The Glory Has Departed


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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Part Three - Repudiation of the Webber OJ Essay at the Emmaus Conference


Book cover designed by Norma Boeckler


C. Law and Gospel Section p. 6



Webber’s fundamental mistake starts with assuming that the Gospel is the universal absolution of the world – without faith. Walther has some good statements in the copied (not written) Law and Gospel lectures, but those insights are from Luther. Like all those suffering from rationalistic Pietism, Walther contradicted himself without fail. So does Webber and the entire, small group of Lutherans who think they are orthodox because they agree with Halle Pietism and ELCA rationalism.

Because the OJ crowd does not comprehend the Atonement, they confuse it with the man-made dogma of universal forgiveness/absolution without faith. They imagine that every mention, every praise of the Atonement is another example of their precious OJ concept. Examples are:

  • The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world – but this does not mean absolving the world, Hindus and atheists without faith.
  • He died for the ungodly – but Christ did not die for the godly.
  • He was raised for our justification – but they ignore the preceding words – if they believe…
  • Justified in the Spirit – since Jesus was declared righteous to the world, the world became righteous at the moment of resurrection, the dogma of Pietism – not the doctrine of Chemnitz.
  • It is finished – Jesus was not speaking of His death, but UOJ. 

This universal absolution cannot be reconciled with any part of Scripture, though they may find a few sentence here and there, among the theologians, that elicit a gasp of awe as they declare “We have found the OJ core,” but that is irrelevant – even if true. The Scriptures are the ruling norm, not Luther or Ambrose or the early Robert Preus or the elderly JP Meyer.

Webber’s meandering prose about Law and Gospel is simply incomprehensible. That is the problem with someone pretending to be confessional without identifying what he condemns. He appears to be against justification by faith, but he cloaks this opposition, which would fall harshly on unwaxed ears. There is no confession, only another monologue from the Amen Corner of mainline Protestantism. His fellowship with mainline apostasy is revealed in his anxiety to commune ELCA members, meaning they believe the same things.

Do I need to mention that Webber quotes the ESV, the Calvinist edition of the National Council of Churches’ Revised Standard Version? Here is a discussion of the odious RSV, and its update, the ESV –

http://www.av1611.org/vance/nrsv_esv.html



Webber solemnly declares on page 8, “Do not try too hard to understand this,” and then quotes from the classic efficacy passage of Old Testament – Isaiah 55. Like Darwin, he can observe and study something for years and miss the entire story while publishing minute and largely irrelevant details. The efficacy of the Word, the work of the Holy Spirit in the Gospel Word – that is entirely missing in this botch.

After using up some of his notes from Old Testament class, Webber renews his attack on justification by faith on page 10.

A conditional message about a potential justification is not the Christian Gospel. It is no Gospel at all. It cannot calm the fears of a troubled conscience. It cannot grant comfort or elicit faith. Quite simply, a conditional message about a potential justification cannot forgive sins.



Compounding the stupidity of this straw man is one even worse, from Ken Schurb, whose only distinction is an alliance with Al Barry and Paul McCain. The verbiage is even more foolish – [Note the “in Christ” which is another fundamental error of Webber. The New Testament term applies only to believers, but that is conveniently ignored.]

A crushed unbeliever must be told that God is no longer angry with him in Christ, that all his sins are forgiven, that God has declared him “not guilty” (i.e. justified him) – or he will not believe…In other words, he must know objective justification.

Clearly, these two beginners have no grasp of justification by faith, so they distort both sides of the issue, calling their hogwash The Gospel and erecting a straw man instead of fairly and honestly describing justification by faith.

Some points of clarification were never taught them or the points were untaught them in seminary. Many never progress beyond required readings in school, especially when they keep an eye on how to get ahead in sects taken over by apostates. As the promulgator of the Kokomo controversy admitted, he never heard of UOJ before seminary at Mequon.

  1. The Gospel Word has the divine, efficacious power of the Spirit to create and sustain faith, and this faith receives the promises and blessings from Christ’s atoning death and triumphant resurrection.
  2.  Justification in the New Testament, Luther, and the Book of Concord only means justification by faith. Justification is always individual and always a matter of faith rather than works. If justification by faith is denied, the only alternative is justification by works. 
  3. The entire work of the Christian Church is based upon justification by faith, preaching and teaching, Sacraments, pastoral visitation and counseling, marriage and burial of the dead. To say that the Gospel is teaching Universalism is an abomination.