The Glory Has Departed
Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence
Bethany Lutheran Worship on
Saturday, September 26, 2015
Apalling, Ugly, Nasty, Disgusting UOJ Quotations - And a Few Lies Thrown In.
The Faith of Jesus: Against the Faithless Lutherans
WELS Siegbert W. Becker
"Faith does nothing more than accept the forgiveness proclaimed in the Gospel. It is not a condition we must fulfill before we can be forgiven. It is not a cause of forgiveness on account of which God forgives us. The forgiveness comes first. Faith is merely the response to the message. God says to us, “Your sins are forgiven.” This is objective justification, and God’s message to us is true whether we believe it or not. Faith makes God’s message its own and says, “My sins are forgiven.” This is subjective justification. The whole doctrine is just as simple as that." Page 12
"One really becomes a guilt-free saint only through faith, if we limit ourselves to the biblical usage of the word. However, since our holiness, as Augustine says, consists in sin’s remission rather than in life’s perfection, we could say that when God forgave the sins of the whole world he regarded all sinners as guilt-free, but if they are guilt-free we might also say that they are considered sinless in the sight of God. But a sinless person is a holy person, a saint. The fact that unbelievers do not consider themselves to be forgiven does not change the truth of God’s Word that tells us that God does not impute the sins of all men to them, or that through one man justification has come upon all men." Page 14
“But there are times when a Christian does not know that he has faith. And many people who think they have faith do not have it, and many that think they are not believers are believing children of God. In regard to our own faith we may be in error or filled with doubt. In times of temptation when I am no longer aware of my faith, when my heart tells me that I am an unbeliever, I have no place to turn for assurance if faith must come before forgiveness. But if forgiveness comes first, if it is always there, if it is true whether I believe it or not, I do not need to know whether I have faith or not before I can cling to God’s promise. I know that my sins are forgiven whether I feel forgiven or unforgiven. I know that my iniquity is pardoned whether I believe it or not. And when I know that, then I know also that I am a believer.”
WELS AZ/CA DP Pastor Jon Buchholz
"Faith doesn’t bring anything into existence that doesn’t already exist. Faith doesn’t cause something to happen. Faith simply grasps— trusts—something that already is in place." Page 14
"Since the term objective justification is found neither in Scripture nor in the Lutheran confessions, we can understand the term correctly as referring to the justification of the entire world."
"Jesus then offered his innocent life as the payment (atonement) for the guilt of sinners. In this great transaction that took place on the cross, God removed the guilt of the world’s sin and replaced it with the righteousness of Christ."
"Here is the legal or juridical nature of justification, revealed at Calvary. The change does not take place in the sinner. The change takes place in the relationship or the status between a sinner and God.2 A verdict has been rendered, which declares man free of sin and guilt, righteous in God’s sight, and worthy of eternal life, for Jesus’ sake."
"God has forgiven the whole world. God has forgiven everyone his sins." This statement is absolutely true! This is the heart of the gospel, and it must be preached and taught as the foundation of our faith. But here’s where the caveat comes in: In Scripture, the word "forgive" is used almost exclusively in a personal, not a universal sense. The Bible doesn’t make the statement, "God has forgiven the world."
"God has forgiven all sins, but the unbeliever rejects God’s forgiveness." Again, this statement is true—and Luther employed similar terminology to press the point of Christ’s completed work of salvation.16 But we must also recognize that Scripture doesn’t speak this way." "God has declared the entire world righteous." This statement is true, as we understand it to mean that God has rendered a verdict of "not-guilty" toward the entire world. It is also true—and must be taught—that the righteousness of Christ now stands in place of the world’s sin; this is the whole point of what Jesus did for us at Calvary. However, once again we’re wresting a term out of its usual context. In Scripture the term "righteous" usually refers to believers. "
WELS Our Great Heritage states, "And yet many Lutherans still labor under the delusion that God does not forgive us unless we believe. Instead of seeing faith as nothing more than the spiritual hand with which we make the forgiveness of God our own, they see it as a reason why God forgives us. They believe that Christ has indeed provided forgiveness for all men, that God is willing to forgive them, but before he really forgives he first of all demands that we should be sorry for our sins and that we should have faith. Just have faith they say, and then God will forgive you. All the right words are there. The only thing wrong is that the words are in the wrong order. God does not forgive us IF we have faith. He has forgiven us long ago when he raised his Son from the dead." (p. 59)"
WELS MLC President Mark Zarling
"Faith does nothing more than receive the forgiveness which is offered in the Gospel. It is not a condition we fulfill nor is it a cause of forgiveness. We are already forgiven. God's message of justification in Christ is there whether we believe it or not. Faith then receives the blessings." And, "Faith that accepts the good news of universal justification is the work of God the Holy Ghost." Page 7
“the glorious Gospel: In Jesus, God has declared the entire world righteous and forgiven, irregardless of whether or not the world believes it. Such is the jewel described by objective, universal, or general justification.” Page 2
Quoting Permit Stoeckhardt, “If God has already in Christ justified all men and forgiven their sins, then I also in Christ have a gracious God and the forgiveness of all my sins.” Page 5
“Irregardless of man's faith, God declares the world just.” Page 6
“Our salvation is an accomplished fact. It is done. It is finished. The resurrection is the proof that God has declared the sinners justified!” Page 6
“Faith does nothing more than receive the forgiveness which is offered in the Gospel. It is not a condition we fulfill nor is it a cause of forgiveness. We are already forgiven.” Page 7
“Simply present Law and Gospel. Warn sinners that unbelief damns, and rejection of Christ will bring eternal torment. Then comfort them with the glorious objective reality that all sins are already forgiven in Christ.” Page 7
THOLUCK - I suppose my American brethren would consider me orthodox in general, except for my Universalism.
INTERVIEWER - They would, most certainly. But with them that one point would be a serious matter. With this sentiment you could not hold a standing in our orthodox churches. Now, where did you find this doctrine - in the Bible, or in your philosophy?
THOLUCK - In both.
Pastor James Humann, Evergreen Lutheran High School, WELS
quoting from the WELS Our Great Heritage: "And yet many Lutherans still labor under the delusion that God does not forgive us unless we believe. Instead of seeing faith as nothing more than the spiritual hand with which we make the forgiveness of God our own, they see it as a reason why God forgives us. They believe that Christ has indeed provided forgiveness for all men, that God is willing to forgive them, but before he really forgives he first of all demands that we should be sorry for our sins and that we should have faith. Just have faith they say, and then God will forgive you. All the right words are there. The only thing wrong is that the words are in the wrong order. God does not forgive us IF we have faith. He has forgiven us long ago when he raised his Son from the dead." (p. 59)
"If forgiveness were dependent on faith in the sense that God does not forgive
until we believe, we would always have to be sure that we are believers before we would be sure that we are forgiven." (p.60)
Email to Brett Meyer
Principal Greg Thiesfeldt, Evergreen Lutheran High School, WELS
“I am in agreement with Pastor (James)Humann’s statements as printed in the paragraphs from Our Great Heritage. They are correct and consistent with Gods Word and the position of WELS. Forgiveness is not conditional; it is universal. The unbeliever, however, forfeits Gods universal and unconditional forgiveness through rejection of Gods grace and unbelief.”
Email to Brett Meyer
Pastor Nathan Sieltz and Gary Ide, Board Chairman, Evergreen Lutheran High School WELS
“Jesus came as the substitute for all. He obeyed the law for all. He died in the place of everyone. When Jesus rose, he rose as the substitute for every sinner. By his resurrection God declared sinners, all of them, forgiven. This is the good news Scripture reveals. This is the good news we proclaim to contrite sinners: “God has reconciled you to himself. Your sins are already forgiven. Calvary and the empty tomb are the proof of it.”
“When objective justification is denied, faith becomes a condition of salvation instead of the means through which we receive salvation. When speaking of salvation, we don’t want to turn a person’s attention inward to his faith, but outward to the grace of God. Preaching about faith will not produce faith, but proclaiming God’s love and mercy and forgiveness will produce believing hearts. A change has taken place. The change was not in man. Man remained unchanged, by nature sinful, hostile to God. Orthodox theologians for the most part have spoken of the change as a change in man’s status before God. Previously God viewed the world apart from Christ—and it stood condemned. Now God views the world in the light of Christ’s work of redemption and has declared the world righteous, forgiven.”
“Quoting August Pieper to write for the third volume of the Quartalschrift: But whoever molests the doctrine of justification stabs the gospel in the heart and is on the way of losing entirely Christian doctrine and personal faith and of falling into the arms of heathenism, even if he ever so much emphasizes justification by faith.”
Email to Brett Meyer
"It must be admitted that when our Lutheran Confessions speak of justification they speak almost exclusively of that facet of justification we usually call 'subjective' justification, which has also been called 'special' or 'personal' justification. But the Confessions also show us that the basis for this justification is the justification that precedes faith."
Rick Nicholas Curia, The Significant History of the Doctrine of Objective or Universal Justification, Alpine, California: California Pastoral Conference, WELS. January 24-25, 1983. p. 13.
"The two terms are relatively modern. They are not used in the Lutheran Confessions. They are also not really synonymous. 'Universal justification' is a term denoting the doctrine that God has forgiven the sins of all men. Strictly speaking, the term objective justification expresses the thought that the sins of a man are forgiven by God whether he believes it or not. Objective justification is not necessarily universal, but if justification is universal it must of necessity be objective."
Siegbert Becker, "Objective Justification," Chicago Pastoral Conference, WELS, Elgin, Illinois, November 9, 1982, unpaginated.
Hoenecke, Citing Gerhard, on General Justification
Adolph Hoenecke, Dogmatik, III, p. 354-5
“Justification is an activity of God, which takes place in a different time and manner for each individual sinner. But there is also a general justification which came upon all men, in the time of—and indeed, in—Christ’s passion and resurrection (Romans 5:18; 2 Corinthians 5:19; Romans 4:25). Our dogmaticians have not written much in particular about this general justification, but have made only occasional mention of it. For example Gerhard (Loci, l.c. XXXIII, p. 31):
1) Meritoriously, he himself obtained the grace of justification with his own most holy and perfect merit.
2) Effectively, not only did he free us from sin, death and the Devil, and acquire for us the righteousness which avails before God, but he also offers that good, precious grace acquired so dearly in the word of the Gospel and applies it through faith.
3) Formally, in its application, for we are justified by no other thing before God than by the righteousness acquired by Christ and imputed to us through faith:’
Gerhard again (Annotations on the Epistle to the Romans, Jena Edition, 1666, p. 156):
‘By His resurrection [God] absolved Him, since our sins had been imputed to Him, and also in the same manner absolved us in Him, so that in this way the resurrection of Christ may be both the cause and the complete guarantee of our justification.’
Gerhard again (Theological Disputations, Jena Edition, 1655, XX, p. 1450.):
‘Because we have been absolved from our sins in the resurrection of Christ, so they cannot condemn us any more in judgment before God.’
And Ph. D. Burk (Rechtfertigung und Versicherung, p. 41) rightly said:
‘The difference between general justification and the more common usage of the term justification can be expressed as follows. The latter takes place precisely upon the appropriation of the former.’
An emphasis upon general justification is necessary in order to safeguard the material content of the Gospel.
We need furnish no extraordinary proof in regard to the justification of the individual sinner; let us suffice with the story of the publican. Justification takes place in the one who appeals to the grace of God, but it does not take place in the Pharisee. And the entirety of Scripture demonstrates that he who believes is always justified; this applies to every individual, the moment that faith is kindled in him.”
The popular justification literature tries to make J. Gerhard the father of Objective Justification, but that claim was easier to make when the theologian’s work was out of the reach of most people. The following quotations refute any claim that Gerhard can be blamed for promoting justification without faith.
"The entire Scripture testifies that the merits of Christ are received in no other way than through faith, not to mention that it is impossible to please God without faith, Hebrews 11:6, let alone to be received into eternal life. In general, St. Paul concludes concerning this [matter] in Romans 3:28: Thus we hold then that a man becomes righteous without the works of the Law—only through faith."
Johann Gerhard, A Comprehensive Explanation of Holy Baptism and the Lord's Supper, 1610, ed. D. Berger, J. Heiser, Malone, Texas: Repristination Press, 2000, p. 165.
"Therefore, the fulfillment of this promise to Abraham is in no way to be interpreted to mean that Abraham's seed became righteous and saved without individual faith."
Johann Gerhard, A Comprehensive Explanation of Holy Baptism and the Lord's Supper, 1610, ed. D. Berger, J. Heiser, Malone, Texas: Repristination Press, 2000, p. 167.
"The danger is that by use of the term subjective justification we may lose the objective divine act of God by which He declares the individual sinner righteous ek pisteos eis pisti the instant faith (embracing Christ) is wrought in him, leaving only the one divine declaration regarding the whole world of sinners, calling this an actus simplex, the only forensic act of God, and expanding this to mean that God declared every sinner free from guilt when Christ was raised from the dead, so many millions even before they were born, irrespective of faith, apart from and without faith. This surely wipes out 'justification by faith alone.' Only his faith is reckoned to him for righteousness."
R. C. H. Lenski, Romans, Augsburg Publishing House: Minneapolis, 1963 p. 85. Romans 1:17.
One person has claimed to find objective justification in the Book of Concord, directly connected with the term justification.224 The sentence from the Smalcald Articles is quoted below.
“Likewise: All have sinned and are justified without merit [freely, and without their own works or merits] by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, in His blood, Romans 3:23f. Now, since it is necessary to believe this, and it cannot be otherwise acquired or apprehended by any work, law, or merit, it is clear and certain that this faith alone justifies us, as St. Paul says, Romans 3:28: For we conclude that a man is justified by faith, without the deeds of the Law. Likewise verse 26: That He might be just, and the Justifier of him which believeth in Christ.”
Martin Luther, Smalcald Articles, The Second Part, #3-4, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 461. Tappert, p. 292. Heiser, p. 137.
The Missouri Synod Contribution
Quotations from the Missouri Synod founders show that the major points of Kokomo justification were first made by Walther, Pieper, and Stoeckhardt:
1. God pronounced the sins of the world forgiven or absolved, without contrition or faith or the Means of Grace, at the moment of Christ’s resurrection, based upon Romans 4:25.
2. Reconciliation and justification are equated, using 2 Corinthians 5:19.
“Accepting the absolution by faith” has fallen out of many discussions defending objective justification in the Missouri Synod, Wisconsin Synod, and smaller groups. In practice, the efficacious Word is no longer proclaimed at all. J. P. Meyer introduced plenty of problems with his book Ministers of Christ but at least he advocated preaching the Word (see footnote).225 Now evangelism in the former Synodical Conference is nothing more than gathering those people who are “already forgiven,” and telling them they are already “absolved of their sins,” even though they do not know the nature of sin according to the Scriptures. This approach soon collapses to an appeal to join the congregation because this particular church is friendly, active, caring, and buzzing with lots of cell groups. A Unitarian minister with some charm and organizational skills can do as well with the same approach.
"For God has already forgiven you your sins 1800 years ago when He in Christ absolved all men by raising Him after He first had gone into bitter death for them. Only one thing remains on your part so that you also possess the gift. This one thing is—faith. And this brings me to the second part of today's Easter message, in which I now would show you that every man who wants to be saved must accept by faith the general absolution, pronounced 1800 years ago, as an absolution spoken individually to him."
C. F. W. Walther, The Word of His Grace, Sermon Selections, "Christ's Resurrection—The World's Absolution" Lake Mills: Graphic Publishing Company, 1978, p. 233. Mark 16:1-8.
"Now, then, if the Father raised Christ from the dead, He, by this glorious resurrection act, declared that the sins of the whole world are fully expiated, or atoned for, and that all mankind is now regarded as righteous before His divine tribunal. This gracious reconciliation and justification is clearly taught in Romans 4:25: 'Who was delivered for our offenses and was raised again for our justification.' The term dikaiosis here means the act of divine justification executed through God's act of raising Christ from the dead, and it is for this reason called the objective justification of all mankind. This truth Dr. Walther stressed anew in America. He taught that the resurrection of Christ from the dead is the actual absolution pronounced upon all sinners. (Evangelienpostille, p. 160ff.)… Calov, following Gerhard, rightly points out the relation of Christ's resurrection to our justification as follows: 'Christ's resurrection took place as an actual absolution from sin (respectu actualis a peccato absolutionis). As God punished our sins in Christ, upon whom He laid them and to whom He imputed them, as our Bondsman, so He also, by the very act of raising Him from the dead, absolved Him from our sins imputed to Him, and so He absolved also us in Him.'" [Bibl. Illust., ad Rom. 4:25]
Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 3 vols., St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1951, II, p. 321. Romans 4:25.226
"Scripture teaches the objective reconciliation. Nineteen hundred years ago Christ effected the reconciliation of all men with God. God does not wait for men to reconcile Him with themselves by means of any efforts of their own. He is already reconciled. The reconciliation is an accomplished fact, just like the creation of the world. Romans 5:10: 'We were reconciled to God by the death of His Son.' When Christ died, God became reconciled. As Christ's death lies in the past, so also our reconciliation is an accomplished fact. 2 Corinthians 5:19: 'God was in Christ, reconciling' (namely, when Christ lived and died on earth) 'the world unto Himself.' The katallassein of Romans 5:10 and 2 Corinthians 5:19 does not refer—let this fact be noted—to any change that occurs in men, but describes an occurrence in the heart of God. It was God who laid His anger by on account of the ransom brought by Christ. It was God who at that time already had in His heart forgiven the sins of the whole world, for the statement: 'God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself' means—and that is not our, but the Apostle's own interpretation—that
God did 'not impute their trespasses unto them.' And 'not imputing trespasses' is, according to Scripture (Romans 4:6-8), synonymous with 'forgiving sins,' 'justifying' the sinner. "The resurrection of Christ is, as Holy Writ teaches, the actual absolution of the whole world of sinners. Romans 4:25: 'Who was raised again for our justification.' At that time we were objectively declared free from sin."
Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 3 vols., St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1951, II, p. p 348. Romans 5:10; 2 Corinthians 5:19.
"This doctrine of general justification is the guarantee and warranty that the central article of justification by faith is being kept pure. Whoever holds firmly that God was reconciled to the world in Christ, and that to sinners in general their sin was forgiven, to him the justification which comes from faith remains a pure act of the grace of God. Whoever denies general justification is justly under suspicion that he is mixing his own work and merit into the grace of God.”227
George Stoeckhardt, Concordia Theological Quarterly, April, 1978, p. 138. Cited by Pastor Vernon Harley "Synergism—Its Logical Association with General Justification," 511 Tilden, Fairmont, Minnesota 56031, August, 1984, p. 1.
"The chief purpose, however, is to keep this article (general justification) before the people for its own sake. It cannot be presented and studied too often. Its vital relation to the subjective, personal justification by faith, cannot be stressed too strongly. It forms the basis of the justification by faith and keeps this article free from the leaven of Pelagianism. Unless the sinner knows that his justification is already an accomplished fact in the forum of God, he will imagine that it is his faith, his good conduct, which moves God to forgive him his sins. And unless he knows that God had him personally in mind in issuing the general pardon on Easter morning, he will have no assurance of his justification."
Theodore Engelder, Concordia Theological Monthly, July/ August/ September, 1933. Reissued by the seminary print-shop, Ft. Wayne, 1981. Cited by Pastor Vernon Harley, "Synergism—Its Logical Association with General Justification," 511 Tilden, Fairmont, Minnesota 56031, August, 1984, p. 1f.
"The entire Pauline doctrine of justification stands and falls with the special article of general justification. This establishes it beyond peradventure that justification is entirely independent of the conduct of man. And only in this way the individual can have the assurance of his justification. For it is the incontrovertible conclusion: Since God has already justified all men in Christ and forgiven them their sins, I, too, have a gracious God in Christ and forgiveness of all my sins."
Quoted with approval by Theodore Engelder, from George Stoeckhardt, Commentary on Romans, p. 264. Cited by Pastor Vernon Harley, "Synergism—Its Logical Association with General Justification," 511 Tilden, Fairmont, Minnesota, 56031, August, 1984, p. 2.
"The resurrection is God's public absolution of the entire world: 'Your sins are forgiven, all sins of all human beings; and there is no exception.' This is the meaning of the technical term 'objective justification.' The objective justification is central to the doctrine of salvation and derives logically from the facts that God's reconciliation, forgiveness, and declaration of 'not guilty' in no wise depend on the attitude or behaviour of human beings. If objective justification is denied, then it must follow that those who are declared righteous in some way have contributed to God's change of heart; justification is then no longer solely the result of God's grace."
Theodore Mueller, Concordia Theological Quarterly, January, 1982, p. 29. Cited by Pastor Vernon Harley, "Synergism—Its Logical Association with General Justification," 511 Tilden, Fairmont, Minnesota 56031, August, 1984, p. 3.
"The fact of the redemption and reconciliation of the entire human race through Christ, and with it the forgiveness of all sins for all men on God's part—which, indeed, is precisely what the Gospel proclaims, presents and gives—can by no means become a lie through the unbelief of men... even when the unbelievers don't receive it, but reject it for themselves and for this reason—indeed, for this reason alone—are lost."
Walther's colleague, Theodore Brohm, 1808-1881. Cited in Rick Nicholas Curia, The Significant History of the Doctrine of Objective or Universal Justification, Alpine, California: California Pastoral Conference, WELS. January 24-25, 1983. p. 16.
"The teaching of the Wisconsin Synod [of the old Norwegian Synod] is this, that in and with the universal reconciliation, which has occurred in Christ for the whole world—even Judas; the whole world—even Judas—has been justified and has received the forgiveness of sin. Therefore, according to Luther's clear words ("for where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation"), the whole world (i.e. every person who is a part of the world—even Judas) has become a child of God and an heir of heaven."
Gottfried Fritschel, "Zur Lehre von der Rechtfertigung," Theologische Monatshefte, volume 4, 1871, (1-24), p. 7.228 Cited in Rick Nicholas Curia, The Significant History of the Doctrine of Objective or Universal Justification, Alpine, California: California Pastoral Conference, WELS. January 24-25, 1983. p. 2.
Missouri Synod Brief Statement, 1932
“Scripture teaches that God has already declared the whole world to be righteous in
Christ, Romans 5:19; 2 Corinthians 5:18-21; Romans 4:25; that therefore not for the sake of their good works, but without the works of the Law, by grace, for Christ’s sake, he justifies, that is, accounts as righteous, all those who believe in Christ, that is, believe, accept, and rely on, the fact that for Christ’s sake their sins are forgiven.”229
Brief Statement of the Doctrinal Position of the Missouri Synod, 1932, “Of Justification.”
Missouri Synod CTCR
"It is contrary to Scripture and the pure Gospel to teach: That forgiveness and justification before God do not involve each other, or that justification and reconciliation are entirely different from each other, as though a person can be reconciled without being justified or justified without being reconciled."
LCMS Commission on Theology and Church Relations "Theses on Justification" St. Louis: May, 1983, #3.
"In normal Biblical and ecclesiastical usage the terms justify and justification refer to the ('subjective') justification of the individual sinner through faith (Romans 4:5, 5:1, etc.; AC IV, 3; FC SD III 25). But because theologically justification is the same thing as the forgiveness of sins (Romans 4:1-8; Ap IV, 76; FC Ep III, 7), it is Biblically and confessionally correct to refer to the great sin-canceling, atoning work of the Redeemer as the 'objective' or 'universal' justification of the whole sinful human race. (John 1:29; Romans 5:6-18; 2 Corinthians 5:19; Colossians 2:14-15; 1 Timothy 3:16; Ap IV, 103-105; LC V, 31, 32, 36, 37; FC SD III, 57)
LCMS Commission on Theology and Church Relations "Theses on Justification" St. Louis: May, 1983, #4.
"Thus objective justification or reconciliation is the forgiveness of sins both as it has been acquired for the entire human race by Christ's work of obedience in its stead and declared by His resurrection, and as it is seriously and efficaciously offered to all in the means of grace."
LCMS Commission on Theology and Church Relations "Theses on Justification" St. Louis: May, 1983, #5.
"Subjective justification or reconciliation is this same forgiveness as it is received, appropriated by, and applied to the individual sinner through God-given faith alone (sola fide)."
LCMS Commission on Theology and Church Relations "Theses on Justification" St. Louis: May, 1983, #6.
Hottentots Justified Without Faith
"So, then, we are reconciled; however, not only we, but also Hindus, and Hottentots and Kafirs, yes, the world. 'Reconciled,' says our translation; the Greek original says: 'placed in the right relation to God'. Because before the Fall we, together with the whole creation, were in the right relation to God, therefore Scripture teaches that Christ, through His death, restored all things to the former right relation to God."
F. R. Eduard Preuss, 1834-1904, Die Rechtfertigung der Suender vor Gott. Cited in Rick Nicholas Curia, The Significant History of the Doctrine of Objective or Universal Justification, Alpine, California: California Pastoral Conference, WELS. January 24-25, 1983. p. 24.230
Justification by Faith in the Old Missouri Synod Catechism
"#305. Why do you say in this article: I believe in the Forgiveness of Sins? Because I hold with certainty that by my own powers or through my own works I cannot be justified before God, but that the forgiveness of sins is given me out of grace through faith in Jesus Christ. For where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also true justification. Psalm 130:3-4; Psalm 143:2; Isaiah 64:6; Job 25:4-6 (Q. 124)."
Kleiner Katechismus, trans. Pastor Vernon Harley, LCMS, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1901, p. 164ff.
"#306. What is justification? Justification is that activity (Handlung) of God by which He out of pure grace and mercy for the sake of Christ's merits forgives the sins of a poor sinner who truly believes in Jesus Christ and receives him to everlasting life."
Kleiner Katechismus, trans. Pastor Vernon Harley, LCMS, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1901, p. 164ff.
The Kokomo Statements, 1979
I. "Objectively speaking, without any reference to an individual sinner's attitude toward Christ's sacrifice, purely on the basis of God's verdict, every sinner, whether he knows it or not, whether he believes it or not, has received the status of saint."
II. "After Christ's intervention and through Christ's intervention God regards all sinners as guilt-free saints."
III. "When God reconciled the world to Himself through Christ, He individually pronounced forgiveness to each individual sinner whether that sinner ever comes to faith or not."
IV. "At the time of the resurrection of Christ, God looked down in hell and declared Judas, the people destroyed in the flood, and all the ungodly, innocent, not guilty, and forgiven of all sin and gave unto them the status of saints."
The letter sent to the two families quoted the statements and declared that the families were being expelled for denying them. Certain people have tried to confuse the issue by claiming the statements were made up by the expelled families to parody WELS doctrine. Three statements are almost verbatim from J. P. Meyer’s Ministers of Christ, now out of print. The fourth statement came from a controversy in the 19th century but was added by Pastor Papenfuss to the previous statements from J. P. Meyer. Although WELS has often backed away from the Kokomo statements, the synod continues to defend the content and reproduce the most obnoxious falsehoods found in them. The Evangelical Lutheran Synod teaches Kokomo justification in their seminary. After a layman wrote to Bethany Seminary professor John Moldstad Jr., the following statements appeared in the Evangelical Lutheran Synod Lutheran Sentinel:
“When Paul uses the word ‘reconciling’ here, [2 Corinthians 5:19] he clearly means that forgiveness of sins is really imputed to ‘the world.’
John Moldstad, Jr., “I have heard some Lutherans say they do not believe the Bible teaches objective justification. How can they assert this and still call themselves ‘Lutheran’?”
Lutheran Sentinel, October, 1996, p. 11.234
The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod teaches an ambiguous form of the same doctrine. Each synod (WELS, ELS, LCMS) teaches various forms of justification, with pastors teaching a version somewhere between the extremes of Universal Justification (without faith) and the Scriptural norm of justification by faith.
The Pohlman and Hartman families were suspended from Faith Lutheran Church on July 8, 1979. The circuit pastor, Alan Siggelkow, agreed with the suspension at the July voters’ meeting.
"Three of the four [Kokomo] statements, because of their lack of clarity, tend to confuse the issue. But since the disciplined laymen used them to advance their false doctrine, it was understandable that the congregation should also use them in its rejection of the falsehood being advocated. I do not consider any of the four statements to be false doctrine, but I would rather not use the language used in the first, second, and fourth." [conclusion of paper]
Siegbert Becker, "Objective Justification," Chicago Pastoral Conference, WELS, Elgin, Illinois, November 9, 1982, unpaginated. [GJ – The first three statements came almost verbatim from WELS Professor JP Meyer, as Becker admitted in another essay. The two families were not advancing false doctrine but asking if WELS really taught these things, which the pastor, circuit pastor, Armin Panning, and Sig Becker said WELS certainly did.]
“The three statements unfortunately and inaccurately attributed to Prof. Meyer's Ministers of Christ are in reality inaccurate paraphrases. They were written by a lay member of the Kokomo congregation, who was questioning the WELS doctrine of objective justification as it was presented by the local pastor. The fourth statement was also a paraphrase not from any WELS source. The statements were called "a caricature of objective justification" by WELS president Carl H. Mischke.”
John Lau, “An Apology and Correction, CLC Journal of Theology, December, 1997.
Compare what WELS seminary professor Siegbert Becker wrote at the time:
"The first three statements are taken verbatim from WELS sources."
Siegbert Becker, "Objective Justification," Chicago Pastoral Conference, WELS, Elgin, Illinois, November 9, 1982, Unpaginated.
“Faith Lutheran Church
3215 West Judson Road
Kokomo, Indiana 46901
November 19, 1980
Mr. and Mrs. David Hartman
R. R. #1, Box 90
Kokomo, Indiana 46901
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Hartman,
In accordance with the recommendations of the Southeastern Wisconsin District Panel of Review the voters of the Faith Lutheran Church have approved a resolution terminating your membership in the congregation unless and until such time as you accept the doctrine of justification as practiced by the WELS.
We encourage you to reassess your position on this matter and pray for a favorable decision so that once again we can work together for His Kingdom.
Yours in Christ,
Michael Liebner, Secretary”239
J. P. Meyer, Foundation for the Kokomo Statements
I. "Objectively speaking, without any reference to an individual sinner's attitude toward Christ's sacrifice, purely on the basis of God's verdict, every sinner, whether he knows about it or not, whether he believes it or not, has received the status of a saint. What will be his reaction when he is informed about this turn of events? Will he accept, or will he decline?"240
J. P. Meyer, Ministers of Christ, A Commentary on the Second Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 1963, p. 103f. 2 Corinthians 5:18-21.
II. "Before Christ's intervention took place God regarded him as a guilt-laden, condemned culprit. After Christ's intervention and through Christ's intervention He regards him as a guilt-free saint."
J. P. Meyer, Ministers of Christ, A Commentary on the Second Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 1963, p. 107. 2 Corinthians 5:18-21.
III. "This applies to the whole world, to every individual sinner, whether he was living in the days of Christ, or had died centuries before His coming, or had not yet been born, perhaps has not been born to this day. It applies to the world as such, regardless of whether a particular sinner ever comes to faith or not."
J. P. Meyer, Ministers of Christ, A Commentary on the Second Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 1963, p. 109. 2 Corinthians 5:18-21.