Part 2 of review - Jay Webber Essay, Emmaus Conference, 2015
Webber’s claim to find only minor differences within the Synodical Conference view of justification is patently false. Wishing the differences away will not make that illusion a reality. (p 4)
1. The 1905 Missouri catechism, in German, taught justification by faith and never mentioned Objective Justification.
2. Concordia Publishing House, LCMS, still prints a KJV catechism with no mention of OJ in it, bragging that “two million copies have been sold.”
3. The original Gausewitz catechism, used by the entire Synodical Conference, perhaps standard for WELS, did not mention OJ but taught justification by faith.
4. Even within the OJ dream team, there exists a radical difference between the entire world being absolved at the death of Christ or at the moment of His resurrection. The dates cannot be reconciled, simply another part of the nonsense call UOJ.
5. In quoting Sasse about the Book of Concord, Webber is using a red herring, since the Book of Concord teaches justification by faith, not the anti-Christian dogma of justification without faith. (p. 4)
6. The Brief Statement quotation is correct about the Confessions, but the Brief Statement is utterly wrong about justification, serving as the triumph of the Stephan-Walther-Pieper faction. Besides that simple fact, the Brief Statement has no canonical or confessional authority whatsoever and only marks the beginning of the end for Lutheran doctrine and practice in Missouri and allied sects.
Webber, like Buchholz, imagines that declaring something to be true, without any evidence for that claim, is sufficient. But neither man has credentials for more than repeating the bromides of the Walther-Kokomo faction. If everyone is united, apart from trivial details, why is another windy essay needed? This farrago of unwarranted claims was so compelling to DP Bucholz that he gave it to his WELS congregations to read, mark, and inwardly digest. More than one got indigestion from it.
B. In the Webber Essay, Forgiveness in the Old Testament
Webber wants his audience to believe that he is being consistent with the Solid Declaration of the Formula of Concord. He quotes the Third Article, misunderstanding the Atonement, but fails to name the Article – III. The Righteousness of Faith. Why are these Enthusiasts allergic to the word faith? Justification by faith is slandered by calling it Calvinism or – oddly enough – Arminianism. One is the opposite of the other, so how ignorant can these people be? To remain consistent with the Great Walther, who had a limited education—only a bachelor’s at a rationalistic school—Webber has to treat faith as a work and make it inconsequential.
The ultimate irony is that Walther’s entire concept of justification came from a man with little interest in a theological education, who never completed his – Martin Stephan. But looking at the official history of the Missouri Synod, Stephan does not exist. According to the LCMS, the synod suddenly birthed itself, with Walther as the leader, in 1847, not when the cult landed in New Orleans in 1839 and Walther joined in making their Pietistic leader a bishop for life.
Significant and damning details are omitted about the forgotten eight years between the landing in America and the formation of the Synod. So Webber is really defending the dogma of Pietistic era, a Pietistic cult leader who literally saved Walther’s life by turning him from unhealthy penitential works to the Gospel – or a bad version of the Gospel.
He [Kuhn, their first Pietist leader] urged the group to practice various kinds of denial and hardship in order to test and prove their conversion and commitment and join Christ in His sufferings. It was said of the leader that he had come to his spiritual certainty through many temptations and believed others should do the same. Walther practiced these spiritual exercises to the extreme, depriving himself of food and exercise because he thought these things were sinful. Walther’s condition was described by Franz Delitzsch: “During that period of struggle he was wasted like a skeleton, coughed blood, suffered from insomnia, and experienced the terrors of hell. He was more dead than alive.”
Stephan, Philip; Stephan, Philip (2008-04-07). In Pursuit of Religious Freedom: Bishop Martin Stephan's Journey (p. 67). Lexington Books. Kindle Edition.
Later, as Stephan degenerated in every possible way, he decided he was in charge of the souls and the bodies of young women. Kuhn was all Law, but Stephan was a Universalist, clinging to the formulae of Halle University.
When this was debated on the Intrepid Lutherans blog, Webber chose the explanation of Rambach the Halle Pietist, over Martin Chemnitz, the senior editor of the Book of Concord and Formula of Concord. Rambach over Chemitz? The Pietist Quistorp extolled as an orthodox Lutheran? The Pietist Stephan erased from history and replaced by Walther, another Pietist, now rechristened as an orthodox Lutheran. I see a pattern.
The heroes of the LCMS are the clergy underlings of Stephan who did not notice their leader’s adultery, in spite of massive evidence, including their leader leaving his sick wife and children in Dresden while taking his healthy son and his mistress on the same ship. The Walther circle chose not to see the obvious until the time came to organize a mob, threaten, rob, and kidnap their bishop for life. CFW Walther was already their leader, at the age of 29+, parish experience, about two years.
|You must make a decision for world absolution - OJ:|
Walther's and JP Meyer's confused synergism.
|JP Meyer's synergism.|
Will he accept or decline?
Make a decision for Kokomo Justification - no faith required.
Fashion Another Straw Man
Webber would have us accept his conformist (to mainline Pietism) views of faith. (p. 5) He must make his solemn declarations mesh with the sonorities of the Walther-Pieper-JP Meyer faction. That means dodging the teaching of Luther, Chemnitz, Melanchthon, Gerhard, and the Scriptures themselves. The OJ faction would like to have us believe they are not Universalists, but what definition fits those who declare the entire world forgiven and saved, as Webber and Buchholz do. When they walk their reasoning back to some authority, it is the Preuss who became a Roman Catholic after seeing a beautiful sunset – a sign from God to pope. Ignoring that, they say, as their cult does – “I cannot believe I am forgiven unless it has already taken place.”
This kind of statement shows the danger of engaging in slogans, which are repeated until they become a substitute for the Scriptures. OJ is a turn away from the Atonement, but that turn is a veering off the cliff into absurdities like the ones to be quoted from Webber.
“Our faith does not rely on a potential righteousness or even a righteousness that is not yet ‘our righteousness’ before God.” (p. 5)
“Our faith does not contribute, in whole or in part, toward bringing ‘our righteousness’ into existence.” (p. 5)