A Statement on Justification from the ACLC

A while back, the Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America adopted a statement on the doctrine of justification that decisively rejected the teaching of objective/subjective justification – which had been an earmark of the “Synodical Conference” tradition of Lutheranism. The pastors of the Association of Confessional Lutheran Congregations, which up until now has been in fellowship with the ELDoNA, have now prepared a formal theological response to the ELDoNA document, which is available on the ACLC website. I am not a member of, or a spokesperson for, the ACLC, so I would not expect to be discussing their document very much in this forum. But since their document does address a subject that I have discussed on this blog in the past (here and here), and since those previous posting garnered quite a bit of discussion among the readers of this blog, I thought that it would be of interest to those readers also to made aware of these developments, and of the ACLC document.


Comments

A Statement on Justification from the ACLC — 289 Comments

  1. Jim, and my encouragement to you is that in emphasizing Objective Justification you would be careful not to fall into the type of error that Luther speaks of re Karlstadt here:

    “If I now seek the forgiveness of sins, I do not run to the cross, for I will not find it given there. Nor must I hold to the suffering of Christ as Dr. Karlstadt trifles, in knowledge or remembrance, for I will not find it there either. But I will find in the sacrament or the gospel the
    word which distributes, presents, offers, and gives to me that forgiveness which was won on the cross.” (AE 40:214)

  2. @Pr. Jim Schulz #2

    Pr Schulz, may I ask some questions about the quotation of Luther you used from AE 40:214?

    1. The quotation says, “forgiveness which was won on the cross.” Was forgiveness won on the cross? If not, isn’t that text in error? If so, isn’t the forgiveness won there objective, that is to say, outside of me?

    2. The quotation says, the sacrament or the gospel “distributes, presents, offers, and gives” the forgiveness won on the cross. What forgiveness? How is a forgiveness that does not exist distributed, presented, offered, or given? Does it arise by operation of the distribution?

    3. Isn’t this quotation a curb against a kind of Enthusiasm, in which, without the means of the Word and Sacrament, on just knowing or remembering the cross or the sufferings of Christ, without the benefits of the cross being delivered through means, one finds forgiveness? How, then, is the text intended as a rejection of objective and universal justification? Does rejection of Enthusiasm per se reject UOJ? How?

    4. Where does faith enter into the quotation? I don’t see Luther saying, don’t seek forgiveness in thoughts on the cross or Christ’s suffering, but seek forgiveness in faith. I see him saying, seek forgiveness in the means, since that is where the forgiveness already won on the cross is delivered.

    One of the troubles I am having with the arguments against UOJ is that they seem to say faith creates forgiveness rather than that faith receives forgiveness. Don’t the arguments make forgiveness contingent upon faith in such a way that forgiveness does not exist until faith does? So then, to what does faith cling, other than its own power to create forgiveness? Doesn’t faith have to cling to something besides itself?

    This comment Copyright © 2014 Synoptic Text Information Services, Inc.

  3. T.R. Halvorson, I believe Luther is echoing what the Confessions say here:

    “Also, we reject and condemn the error of the Enthusiasts, who imagine that God without means, without the hearing of God’s Word, also without the use of the holy Sacraments, draws men to Himself, and enlightens, justifies, and saves them.” (Epitome II:13)

    and here:

    “Therefore we ought and must constantly maintain this point, that God does not wish to deal with us otherwise than through the spoken Word and the Sacraments. It is the devil himself whatsoever is extolled as Spirit without the Word and Sacraments.” (Smalcald Articles III VIII 10-11)

    Prof. Marquart I think speaks in a similar way as Luther: “No one actually has forgiveness unless and until he receives it by faith.”

    Faith doesn’t create forgiveness, it receives it through Word and Sacrament.

  4. @Pr. Jim Schulz #4

    Pr. Schulz,

    Your comments here are concerning. Nobody in this thread, except for those against objective justification raising strawmen, has argued that an individual receives or has forgiveness of sins apart from faith. For anyone to imply that those holding to objective justification teach as much would be dishonest.

    Objective justification is regarding God’s action towards Christ. God condemns the sins of the whole world in Christ and in response to Christ’s perfect sacrifice God raises Him from the dead for our justification. It is only because of this action towards Christ that God can act towards mankind and offer through the means of grace the forgiveness of sins won by Christ. Indeed, the encouragement you offered above concerning enthusiasm should really be given to those who reject objective justification.

    And make no mistake about it, Marquart taught objective and subjective justification. He preferred the terms “general justification” and “personal justification” but didn’t object to those who used “objective justification” and “subjective justification” just so long as they mean with those terms what we Lutherans confess with those distinctions. (See for example Marquart’s comments here.)

  5. And Jim, just as you said: “Nobody in this thread, … has argued that an individual receives or has forgiveness of sins apart from faith. For anyone to imply that those holding to objective justification teach as much would be dishonest.”

    So I say it would be dishonest to imply that those holding to the traditional way of speaking of justification are arguing that forgiveness is not an “actual/real” forgiveness until faith is added to it.

    We both agree, don’t we, that justification is by faith alone?

  6. Pr. Jim Schulz :
    So I say it would be dishonest to imply that those holding to the traditional way of speaking of justification are arguing that forgiveness is not an “actual/real” forgiveness until faith is added to it.?

    I implied nothing of the sort. I certainly asked you direct questions in order to clarify what it was you had stated.

    Now I am done with this discussion. Good night.

  7. Jim, just as I didn’t imply that you believe an “individual receives or has forgiveness of sins apart from faith.” I am saying that an emphasis on Objective Justification without an equal emphasis on Subjective Justification can lead to the misunderstanding that an individual is justified whether they believe it or not.

  8. @Pr. Jim Schulz #4

    Thank you for your reply. It answered a couple of the questions, and not in a way that strengthened the opposition to UOJ.

    Were you hoping to have time in a follow-up comment to answer the other questions?

    This comment Copyright © 2014 Synoptic Text Information Services, Inc

  9. T.R., to your questions:

    1. Was forgiveness won on the cross?

    A: Yes.

    If so, isn’t the forgiveness won there objective, that is to say, outside of me?

    A: Yes.

    2. The quotation says, the sacrament or the gospel “distributes, presents, offers, and gives” the forgiveness won on the cross. What forgiveness?

    A: The forgiveness won by Christ on the cross.

    How is a forgiveness that does not exist distributed, presented, offered, or given? Does it arise by operation of the distribution?

    A: Forgiveness exists, therefore it can be distributed, etc.

    3. Isn’t this quotation a curb against a kind of Enthusiasm, in which, without the means of the Word and Sacrament, on just knowing or remembering the cross or the sufferings of Christ, without the benefits of the cross being delivered through means, one finds forgiveness?

    A: Yes.

    How, then, is the text intended as a rejection of objective and universal justification? Does rejection of Enthusiasm per se reject UOJ? How?

    A: The text is a warning against emphasizing Objective Justification over Subjective Justification because justification only takes place through the means of grace. Definitions of Objective Justification without Subjective Justification that I have heard say that all people are are justified/forgiven whether they believe it or not. Therefore, because of an uneven emphasis of OJ over SJ, some say what the church needs to emphasize more is the fact that people are already forgiven at the cross and not so much through the means of grace.

    4. Where does faith enter into the quotation? I don’t see Luther saying, don’t seek forgiveness in thoughts on the cross or Christ’s suffering, but seek forgiveness in faith. I see him saying, seek forgiveness in the means, since that is where the forgiveness already won on the cross is delivered.

    A: I agree.

    One of the troubles I am having with the arguments against UOJ is that they seem to say faith creates forgiveness rather than that faith receives forgiveness. Don’t the arguments make forgiveness contingent upon faith in such a way that forgiveness does not exist until faith does?

    A: No. Faith receives an objective forgiveness won by Christ on the cross.

    So then, to what does faith cling, other than its own power to create forgiveness? Doesn’t faith have to cling to something besides itself?

    A: Faith clings to, or in the words of the Confessions, faith “lays hold of and accepts Christ’s merit in the promise of the Holy Gospel.” Solid Declaration III:13.

  10. T. R. Halvorson :
    Pr Schulz, may I ask some questions about the quotation of Luther you used from AE 40:214?
    2. The quotation says, the sacrament or the gospel “distributes, presents, offers, and gives” the forgiveness won on the cross. What forgiveness? How is a forgiveness that does not exist distributed, presented, offered, or given? Does it arise by operation of the distribution?
    This comment Copyright © 2014 Synoptic Text Information Services, Inc.

    T. R. Halvorson :
    4. Where does faith enter into the quotation? I don’t see Luther saying, don’t seek forgiveness in thoughts on the cross or Christ’s suffering, but seek forgiveness in faith. I see him saying, seek forgiveness in the means, since that is where the forgiveness already won on the cross is delivered.
    One of the troubles I am having with the arguments against UOJ is that they seem to say faith creates forgiveness rather than that faith receives forgiveness. Don’t the arguments make forgiveness contingent upon faith in such a way that forgiveness does not exist until faith does? So then, to what does faith cling, other than its own power to create forgiveness? Doesn’t faith have to cling to something besides itself?
    This comment Copyright © 2014 Synoptic Text Information Services, Inc.

    Jim Pierce
    February 18th, 2014 at 16:28 | #36
    “Just like the Devil himself, you twist the comfort of the Gospel as found in 2 Corinthians 5:19 into the evil doctrine that we must look inside ourselves for faith before we can know that God is at peace with us. You, Mr. Meyer, are a wolf hiding in sheep’s clothing.”

    Sven Wagschal expressing UOJ’s teaching concerning faith
    February 17th, 2014 at 08:10 | #14
    “It must be noted at this point that faith has no worth of its own”

    Jim Pierce
    February 18th, 2014 at 15:39 | #33
    “The Scriptural truth is that our sins are really forgiven prior to our ever having faith.”

    Christian Book of Concord:
    67] Concerning what is needful furthermore for the proper explanation of this profound and chief article of justification before God, upon which depends the salvation of our souls, we direct, and for the sake of brevity herewith refer, every one to Dr. Luther’s beautiful and glorious exposition of the Epistle of St. Paul to the Galatians.
    http://bookofconcord.org/sd-righteousness.php

    Martin Luther Galatians Commentary:
    “As before said, they regard faith of slight importance; for they do not understand that it is our sole justifier. To accept as true the record of Christ–this they call faith. The devils have the same sort of faith, but it does not make them godly. Such belief is not Christian faith; no, it is rather deception.”

    “You see how they make faith of no value to themselves, and so must regard as heresy all doctrine based upon it. Thus they do away with the whole Gospel. These are they who deny the Christian faith and exterminate it from the world. Paul prophesied concerning them when he said (1 Tim 4, 1): “In later times some shall fall away from the faith.” The voice of faith is now silenced all over the world. Indeed, faith is condemned and banished as the worst heresy, and all who teach and endorse it are condemned with it. The Pope, the bishops, charitable institutions, cloisters, high schools, unanimously opposed it for nearly four hundred years, and simply drove the world violently into hell. Their conduct is the real persecution by Antichrist, in the last times.”

    “Note, faith justifies the individual; faith is justification. Because of faith God remits all sins, and forgives the old Adam and the Cain in our nature, for the sake of Christ his beloved Son, whose name faith represents.”

    “You cannot extricate yourself from unbelief, nor can the Law do it for you. All your works in intended fulfilment of the Law must remain works of the Law and powerless to justify in the sight of God, who regards as just only believing children.”
    http://www.trinitylutheranms.org/MartinLuther/MLSermons/Galatians4_1_7.html

  11. If you do not understand me, do not quote me. By your quote you are shown to be a lier and a slanderer. Learn to read and to understand.

    But you are blind, and I fear, it is a sign of your damnation.

  12. But you are blind, and I fear, it is a sign of your damnation.

    Does this mean our justification depends on our correct understanding of UOJ? Thanks.

  13. No. It depends alone on our understanding of Christ, of who he is and what he did, does and will do to us.

    But someone like him who constantly is unable to listen to what is explained, and instead malignly distorts what others have said to falsely accuse them, show signs of a hardening which, I pray, is not a hardening from God himself.

  14. Pr. Jim Schulz :
    Jim, just as I didn’t imply that you believe an “individual receives or has forgiveness of sins apart from faith.” I am saying that an emphasis on Objective Justification without an equal emphasis on Subjective Justification can lead to the misunderstanding that an individual is justified whether they believe it or not.

    That “individual’s” sins are forgiven as a result of the atonement – whether they believe it or not. Therefore that individual is justified – whether they believe it or not. You speak as though forgiveness and justification mean different things. Forgiveness is justification. If the individual does not believe, they are condemned by their unbelief – they have rejected God’s decree – they call God a liar – they reap what they have sown.
    It seems that you are muddling with terms trying to harmonize what is true with what is false.

  15. Dave Schumacher, although both involve forgiveness, the atonement is not the same thing as justification. The atonement is forgiveness acquired for the world. Justification is forgiveness received by the individual through faith through the means of grace.

  16. Sven Wagschal :No. It depends alone on our understanding of Christ, of who he is and what he did, does and will do to us.
    But someone like him who constantly is unable to listen to what is explained, and instead malignly distorts what others have said to falsely accuse them, show signs of a hardening which, I pray, is not a hardening from God himself.

    When a verbatim quote is regarded as slander – I would spend more time considering what you are writing.

    Truth is that when clergy, professors and laity defend the doctrine of Universal Objective Justification there is no possible way to avoid inconsistencies and contradictions. It is the nature of the doctrine.

  17. @Pr. Jim Schulz #18
    You have illustrated my point.
    I did not say that the atonement is the same thing as justification. The result of the atonement IS forgiveness. Forgiveness IS justification.

  18. @Pr. Jim Schulz #12

    Thank you for being thorough and direct. It really helps.

    We had some agreement developing. We were agreeing that forgiveness was won on the cross. We were agreeing that the forgiveness won on the cross exists already before it is received. We were agreeing that the already-existing forgiveness is distributed through the means of grace. We were agreeing that faith, created by the means of grace, receives forgiveness, a forgiveness that already exists and faith does not create.

    But then you said, the previously quoted text of Luther “is a warning against emphasizing Objective Justification over Subjective Justification because justification only takes place through the means of grace.”

    Whereas we had the terms won, exists, distributed, and received, that last statement introduces a new term, “takes place.” This might or might not be a point of difference, depending on what it means. By this term do you mean that justification does not exist until it is distributed? Where does “takes place” fit amongst won, exists, distributed, and received?

    It could mean something wonderful, if its actual words are what you mean, that is, if place is what it takes. Place does sound like the difference between objective and subjective. A place outside me is objective. A place within me is subjective. In other words, if justification exists already, and then when forgiveness is received through the means of grace, then forgiveness takes place in the saint, which is subjective justification, and that’s what “takes place” means, we might have made some headway. When the means of grace deliver forgiveness that already exists and create the faith to receive it, then a saint is justified by faith, in that sense of the word “by.” That sense of the word excludes “by works.”

    But a faith that creates forgiveness is a work and teaching such withdraws the Gospel from the people. It puts on them an impossible law to believe, which is just the bricks they have no straw to make. “I believe that I cannot believe.” Let’s not turn Christ into Pharaoh.

    This comment Copyright © 2014 Synoptic Text Information Services, Inc.

  19. @Brett Meyer #13

    Thank you for replying to some of my remarks to Pr. Jim Schulz.

    But, that skips past the questions I posed to you, which were, what is your understanding of how Luther dealt with the rival theories of the atonement, penal substitution on the one hand, and Christus Victor on the other, and how do you trace from there to your idea of justification?

    Sticking with the line you and I were on is, I believe, the better route to zeroing in on exactly where we agree and do not agree, to identify the fruitful areas of discussion, and redeem time from what otherwise would be just circling, avoiding, and talking without engaging.

    This comment Copyright © 2014 Synoptic Text Information Services, Inc.

  20. T.R. Halvorson, when I say justification “takes place” through the means of grace, I mean it in the way Prof. Marquart explained it: “No one actually has forgiveness unless and until he receives it by faith.”

  21. Dave Schumacher :@Pr. Jim Schulz #18 You have illustrated my point.I did not say that the atonement is the same thing as justification. The result of the atonement IS forgiveness. Forgiveness IS justification.

    And since Scripture and the Christian Book of Concord confirm:

    That Christ is our Mediator and Propitiation only through the gracious gift of faith in Christ alone…

    That God’s wrath and condemnation over sin is only mediated by Christ through the gracious gift of faith in Christ alone…

    That God’s grace upon, and acceptance of, an individual is only through the gracious gift of faith in Christ alone…

    That reconciliation with God through Christ occurs only through the gracious gift of faith in Christ alone…

    That men are justified solely by the gracious gift of faith in Christ alone…

    Men are not considered by God to be forgiven, justified, except through the gracious gift of faith in Christ alone.

  22. Dave Schumacher, my mistake. I’m glad you are saying that the atonement is not the same thing as justification. However, the Confessions don’t allow for an understanding of justification where because both the atonement and justification include forgiveness that therefore an “individual is justified – whether they believe it or not.” Justification must always include faith (cf. Solid Declaration III:25). Or, to use the OJ/SJ terminology: SJ must be taught with OJ. The two go together, they must not be separated.

  23. @Pr. Jim Schulz #23

    “No one actually has forgiveness unless and until he receives it by faith.”

    So, “takes place” means “receives”? Or, “takes place” means “actually has”?
    By this does Prof Marquart mean that forgiveness does not exist until someone receives it by faith, until someone has it?

    This comment Copyright © 2014 Synoptic Text Information Services, Inc.

  24. In Col 2:15, are the disarming, triumph, and spectacle contingent upon someone having faith? Were the principalities and powers able to say, while being dragged along behind Christ’s chariot in his victory parade, “Not so fast Jesus, not until someone believes?”

    What is the connection between verse 15 and the one before it, verse 14, “having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross?” Was the Judge able to say concerning the wiping out of the verdict, “Not so fast, Advocate, not until someone believes?”

    What connection did Luther make between them?

    This comment Copyright © 2014 Synoptic Text Information Services, Inc.

  25. Brett Meyer :
    When a verbatim quote is regarded as slander – I would spend more time considering what you are writing.
    Truth is that when clergy, professors and laity defend the doctrine of Universal Objective Justification there is no possible way to avoid inconsistencies and contradictions. It is the nature of the doctrine.

    More nonsense and rubbish. The verbatim quote means nothing, because the post you are alluding to says quite the opposite from what you are dreaming. By quoting out of context you twist my words to the exact opposite. Everyone but you can see that. But I know, you cannot or will not understand it.

    The post #14 on page 2 speaks of the worth of faith, wherein this worth lies, by whom faith gets its worth, and so on. It says the same as the Formula of Concord:

    “10 These treasures are brought to us by the Holy Spirit in the promise of the Holy Gospel. Faith alone is the only means through which we lay hold on, accept, apply, and take them for ourselves. 11 This faith is God’s gift [Ephesians 2:8–9], by which we truly learn to know Christ, our Redeemer, in the Word of the Gospel and trust in Him. We trust that for the sake of His obedience alone we have the forgiveness of sins by grace, are regarded as godly and righteous by God the Father, and are eternally saved. 12 Therefore, it is considered and understood to be the same thing when Paul says (a) we are “justified by faith” (Romans 3:28) or (b) “faith is counted as righteousness” (Romans 4:5) and when he says (c) “by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:19) or (d) “so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men” (Romans 5:18).
    13 Faith justifies not because it is such a good work or because it is so beautiful a virtue. It justifies because it lays hold of and accepts Christ’s merit in the promise of the Holy Gospel. For this merit must be applied and become ours through faith, if we are to be justified by it. 14 Therefore, the righteousness that is credited to faith or to the believer out of pure grace is Christ’s obedience, suffering, and resurrection, since He has made satisfaction for us to the Law and paid for ‹expiated› our sins. ”

    McCain, P. T. (Ed.). (2005). Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions (pp. 537–538). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. SD III, 10

    Luther in his great commentary on Galatians fights against those deny that we are justified by faith alone, because in their view faith is without worth if it is not perfected by love (fides caritate formata). This is just another form of self-righteousness. In contrast to the papists Luther points out that faith in Christ is enough for our justification, our works cannot do or complete anything in this regard.

    Your slanderous post above is fallacy by equivocation. Using the same words Luther and I are talking about different things.

    You are slandering me! (And others, too.) You are a lier and deceiver. Repent and learn to read so that you may understand what people are talking of.

  26. T.R. Halvorson, since Marquart is no longer around to explain whether or not he means forgiveness does not exist until someone receives it by faith, I will take his “has” to mean “has.”

    has [haz; unstressed huhz, uhz] verb
    a 3rd person singular present indicative of have.

    have [hav; unstressed huhv, uhv; for 26 usually haf]
    verb (used with object), present singular 1st person have, 2nd have or ( Archaic ) hast, 3rd has or ( Archaic ) hath, present plural have; past singular 1st person had, 2nd had or (Archaic ) hadst or had·dest, 3rd had, past plural had; past participle had; present participle hav·ing.

    1. to possess; own; hold for use; contain: He has property. The work has an index.
    2. to hold, possess, or accept in some relation, as of kindred or relative position: He wanted to marry her, but she wouldn’t have him.
    3. to get, receive, or take: to have a part in a play; to have news.
    4. to experience, undergo, or endure, as joy or pain: Have a good time. He had a heart attack last year.
    5. to hold in mind, sight, etc.: to have doubts.

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/has

  27. @Pr. Jim Schulz #29

    You used “has” to define “takes place.” Then you offer a dictionary definition of “has” that does not relate it to “takes place,” and thereby have not accepted the invitation to illuminate what “has” means in relation to “takes place.”

    This is the point where engagement ceases and circling begins. Do you wish to circle, or engage? Otherwise, you and I are only pouring ourselves down the sinkhole of avoidance.

    This comment Copyright © 2014 Synoptic Text Information Services, Inc.

  28. @Brett Meyer #24

    Please frame your comments around 2 Peter 2:1 and show how they support the passage.

    “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.”

  29. @Pr. Jim Schulz #29

    @T. R. Halvorson #30

    Gentlemen,

    I quoted Dr. Marquart in an earlier comment above ours which deals directly with what he may have meant with “has.”

    “If all sins of all men have been truly and successfully expiated by Christ, then forgiveness is more than a possibility. The world’s sin has been decisively dealt with, and in that sense forgiveness is an accomplished fact. Luther therefore can have no hesitation in trans­lating the participles in 2 Corinthians 5:19 as if they were finite verbs: “For God was in Christ, and reconciled the world with Himself, and did not impute to them their sins ….” For Luther as for the New Testament (note the equation of “redemption” and “forgiveness” in Colossians 1:14 and the aorists and perfect in Colossians 2:13-15) forgiveness, that is, cancellation of sin, or the change from divine wrath to divine grace, “has happened” in a way in which it has not happened either for Roman Catholicism or for Calvinism. ”

    Notice that Marquart states “The world’s sin has been decisively dealt with, and in that sense forgiveness is an accomplished fact.” Marquart also writes,

    “It is very clear here that forgiveness, in the form of the absolution, exists before and independently of faith, and creates or gives birth to it. Forgiveness or absolution (that is, the Gospel itself) creates faith; faith merely receives or accepts forgiveness. Absolution can exist without faith (although its benefits of course go to waste unless faith receives them), but faith cannot exist without absolution.”
    http://ctsfw.net/media/pdfs/MarquartReformationRootsofObjectiveJustification.pdf

    I find what Dr. Marquart writes compelling, showing that the world has been forgiven of all its sins and that forgiveness “exists before and independently of faith, and creates or gives birth to it.” This idea that Dr. Marquart did not teach a general justification (objective justification) is nonsense.

  30. @T. R. Halvorson #34

    No, here:

    Brett Meyer :@T. R. Halvorson #38
    I confess that in regards to God’s Word and the unified doctrine revealed in Holy Scripture there is no such thing as a theory.
    Definition of theory: a supposition or a system of ideas intended to explain something, esp. one based on general principles independent of the thing to be explained.
    UOJ is promoted and defended via contradictory teachings while excusing the contradictions by calling all doctrine concepts with words that flex in meaning depending on the interpretation of the individual but inconsistent with God’s singular Word.
    T.R., is there some part of the atonement revealed in Scripture that you find to be inconclusive and a mere idea or theory?

    In regards to Marquart and his confession of UOJ – no surpise that I disagree with him based on the Scriptural and Confessional quotes provided in this discussion – but I did find interesting his favorable quote of a liberal Roman Catholic in his defense of faithless forgiveness.

    3. The Biblical Basis of “Objective/Subjective Justification”
    Rather than rehash “in-house” exegesis, let us look at the relevant biblical material as
    displayed by Hans Kueng, a world-class, liberal Roman Catholic New Testament scholar,
    who stands entirely outside any and all Lutheran debates.
    Page 4
    http://www.angelfire.com/ny4/djw/lutherantheology.marquartjustification.html

  31. T.R. what I mean by “takes place” is “has” which means “receive, possess, own.”

  32. @Brett Meyer #35

    That is not an answer saying how Luther dealt with penal substitution and Christus Victor. That’s just a quibble with my use of the word “theory” and hence a disengagement from the discussion, retreating into circling and avoiding.

    Maybe I should have used the word Aulen uses, “idea,” or yet some third, fourth, or fifth word, such as understanding, explanation, or teaching. There is a right word, even if I don’t know what it is, and my selection of the wrong word did not consign to nonbeing Luther’s dealing with the two things.

    Do you contend that, since I applied the word “theories” to penal substitution and Christus Victor, and since there are no theories, therefore Luther did not deal with these two things?

    How did he deal with them? How do you trace from what he said about that to justification? This is the third time I’ve asked.

    This comment Copyright © 2014 Synoptic Text Information Services, Inc.

  33. @Pr. Jim Schulz #36

    Thank you for your patience, and for that answer. It does tie up the loose ends in my understanding of what you are saying.

    You and I have been careful enough and thorough enough in our communication for me now to draw some conclusions about whether to be persuaded of your position. I can’t be.

    In your position, there is nothing to believe, nothing for the Sacraments to deliver, nothing to be received by faith, nothing to be proclaimed. The terminology of truth is used, but with different meanings.

    This comment Copyright © 2014 Synoptic Text Information Services, Inc.

  34. In case some reading the comments here do not know the LCMS position on objective justification, please read the PDF titled “Theses on Justification” which can be found on the page linked here. I quote the relevant section below.

    VI THE UNIVERSAL AND FINISHED RESULTS OF CHRIST’S WORK OF OBEDIENCE

    19. Christ is the Savior of all. This means that the whole world of sinners has been redeemed, forgiven, and reconciled to God in Him. (Rom. 3:24-25; 5:10; 2 Cor. 5:19; 1 Tim. 4:10; Heb. 9:28; Ap IV, 103; XXIV, 22-24; FC SD III, 57; XI, 15)

    It is contrary to Scripture and the pure Gospel to teach:

    That it is improper to speak of God being reconciled to man;

    That we can only speak of man being reconciled to God by man’s repentance or change of heart;

    That God has redeemed but not reconciled the world.

    20. God has accepted the vicarious offering and sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ, in
    whom therefore God is propitiated and reconciled with all sinners, so that for Christ’s
    sake God’s wrath against all sinners has been and remains stilled, and Satan, sin,
    death, and hell have been and are conquered. (Rom. 5:18; Col. 2:14-15; 1 Thess. 1:10;
    Heb. 7:27, 10:12; 1 John 2:2; AC III, 3; Ap XXIV, 22-24; FC SD XI, 28)

    It is contrary to Scripture and the pure Gospel to teach:

    That God’s acceptance of His Son’s perfect sacrifice does not have as its
    necessary concomitant the propitiation of His wrath against all sinners.

    21. Complete and perfect righteousness and forgiveness have been acquired for all
    sinners. (Ps. 130:4; Rom. 5:18; 1 Cor. 1:30; Heb. 10:12, 18; Ap IV, 103; LC II, 38; FC
    Ep III, 3; V, 5; FC SD III, 30, 57)

    22. God, by raising His Son from the dead, has justified Him, declared Him to be the
    Righteous One, and in Him (i e , for the sake of His finished work of obedience and
    satisfaction) has declared (as proclaimed in the Gospel), or reckoned, the whole world
    to be righteous. (Rom. 3:24; 4:25; 5:18-19; 2 Cor. 5:19-21; Ap IV, 40-41; SA II, i, 1-3)
    It is contrary to Scripture and the pure Gospel to teach:

    That forgiveness of sins and justification for all have not been declared by God
    when He raised His Son from the dead, but have merely been acquired or made
    a possibility through Christ’s atonement.

    23. By “objective” or “universal” justification one means that God has declared the
    whole world to be righteous for Christ’s sake and that righteousness has thus been
    procured for all people. It is objective because this was God’s unilateral act prior to and
    in no way dependent upon man’s response to it, and universal because all human
    beings are embraced by this verdict. God has acquired the forgiveness of sins for all
    people by declaring that the world for Christ’s sake has been forgiven. The acquiring of
    forgiveness is the pronouncement of forgiveness. (Rom. 3:24; 4:25; 5:19; 2 Cor. 5:19-21; Ap IV, 40-41; SA II, i, 1-3; FC Ep V, 5; FC SD XI, 15)

    It is contrary to Scripture and the pure Gospel to teach:

    That God’s acquisition and establishment of forgiveness in objective justification is a conditional verdict, depending on faith or any other human response or activity;

    That it is not Biblical to speak of “objective justification.”

    Note: * Definitions in part II are preliminary to the material in the remainder of the document
    and should be cross-referenced with more detailed statements in the later theses. For
    example, theses 5 and 6 are elaborated in theses 19-22.

  35. Jim Pierce :In case some reading the comments here do not know the LCMS position on objective justification, please read the PDF titled “Theses on Justification” which can be found on the page linked here. I quote the relevant section below.
    VI THE UNIVERSAL AND FINISHED RESULTS OF CHRIST’S WORK OF OBEDIENCE
    19. Christ is the Savior of all. This means that the whole world of sinners has been redeemed, forgiven, and reconciled to God in Him. (Rom. 3:24-25; 5:10; 2 Cor. 5:19; 1 Tim. 4:10; Heb. 9:28; Ap IV, 103; XXIV, 22-24; FC SD III, 57; XI, 15)
    It is contrary to Scripture and the pure Gospel to teach:
    That it is improper to speak of God being reconciled to man;

    BOC: ”there must be faith in Christ by which we are reconciled to God and first obtain the remission of sin.”
    BOC: ”58] … because for Christ’s sake we have a sure and firm reconciliation, if you believe, even though sin inhere in your flesh.”
    BOC: ”61]… because by faith alone we receive remission of sins and reconciliation”
    http://bookofconcord.org/defense_5_love.php

    Jim Pierce :
    It is contrary to Scripture and the pure Gospel to teach:
    That we can only speak of man being reconciled to God by man’s repentance or change of heart;
    That God has redeemed but not reconciled the world.

    BOC: Of 114] this faith Scripture speaks. And because it receives the remission of sins, and reconciles us to God, by this faith we are [like Abraham] accounted righteous for Christ’s sake
    http://www.bookofconcord.org/defense_4_justification.php

    Jim Pierce :
    20. God has accepted the vicarious offering and sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ, inwhom therefore God is propitiated and reconciled with all sinners, so that for Christ’ssake God’s wrath against all sinners has been and remains stilled, and Satan, sin,death, and hell have been and are conquered. (Rom. 5:18; Col. 2:14-15; 1 Thess. 1:10;Heb. 7:27, 10:12; 1 John 2:2; AC III, 3; Ap XXIV, 22-24; FC SD XI, 28)

    Romans 3:23-26, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousess for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”
    BOC: “The wrath of God cannot be appeased if we set against it our own works, because Christ has been set forth as a Propitiator, so that for His sake, the Father may become reconciled to us. But Christ is not apprehended as a Mediator except by faith.
    BOC: “But Christ is not apprehended as a Mediator except by faith.”
    http://www.bookofconcord.org/defense_4_justification.php

    Jim Pierce :
    It is contrary to Scripture and the pure Gospel to teach:
    That God’s acceptance of His Son’s perfect sacrifice does not have as itsnecessary concomitant the propitiation of His wrath against all sinners.

    Refer to Romans 3:23-26 above showing Christ is only apprehended as propitiation against God’s wrath over sin through faith alone.
    BOC: Paul on the contrary, teaches that we have access, i.e., reconciliation, through Christ. And to show how this occurs, he adds that we have access by faith.
    http://www.bookofconcord.org/defense_4_justification.php

    Jim Pierce :
    It is contrary to Scripture and the pure Gospel to teach:
    22. God, by raising His Son from the dead, has justified Him, declared Him to be theRighteous One, and in Him (i e , for the sake of His finished work of obedience andsatisfaction) has declared (as proclaimed in the Gospel), or reckoned, the whole worldto be righteous. (Rom. 3:24; 4:25; 5:18-19; 2 Cor. 5:19-21; Ap IV, 40-41; SA II, i, 1-3)

    Scripture: Romans 8:9, “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”
    BOC: 86] But since we receive remission of sins and the Holy Ghost by faith alone, faith alone justifies, because those reconciled are accounted righteous and children of God, not on account of their own purity, but through mercy for Christ’s sake, provided only they by faith apprehend this mercy. Accordingly, Scripture testifies that by faith we are accounted righteous, Rom. 3:26. We, therefore, will add testimonies which clearly declare that faith is that very righteousness by which we are accounted righteous before God,
    http://www.bookofconcord.org/defense_4_justification.php

    Jim Pierce :
    It is contrary to Scripture and the pure Gospel to teach:
    That forgiveness of sins and justification for all have not been declared by Godwhen He raised His Son from the dead, but have merely been acquired or madea possibility through Christ’s atonement.
    23. By “objective” or “universal” justification one means that God has declared thewhole world to be righteous for Christ’s sake and that righteousness has thus beenprocured for all people. It is objective because this was God’s unilateral act prior to andin no way dependent upon man’s response to it, and universal because all humanbeings are embraced by this verdict. God has acquired the forgiveness of sins for allpeople by declaring that the world for Christ’s sake has been forgiven. The acquiring offorgiveness is the pronouncement of forgiveness. (Rom. 3:24; 4:25; 5:19; 2 Cor. 5:19-21; Ap IV, 40-41; SA II, i, 1-3; FC Ep V, 5; FC SD XI, 15)

    BOC: “For this reason, then, His obedience, not only in suffering and dying, but also in this, that He in our stead was voluntarily made under the Law, and fulfilled it by this obedience, is imputed to us for righteousness, so that, on account of this complete obedience, which He rendered His heavenly Father for us, by doing and suffering, in living and dying, God forgives our sins, regards us as godly and righteous, and eternally saves us. 16] This righteousness is offered us by the Holy Ghost through the Gospel and in the Sacraments, and is applied, appropriated, and received through faith, whence believers have reconciliation with God, forgiveness of sins, the grace of God sonship, and heirship of eternal life.”
    http://www.bookofconcord.org/sd-righteousness.php
    BOC: 6] Let any one of the adversaries come forth and tell us when remission of sins takes place. O good God, what darkness there is! They doubt whether it is in attrition or in contrition that remission of sins occurs. And if it occurs on account of contrition, what need is there of absolution, what does the power of the keys effect, if sins have been already remitted?…”
    http://www.bookofconcord.org/defense_10_repentance.php
    BOC: “there must be faith in Christ by which we are reconciled to God and first obtain the remission of sin.”
    http://bookofconcord.org/defense_5_love.php

    Scripture: Romans 10:3-4, “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”

  36. Pr. Jim Schulz :
    Dave Schumacher, my mistake. I’m glad you are saying that the atonement is not the same thing as justification. However, the Confessions don’t allow for an understanding of justification where because both the atonement and justification include forgiveness that therefore an “individual is justified – whether they believe it or not.” Justification must always include faith (cf. Solid Declaration III:25). Or, to use the OJ/SJ terminology: SJ must be taught with OJ. The two go together, they must not be separated.

    A forgiveness that is not also justification is no forgiveness at all.
    You muddle with terms trying to harmonize what is true with what is not true.
    The scriptural doctrine of the LCMS does not agree with your false dichotomy of forgiveness vs. justification.

  37. Joe Krohn :@Brett Meyer #42 You still have not responded to 2 Peter 2:1, Brett that says all men are redeemed; plain as the nose on your face.

    Redeemed does not mean the same thing as Justified. Redeemed means to purchase, buy back. Christ paid for the sins of the whole world. Therefore in Christ is all righteousness for the forgiveness of sins (justification), regeneration, the adoption of sons and salvation.

    The BOC confirms this:
    4] In opposition to both these parties it has been unanimously taught by the other teachers of the Augsburg Confession that Christ is our righteousness not according to His divine nature alone, nor according to His human nature alone, but according to both natures; for He has redeemed, justified, and saved us from our sins as God and man, through His complete obedience; that therefore the righteousness of faith is the forgiveness of sins, reconciliation with God, and our adoption as God’s children only on account of the obedience of Christ, which through faith alone, out of pure grace, is imputed for righteousness to all true believers, and on account of it they are absolved from all their unrighteousness.
    http://bookofconcord.org/sd-righteousness.php

    Note the bolded section which per your false UOJ confession would read, “for He has justified, justified, and saved us from our sins…”

    Also note, that the righteousness of faith is the forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with God which through faith alone is imputed for righteousness to all true believers. A complete and full rejection of the false gospel of UOJ.

    That BOC quote is worth repeating and rereading – UOJ is anti-confessional.

    In Christ,
    Brett Meyer

  38. Dave Schumacher, forgive me if I said “forgiveness vs. justification.” I must not have been clear. Justification does in fact include forgiveness.

    Isn’t justification similar to what takes place in Holy Communion? Under the bread and wine is Christ with all his gifts, “forgiveness, life, salvation” as Luther put it in the Small Catechism (“What is the benefit of such eating and drinking? …in the Sacrament forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation are given us”). Christ with all his objective and universal gifts comes to everyone who receives Him, but if some do not come in faith, they do not receive forgiveness, life, and salvation, but judgment. Often when I teach people what they receive in Holy Communion, they are eager to receive it because they want Jesus with His forgiveness, life and salvation. What the sacrament offers created faith in what they receive. Same with justification. The means of grace offer the objective and universal treasures of Christ, the promise creates God-given faith in those who hear the good news, and God strengthens the faith he has given in those receiving the treasures of Christ through the means of grace. But when it comes to justification no one has the treasures of Christ until by faith they receive them.

  39. Pr. Jim Schulz :Dave Schumacher, forgive me if I said “forgiveness vs. justification.” I must not have been clear. Justification does in fact include forgiveness.
    Isn’t justification similar to what takes place in Holy Communion? Under the bread and wine is Christ with all his gifts, “forgiveness, life, salvation” as Luther put it in the Small Catechism (“What is the benefit of such eating and drinking? …in the Sacrament forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation are given us”). Christ with all his objective and universal gifts comes to everyone who receives Him, but if some do not come in faith, they do not receive forgiveness, life, and salvation, but judgment. Often when I teach people what they receive in Holy Communion, they are eager to receive it because they want Jesus with His forgiveness, life and salvation. What the sacrament offers created faith in what they receive. Same with justification. The means of grace offer the objective and universal treasures of Christ, the promise creates God-given faith in those who hear the good news, and God strengthens the faith he has given in those receiving the treasures of Christ through the means of grace. But when it comes to justification no one has the treasures of Christ until by faith they receive them.

    If the gospel of UOJ as taught by the LCMS was correct then every unbeliever who received Holy Communion would be forgiven all sin and righteous by Christ’s body and blood. LCMS-“The acquiring offorgiveness is the pronouncement of forgiveness.”

    Jim Pierce :
    It is contrary to Scripture and the pure Gospel to teach:
    That forgiveness of sins and justification for all have not been declared by Godwhen He raised His Son from the dead, but have merely been acquired or madea possibility through Christ’s atonement.

    23. By “objective” or “universal” justification one means that God has declared thewhole world to be righteous for Christ’s sake and that righteousness has thus beenprocured for all people. It is objective because this was God’s unilateral act prior to andin no way dependent upon man’s response to it, and universal because all humanbeings are embraced by this verdict. God has acquired the forgiveness of sins for allpeople by declaring that the world for Christ’s sake has been forgiven. The acquiring offorgiveness is the pronouncement of forgiveness. (Rom. 3:24; 4:25; 5:19; 2 Cor. 5:19-21; Ap IV, 40-41; SA II, i, 1-3; FC Ep V, 5; FC SD XI, 15)

    It is contrary to Scripture and the pure Gospel to teach:
    That God’s acquisition and establishment of forgiveness in objective justification is a conditional verdict, depending on faith or any other human response or activity;

    And yet, this is not the case. Unbelievers, those who do not have faith in Christ alone, recieve Christ’s body and blood in Holy Communion recieve God’s wrath and condemnation and not God’s declaration of righteousness and the forgiveness of sins.

    1 Corinthians 11:29, “For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.”

    More proof that Christ is apprehended as our Propitiation for sins and Mediator between against God’s wrath and condemnation solely by the gracious gift of faith in Christ alone.

    The Christian Book of Concord confirms my confession when it states, “142] But righteousness is faith in the heart. Moreover, sins are redeemed by repentance, i.e., the obligation or guilt is removed, because God forgives those who repent, as it is written in Ezek. 18:21-22. Nor are we to infer from this that He forgives on account of works that follow, on account of alms; but on account of his promise He forgives those who apprehend His promise. Neither do any apprehend His promise, except those who truly believe, and by faith overcome sin and death.” BOC, Article III: Of Love and the Fulfilling of the Law.

    Godly contrition and faith in Christ alone are all a gracious gift of the Holy Spirit.

    In Christ,
    Brett Meyer

  40. Define what you mean by redeemed Joe. My previous answer was sufficient to move the discussion forward but you are resisting for some reason.

  41. Pr. Jim Schulz :
    But when it comes to justification no one has the treasures of Christ until by faith they receive them.

    Pr. Schulz,

    Can you explain the following from the CTCR document I cite above our comments here:

    It is contrary to scripture to teach “That forgiveness of sins and justification for all have not been declared by God when He raised His Son from the dead, but have merely been acquired or made a possibility through Christ’s atonement.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.