The Glory Has Departed

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I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-4

Monday, June 15, 2015

Redudiation of Jay Webber's OJ Essay - Part Eight.
Gross Errors about Luther, Melanchthon, Chemnitz, Gerhard, and Calov.
The Forgotten Robert Preus Book on Justification

Webber seems to know Calov better than Dr. Robert Preus,
who quoted Calov against UOJ.
Webber thinks Calov belong to his group of Halle cheerleaders.

Webber and WELS want to make Chemnitz co-laborer a UOJ Stormtrooper,
but does this passage support their claim?
WELS labels all justification by faith quotations as
MISLEADING! in their dogmatics notes for poor, stupid seminary students.

Repudiation of Jay Webber's OJ Essay at Emmaus

G. The Formula of Concord’s Teaching and Luther’s Teaching

Webber declared:
At the end of Article III of the Solid Declaration of the Formula of Concord, which deals
with the subject of the righteousness of faith, we read: “For any further, necessary explanation of this lofty and sublime article on justification before God, upon which the salvation of our souls depends, we wish to recommend to everyone the wonderful, magnificent exposition by Dr. Luther of St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians, and for the sake of brevity we refer to it at this point.”28 That is a pretty weighty endorsement of Luther’s Lectures on Galatians! And it is a worthy endorsement, because these lectures do indeed embody some of the best material produced by the older Luther – on justification itself, and on the other articles of faith that are organically connected to justification. (p. 23)

Every UOJ writers lays down a smokescreen of praise for Luther, as if the Reformer invented their strange, anti-Christian, dual-justification labels. As expected Webber employs the same trick, conjuring the name Luther while imposing the dogma of Stephan’s Pietism –

And as we would expect, the Galatians Lectures do address the subject of justification and forgiveness according to the objective and subjective categories – even though that terminology is not employed in so many words. (p. 23)

How fascinating! Unknowing, Luther anticipated the discovery of UOJ and even addressed it in his most important commentary. Has Webber read the Galatians Commentary, word for word? Or has he only glanced through it to find his imaginary seeds of UOJ, ready to sprout at the culmination of all ecclesiastical history – the formation of the ELS?

The theme of the commentary is to contrast justification by faith with justification by works. Webber strains to emphasize the death of Christ for “all sinners” as if he is arguing with someone. Justification does not deny the Atonement, the Redemption of the world. But the Biblical teaching of justification by faith does reject the skewering of forgiveness by having OJ pronounce a universal absolution as the true Gospel, a justification -
  • Without the Spirit,
  • Without the Word,
  • Without the Means of Grace,
  • Wthout faith.

This doctrinal incompetence puts Webber, Buchholz, Pope John the Malefactor, and others in a quandary. Following the early Robert Preus, the Atonement is not Objective Justification. But Webber and the entire clown cast – from Stephan-Walther-Pieper to Valleskey to Cascione-McCain – jump on every Atonement passage in the Bible, the Confessions, and Luther and exclaim with boyish delight – “Another OJ passage! Lutheran justification is indeed OJ/SJ!”

But they are terribly wrong and confusing everyone who tries to comprehend their delusion while comparing it to simple, clear Biblical truths. The Atonement is the Gospel, and this Gospel fulfillment of Isaiah 53 produces faith when the Spirit works through the Word to distribute the treasure – Christ’s death for all sinners.

Portraying justification as universal absolution reduces the Means of Grace to a label. Given the origin of Objective Justification outside of the Lutheran Church, and observing its continued existence among the cults and mainline apostates, it is not surprising to find the Means of Grace discarded, disregarded, and disrespected in the worship life – or rather the entertainment seeker services – of the “conservative” Lutherans. Nor have the demi-semi-high church Lutherans found any weapon against the rapid encroachment of this true revelation of the evil of UOJ.

This dogma of Calvinists and Pietists could not stop the radical attack on the Bible in the LCMS and WELS, the blossoming of the Pentecostal movement among Lutherans, and the putrification of Church Growth in all of them – from the dying ELCA to the equally moribund, tiny Church of the Lutheran Confession (sic).

Webber is so intent on making Luther a UOJ Stormtrooper that he says this:
“The objective consequence of Christ’s work, and the content of the gospel that is now to be preached for salvation, is that in Christ there is no more judgment, no more wrath, and no more damnation. The gospel is not a message merely that a way for these things to be abolished in the future is now available.(p. 26f.) GJ – The second sentence is a muddled mess.

This MDiv is truly befuddled by Christian doctrine. He continually labels the entire world “in Christ” when that Biblical phrase only applies to believers - frequently used in the New Testament. Is there a single reference to unbelievers being “in Christ”?

But there is condemnation, as Luther observed. The Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin – because they do not believe on Him. John 16:8f. Moreover, as Luther taught, this is the foundational sin, unbelief, from which all sin is derived.

Webber - again:
Luther very artfully compares and contrasts what we would describe as the objective and subjective aspects of God’s forgiveness. (p. 27)

Now Webber has thrown his lot in with Luther and admires the Reformer for using the OJ/SJ labels without knowing it. I have no issue with Luther, but if Webber agrees with Luther – how can he agree with Woods-Knapp, Stephan, Walther, Pieper, JP Meyer, Valleskey, and Buchholz?

Another question is even more obvious – If Webber agrees with Luther, then why does he disagree with all of us who know, understand, believe, and teach justification by faith – the Chief Article he mocks so often in this endless, pointless paper.

Webber climaxes this section with an amusing paragraph, where he looks at Luther and sees himself in the mirror –

And yet, as Luther also emphasizes, it is only in the application, and in the faith which the Holy Spirit works in Christians, that believers are personally liberated from the kingdom and tyranny of sin and death. Without the converting and regenerating work of the Spirit – through the means of grace – the absolution of “everyone” does not actually benefit everyone. Ultimately, that absolution benefits only those who do eventually receive it by faith. (p. 29)

Thus Webber teaches a justification without faith, without real forgiveness, and an absolution without effect – prefiguring his doctrinal essay without Christian doctrine, except in the Luther and Book of Concord quotations he parodies in other places.

Part II: Why Objective Justification Matters to Us

A. Luther and the Theologians of the Age of Orthodoxy p. 29

This reminds me of being lost on the way home to Springdale. The signage was confusing because of the new I-49 designation being incomplete. We passed the same elegant bridge twice in one hour of wandering. Not again!

After displaying complete ignorance of Luther and incomprehension of the Reformer’s message, Webber raises up Luther again.

Once again Webber offers the class notes or Cliff Notes version of church history. Those after Luther used philosophical categories. Melanchthon is cited as guilty, but I have never read an essay more grace-filled than Phillip’s treatment of justification by faith in the Apology. Has Webber read it with discernment? I think not.

Another consideration is worth noting for those who only graduated from seminary and never defended a real dissertation, a book, an article, or a review. Was it not God’s will that the Gospel would be conveyed in the Greek language, thanks to Alexander the Great creating a Hellenistic culture and Constantine a Christian, Greek empire?

The Reformation took place after 15 centuries of philosophical development, in Greek and Latin. The greatest early theologian was Augustine, master of the culture of his time, author of The City of God, which blended all things classical with Biblical teaching. Much more could be said about Aquinas, who used Aristotle as his basis, defending Rome in clear Medieval Latin. Therefore, the Reformation had to speak to the culture of the time, especially when Protestant and Roman Catholic opponents sought to defeat the Lutherans with these philosophical tools. Luther could and did use those tools against his opponents, and he had the greatest respect for Melanchthon’s grasp and teaching of the Gospel. Luther hurled some barbs about Aristotle, but theology and philosophy were joined together then and still are today. Unfortunately, almost all modern theologians are post-Kantian Halle rationalists, who use the religious terms without believing anything.

Webber compares the simplicity of Luther’s expressions with the complexity of Gerhard’s, (p. 32) but I could easily quote the simplicity of Gerhard against the complexity of Luther at his finest – in the Galatians Commentary, which Webber has not read. Luther uses many pages explaining the obscure terms of congruous and incongruous grace, Roman Catholic terms, precisely as the papists define the terms, but then deconstructing every possible prop for those terms.

Gerhard taught justification by faith and his definition allows no room for UOJ, so perhaps Webber has not forgiven Chemnitz’ co-laborer for slighting Jay’s favorite dogma. Webber is the genius who offered Rambach’s Pietist perspective over Chemnitz’ – in dealing with 1 Timothy 3:16, so we all know the cards are being dealt from the bottom of the deck.

I would ask Pastor Paul Rydecki,
who translated Gerhard and Hunnius,
but English-only Webber wanted Rydecki kicked out of WELS.

Webber cited Rydecki on page 32, but where is Rydecki in the references? Such sloppiness would get a paper tossed out of a graduate school class. It is dishonest and craven. Aegidius Hunnius, Theses Opposed to Huberism: A Defense of the Lutheran Doctrine of Justification (translated by Paul A. Rydecki) (Malone, Texas: Repristination Press, 2012), p. 57. Emphases in original.

Ho hum. Webber tries to extricate himself from his basic agreement with Huber, the first Lutheran to teach OJ. Walther made the same attempt, but he was the born-again founder of the Missouri Synod who conceded that Stephan was “a bit of a Pietist.” (Servant of the Word, humor section)

And Gerhard taught OJ, says Webber – just like Luther? Once again there is a paradox, where someone mocks justification by faith and declares he is one with a teaching of Biblical justification.

Robert Preus is quoted many times in this essay,
but never from his final book.

Calov is also cited in this section (p. 36) as being one with UOJ Enthusiasts, an old claim exploded by Robert Preus himself. As mentioned before, Webber’s years at Ft. Wayne preclude his denial of Justification and Rome’s message. An ELCA pastor would not know or care about Robert Preus, but Webber took his diploma from Preus. How can this major book be ignored when none of us can claim the knowledge of the post-Concord theologians that Robert Preus had.

Let me pose a question. Does anything think a man who knows neither Luther, nor Melanchthon, nor the Book of Concord is magically an expert on the incredibly productive Gerhard and Calov? Each man’s work is like the Great Pyramid. We would not believe it humanly possible except for the fact that the dual monuments of Biblical scholarship exist today as proof of their prolific genius.

B. Justification in the Narrow Sense and in a Broader Sense

p. 36

Preus quoted this later theologian with approval,
but Webber was too timid to quote from his own teacher's last book.