Many clergy slowly become unbelievers - and apostates - by allowing the weeds of Mammon and career advancement to choke and smother what little faith they had in the beginning. The result is not unlike a weed-choked plant, which still lives beneath the aggressive weed's foliage but produces no fruit.
This happens overtly in the WELS abusive sect, because every parson has to be a Kokomo cheerleader to exist. Just as publicly supporting Rauschenbusch was rewarded in the mainline denominations, so is bowing to the errors of JP Meyers and Sig Becker recompensed in WELS. The stupider the essay, the more likely the apostate will be teaching at The Sausage Factor in Mequon - where faith dies among the lies.
The process is subtler in the LCMS, because they no longer make an issue of UOJ. Being a Bronze Age Missourian, with heart-felt loyaty to F. Pieper, is no longer a selling point, now that the Bronzies are dead or retired.
Instead, the same effect is created when a pastor is punished for being fanatical about the Confessions (he actually reads them) or unionism - not wanting to march robed with ELCA women pastors. The entire ELCA-Thrivent-LWF-UN con game is really a victory for UOJ. No one can have any faith, discernment, or conscience left to work with any of those entities, let alone all four.
I can imagine the synodical responses:
"Do you recall that we voted overwhelmingly to continue work with ELCA? The synod convention - the ultimate authority, far more authoritative than the Scriptures?"
"If we don't spend all that Thrivent money, then ELCA will get it. Do you want that, you legalist?"
"We decided a long time ago that we can work with others in LWF to send relief to the poor in the Third World. I suppose that grieves you."
"What? You are in favor of malaria? I would love to tell all the dying masses that one."
But - as Grampaw used to say - "Lie down with dawgs, git up with fleas." The clergy who remain in the same stall with false teachers soon partake of the same Universal Salivation - thirsting for every god but the One True God. They handle the same warm asphalt that builds the road to perdition and think their hands are not stained and reeking.
Does St. Paul Contradict Himself?
The UOJ stylists have abandoned Romans 4:25 completely, because too many people opened their Bibles and read Romans 4:24. Sorry. Some of them ventured to read all of Romans 4 and saw that the theme of that chapter was not justification without faith, but Abraham counted as righteous because of faith. Instead of UOJ being as ancient as Stonehenge, it was re-discovered in Genesis in that citation about Abraham - "he believed as it was counted as righteousness." Genesis 15:6
How can we believe that the Holy Spirit teaches justification by faith with utmost clarity in Romans 3 and 4, only to abandon that doctrine in favor of justification without faith in Romans 5 - if we only ignore Romans 5:1-2. The Mequon faculty is praying that you read Romans 5, minus the first two verses, with their guidance, of course.
Notify the NNIV committee, now meeting at the Gold Base of Scientology. They have a lot more additions and subtractions to make, in case people read past Romans 3.
Romans 10 KJV
Here is another major section of Paul's inspired writing that demolishes UOJ. For now I am skipping over their thread-bare rants about reconciliation and "the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world." I will get to them in a future post or two.
I would just like readers to consider Romans 10 and judge for themselves whether the dark shadowy dogmas of UOJ disappear completely in the bright light of that chapter.
Romans 10 follows Paul's lament in Romans 9 that his own Jewish people do not believe in Christ.
He disposed of righteousness through the Law and any other righteousness except the righteousness of faith. Note - there is no article in the Formula of Concord called Righteousness Without Faith, but there is a crucial article, III, on the Righteousness of Faith.
This chapter clearly shows the Order of Salvation, in reverse. To put it in ABC order -
- Preachers must first be sent. As Luther emphasized, the pastoral office is the Preaching-Office, not the Entertainment-Office, not the Sheep-Counting-Office, not the Synod-PR-Office.
- The Gospel must be preached, because faith comes from hearing the proclaimed Word.
- The only righteousness that saves is the righteousness of faith, the effect of preaching the efficacious Gospel.
- The Gospel is expressed in Isaiah 53 - who shall believe our report (sermon) - an vivid account of the atoning death of Christ, the purpose of His death, and our sinful weak souls being redeemed by His suffering.
- Those who call on the Name of the Lord will be saved, and that happens only through faith, which is created by preaching the Gospel. Christ is the end of the Law, for those who believe.
- This is the salvation message (10:1) that Paul brings to Jews and Gentiles.