Unfortunately, he began with an UOJ statement - "God forgave the whole world."
Soon after - "God declared the whole world forgiven when Jesus rose from the dead." (Where is this found?)
Nevertheless, "there is no salvation apart from Jesus."
Straw man - "Faith is not a virtue that earns salvation."
I could not listen to Brenner's constant sing-song chant, the interweaving of UOJ propositions and Biblical statements which contradict these themes of Pietism - right from Knapp of Halle University.
I doubt whether anyone at Mequon is trained in theology. Brug got a PhD in Hebrew. Brenner was hired in church history and had to take a year of prep work at UW before he actually entered the doctoral program. Brenner may have finished, but it is a tradition in WELS not to finish a PhD, to stop after passing the written doctoral exams. According to Lawrenz, the dearth of PhDs in WELS comes from the brain drain, men leaving WELS for Missouri or worse, and the connection of intellect with the Protest'ant crisis. Their logic is superb - a dumb hedonist cannot possibly be an intellectual Pietist (since they call the Protest'ants "Pietists.")
Good and Bad
If WELS goes ahead with a study of the Book of Concord, that action will enable laity and a pastors to shred the remains of Kokomo UOJ Pietism.
When I listened to the hodge-podge at the beginning of Brenner's essay, I wondered, "Is this the faith that launched a thousand CGM programs, that toppled the topless towers of Milwaukee?"
I find it significant that none of this UOJ nonsense was found in SP Schroeder's report, and I listened to every word. But I did not wonder that the Shrinkers found a foothold in WELS and constantly united their UOJ blasphemy with Church Growth idiocy. A recent example was found in the fake Ichabod blog, where Valleskey and UOJ were featured as counterarguments to Lutheran orthodoxy. As far as I know, Valleskey and Bivens only pursued advanced studies at Fuller Seminary. Neither one published anything above the level of low comedy. NPH refused to print their New Life in Christ booklet.
Basic Errors of UOJ, Repeated Forever by Its Guard-dogs
- Grace is separated from the Means of Grace, which is the very definition of Enthusiasm, condemned roundly in the Book of Concord, all of Luther, and the subsequent Lutheran theologians. If the Holy Spirit is bound to the Word and Sacraments, there is no forgiveness apart from the Means of Grace.
- The double-justification scheme of Knapp (Halle University) is repeated without Biblical or Confessional support. Knapp was very influential in Germany and America, with his odious book in print (German and English) before Walther landed in Perry County and all through the 19th century. See the links on the left about UOJ. Walther came from Pietistic circles.
- Justification is confused and mingled with the Atonement/reconciliation. Scholars know--and many UOJ advocates concede--that justification without faith does not exist in the Scriptures or the Confessions. So UOJ Stormtroopers yell, "Calvinist!" when their Universalism is challenged. Their scheme is actually the bastard child of Calvinism, Enthusiasm, and Pietism.
Even if every speaker gave Lutheran essays, this UOJ issue would not be over. Nor would Shrinker ideology fade away on its own.
The Brenner essay reminds me of Vatican II commenting officially on Vatican I. The Church of Rome cannot admit to error. The Holy Spirit will not allow their indefectible, Holy Mother Church to make a mistake. So most Vatican officials would like to bury Vatican I in history, but they cannot deny the eternal truths of papal infallibility, Purgatory, and Mariolatry, etc.
WELS does not admit to giving birth to the Kokomo Statements. Three statement are almost verbatim from the infallible book of J. P. Meyer (who taught at Mequon, where no professor has ever erred, unless he joined the Protest'ants). The infallible Sig Becker admitted as much in his endorsement (with hesitation) of the Kokomo Statements. Nevertheless, WELS officially disowns the statements (on their website) which they embrace and Brenner repeated once again.
WELS blames the Kokomo Statements on the two families they kicked out of WELS for not agreeing to those statements. Yes, I was there in Kokomo years later, and got copies of both letters sent to the families. I spoke to both of them about their experiences. Mequon endorsed kicking them out, but just as I said earlier, tried hard to forget the incident. Panning (Panzer), who upheld Kokomo, did not sing the praises of UOJ when I was in his Romans class in 1988.
This reminds me of the Mormons changing their tune on the Atonement, not that I really believe the LDS. They used to attack the Atonement. Now Mormons believe in the Atonement, they claim. I see that as a way for many Mormons to get introduced to the Scriptures, which I have tried to do in many religion classes.
If the UOJ Stormtroopers want to blabber about the Means of Grace while teaching against the Means of Grace, they will introduce laity and pastors to a study which can only have a good conclusion if pursued honestly and persistently.
Knapp, Pietism, and UOJ
Some of us are just starting to pursue some leads about the origin of two justifications. I first mentioned the Pietistic seedbed of UOJ in Thy Strong Word, citing Hoenecke (who studied at Halle under Tholuck).
I suggest Googling terms and names but also going to Google Documents and Google Books for the same kind of search. GD will find the names in obscure books and highlight them. For example, I found a reference to George Christian Knapp (Mr. Two Justifications) in The Education of Philips Brooks, about a well known New England divine.
Here is the citation.
The point made is that Knapp (Halle University) was a Pietist and a very dull writer. Amen to both! He was not in harmony with Luther. Yes, I hear you brother.
And Knapp was used at Andover Seminary until 1898. That means the two justification book was being used as a text while the Synodical Conference was building a fence around their precious UOJ.
Dates to consider:
Woods (very prominent Protestant leader) translated Knapp into English, 1833.
C. F. W. Walther took credit for founding the LCMS 1847.
Knapp was still being used at Andover Seminary, 1898.
UOJ was made canonical in the Brief Statement of the LCMS, 1930.
Here is material on Tholuck the Universalist.
This paragraph establishes how influential Knapp was in America, at least in the view of one author:
"Now, to the bold assertion of Mr. Lecky, we shall oppose the assertion of Dr. George Christian Knapp; whose great, calm, judicial mind, as well as great learning and piety, has gained for him an enviable reputation in both the Old and the New Worlds, and from all sections of the Christian Church. Indeed, although a decided Arminian himself, his Theological Lectures have, for the benefit of theological students, been translated from the German by an eminent and learned Calvinistic divine ; an act which reflects equal honor on both the translator and the original author."
Here is an 1832 notice of the Knapp book being made available in English. Figures and institutions of Pietism are reverently highlighted in red - by me. Knapp was thoroughly trained in Pietism:
NOTICES OF NEW PUBLICATIONS.
"Lectures on Christian Theology, by
GEORGE CHRISTIAN KNAPP. Translated by
LEONARD WOODS, Jan., Abbot Resid. at the
Theol. Seminary in Andover, Mast., in two vol-
umei, vol. I. New York : published by G. & C.
& H. Carvill, 108, Broadway. Andover: printed
at the Codman Fress, by Flagg & Gould, 1831.
Dr. Knapp, late Professor at the University of Halle, was born at Glancha,in Halle, on the 17th of September, 1753, and received his early education in the Royal Paedagogium, one of the institutions of the pious Francke. At the age of 17, he entered the university at Halle, and attended the lectures of Semler, Noesselt and Gruner, with more than common success. The Bible was his great object of study, while the Latin and Greek classics still received a degree of attention which enabled him ever afterwards to adorn, enrich and illustrate from classical literature whatever he said or wrote in the department of Theological science. In 1774 he completed his course of study, and in 1775, after a short absence, he began to lecture, at Halle, with much success upon Cicero, the New Testament, and the more difficult portions of the Old Testament. He was appointed Prof. Extraordinary in 1777, and Prof. Ordinary in 1782. He then lectured in Exegesis, Church History, and in Jewish and Christian Antiquities.
On the death of Freylinghausen (1785), he and Niemeyer were appointed Directors of Francke's Institutes ; and continued jointly to superintend these establishments for more than 40 years. In the division of duties, the Bible and Missionary establishment fell to Dr. Knapp, which brought him into near connection with the Moravians. The lectures, of which this volume forms a part, he commenced during the summer of the same year. In consequence of illness, and the variety and extent of his other duties, he did not complete them, however, until 1789, when they were first read before a class of 186 students. He continued to lecture on Theology, until his death, to auditories no less numerous. Such was his popularity (notwithstanding his orthodox sentiments !) that when in 1825 he closed the 50th year of his connection with the theological faculty of the university, and the accustomed jubilee was held in his honor, the most flattering marks of affection and respect were poured upon him from every side. He died the 14th day of October, 1825, in the 73d year of his laborious life. At his request he was interred privately in his family tomb ; and in the public notices of his decease, nothing was to be said in his honor, except that he lived in the faith of these words, I know that my Redeemer liveth. The volume before us is an important addition to our helps in the department of Theology."
The Author of these Lectures appeared on the stage at the time when the theologians of Halle began to be " divided into different schools, according as they adhered more closely to the principles of Spener and Franke" (the founders of the University) " or fell in, either with the more ascetic, or the more free and liberal principles then prevailing."
But as historical truth demands it, we let the story be told by a later Halle professor, the eminent Professor Tholuck, whom no one can charge with prejudice against the school of Spener and Francke. "Pietism in Halle," says Professor Tholuck, " reached the summit of its power under Frederick William I. [1 713-40], the soldier king with the Christian soldier's heart, the particular patron of the Halle theological faculty. Under him was issued in 1729 the edict which was promulgated anew in 1736, according to which no Lutheran theologian should hold a position in the Prussian state who had not studied at least two years in Halle, and received a testimonial from the Halle faculty of being in a state of grace.
Gradually the nursery of piety was transformed into a nursery of rationalism. ' God's gifts descend not by inheritance;' this is proved also in the history of the Halle institutions. Every director had the right to chose his own successor; and yet with Ludwig Schultze and Niemeyer the direction passed gradually into the hands of rationalism. Under Baumgarten the interests of piety yielded to those of learning ; and through Semler, Gruner, Nosselt, and Niemeyer, rationalism became the prevalent theology. Only in George Christian Knapp a branch of the old Halle school remained, but reserved and timid, and without any extensive influence. At my [Tholuck's] entrance in Halle in 1826 I found still two citizens who traced their faith to this one deceased advocate of the old school among the clergy." This deterioration, however, was gradual.
Once again, the Unitarian-Universalists have donated a book to Harvard about Knapp, who agreed with them! Your precious advocate of Objective and Subjective Justification provided a historical argument for Unitarianism.
To this effect I will quote the authority of George Christian Knapp an eminent Trinitarian writer, whose " Lectures on Christian Theology," as translated by Leonard Woods, Jr., are a standard work with Trinitarian believers. After a full and learned discussion of the whole subject, he distinctly admits that it is " impossible to prove the agreement of the earliest Christian writers with the common Orthodox doctrine as established in the fourth century." Vol. I. pp. 294, 299, &c.
Tholuck was A. Hoenecke's mentor at Halle University, a school founded for Pietism by the leader of Pietism. That does not make Hoenecke a Universalist, but it helps illustrate why UOJ is just one step away from Universalism. Note what Jacobs said above about Pietism degenerating into rationalism.
Tholuck, though only in his twenty- first year, was commanded to fill the chasm, by delivering Lectures in the Exegesis of the Old Testament. In 1823, he was appointed to succeed the venerable George Christian Knapp, in the University of Halle, where " he maintains his standing with growing honour and usefulness."
One WELS DP claims that the UOJ leaders are not Universalists, but WELS ran a so-called evangelism campaign with this slogan: "I am saved, just like you." Grace without the Means of Grace = Enthusiasm, which leads to Universalism. That is a Universalist slogan, but WELS swallowed that lump of toxic leaven, too.
I have a church for the UOJ Universalists - right near my house.
Here it is.
"Love is the doctrine of our church;
The quest for truth is our holy rite;
And service is our prayer.
To dwell together in peace;
To seek knowledge in freedom;
To serve humankind in friendship;
Thus do we covenant."