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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Go Tell It on the Mountain - or -
Quick Erase the Facebook Thread?


A WELS student who became an LCMS pastor posted a talk given by someone with a familiar name.

The topic of the talk by Ken Schurb was "Justification by Grace through Faith."

I have seen that awkward phrasing many times, always to plant the banner of Universal Forgiveness and Salvation without Faith, better known as Objective Justification or Universal Objective Justification.

I cautioned the FB friend about this, but he said the talk spoke for itself, as if I were barking up a tree.

An expert on justification, Pastor Paul Rydecki, asked, "Isn't that Ken Schurb who wrote about Objective Justification?"

Now I see by googling the name of the essay that I wrote about it five years ago.

Ken Schurb Begging the Question - "Does the Lutheran Confessions' Emphasis on Subjective Justification Mitigate Their Teaching of Objective Justification?"


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Quoting the blog citing the essay - 

One part of the essay is correct -

The Confessions never use the word “justify” unless faith is at least in the immediate context. p. 4.

But the next sentence is dead wrong and misleading, because it makes an unwarranted claim:

And they never explicitly distinguish between objective and subjective justification. (The late Dr. Harry Huth used to point out these two facts to his symbolics classes at Concordia Theological Seminary Ft. Wayne. The present writer took his introductory courses in the summer of 1979, and reports both of these observations on the basis of first-hand experience.) p. 4.

The title of the essay and this clumsy thesis are prime examples of begging the question, a logical fallacy.

When one begs the question, the initial assumption of a statement is treated as already proven without any logic to show why the statement is true in the first place. http://begthequestion.info/

The author begins with the assumption of two justifications in the Book of Concord, conceding there is only one (justification by faith) then claiming via a professor that there really are two justifications. The Book of Concord is just not explicit about this alleged fact.

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So Rydecki and I had done our homework and identified the rascal Schurb for what he was, a salesman for Universalism disguised as a Missouri Synod Lutheran pastor.

Schurb was an assistant to LCMS President Al Barry, with Paul McCain, during those Camelot years when the conservatives were happy with their non-leader. Matt the Fat has restored that sense of calm and contentment.

The result of the promotion was - erasing the entire thread. It was Kilcreased.

Whenever Jack Kilcrease's strange, poorly spelled, and erroneous comments were called out, he erased them too, causing Ichabodians to use the name as a verb for erasing stupidity so no traces are left.

That is not exactly a Go Tell It on the Mountain approach to the truth. I have seen this so often that my comp dog antennae go up at once. (Comp dog = comparative dogmatics, an area sadly neglected by Lutherans today).

Below is the entire post about Schurb, who earned a doctorate at Ohio State - in history. I have never heard anyone say, "Wow, a doctorate from the Ohio State Buckeyes!"

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The UOJ contingent wanted me to read Ken Schurb's essay, "Does the Lutheran Confessions' Emphasis on Subjective Justification Mitigate Their Teaching of Objective Justification?" Concordia, Ft. Wayne sells the essay, which I read years ago.

I forwarded the PDF to Brett Meyer, who replied with the quotation illustrated above.

One part of the essay is correct -

The Confessions never use the word “justify” unless faith is at least in the immediate context. p. 4.

But the next sentence is dead wrong and misleading, because it makes an unwarranted claim:


And they never explicitly distinguish between objective and subjective justification. (The late Dr. Harry Huth used to point out these two facts to his symbolics classes at Concordia Theological Seminary Ft. Wayne. The present writer took his introductory courses in the summer of 1979, and reports both of these observations on the basis of first-hand experience.) p. 4.

The title of the essay and this clumsy thesis are prime examples of begging the question, a logical fallacy.

When one begs the question, the initial assumption of a statement is treated as already proven without any logic to show why the statement is true in the first place. http://begthequestion.info/

The author begins with the assumption of two justifications in the Book of Concord, conceding there is only one (justification by faith) then claiming via a professor that there really are two justifications. The Book of Concord is just not explicit about this alleged fact.

Let us examine the Biblical basis for the Assumption of Mary, using the same kind of fallacy. The Bible never says that she was assumed into heaven. However, Mary appears in the Book of Acts and her death is never mentioned there or anywhere else in the New Testament, making this a real possibility. Nothing disproves the Assumption of Mary.

Here is another winner from the same essay, page 5:


But the scenario has its problems. Most obvious is the one Edward Preuss reports: “The Wurttemberg superintendent Burk experienced . . . [what] seemed to him like a faulty circle:
I am to believe and thereby become righteous. However, I cannot believe this before it is so. And yet, it is not so, for I am first to become righteous. (The Justification of the Sinner Before God, Edward Preuss, tr. by J.A. Friedrich Reprint. St. Louis, n.d.), 22.) “God be praised,” Preuss continues, “the case is different.” It can only be different, however, if one believes in objective justification. This gives him an object for his trust.
There is a place to join this “circle.”


Like I said before, Eduard Preuss is the Bo Derek of UOJ fanatics, an old favorite of Boomers. Preuss left the Lutheran Church for Romanism and used his considerable skills to promote the Immaculate Conception of Mary! Nevertheless, this fact about him is omitted from every UOJ citation. Preuss is introduced instead as a reliable orthodox Lutheran, not an Enthusiast who turned to Rome when he saw a brilliant sunset (see the Fuerbringer book). The Burk mentioned may be the Pietist who wrote an early endorsement of UOJ, recorded by Hoenecke in his Dogmatics.

The LCMS pastors begin with the framework of double-justification, then wedge all their data into that position, as this essay does.

The WELS pastors begin with world absolution. God has declared the entire world, "Not guilty!" Any questioning of that astonishing verdict is considered reason for excommunication. As they say in all the Hitler videos, "The irony will dawn on them later."

Both groups of pastors assume that their synods have taught this truth since the very beginning, whether it was Walther's discovery of the syphilis plague spreading from Bishop Martin Stephan or WELS turning down the loot from the union mission society (no Thrivent, we don't mean you - we love your money).

Both groups contain large numbers of pastors who know that UOJ/double-justification is a crock. Both groups have published materials that teach only justification by faith. Gausewitz and the KJV catechism are two examples easily obtained.

Lutheran Orthodoxy is defined by WELS
as "agreeing with our sect."
Therefore, we see the Book of Concord
is not orthodox by their lofty standards.


The title of this essay was never a sincere question. Instead, it was a feint, a set-up to make the reader think this was really a research topic when it was a polemic for double-justification. We should pity all the seminarians who accepted the professor's deceptive claims. I have seen similar assertions from the early Robert Preus and from Dan Deutschlander.

Relax readers, it is possible for someone to have erred. My own sins are confessed on a daily basis. Three blogs have been set up and dismantled for that onerous and time-consuming task.

UOJ specialists make it personal, writing, "I do not agree with you." In sorrow, I have to reply, "That does not matter. The issue is whether you agree with the Scriptures and the Confessions." I am only a curator of the Lutheran museum. I describe and stir up interest in the musty old exhibits. Admission is free. I do not have the power to silence anyone, to ban their feeble blogs, to cost them money.

A layman observed, "They criticize Luther endlessly, but Walther is never wrong about anything. No one dares to criticize the American Pope." A poorly-trained man with two years in the parish should not be the ruling norm of Lutheran doctrine in America. Did you think I meant Paul McCain? That fits too.

Luther earned a doctorate in theology. It is true that he studied at a Roman Catholic university and read endless amounts of false doctrine. That seemed to be God's way of preparing him for the Reformation. Pastors sometimes think of that when they rouse themselves to outline a Reformation sermon. Luther spent his life debating doctrine with false teachers. That sharpened his knowledge of the Scriptures and church history, as he observed.

Likewise, Chemnitz earned a doctorate in theology. He also debated doctrine with a host of opponents. He wrote a monumental set against the Council of Trent, but also defended Luther's doctrine against the Calvinists. Chemnitz was uniquely qualified to be senior editor of the Book of Concord and the Formula of Concord. Much the same could be said of the others. I was thinking that the lesser known Concordists and men like Hunnius would put all the synod lackey seminary professors to shame. We are in dire straits.


Lutheran pastors are so lazy and ignorant that they cannot acknowledge the growth of Robert Preus in his years of scholarship. He was definitely a UOJ cheerleader when he was also promoting Church Growth at Ft. Wayne. He changed his mind about both. His final book records his thoughts about justification by faith. Do the indolent notice, or are they too afraid to open a book that shreds their dogmatics notes?

PS - The Preuss citations in the Schurb reminded me that he promoted many of the current arguments in favor of UOJ, such as "your faith is in faith" or "I cannot believe unless I already have something to believe in, something already accomplished." They never argue, "As Eduard Preuss, who finished his career promoting Roman dogma used to say..."

That is why your curator has to dust off his old exhibits, bring them out the storage room (your storage, not mine) and display them again.