Justification through faith only must be defended. An excellent writing is A Summary Exposition of The Doctrine of Justification By Grace Through Faith By: Walter A. Maier, found at www.wlsessays.net/files/MaierJustification.pdf. I agree with the position of dr Maier.
There are two well known false doctrines here that must be revealed and banned: Universalism and synergism. In WELS there are elements of universalism, known also here in Europe: The Kokomo case and the teachings of dr Siegbert W Becker for example. And it is horrific to deposit pr Rydecki for his fine Easter sermon!
But it is not necessarily so that every defender of UJ is a universalist. Dr Francis Pieper was not. I don't agree with dr Pieper on UJ, but I think this is an exegetical question, a question about which verse in the Bible that supports which point of doctrine. I have no dogmatical objection to Pieper concerning this issue.
You write "Regarding the false doctrine of Universal Justification" above. That is to be in the other ditch.
Rev. Jakob Fjellander
Concordia Lutheran Church, Sweden
Universal Justification is not taught in the Scriptures. Anywhere. Universal Justification is not confessed in the Book of Concord. Anywhere. If it is, please adduce the texts where it is clearly and directly taught. If it is not clearly and directly taught, then it is not taught in any way that can be recognized as Scripture doctrine – at least not according to the classic hermeneutical standards of Lutheranism which requires a multiplicity of direct positive attestation.
To say that the whole world of sinners is Justified (that is to say, actually forgiven and accounted righteous) BEFORE GOD apart from faith is to both confess Universal Justification and to deny Justification by Faith Alone, for such is a true and efficacious Justification by something other than Faith that is shared by all mankind. The only thing that prevents Universal Justification from deserving the appellation "Universalism" has nothing whatsoever to do with the positive confession of this doctrine, but is found in the negativa of those who confess it, to wit, "We reject Universalism." Not even Huber was accused of Universalism by the Wittenberg Faculty: he rejected Universalism, and he also confessed that no one is saved apart from faith (note that the Rev. Jon Buchholz [WELS] will not admit this much, as he has written and is known to confess that ALL of mankind, including every individual, is saved, whether he has faith or not. Yes, WELS has taught "Universal Salvation" since the Wauwatosa days – read John Schaller's Christology if you don't believe me). Apart from their negativa (i.e. "Regardless of the foregoing, it is not our desire to actually confess a doctrine of 'Universalism'") and from their positively confessed conflicting doctrine (i.e. "ALL are Justified, but only some are Saved," or worse, "ALL are Justified and ALL are Saved, however, only some of those who are "Saved" spend eternity with Christ, while the rest spend eternity in Hell with the devil and all his angels, where their worm shall never die, and even though they are Justified BEFORE GOD and "Saved," it is entirely their own fault that they are in Hell because they didn't satisfy the additional requirement of having been freely given faith by God"), there is very little to distinguish Universal Justification from Universalism. Nevertheless, most of those confessing JBFA will respect the negativa that issues from those who confess Universal Justification and its corollaries, and will thus refrain from referring to them as Universalists. Those who confess Universal Justification, however, hold so such respect for those who, along with the Lutheran confessors and concordists, would rather confess the Scripturally defensible doctrine of Justification by Faith Alone.
Continued in next comment...
The false teaching of Universal Justification is such a weak assertion – a delicate ribbon spun from fragments of Scripture stripped of their context and woven together on the loom of rationalism – that it cannot endure any tension without breaking. Brooking no challenge, its adherents therefore rush into a phalangeal chorus of shrill worn-out clichés and sing them at the top of their lungs. Misunderstood, misapplied, it doesn't matter – the louder the better and the more the merrier; they are merely the happy sing-song of prideful, self-secure, over-confident, willfully-ignorant back-slapping chums who have neither the constitution nor even the basic desire to seriously consider what may be fundamental problems with their Confession. They have each other, what need have they for Truth, or worse, Correction? Just like there are only two religions, in their world there are only two groups of people: Themselves and Everybody Else.
But no one wants to be their enemy – certainly not those Lutherans who confess JBFA, who have finally made their confession out of love and concern for the Truth and for their Christian Brethren, in order to open discussion on a vitally important matter, only to be ostracized, labeled enemies of the Gospel, and excommunicated without ever being heard. The confessors of Universal Justification, and its corollaries, however, prefer it that way. They single out the confessors of JBFA and subject them to sophomoric ridicule. They, pridefully think that they have heard everything and know everything, refuse to take seriously the challenges issued by studied proponents of JBFA, and respond in ways that clearly attest to the fact that they have interpreted everything offered by today's Lutheran proponents of JBFA according to the clichés emerging from the Election Debates of of the 19th Century. They, blindly insist on labeling proponents of JBFA as "Synergists," despite our repeatedly offered negativa (i.e. "We reject Synergism!" – which was demonstrably NOT the case in the 19th Century...) and despite our positive confession regarding Justification (i.e. "'Justification by Faith Alone' is entirely 'objective', it is accomplished fully outside of man, without any merit or participation of our own in any sense" – which, again, was demonstrably NOT the case in the 19th Century...), and dismiss out of hand, without giving any evidence of thoughtful consideration, everything we assert.
They, not us, prefer to threaten and excommunicate rather than discuss and study. That is because We stand on the direct positive attestation of Holy Writ and the Lutheran Confessions. They do not. While We would prefer mutual collegial study – unafraid of a result that may either correct us, or correct innovations of the Synodical Conference – They will not suffer any legitimate study that may bring into question the doctrinal stances of celebrated heros of the old Synodical Conference who, over thirty years of unrelenting and publicly issued personal invective and inconclusive doctrinal polemic, succeeded only in wiping out an entire Lutheran Synod (the "Norwegian Synod").
Of course, I don't put you in the category of "They" or "We" – you have the courage (or is it naïveté?) to discuss the issue publicly, after all – and I'm not really responding here to you personally at all. I'm responding generally to the points you raise, and referring to anyone who may fit these descriptions. Many don't. Many don't know what to think.
But you don't have to convince us to listen and discuss. That's where we started, and where we would prefer to be. Try convincing them. Just mention it, why don't you. See how long it takes before you too are labeled a heretic, just for raising the question.
|Truth on the scaffold,|
Wrong forever on the throne:
Read more at http://izquotes.com/quote/248283