Monday, October 11, 2010

Justification by Faith Alone - A Catechism

Design by Norma Boeckler

Q - Why study justification by faith?
A - Luther wrote that attacks against the Christian faith fall into three categories:

  • Against the divinity of Christ.

  • Against the humanity of Christ.

  • Against justification by faith.

    Q - What is justification?
    A - Justification is God's gracious declaration that an individual is forgiven all his sin through faith.

    Q - Is there another justification?
    A - No. The word justification and the verb to justify are used in the Scriptures only in the sense of justification by faith. Unless one is inventing new meanings, justification simply means justification by faith.

    Q - Why do some people talk about a General Justification, an Objective Justification, or a Universal Justification?
    A - All three terms come from Calvinistic influence in Lutheran Pietism. Following Knapp and others, Synodical Conference Lutherans began to speak of two justifications - one objective, the other subjective.

    Q - What does General, Objective, or Universal Objective Justification claim?
    A - The terms are used to claim falsely that God absolved the entire world, without the Word, without the Means of Grace, without faith - when Christ died on the cross, or alternately when He rose from the dead.

    Q - Where is this definition found?
    A - The Synodical Conference Brief Statement, 1932: "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..."

    Q - What are the implications of Universal Objective Justification?
    A - Every single person is a guilt-free saint, including Hitler, Mao, Stalin, the Hottentots, Hindu, Muslim, and those who died in the Flood.

    Q - How is Universal Objective Justification different from Universalism, the opinion that everyone is saved?
    A - In spite of claims to the contrary, the Wisconsin Synod has already had a campaign where posters said to the public, "You are saved - just like me." That is Universalism, universal salvation.

    Q - What do the Scriptures and Confessions teach about the crucifixion of Christ?
    A - They speak with one voice that Christ died for the sins of the world, so that no one would be tempted to think that any work was required of man to satisfy God.

    Q - Why is faith denounced as a work among UOJ adherents?
    A - They take their argument back to Calvinism, where the strict Calvinists disagreed with Arminians, who viewed faith a a virtue in man and also as their part of the transaction, fulfilling what God started.

    Q - Why is this a false accusation among Lutherans?
    A - The Book of Concord teaches in harmony with the Scriptures that faith is trust in the Word, a trust caused by the Holy Spirit working in the Word. Christ Himself extolled faith in individuals and rebuked His disciples' lack of faith - "O ye of little faith!"

    Q - How is an individual justified by faith?
    A - He becomes aware of his sinful nature and his inability to save himself through the preaching of the Law. Jesus identified this as convicting the world of its sin, "because they believe not on Me." John 16:8. The Holy Spirit works through the Promises of God in the Word to create and sustain faith, which receives the Gospel message of forgiveness and all its blessings.

    KJV John 16:8 And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 Of sin, because they believe not on Me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to My Father, and ye see Me no more; 11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

    Q - How does this grace of God come to people?
    A - God has given us the Means of Grace to convey His forgiveness to us.

    Q - What are the Means of Grace?
    A - We use this term to designate the invisible Word of preaching and teaching, the visible Word of Holy Baptism and Holy Communion.

    Q - Does the Holy Spirit ever work apart from the Word of God?
    A - No, that is the essence of Enthusiasm, divorcing the Holy Spirit from the Word. Enthusiasm is the basis for all false doctrine, all false religion.

    Q - Where can this work of the Holy Spirit through the Word be found?
    A - Isaiah 55:8-10

    KJV Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: 11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

    Q - How can UOJ be defined as false doctrine?
    A -

  • First, UOJ speaks of grace (universal forgiveness) without the Means of Grace.

  • Second, UOJ attacks the ministry of the Word through Enthusiasm and the substitution of gimmicks and marketing.

  • Third, UOJ confuses the atoning death of Christ with justification by faith.

  • Fourth, UOJ neutralizes the concept of sin, starting with their extolling of unbelief and ending with their absolving of any and all crimes - without repentance or faith.

    Q - Was not Jesus "raised for our justification," showing that His resurrection is the absolution of the world, as C. F. W. Walther preached?
    A - The Romans passage is about justification by faith, as the context shows:

    KJV Romans 4:22 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.

    Abraham is the father of faith in the entire chapter, which transitions from 4:25 to this declaration:

    KJV Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

  • Q - Why do UOJ advocates use reconciliation in 2 Corinthians 5 to prove the universal absolution?
    A - Calvin's rationalism has had a lasting, damaging effect on Lutherans via Pietism. One proof of that impact is the transition of Pietism to pure rationalism in one generation, at Halle University, the home of Pietism, and in denominations like the ELCA.

    Human reason tells them that if Christ became sin on the cross, then man became righteous at the same moment, although they disagree about the timing of their illusion. Some make it the moment of His death, because He said "It is finished." Some make the Moment of Absolution His resurrection, because Walther said so.

    Q - What has UOJ done for the Synodical Conference?
    A - By creating an inroad for Pietism, Enthusiasm, and Unionism, UOJ has justified beating a path to Fuller Seminary, Willow Creek, Mars Hill, and Life Church. Those disgusted with Entertainment Evangelism have felt comfortable in joining Rome or Eastern Orthodoxy for Entertaining Worship.

    Q - What has UOJ done for the Sunday service?
    A - The Pietism of UOJ destroys the liturgy, preaching, hymn singing, and the confessions.