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Friday, June 12, 2015

Repudiation of the Webber Essay - Part Five - Emmaus Conference

Read these quotations and tell mehow Preus still taught UOJ.



Part 5 - Repudiation of Webber OJ Paper



E. The Ancient Fathers and Father Martin (GJ - At least Webber did not call the Reformer “Uncle Marty” as DP Buchholz did – with a smirk – in front of the congregation he was quick to kick out of WELS and start foreclosure of the mortgage.)



At the very beginning of this part of our essay, we indicated that its thrust would be to

explain “why objective justification mattered to the Reformers.” We freely concede that as far as the terminology of this topic is concerned, the Reformers did not usually speak of the objective component of our justification or forgiveness as an objective “justification.” But they most definitely did speak of the objective component of our justification or forgiveness as an objective “forgiveness.” (p. 12)




Webber makes another claim here, but he has no warrants for his conclusion. He is arguing in a circle. As anyone can see, they confuse the Atonement, the act of dying for the sins of the world, with the Pietists’ assumption that this Redemption is the absolution of the sins of the world. But if the sins of the world were absolved at the moment – never sure whether at death or resurrection – then where is this pronouncement recorded? Only the Enthusiasts argue that the Holy Spirit works apart from the Word. Since this is a divine action, for all people and for all time, a clear citation would be appreciated.

Instead these dabblers and speculators in Christian doctrine latch onto a passage, ignore any evidence to the contrary and announced, “I have found OJ here, and there, and lo – in a place no one even suspected OJ to be.”

In fact this has happened over the last decade, mediated by the divines at Concordia Seminary, Ft. Wayne. Earlier it was conceded that justification was always “by faith” in the Book of Concord and in the New Testament. I read the essay long ago, published at Ft. Wayne. Suddenly, a graduate found once instance of OJ, though it was clearly through his lack of reading comprehension. Now another Ft. Wayne graduate – denied ordination in the LCMS – finds the Book of Concord bristling with OJ, a move Webber borrowed from Professor Deutschland of WELS.

To launch this attack on the ancient Fathers and Luther, Webber must expose his confused and confusing dogma –

An individual is justified by faith, as he believes in the justification that exists for him, and for all people, in Christ. Likewise, an individual receives the forgiveness of his sins, as he clings by faith to the forgiveness of sins that exists for him, and for all people, in Christ. There is a justification, and a forgiveness, that already exist in Christ as a result of Christ’s finished saving work in history, and that are the “object” of saving faith for the penitent and believing subject. (p. 13)
 



He relies on his misuse of “in Christ,” when only believes are “in Christ.” But in Webber’s rationalistic scheme, the entire world is “in Christ” and therefore justified, forgiven, and saved. This kind of prose makes one wish for the relative simplicity of Walther’s false doctrine. Nevertheless, this is a rehash of Walther – making a decision for Universal Absolution. Everyone is already forgiven, so the individual must believe in that dogma of Enthusiasm, which has energized Protestant apostasy ever since Schleiermacher promoted this at…Halle University. That was truly the turning point in modern Protestantism, inventing Faith Without Belief, using the words of Christianity while butchering the meaning of each one – as predicted in the Pastoral Epistles.

Webber’s use of Luther’s analogy on page 13 shows that he does not understand Luther or St. Paul. The issue is not OJ versus justification by faith. Instead, the contrast is between justification by works, by the Law – or justification by faith, through grace. Those who deny justification by faith are necessarily in the camp of justification by works, as most people can tell by listening. The OJ salesmen tell everyone about their family tree, their great works, their honors bestowed by the synod, all of which render them above and beyond our comprehension.

Ironically, Webber proves my point on page 14, where Ambrose is quoted –

John bears witness, saying: “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” [John 1:29] Let no one glory, then, in his own works, since no one is justified by his deeds, but one who is just has received a gift, being justified by Baptism. It is faith, therefore, which sets us free by the blood of Christ, for he is blessed whose sin is forgiven and to whom pardon is granted [Psalm 32:1].16

Respecting – really disrespecting Luther – Webber labors endlessly to prove that the Atonement is the same as his precious Objective Justification. That is repudiated so often in Luther that no one needs a list. Justification by faith is just as clearly taught throughout the Book of Concord, if one reads it for edification rather than for political points.

If Webber would not get so excited and speak of world absolution, in harmony with Walther, Stephan, and the World Council of Churches, he could get away with some of his language. Luther often spoke of the Atonement being God’s forgiveness already being accomplished, but never did the Reformer state or imply that everyone in the world was forgiven before birth. Nor did Luther start the WELS/LCMS chant – “I was saved 2000 years ago!”

 


Robert Preus is perhaps the last of the theologians who read and comprehended so much of the post-Concord Lutheran theologians, some of whom were influenced by Pietism. The Preus quotations of Lutherans against UOJ in his Justification and Rome probably came from those theologians realizing the Pietists were distorting justification and teaching falsehood.

Those who want to prove UOJ by what Preus taught earlier should read his last book and take those quotations seriously. But alas, those quotations are ignored, and so are Preus’ own words. Preus grew in his scholarship and learning, as all theologians must, but Webber, McCain, and Cascione are stuck in the 1980s with their class notes.