender of Unfaith. And the faculty - no less than four UOJ fanatics: Gerlach (Fuller alumnus), Becker, Panning, and Kuske. 

The Four Kokomo Statements
I. "Objectively speaking, without any reference to an individual sinner's attitude toward Christ's sacrifice, purely on the basis of God's verdict, every sinner, whether he knows it or not, whether he believes it or not, has received the status of saint."

II. "After Christ's intervention and through Christ's intervention God regards all sinners as guilt-free saints."

III. "When God reconciled the world to Himself through Christ, He individually pronounced forgiveness to each individual sinner whether that sinner ever comes to faith or not."

IV. "At the time of the resurrection of Christ, God looked down in hell and declared Judas, the people destroyed in the flood, and all the ungodly, innocent, not guilty, and forgiven of all sin and gave unto them the status of saints."[34]
Footnote 34: "Every one of the statements can be understood correctly, even though one must swallow a little hard to accede to the fourth [Kokomo Statement]." Sigbert Becker, "Objective Justification," Chicago Pastoral Conference, WELS, Elgin, Illinois, November 9, 1982, unpaginated.