The Glory Has Departed

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I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-4

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Bivens Plagiarizes Zarling, 13 Years Later, Same Quotation and Citation.
But Both Are Lying About the Chief Article, the Master and Prince.

Stand in Awe of Justification
The Diamond Among the Jewels of Divine Revelation
M. Zarling 

[Presented to The Minnesota District Pastoral Conference April 12-13, 1983 at Martin Luther Ev. Lutheran Church St. Louis, MO]

The doctrine of justification is the shining jewel of our faith. Indeed, this teaching of Scripture is the heart and core of Christianity. Luther, as is well known, called justification the articulus stantis et cadentis ecclesiae. Dr. Luther goes on in admiring this jewel by saying:

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 conscience before God. Without this article the world is utter death and darkness... The doctrine of justification must, as I frequently urge, be diligently learned; for in it all the other articles of our faith are comprehended. And when that is safe, the others are safe too.1 (E. M. Plass, ed, What Luther Says: An Anthology, 3 volumes. (St. Louis: CPH, 1959), 2:703-704.)

The Confessions of our Church echo this regard for the centrality of justification. Each of the symbols of Reformation vintage view justification as "the chief topic of Christian doctrine"2 or words to that effect. Therefore, since we view this doctrine as the central teaching of our church, by which the church stands or falls, it is not without some trepidation that this paper is presented. I certainly must confess, "Who is sufficient for these things?"

Last year, when first approached to take this assignment, I was under the impression that this paper would be a response to the now famous "Kokomo case." (My only criterion for selection was that I happened to vicar in the same conference back in '78-'79, when the situation first developed. Now I know that vicaring for George Boldt is an honor, but I wonder if I should thank him for being assigned a paper purely by association?!) In the intervening year, the Kokomo case has been dealt with by the proper committees of our church. Yet to read the "august" pages of the Christian News one would imagine that the controversy rages on. Such is not the case. I am convinced that our gracious Lord has united the brethren in our Church in a Scriptural understanding of justification. There is no controversy or conflict within the WELS. However, since our position has been raped and plundered by those who put words into our mouths, this paper might prove a beneficial review.

One final word of apology before we start in. The subject matter assigned was "objective - subjective justification." I found the assigned topic rather extensive. Where does one begin? In the course of preparing this essay, brethren asked me to review the Kokomo situation. Others wanted me to cover the Maier case at Ft. Wayne. Others asked for an exegetical presentation of pertinent passages. At the risk of trying to cover everything, yet doing nothing thoroughly, I will attempt to oblige all. I hope to present a brief review of Scripture teaching on justification and also analyze the current difficulties men are having with this central doctrine of the Bible. Let us polish the jewel of justification. We need always to stand in awe of this diamond among all of God's revelation.

I. Listen to Men Describe its Various Facets

Lutherans view justification as the key to understanding God's plan of salvation. To paraphrase a popular ad, we could shout "When you've said justification, you've said it all." The term is a catch-all phrase by which we feel confident that orthodox teaching is preserved. But is it? What have we said? What do we mean? Sometimes the pastor in the pulpit uses a handy theological trade word that only confuses the parishioner in the pew. We need to examine how men try to describe the various facets of this brilliant jewel.

Three phrases are usually applied to the teaching that God has forgiven the sins of all men: "Objective justification", "general justification", or "universal justification." Most of the time these terms are interchangeable. Stoeckhardt3 seems to prefer "general justification," while Pieper4 talks of "objective reconciliation." Only Dr. S. Becker carefully delineates between objective and universal justification.

And Now We Hear the Echo from Bivens, 13 Years Later

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, 1996.

“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.” (What Luther Says, Vol. 2. p 703.) 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.2 

The truth of justification, above all others, distinguishes Christianity from all other religions. If this teaching were obscured or lost, attempts to show significant differences between the Christian religion and others would ultimately prove to be futile. Also, as revealed and emphasized in the Bible, all other doctrines either prepare for or flow from this chief article of faith. Without this truth, all others would mean little. This doctrine is the source or basis of the benefits and blessings which mankind receives from God. 

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. 

But Luther, The Apology of the Augsburg Confession (Melanchthon), and the Formula of Concord Say


GJ -  Some are going to say, "Bivens did not plagiarize. He used different wording. It is not the same verbatim - what Zarling wrote and what Bivens wrote. You have violated the Eighth Commandment and Matthew 18 and Volume 17 of the Unwritten Laws of the WELS Sect."

Plagiarists typically follow their source and change a few words here and there. That way the match is not exact, but that is also what gives them away. As several have done or even said in my classes, "Change a few words, and it is not plagiarism."

Note - the Zarling was meticulous in the scholarly citation and Bivens more brief. But it was the same source, same page, same quote. And Bivens also immediately defined the Chief Article as universal absolution, just as Zarling did. Like Zarling, anyone who teaches other than justification without faith is a destroyer of Christianity, plus all the other denunciations called down by Luther. Brilliant - except for one thing - Zarling and Bivens are the object of Luther's wrath.

The Chief Article is not the Halle Dogma loved by Rambach, Stephan, and Webber, but justification by faith - as stated twice in the Book of Concord, and constantly taught in those confessions.

Let us dare not chuckle that these two intellectual giants of WELS failed to consult the Book of Concord. Would they discuss Vatican decrees from My Golden Book on the Church of Rome? I think so.

But - since I own a faded and well used copy of What Luther Says, 3 vols., I looked up their joint quotation. Look at what I found. The LCMS publication does not mention justification by faith for pages, but constantly lists this or that Luther quotation as Objective Justification - Oh! Oh! Oh!  - or Subjective Justification.That is a cute way to adjudicate the issue before it is presented.

Teachers - in contrast to synodical puppets like Zarling and Bivens - present the Scriptures and Confessions without making the recent Pietists the ultimate authority on God's Word and the Confessions. Zarling and Bivens are like Marxists who treat every issue as the battle of the proletariat against the oppression of the capitalists, whether Goldilocks or Luther or Shakespeare. OJists only find OJ and their SJ is not even justification by faith, but faith in their absurd dogma of universal absolution and salvation without faith.

As readers know, I copied this from Dr. Robert Preus,
Justification and Rome.

James 3 My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.

Zarling and Bivens are conscientious, careful, and deliberate liars. Which is worse - they know the truth and deny it? Or- they are so poorly trained themselves that they have no idea what is taught in the Scriptures, Luther, and the Book of Concord?

WELS is betting the farm on this absurdity.
If JP Meyer is wrong, then so is CFW Walther
and his syphilitic bishop!