Ichabod explores the Age of Apostasy, predicted in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, with an emphasis on UOJ, Church Growth, and Emergent Church heresies. The antidote to these poisons is trusting the efficacious Word in the Means of Grace. John 16:8. Most readers are WELS, LCMS, ELS, or ELCA. This blog also covers the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, and the mainline denominations.
I am having some printing glitches, but I followed the advice of a very good author and editor and added a chapter.
Here it is below.
The Catholic Moment – Celebrating the Reformation’s 500th
By Reverting to Roman Triumphalism, Legalism, and
Pastor Richard John Neuhaus became a Roman Catholic priest, he was a “Confessional
Lutheran” pastor in ELCA. As a member of that Confessional Lutheran tribe,
he wrote a book called The Catholic Moment,
which I neglected to read. One might notice more characteristics of a Judas
goat leading the Lutherans to Rome than a disciple of Luther and the son of a
conservative Missouri Synod Lutheran pastor. Neuhaus identified and motivated a
group to begin leaving ELCA and the LCMS for a weeping reunion with Rome,
hoping that the terms of reconciliation would not be too strict. His friends at
the Lutheran Forum magazine beca,e
priests or laity in the Catholic Church. The senior editor of Luther’s Works
joined Eastern Orthodoxy and donated a princely sum to their seminary, St.
Vladimir’s in New York.
Catholic moment is upon us as we approach the 500th Anniversary of
the Lutheran Reformation, the date a reference to Martin Luther at the Diet of
Worms, standing with Huss on the Word alone, against the Roman tyrants.
the LCMS-WELS-ELS cheerleading for justification without faith – at the Emmaus
Conference in 2015, the three synods declared their joy in their mutual love
for Objective Justification.
Last but certainly not least,
there was special joy to understand that we all hold to objective justification—that
God declared the world righteous through the life, death, and resurrection of
Jesus, and that we all recognize it to be the urgent mission of the church to
take this gospel to the entire world.
Since they also agree about the Means of Grace, the
unamused wonder how the entire world was forgiven without the Spirit at work in
the Means of Grace, the Word and Sacraments. Like many of the stealth Objective
Justification salesmen, they like to use the phrase “justification by grace
through faith,” but they really mean universal absolution and salvation without
faith, plus trust in that universal absolution – a dogma in complete opposition
to the Gospel.
If any doubt
remains about the dishonest and deceitful promotion of Objective Justification,
the best remedy is the essay by Forrest Bivens, professor at Wisconsin Lutheran
He began with this often quoted statement by Martin Luther –
“The article of justification
is the master and prince, the lord, the ruler, and the judge over all kinds of
doctrines; it preserves and governs all church doctrine and raises up our
consciences before God. Without this article the world is utter darkness and
death.” Bivens - Luther’s appraisal of the doctrine of justification is also
ours. We hold it to be the primary doctrine of Scripture, that is, the central
and most important teaching revealed by God for us sinners.
Although justification is clearly defined in Luther’s works
and the Book of Concord as justification by faith, Bivens has a different
definition for the Chief Article of the Christian Religion –
What precisely is this “master
and prince, lord, ruler and judge” over other doctrines? Justification is a
declaratory act of God, in which he pronounces sinners righteous. As revealed
in the Bible, this declaration of God is made totally by grace and on account
of Jesus Christ and his substitutionary life and death on behalf of mankind. To
phrase it somewhat differently, God has justified acquitted or declared
righteous the whole world of sinners. He has forgiven them. They have been
reconciled to God; their status in his eyes has been changed from that of
sinner to forgiven sinner for the sake of Jesus Christ. Since all this applies
to all people, the term universal or general justification is used. In our
circles an alternate term, objective justification, is also used. If justification is universal, it must also
be objective - sinners are forgiven whether they believe it or not. This is
precisely what Scripture teaches in Romans 3:23-24, when it says, “There is no
difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are
justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
Thus black must be white, and white must be black.
established, mainline denominations agree with the unanimous praise of sinners forgiven whether they believe it or
not. The Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and others join the modern,
rationalist, liberal theologians in cautioning everyone about making faith a
contingence. They snort, “If faith is required, then it is no longer grace.” Bivens
would have no trouble with Karl Barth, Paul Tillich, or Schleiermacher, for God
is so filled with grace that He cares little about faith in His beloved Son,
This is not
a caution against adopting mainline Universalism, which is already an
accomplished fact, but a warming against magnifying the error by serving as the
Judas goat in leading Protestantism to Rome in the name of justification, the
Reformation, and reconciliation.
Objective Justification advocates are promoting reunion with Rome by
establishing their own papacy, fulfilling the New Testament prophesy about
Antichrists in the plural.
Little children, it is the
last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there
many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. 
They join the Antichrist in method, so there is no compelling
reason to join Rome as a formality. Some pastors realized this early and chose
to leave the Romanizing process for the real deal, as they like to say today.
Lack of Clarity in the Word
To advance Objective
Justification and other errors, the Lutheran synods must teach the Scriptures
being unclear, incomplete, and filled with grey, debatable matters. In fact,
the Word of God is so difficult to understand that only the elite – the pastors
– can interpret it in harmony with Holy Mother Synod.
The Synod as Pope, and the Lutheran Curia
Lutherans recognize that the primary authority for their organization is the
synod itself, not the Word of God. They even personify this ever-changing group
of people by saying, “Synod says…” The synod president is more of a figurehead symbolizing
the Lutheran Curia, a group of politicians who move the organization in the
direction they desire. Thus Objective Justification was made into an infallible
dogma by changing Biblical translations, removing traditional catechisms, shunning
the traditionalists, and re-educating those who learned justification by faith.
the Reformation, these new thinkers cannot win an argument based on the
Scriptures alone, so they cite their:
as granted by the Holy Spirit, by being elected or appointed.
learning in knowing a little Hebrew and Greek.
of what the synod has written about the topic.
to leaders in the past, thus sharing the ancients’ infallibility.
works accomplished for the synod.
Justification by Works Is the Repudiation of the Gospel
justification by faith too, but they clearly and persistently add “plus works.”
They have a deep bench, so they massage the words well and make them winsome
and appealing. Faith is good, even essential, but not sufficient. Works of love
must be added. This argument is completely consistent with St. Paul’s warning.
We are either justified by works or by faith in Christ. Those who argue against
faith alone are necessarily in the works camp, no matter how often they chant
Lord, Lord and speak of grace.
The Lutheran Romanists Excommunicate with Vindictive Glee
Few read the
stories of the Reformation today, about martyrs burned at the stake by Rome,
women and children slaughtered with the Protestant men on St. Bartholomew’s Day
in France, 1572. The Lutheran Romanists are prohibited from the complete
expression of their wrath, but they do excommunicate those who teach Luther’s
doctrine, and they do it with vindictive glee. If they can steal some church property
through foreclosure, they grab that title and the parish treasury as well. They
feel no remorse and have little restraint. They have already excommunicated
Luther, Chemnitz, Gerhard, Calov, and Gausewitz. The clergy know more about
Star Wars than Melanchthon. Once they have removed a pastor through hateful
shunning or direct dismissal, everyone forgets his name.
Degradation of Learning
Ages were a thousand years of building a paper wall around the papacy. The more
someone extolled the Pope, the more he was honored as a saint, scholar, and
Teacher of the Church. The Gospel remained but it was largely hidden and
distorted by those with institutional lusts.
Reformation should have been impoverished, if judged by the numbers. The Pope
owned the biggest and oldest schools and wielded his power with savage delight.
How did the Lutheran Church gather so many brilliant Biblical theologians over
a few decades, from Luther to Gerhard? God blessed their study of the Word and
their faithfulness in the midst of Muslim invasions and Roman Catholic
persecution. Where the Middle Ages offered up a vast collection of mummified
traditions and dead scholasticism, the Reformation gathered the brightest and
most gifted to give us so much in Biblical teaching that we can hardly imagine
mastering a sliver of their published books.
this muddle of Objective Justification, Holy Mother Synod must carefully choose
the dullest and most conformist candidates to teach Lutheran papism –
triumphalism, legalism, and clericalism.
Triumphalism – We are
the best, the most glorious, the true heirs, the purest, and most grace-fileld.
Legalism – If anyone
wants to get along with us, he must learn the unpublished rules and all the
exceptions applied to certain people when they violate those rules.
Clericalism – No matter
what is said, the pastors dictate the agenda, but not all of them, just certain
family names. No layman, no matter how much he studies the Word, can win an
argument because “I went to school 8 years, and I …studied…Greek.”
who left the personality cult of the Disciples of Christ, I looked forward to
the 500th Anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation. I joined a
congregation where my friends expressed excitement about Luther’s Works being published. I worshiped in a church with the
traditional liturgy and real hymns for the first time. Holy Communion was a solemn event, a Sacrament
– not a ritual. I attended a college named after the Augsburg Confession and
met my wife there on the first day of classes. Later, my biggest academic
thrill was meeting the author of Here I
Stand, A Life of Martin Luther – Roland Bainton – and hearing his lectures.
We talked to Jaroslav Pelikan at church on Sunday and found the most respected
professors at Yale Divinity were Paul Holmer, Nils Dahl, and George Lindbeck.
Bainton was an honorary Lutheran and Pelikan was the genius dean of the
But now I
see the most admired professors among the Lutherans are from Fuller Seminary,
Willowcreek Community Church, and Trinity Divinity School. The Lutherans are
falling all over each other to get rid of the Sacraments, the sermon, genuine
hymns, and justification by faith. They are overjoyed at their triumph and
offer ecclesiastical high-fives to ELCA.
2 Timothy 4:3 For the time
will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts
shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall
turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 5 But
watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist,
make full proof of thy ministry.
Even more ominous is the warning in 2 Thessalonians –
Now we beseech you, brethren,
by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by
word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
3 Let no man deceive you by
any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first,
and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and
exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that
he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
5 Remember ye not, that, when
I was yet with you, I told you these things? 6 And now ye know what withholdeth
that he might be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of iniquity doth
already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the
8 And then shall that Wicked
be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and
shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9 Even him, whose coming is
after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,10 And
with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they
received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.11 And for this
cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12
That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in
These things must take place before the End Times.
Years ago a church
member said this about our Age of Apostasy – “We are going to be few, but we
will be closer together, no matter where we live.” And she was right. We are
united through publications, streaming broadcasts around the world, blogs, and
personal contacts. During the Reformation and times of crisis afterwards, no
one thought to write a book called The
Be-Happy Attitudes or a hymn called “Fear Not Mega-Flock.” Instead we have
something better, from someone who struggled with lax doctrine and became
Report on the Meetings of ELS, LCMS, and WELS Leaders 2012–2015. Issued by
WELS, December, 2015.
Primary Doctrine in Its Primary Setting: Objective Justification and Lutheran
Worship [Prepared for the WELS National Conference on Worship, Music and the
Arts Carthage College, Kenosha, Wisconsin, July 23, 1996.] By Forrest L. Bivens
What Luther Says, II,
p. 703, quoted as the opening of the essay.
 This astonishing
reversal in meaning takes place in the
third paragraph of the essay - The Primary Doctrine in Its Primary Setting:
Objective Justification and Lutheran Worship [Prepared for the WELS National
Conference on Worship, Music and the Arts Carthage College, Kenosha, Wisconsin,
July 23, 1996.] By Forrest L. Bivens