The Glory Has Departed
Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence
Bethany Lutheran Worship on
Thursday, December 22, 2016
"We see what a wretched thing the human heart is when it begins to waver so that it cannot be lifted up. The apostles and Thomas had seen not only that the Lord had risen but also that He had raised three others: Lazarus, and before that the daughter of Jairus and the widow’s son. Among all of them, Thomas was the boldest and bravest and said, “Let us also go with Him and die” [John 11:16]. They were such fine folk . . . and yet they could not believe that the Lord Himself had risen. And so we see in the apostles what things of nothing we are when we are left to ourselves and [God] withdraws His hand. . . . The dear apostle chooses to be damned, because there is no forgiveness of sins or salvation when there is no faith in the resurrection of Christ. . . .
So Thomas insists; he refuses to be saved, because he refuses to believe that Christ is risen."
I was happy to get this quotation. Recently the UOJ Stormtroopers have encountered excellent refutations of their folly - each time from laity who did this on their own and shared with me what they wrote.
That led me to consider one of the most worn-out excuses for UOJ, which is really circular reasoning of the worst kind.
The grossest expression comes from the timeless treasury of Tiefel, CLC (sic) bon vivant and theologian. He interviewed one of the troglodyte pioneers of his sect who said this about Universal Absolution - the key dogma of Universalism - "If it wasn't so, I would blow my brains out." See their "Hewn from the Rock" video, which should be renamed "Dredged from the Swamp of Enthusiasm."
I have noticed that the UOJ fanatics always want to take their dogma another step, as if to prove how pure their teaching is.
This is the common argument, repeated without end -
"I cannot believe unless I know I was already forgiven."
They connect this statement, drawn from the wells of Pietistic rationalism, to support the notion (LCMS Brief Statement; Ed Preuss, CFW Walther, David Valleskey, David Scaer) that God pronounced the world righteous when Christ died - or rose from the dead. They are not sure about the Moment of World Absolution. They are quite sure "everyone was saved 2000 years ago."
In fact, according to Ed Preuss and his acolytes, everyone is born forgiven.
The Big Distortion
The strangest aspect of this claim is its divorce from Scriptural teaching. They seize the basis and twist it into Universalism, which we can see in their jabbering about everyone being forgiven, even before repentance and confession, and their almost complete silence about the Means of Grace.
They also stutter and stammer about being forgiven absolutely and then being forgiven again when they believe the entire world is forgiven and saved without faith.
Christ did take on all the sins of the world and atone for them. He became all sin so that we might have His righteousness through faith. The Gospel is the Atonement message of the Holy Spirit, which is true whether anyone believes it or not.
The power of the efficacious Word is so great that those who are told of the Atonement believe this Gospel message and receive with joy the message of forgiveness. Likewise, those who waiver and doubt, after engaging in great and terrible sins, are strengthened to believe again in Christ's victory over sin, death, and the devil. But this does not happen without repentance and faith in the Gospel. Preaching, visiting, and counseling depend upon the objective truth of Christ dying for our sins, for all sins, for the trivial sins and the ones we imagine we can conquer, and especially for great and terrible sins.
Forgiveness of sin brings healing and power to resist temptation. UOJ tells people they are already forgiven, so they have no reason to repent or believe. Faith - the purpose of the Biblical proclamation - is reduced to agreeing with the rationalists of Halle University, as Walther taught so plainly and absurdly. There is no greater danger to sound doctrine than taking a slice of the truth and using it to promote apostasy from the Truth.