The Glory Has Departed

Lutheran book boxes sent to three African seminaries -
a third one has been sent now.

Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

The Lutheran Library Publishing Ministry

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Saved worship files and Greek lessons are at the live worship link.

which works as too.

Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
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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

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Testing Ourselves and Others on Justification by Faith

Various people have contacted me about their rejection of Universal Objective Justification, the official dogma of LCMS-WELS-ELS and ELCA.

I had the experience of encountering UOJ as an outsider. The dogma was submerged but ever-present in the LCMS-ELS-WELS after the Kokomo Statements. I found UOJ shockingly bad doctrine, clearly opposed to the Christian Faith, alien to Protestantism but only baby steps away from Universalism.

UOJ cannot be found in the Scripture, Luther, the Lutheran Reformation, or the Book of Concord.

But my claims versus the synodial UOJ claims will never do. This Pietistic repudiation of the Gospel has to be fought individually, through the Scriptures, following Luther's example. The Reformer cited authorities from the past, sometimes to reject them, but he did 99% of his work from the Word of God, which is the final authority, not some political hacks on a committee chosen for their ovine qualities.

This requires individual Biblical studies, so I will lay out some themes for people to follow in their reading.

The challenge is to explain Romans 4, section by section. Someone who knows Romans 4 can slay an army of overweight, lazy, liver-impaired UOJists.

The stars of Romans 4 are Abraham and his Justification by Faith. That points us to Genesis 15. Abraham believed God's Promises and that was counted as righteousness. Counting or reckoning is an important term, sometimes translated as imputed. (I pick counting as the plainest and best word for the New Testament term.)

He believed he would be a father and was forgiven his sins? That is a likely initial objection. No, he embraced the entire meaning of the Promises. He would not be the Father of Nations by blood. Look at Judaism now and in history. They never amounted to much in numbers. He would be the Father of Nations by faith, including the Messiah.

The matter of being a father is a big issue in John 8. "We have Abraham for our father." The true children of Abraham are children by faith, not by blood. That is why Father of Nations is so important a title, because blood descent means nothing. Belonging by faith means everything - that is the theme of John's Gospel - in the opening and conclusion of the Fourth Gospel.

The foundation of all sin is not rejecting UOJ.

Genesis 17:3 And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying,
As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.
Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.
Abraham as the Father of Nations is also pivotal in Galatians - 

Galatians 3:6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.
Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.
And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.
So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.

Abraham is naturally mentioned in the faith chapter of Hebrews - Hebrews 11 and in James.

To say that one is righteous without faith contradicts this comprehensive and unified theme in the Bible, yet the learned advocates of UOJ nonsense insist this is true. If they are wrong, they must be clowns in Geneva gowns or apes in albs.

Scripture teaches that God has already declared the whole world to be righteous in Christ, Rom. 5:19; 2 Cor. 5:18-21; Rom. 4:25; LCMS Brief Statement, 1932, on Justification.

Note the citation of Romans 4:25, which is enough to reject and repudiate this folly. The whole world has already been justified (declared righteous) in Christ? There are two contradictions in that one phrase.

  1. Including the whole world, regardless of faith and before faith.
  2. "In Christ" - Jay Webber's favorite cloaking device - contradicts the concept of faith because only believers are "in Christ." A brief scan of the Fourth Gospel will show that, but such work is too tough for some people.

We - the uninitiated in the deep mysteries of UOJ -  are supposed to bow down and venerate the Brief Statement and raise it above the Scriptures and the Book of Concord.

But wait, there's more. Citing Romans 4:25 and always exclaiming "raised for our justification" - that is pure deception and deliberate cloaking of the dogma Paul does NOT teach in that section, that verse, or anywhere else in the New Testament.

Romans 4:16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,
17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.
18 Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.
19 And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb:
20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;
21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.
22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.
23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;
24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;
25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

A study of Abraham in the Bible shows that 
  1. the Holy Spirit's teaching of Justification by Faith is consistent throughout, 
  2. UOJ cannot get a foothold, except by avoiding the clear proclamation of the Word, such as Romans 5:1-2, which wraps up Romans 4.
  3. Various claims (such as resurrection equaling world absolution) are nonsense.

 Thanksgiving at Mequon