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Saturday, January 9, 2016

Satis Est. Justification by Faith Is the Chief Article


Pastor Paul Rydecki wrote in 2012:

It turns out that “WELS for now” was a foreshadowing of what was to come exactly four months later on October 2nd.  As of that date, due mainly to one paragraph in the Dresden Lutherans paper, I am “WELS no longer.”

The dreaded Dresden paragraph:

If we want to be Dresden Lutherans, then we will teach justification by faith alone as the chief article of the Christian faith.  The justification of the poor sinner before God is presented explicitly and quite exhaustively in the Lutheran Confessions (and by other 16th Century Lutheran theologians) as including four key components, without any of which the poor sinner is not, in any effective sense, justified before God: 1) the grace of God, 2) the merit of Christ, 3) the means of grace, and 4) faith in Christ. The Confessions do not speak of an effective  sense in which all sinners have already been justified before God whether they believe in Christ or not, nor do I believe the Scriptures to teach such a thing, yet such is commonly heralded among Lutherans today as the “central teaching of the Bible.”   I contend that our Dresden forefathers did not miss anything or take anything for granted in this chief article of the Christian faith. They correctly taught the universal atonement or satisfaction made by Christ for the sins of the whole world, whether a person ever comes to believe it or not. Thus, forgiveness of sins, life and salvation were, indeed, won for all people by Christ on the cross, through His merit alone. But no one is forgiven, justified, made alive or saved apart from the means of grace and apart from faith in Christ, which is graciously worked by the Holy Spirit.  Dresden Lutherans would never think of qualifying Luther’s battle cry, “Faith alone justifies!”, with “Yes, but, only in a subjective sense, since we know that all people are already justified without faith!”


***

GJ - I was thinking of the satis est article in the Augsburg Confession, looking for my graphic, and stumbled across WELS extending the Left Foot of Fellowship to Pastor Paul Rydecki. His summary above is precise and accurate.

True unity comes from teaching the doctrine of the Gospel as the Chief Article and the proper administration of the Sacraments.

For Mequon graduates, satis est means "it is sufficient".  The Augsburg Confession--which the SynCons overtly believes but covertly despises--distinguishes between the unity of sincere believers and the snotty rejecting attitude of Pietists.

The Pietists care nothing for sound doctrine, but they are very anxious about someone being from the right synod, the right district, the right conference and circuit, the right family, and the right school. Never mind how absurd this is. If you think it is silly, you have already excommunicated yourself from that little band of hedonistic Pharisees.

The SynCons are becoming cuddly because they really they agree in their apostasy. They are so blinded by their hatred of the Gospel that they portray their Universalism as the Chief Article. Thus -

Forrest Bivens - not the brightest bulb at Mequon - but in agreement with them:

Objective Justification, as defined by WELS Professor Forrest Bivens, is 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, (sic) 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. 
(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, ELCA, Kenosha, Wisconsin,)

The SynCons are all confessional - just ask them. They even have a quia subscription to the Book of Concord - they will offer that without even asking.



But compare and contrast -



6] This article concerning justification by faith (as the Apology says) is the chief article in the entire Christian doctrine, without which no poor conscience can have any firm consolation, or can truly know the riches of the grace of Christ, as Dr. Luther also has written: If this only article remains pure on the battlefield, the Christian Church also remains pure, and in goodly harmony and without any sects; but if it does not remain pure, it is not possible that any error or fanatical spirit can be resisted. (Tom. 5, Jena, p. 159.) 7] And concerning this article especially Paul says that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. Therefore, in this article he urges with so much zeal and earnestness the particulas exclusivas, that is, the words whereby the works of men are excluded (namely, without Law, without works, by grace [freely],Rom. 3:284:5Eph. 2:8-9), in order to indicate how highly necessary it is that in this article, aside from [the presentation of] the pure doctrine, the antithesis, that is, all contrary dogmas, be stated separately, exposed, and rejected by this means.

And yet, the three "conservative synods" rejoice in their common apostasy -

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.

Uncle Buchie thinks Ambrose is a UOJ Stormtrooper.
That comes from listening to an ELCA seminary grad - Jay Webber.