Objective Justification and Rome

About a year ago one of my professors gave me the lecture notes of my grandfather, Robert Preus, from when he taught a course on Justification at St. Catharines back in the 80’s. According to Dr. Jackson, Preus was an adherent of Objective Justification at that time, but Jackson claims that he demonstrates in his essay “Justification and Rome” that he had a breakthrough and realized that this is not a Lutheran teaching. The lecture notes consist of twenty pages of quotes from the Lutheran Church Fathers on Justification, and most of these quotes are found in his “Justification and Rome.” One of the quotes comes from Abraham Calov’s Apodixis articulorum fidei (Lüneberg, 1684, p. 249), and Jackson cites this quote in Preus’ book as proof that he denied Objective Justification by the end of his life. Here is the quote (quoted in “Justification and Rome, 131, n74):

Although Christ has acquired for us the remission of sins, justification, and sonship, God just the same does not justify us prior to our faith. Nor do we become God’s children in Christ in such a way that justification in the mind of God takes place before we believe.

Now, Jackson also likes to point out what Preus wrote on page 72:

When does the imputation of Christ’s righteousness take place? It did not take place when Christ, by doing and suffering, finished the work of atonement and reconciled the world to God. Then and there, when the sins of the world were imputed to Him and He took them, Christ became our righteousness and procured for us remission of sin, justification, and eternal life. “By thus making satisfaction He procured and merited (acquisivit et promeruit) for each and every man remission of all sins, exemption from all punishments of sin, grace and peace with God, eternal righteousness and salvation.” [quoting Quenstedt] But the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to the sinner takes place when the Holy Spirit brings him to faith through Baptism and the Word of the Gospel. Our sins were imputed to Christ at His suffering and death, imputed objectively after He, by His active and passive obedience, fulfilled and procured all righteousness for us. But the imputation of His righteousness to us takes place when we are brought to faith. (72)

So Preus discusses here the distinction between procured and imputed righteousness. Jackson evidently does not see the procuring of Christ’s righteousness for all as part of Objective Justification. I suppose he is right that Quenstedt does not specifically say that God justified the world in Christ. Calov never used the term justification apart from faith. But this does not mean that they did not understand and teach the concept of Objective Justification. Preus gives a good explanation for the lack of outright Objective Justification language in the Lutheran Church Fathers. In his lecture notes, he writes (pg. 11):

Although the orthodox Lutherans do not make a great point out of a concept of universal justification, as they do against the Calvinists in the case of universal grace, universal atonement, redemption and reconciliation, they nevertheless do assert the doctrine when they believe the Scriptures demand it. Or they do so in passing when speaking in all sorts of contexts about the consequences of the work of Christ.

Preus then goes on to show that Sebastian Schmidt confesses the concept of Objective Justification in his Romans commentary (Hamburg, 1704, pg. 350). Schmidt, in discussing Romans 5:18, finds a distinction between dikaioma and dikaiosis. The former is a justifying righteousness which came to all men; the latter, set in opposition to katakrima (act of condemnation), is “the very act of justification whereby God justifies us.” Preus also quotes Schmidt in Latin earlier in his notes (pg. 8): “Christ was given up for the sake of the sins of the whole world. In like manner he was risen for the sake of our justification, hic est of the whole world.” (Schmidt 328) Christ became the righteousness of all; His resurrection proves it.

Jackson acts as if Preus had a huge breakthrough in his “Justification and Rome,” failing to realize that the Calov quote was in his lecture notes long before he wrote his essay; in these lecture notes he clearly confessed Objective Justification. If one believes Jackson that Robert Preus used this Calov quote in support of an apparent denial of Objective Justification, one would expect Preus to follow up this quote with such a denial. However, he instead shows the significance of what Calov is saying (“Justification and Rome” n74, pg. 131; c.f. Quenstedt Systema), showing that the Roman Catholics could not speak of forgiveness and righteousness as “objective realities which are offered in the Gospel.” For the Catholics, as opposed to the Lutherans, righteousness and forgiveness are only possibilities which become realities when one begins the process of justification/sanctification. The Gospel therefore is efficacious because it delivers that reality of righteousness and forgiveness already procured to all. Preus, then, demonstrates the reality of justification before faith, only that it is not imputed to me personally prior to faith. The only way one can conclude from “Justification and Rome” that Preus denied Objective Justification is if one reads it not in the context of his theological and scholarly life, but rather in light of one’s own presuppositions and reasoning.

About Pastor Andrew Preus

Pastor Andrew Preus is the pastor of Trinity Lutheran/St. Paul Lutheran, Guttenberg/McGregor, IA. He is the eighth of eleven sons, with one sister. He received his seminary training at Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary, St. Catharines, ON (MDiv) from 2009 to 2013, and Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN (STM) from 2013 to 2014. His main theological interests include Justification and Church and Ministry. He is married to Leah Preus (nee Fehr), and they have five children: Jacob, Solveig, Kristiana, Robert, and Marian.


Objective Justification and Rome — 154 Comments

  1. “Christ has acquired for us… justification”

    This quote is interesting because it’s a slam-dunk against the claim that Lutheran theologians prior to the 19th century did not hold that justification was not something logically prior to its reception via faith. In fact, that’s why the first time I read it, I thought it was so incredibly odd that Jackson would think that this would help his argument.

    Quenstedt is clearly stating that Christ has acquired an objective act of forgiveness from the Father on behalf of the human race. More quotations in this regard can be had from Luther on this point in my blog post here: http://jackkilcrease.blogspot.com/2010/06/relevant-universal-objective.html

  2. I don’t think that Robert Preus denied Objective Justification as much as he didn’t see the need to use the term in “Justification and Rome.” If the Objective/Subjective Justification categorization is so obvious, so convincing, such pure, unadulterated gospel, such a crystal clear explanation of how a person is saved, then why didn’t Robert Preus present it that way in “Justification and Rome”? Why didn’t the Concordists present it that way? Why is it always assumed, but never categorized in such manner as it has since the 1980s:

    The Doctrine of Justification
    1. Objective Justification
    2. Subjective Justification

    I remain unconvinced that we need to emphasize the terms “Objective” and “Subjective” Justification because they effectively fight off the false doctrine of synergism. I remain unconvinced that the authors and editors of the Book of Concord were fighting Justification by works and so emphasized “Subjective Justification” instead of “Objective Justification.”

    So, convince me.

  3. @Rev. James Schulz #2

    Rev. Schulz, I would agree that OJ language is not necessary to combat synergism. After all, Augustine and Calvin would reject synergism, but they would not accept the language of OJ. Rather OJ language specifies what rhetorical speeches acts the minister of the Word should use in communicating the gospel. Namely, that they should speak of it as something that is already actualized and unconditional, rather than something conditional and potential.

  4. Here’s another example of Robert Preus speaking about Justification without using the terms “Objective/Subjective” Justification:


    Entitled “Perennial Problems in the Doctrine of Justification” and published in 1981, Preus addresses the “problems” with the doctrine of Justification. Not one of those “problems” was clarified by using the terms “Objective/Subjective” Justification. It can be done.

  5. @Rev. James Schulz #4

    No one denies that it can be done. The language of OJ/SJ is not an absolute necessity, anymore than the language of homoousia his “absolutely” necessary to confess the Trinity. The point is that it is a relative necessity for our context insofar as we need language that specifies the unconditionality of the gospel. It’s similar to how when we administer the Lord’s Supper we need to specify it as “the true body” and the “true blood” since the Reformed and others use the language of body and blood to specify absent body and blood.

  6. One thing to keep in mind is that in theology the language used to defend sound doctrine is often forced upon us as we defend against false doctrine. As in studying the Athanasian, it is often necessary to know the heresy which is being defended against in order to understand why specific terms are chosen.

    I do not know the history of the terminology “objective justification” and “subjective justification.” But I suspect they were in response to a reformed use of the word “Justification” to mean “limited atonement.”

    In any case, one need not use the exact term in order to express the theological concepts, especially when one is not addressing the specific heresy for which the term was coined. (though caution in theological language is always advised) I have never read Dr. Preus’ “Justification and Rome” but limited atonement has never been a heresy for which Rome has been known and so I would not expect the same language to be necessary when addressing them as is used when addressing the Reformed.

    Just a couple of notes:

    Firstly, I had your grandfather as my professor for the confessions back in 1985 or 86 – Wow, that was a great man and a fine, God fearing pastor. I am please to see his grandson entering the ministry – you look a lot like him, by the way. I remember entering the Seminary with one or two liberal views. At his first address to our class he said, “don’t worry if you are not Lutheran in your thinking – we’ll make you one before we are through. And.” they did! His lectures over the confessions were tremendous. It made Lutheran thought all come together and I thank God for his service to the Church.

    Secondly, not being familiar with who Dr. Jackson is, I did a search for “Preus” and “Jackson” and the fifth hit was “preus jackson the lighting thief | Facebook” so apparently the internet doesn’t even remember who Jackson is either.

  7. @Dr. Jack Kilcrease #5

    “No one denies that it can be done.”

    But “should it be done?” Because of the Justification paradox of simul iustus et peccator – “at the same time righteous and sinner” – I think it is too easy for both sides of the UOJ vs JBFA debate to take a word, a sentence, or phrase and make it say something other than what the author intended. The Book of Concord threads the needle of Justification terminology, why don’t we just stick with that? It was good enough for 300 years after it was published, it is still good enough to fight the battles for the truth of Justification for 19th-21st century Lutherans in the U.S.

  8. Andrew, I was privileged to take as many classes as I possibly could from your grandfather and served as his assistant for a few years as well, and I must say this book is, in my opinion, the most significant legacy your grandfather left us, and that is saying something, in light of his other masterful works of theology.

    The book “Justification and Rome” is available from CPH:

    And is available in Kindle format:

    Thank you for your post, responding to the scurrilous attacks against the doctrine taught by your grandfather by those who are attempting to overthrow the Gospel of Christ with their false views on justification, even trying to make it appear your grandfather somehow was an advocate for their false doctrine.

  9. @Rev. James Schulz #6

    Rev. Schulz,

    Truly, I am sympathetic to those questions.

    And I think the part about the way Luther and the confessors responded to Rome is resolved by observing the subjectivity of infused grace. The word infused and what it signified in Roman theology carried all the issues of subjectivity, and then some. So the upholding of justification being objective seems to me to be complete in Luther and the confessors in their constant refutation of infused grace.

    But, I recognize that for some, that will never seem so clear, which I also respect. And even in my own core thoughts, as important as it is to rebut the error of infused grace, that is not mainly how I arrive at objective justification.

    In the former thread, we see the question of whether the crucifixion and the resurrection of Christ should be treated as wholly one thing, or whether there is some signficant sense in which they are separate things that, insofar as our justification is concerned, accomplish different things, things different enough so that justification is not objective. That happens especially around verses like Rom 4:25.

    That tends to draw the eye away from additional events regarding which similar questions also should be asked: Christ’s priestly presentation in the Holy of Holies; and Christ’s becoming seated at the right hand of the Father. What part do these also have in our justification?

    When the apostles preached “Christ, and him crucified,” the focus probably stops short of Christ being seated at the right hand, because I am sure the word crucified in Paul’s formula is designed to speak of him only in his state of humiliation. But I doubt that the word crucified stops short of his priestly work in the Holy of Holies. To say, “We preach the cross,” ought to include the priestly work of Christ in his once-for-all presentation of his blood.

    When I envision the scene of, Heb 9:14, “how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God,” I see what Christ is doing, but I also look at the Father to see what affect on him the sight of Christ’s blood had.

    Rome, the Reformed, and the Radical Reformation all were wrong first on the Person of Christ. Their doctrines of the Incarnation were off. And that is why none of them could see the efficacy of the blood of Christ in the Holy of Holies, and why they then had to add to the efficacy from somewhere, and where could they go but to give faith a different meaning than the wholeness of grace-faith.

    For me, the resolution of the issues of ojective justification come by recurring to the Book of Concord’s presentation of the person of Christ, and then seeing that same person, as there described, presenting his blood to God. What happened then? Owing to the value of that blood, not as we see value, but the value of that blood to the Father, justified me then and there.

    I am not by this leaving out the forensic meaning of justification, but I am clarifying it biblically. Justification does not mean what the offenders think should reconcile the offended party. The judge of justification is the offended party, and reconciliation is what the judge, by his law, says it is. Interestingly, the word God in Heb 9:14, theos, while usually meaning a deity, has a figurative meaning of magistrate, and I think this is one of the places where the biblical writers mean both of two common meanings for a word. Jesus presented his blood to the God-Magistrate. Unlike with courts of Anglo-American jurisprudence, where the magistrate must be impartial, neutral, a nonparty, this court of God is presided over by the offended party in his office of magistrate. On earth, we would never tolerate that, but in heaven, this is no injustice because of his holiness. (The trouble with earthly judges who are parties is their sin.) This retains in the notion of justice how central the wronged party is. The wronged party judges. Keep the personal and wounded aspect of justice, as well as the legal aspect, in the idea of atonement and justification. The blood of Christ, as seen in the eyes of the Father, had the effect of justifying me.

    The shameful part of all this is that I cannot see so much value in Christ’s blood. That last sentence is the most horrible thing I have ever said, but there is no good in lying, and dening the truth of it. The fact is, we don’t value the blood of Christ the way the Father does, and we might as well admit sin in this, but by faith we can see how the Father values it, and see in it our justification.

    One aspect of our growth in grace, especially by the Sacrament of the Altar, is to grow in our valuing of the blood of Jesus. We center there, in his blood, where the Father does. By this, we are assured again to see ourselves as the Father does, justified by his blood. Unselfconsciously, that seeing is: faith.

  10. @Dr. Jack Kilcrease #1
    Dr. Kilcrease, I have seen your blog post on this subject. It is very helpful. Thank you!

    @Rev. Paul T. McCain #7
    Rev. McCain,
    Thank you. I also find his essay very helpful. I finally got around to reading it my Junior year of college after I argued with a Roman Catholic. I wish I would have read it before I had that argument. I guess I would have been more prepared, but I guess you live and you learn. Also, Perennial Problems in the Doctrine of Justification is helpful. We read both of them in Dogs III.

  11. @T. R. Halvorson #8

    As I look through the lens of the Book of Concord at the doctrine of Justification, specifically the Solid Declaration article III:25, I see that what is “objective” about Justification is:

    “the grace of God, the merit of Christ, and faith, which receives this in the promise of the Gospel,…”

    What is subjective about Justification is:

    “whereby the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us, whence we receive and have forgiveness of sins, reconciliation with God, sonship, and heirship of eternal life.”

    Perhaps we should re-define the terms “Objective/Subjective” based on what the SD III:25 says is “necessary” to a proper definition and understanding of Justification.

    Maybe I am unaware and this is being done as we correct the “problematic” formulations of Justification made by certain theologians as was discussed here: https://steadfastlutherans.org/?p=4190. If so, then that’s a good thing. In any case I agree with Tom Hardt who said:

    “Objective justification” does not deprive “subjective justification” of its “objective” reality. It is possible that the terms can be abused in that direction, and the appropriateness of the terminology can always be discussed. “Justification and Easter” (no page number, fifth paragraph from the end) http://luk.se/Justification-Easter.htm

  12. @Rev. James Schulz #10

    Thank you for your reply. I follow what you say, it has the pull of persuasion in it, with one qualification.

    I might be thinking of the term imputation too forensically. In forensics, imputation is objective. But in the usage Scripture makes of that word, the possibility that imputation might be subjective is something I need to research.

  13. [Redemption Through the Blood of Christ]

    But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood,

    thus securing an eternal redemption.

    For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

    Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive.

    Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood.

    For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you.” And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship.

    Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

    Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world.

    But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

    And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

    (Hebrews 9:11-28 ESV)

    “For me, the resolution of the issues of ojective justification come by refurring to the Book of Concord’s presentation of the person of Christ, and then seeing that same person, as there described, presenting his blood to God. What happened then? Owing to the value of that blood, not as we see value, but the value of that blood to the Father, justified me then and there.”

    Thank you: Do I understand?

  14. @T. R. Halvorson #11

    I’d be willing to put “whereby the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us” under what is “objective” about Justification, but to say that unbelievers “have” the imputation of Christ’s righteousness goes too far. Some definitions of Objective Justification seem to be saying that. I think it illustrates the point that problems arise when we try to build a wall between the concepts of OJ and SJ. Therefore the terminology of the Book of Concord re Justification is best:

    Justification is (it is “necessary” that it all goes together):

    “…the grace of God, the merit of Christ, and faith, which receives this in the promise of the Gospel, whereby the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us, whence we receive and have forgiveness of sins, reconciliation with God, sonship, and heirship of eternal life.” SD III:25

  15. @Rev. James Schulz #13

    Ah, good, the meaning of imputation is not, then, among the things that distinguish our views, and your willingness to treat imputation as possibly being objective did not diminish the strength of your position. Its strength really lay elsewhere, anyway.

    It is too bad that discussion cannot be approached this way more often. Neither of us lost anything by setting to the side something that really was not, for the two of us, the issue anyway.

  16. @Mark Huntemann #12

    Hi Mark,

    Well, to express it crudely, but hopefully clearly, when Christ presented his blood to the Father in the Holy of Holies, it is hard for me to hear the Father say, “Well, Son, I’ll receive your sacrifice if you can get sinners to receive it.”

  17. A CTCR document titled “Theses on Justification” can be found at the LCMS website and downloaded as a PDF file (here). The document is a tidy explanation of what is confessed in the LCMS on Justification and it includes a good definition of objective justification. Should debate ensue here, as it did in the other thread of 500+ posts, I think this document will prove helpful in keeping debate on course as to what is being said with the term “objective justification.” Of course, the document is not exhaustive, but I find it quite valuable.

  18. “For me, the resolution of the issues of ojective justification come by refurring to the Book of Concord’s presentation of the person of Christ, and then seeing that same person, as there described, presenting his blood to God. What happened then? Owing to the value of that blood, not as we see value, but the value of that blood to the Father, justified me then and there.”

    “Well, to express it crudely, but hopefully clearly, when Christ presented his blood to the Father in the Holy of Holies, it is hard for me to hear the Father say, “Well, Son, I’ll receive your sacrifice if you can get sinners to receive it.”

    Thinking over the thread and trying to overcome the knowledge and argument in the two posts so far I have decided you are correct with one addition:

    “I believe” is NOT a “work” it is a free gift of the Holy Spirit to the person.

    The problem that then what comes to the fore is Predestination.

    “Well, Son, I’ll receive your sacrifice if you can get sinners to receive it.”

    You HAVE to accept Luther’s views on that subject! Not to do so puts you in great peril.

    So to break through;

    That faith is a work by the person is a false statement.

    All your views on the subject should now fall into place?

    You have to watch for circular arguments.

    Who is given the “gift” is The Triune Gods business.

    That does not in any way change the Christian responsibilities.

    The posters have ignored or danced around Predestination.

    “I believe” is NOT a “work” !



    @T. R. Halvorson #15

  19. Dr. Robert Preus was the teacher from whom I learned what justification means. Later, I was the last professor installed while he was still President of Concordia Theological Seminary. During the dark years that followed the unscriptural removal of Dr. Preus from his office, he remained my teacher, mentor and friend.

    At no point did Dr. Preus ever back away from his position on Objective Justification. To the very end, he maintained this precious doctrine and tolerated no perversion of it. I had the privilege of spending many, many hours with him during those years and conversations often went back to this topic.

    To state it once again: Dr. Robert Preus never changed his doctrinal position on Objective Justification.

  20. @T. R. Halvorson #8

    @T. R. Halvorson #15

    Mr. Halvorson,

    Well said! I especially like your comments in #8, since one point I see you consistently making regards Christ as the propitiation for the sins of the whole world. Martin Chemnitz makes a similar point in his Examination of the Council of Trent” where he writes,

    “However, the Gospel reveals and declares this mystery which was hidden for long ages, that since the human race could not make satisfaction to the Law and the Law could in no way be dissolved and destroyed, God made a transfer of the Law to another person (a matter which belongs to the article of justification) who should fulfill the Law both by satisfaction and obedience for the whole human race. And because that person is both God and man, therefore His satisfaction is the expiation for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2), and hence Christ is the end of the Law for the salvation of everyone who believe (Rom. 10:4)” (Vol. I, p. 499).

    Herr Chemnitz points out that this “transfer” where the Law is fulfilled, satisfaction and atonement for sins of the whole world is made, is “a matter which belongs to the article of justification.”

    Chirst is the “mercy seat” for the entire world. This is not a mere potentiality.

  21. I don’t think I’d put much creedence to student notes. In the first case, he’s a student. Many times at the sem, although many were taking notes, the students still didn’t “get” whatever the prof was trying to teach. I remember one class being taught by Richard Mueller. He spend three consecutive class periods trying to explain what Subjective Justification was, and some of them still didn’t get it.

  22. Just a warning to those who may be reading this and might be misled by Mr. Jackson.

    Mr. Jackson is a former Lutheran pastor who moved from Lutheran church to Lutheran church, being removed from at least two, as he managed to make himself persona non grata in LCA, LCMS, WELS and CLC circles. He has now tried, with increasing desperation and childish displays of pique, created an alleged “congregation” that consists of immediate family members and a very small circle of Internet congregants, even to the point of claiming to “distribute” the “Lord’s Supper” to them via an Internet connection and streaming worship services from a spare bedroom in his home.

    He has a need to be regarded as some sort of expert on all things Lutheran. Suffice it to say, Mr. Jackson never understood Robert Preus, for he never, at any point, in spite of the many academic credentials he loves to mention, received a thorough orthodox and confessional Lutheran education.

    So, please warned and aware of Mr. Jackson and his dangerous false teaching.

    I have cautioned the BJS web master to be aware that Jackson and his followers will attempt to dominate every conversation on this site, always eager to try to promote and propagate their false teaching. They will, if left unchecked, attempt to turn attention to themselves and their agenda no matter what the topic of conversation here is.

    Mr. Jackson has been banned from any number of other Lutheran discussion sites for this behavior.

  23. @Gregory L. Jackson #23

    But the book doesn’t say anything of the kind. I’ve read it and even the citations from the Lutheran scholastics that you provide actually validate objective justification (as I point out above).

    It was just your idea that Preus rejected OJ and much like all your other historical theories, you can’t really support it with evidence using accepted historical methods. In fact, you pretty much admit that the book doesn’t really reject OJ, and so you come up with the conspiracy theory that his sons edited it out, but that somehow you can detect traces of Preus’ secret rejection. For someone with so many problems with higher criticism, you seem all too happy to perform it on Robert Preus’ book.

  24. Andrew,

    You said For the Catholics, as opposed to the Lutherans, righteousness and forgiveness are only possibilities which become realities when one begins the process of justification/sanctification.

    If this is true that UOJ is the distinguishing doctrine of Lutheranism, such a concept did not come through clearly in your grandfather’s book. He did a lousy job teaching UOJ there. I told you that before.

    @Daniel L. Gard #20

    Sir, and a good scholar should simply accept your word for it right?

    UOJ can only be settled by Scripture first and then by the Confessions. The Scripture support given by UOJers to prop up UOJ have been proven to be spurious.

    In Andrew’s last post, Romans 4:25 the strongest verse used to support UOJ we have shown that truly and indeed, the LC-MS take on this makes it a very peculiar denomination, and alone and isolated from the rest of the Protestanat world. Of course, all of these outside exegetes are wrong, and yours is the only ones correct right?

    So exegetes like W. A. Maier, R. C.H. Lenski, Sanday and Headlam, C K Barett, P. Stuhlmacher these exegtes are all wrong because they do not interpret Romans 4:25 like you do right?


  25. How about your behavior, Mr. McCain? You’re pretty unloving as well. If what Dr. Jackson says is sooooo wrong then all you have to do is cite the Word and understand that the Word will show the correct doctrine, whether it be your side or his side. Using personal attacks shows that you are worried that the Word won’t do what it’s supposed to do.

    Do I agree with some of Jackson’s tactics? No. I see his humor and I laugh along with him. But it seems like you and others get really pissed and then try to defame him. At least Dr. Jackson, when he speaks against what a person says, uses cited quotes from that person.

    Like I said before, when you submit yourself to the level of bad-talk instead of dealing with the words, you show yourself to be scared that your words won’t work — instead of trusting God’s Word to work where and when it pleases.

    P.S. I appreciate your work on the new BoC.

  26. From my perspective it seems that those who object to the term Objective Justification veer instead toward intuitu fide. It is really the Predestinarian Controversy all over again — with Dr. Jackson et. al. taking the role of the Anti-Missouri Brotherhood and fulfilling Karl Marx’s saying about history repeating itself, the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.

  27. @Kebas #30

    I think you are on to something here, Kebas. Not only that, those who have been posting anti-UOJ slogans and teaching here on BJS have clearly rejected the teaching that Christ reconciled the whole world to His Father on the cross. They have also rejected the Scriptural teaching that all sins have been forgiven on the cross. These denials have typically come couched in language where what Christ did on the cross was a potentiality and not actual. Iow, Christ makes it only possible to receive the forgiveness of sins, not that sins are actually forgiven.

  28. Thankfully the faculty at CLTS in St. Catharines are fully committed to Objective and Subjective justification. Dr. Tom Winger, the interim president, will be publishing his commentary on Ephesians in the Concordia Commentary series. It will be very good! Of course, Dr. John R. Stephenson has also followed Dr. Robert Preus in being the General Editor of the Confessional Lutheran Dogmatics series (The Luther Academy… available at http://www.logia.org).

  29. Whatever problems some might have with objective justification, Dr. Robert Preus did not share those problems. To the end, he maintained a constant confession.

    Now, if you want to debate whether OJ is taught in the Scriptures and Lutheran Confessions, that is fine. But it is also a topic for a different thread. Here, I am simply that Dr. Preus was a firm advocate for the doctrine.

  30. One who might also be able to speak authoritatively to Dr. Preus’ theology (particularly OJ) would be Dr. Martin Noland who I remember served as his graduate assistant in the 80’s, especially for his courses on the Lutheran Confessions.

  31. So, I’m a layman with a question: as I have learned it, Christ overcame sin, death and the devil once for all through His work. That’s Objective Justification. It is the claim that on account of Christ, God is no longer executing judgment but has quieted His wrath against sin. Furthermore, when through the sacramental ministry of the Church I receive faith by the Gospel, the effects of that OJ are appropriated by faith, the righteousness of Christ being attributed to me on account of Him.

    Isn’t that the Gospel? And also the doctrine of OJ/SJ? What I wonder is, what is at stake in the denial of this? If Christ hasn’t objectively done the work, what would be left to attribute?

  32. @Daniel L. Gard #33

    Prof. Gard,

    I am just wondering how do you prove the claim that Dr. Preus was a firm advocate for the doctrine or in
    @Daniel L. Gard #20
    you said To state it once again: Dr. Robert Preus never changed his doctrinal position on Objective Justification.

    I am curious as to what evidence you might use to supply credence to those claims.

    By no means am I suggesting you are not telling the truth, I am just wondering how one proves that type of claim.

    What I mean is that if we were in court, you would be supplying your own testimony and by default the listeners were to simply believe your claim simply based on the strength of your character right?

    The reason is that you were not with him 24 X 7 until the time of his departing, right? So you would not know beyond the shadow of doubt what opinions he held or not held, changed or not changed.

    I am student of mathematics and philosophy of science, the problem with your claim is that it is NOT falsifiable or at a minimum not verifiable!

    I do not know if in your discipline such a criticism carries mileage but in mine, it carries a lot.

    It is analogous to me claiming, Jesus speaks to me every night and one night he told me UOJ is not true.

    Can you falsify that?


  33. @Jason #34
    Jason, I am still in seminary, so I’m not a pastor, but I will still say that what you just said is true. Obviously, one can elaborate more on what you said, but you basically just expressed what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:19, that God reconciled the world to Himself in Christ, and then he gives the ministry of the Gospel by which we receive that reconciliation. It is just as Quenstedt said, namely that in the Atonement, Christ became our righteousness, and we receive that righteousness by faith through the preached and sacramental Gospel, and likewise, that righteousness is preserved for us through the preached and sacramental Gospel. He was put to death for our sins, and He rose for our justification; this is the same theological teaching that God reconciled us to Himself in Christ. I think the answer to your question is that the Gospel would have to either offer more than what was accomplished, or it would turn into a conditional promise. This is not to say that faith is a work, but it becomes a work if we make it a condition which God charges us with in order to get the promise. Obviously we have to say that if we don’t have faith we can’t receive the promise, and in that regard, it can be understood as a condition only to the extent that we need it; however, it is purely passive and is a gift. But if we deny OJ, we make the promise itself conditional. Rather than calling it a condition, we should include it as part of the promise with the understanding that the promise itself brings with it and effects faith. One cannot understand OJ apart from understanding SJ. If faith is not necessary, which we are falsely accused of believing, then the promise means nothing, because the promise then becomes a mere historical event which is detached from us. The Objective Promise necessitates experience, not founded on our cooperation with God or in our fervor toward God, but on the promise of God. If you haven’t already gotten a hold of Adolf Koeberle’s “The Quest for Holiness,” I would definitely recommend that book. Pages 76 – 83 are especially useful when we consider the experience of the Christian.

  34. Andrew,

    They are apples and oranges. OJ upholds the Scriptural truth that my conversion is based on the fact that sin is already justified even before I have faith. The misguided Finnish interpretation of Luther wrongly teaches that my conversion is based on some mysterious, mystical union with God. Understanding OJ is a helpful corrective to the faulty Finnish view of Luther.

  35. News flash…Genesis 3:15…God did not reconcile the world at the cross, but in the Garden of Eden when he promised a Savior. This enabled the believers in the OT as well as the believers in the NT to obtain Christ’s righteousness, that was objectively for all men to be accessed through faith, worked by the Holy Ghost; who were then justified. It is that simple. Brought to you by Luther’s Small Catechism 101. 🙂

  36. @Pastor Tim Rossow #38
    Thank you Pastor, I actually know very little about the Finnish views of Luther and do not understand the idea that justification and divination could be compatable. I would rather ask than research the muddy the waters, especially since I was raised with an understanding of theosis yet I fled to justification.

  37. @Andrew #36

    What is ironic is that the Finnish school takes out of context a phrase which Luther gives in his Galatians commentary that Christ dwells in faith itself (in ipse fide Christus adest). Whereas they claim that Luther taught that the basis for our justification was the indwelling of Christ, Luther simply expressing the fact that we cannot possibly separate our understanding of faith from Christ. Christ is so united with faith that he dwells in it. This does not mean that Christ justifies us by dwelling in us. The basis of our justification is outside of us, at the objective reality of God’s work of reconciliation in the death and resurrection of His Son. so the ironic thing is that in ipse fide Christus adest affirms the concept of OJ, since it shows the absolute reliance faith has on Christ, all He did, and all He promises. We cannot understand the objective reality and promise of justification nor the subjective experience of justification apart from the vicarious atonement and the blessed exchange. Kurt Marquart has a good essay that I need to read again. Look up on Google: Marquart Luther and Theosis

  38. Lito Cruz, PhD

    If your posts do not show up here anymore it is because I have finally grown tired of your sophomoric approach to these discussions.

    I have let these discussions on SJ and OJ go only because the likes of Gilcrease, A. Preus and Pierce have been giving us all a show of patience, love and most of all Scriptural and Confessional integrity.

    I have learned something important from you and your other OJ deniers. As Kilcrease pointed out on the other string, the use of the terminiology of OJ and SJ are not necessary for salvation but the content and substance of the teaching are Scriptural and Orthodox. I never invested much time in the controversey years ago. What I have learned from you is that there is a subtle and important distinction between terms like “atonement” and “justification” but this distinction does not undo the basic truth that the sin of the world is accounted for in Jesus’ death on the cross. I thank you for pointing out that subtle distinction but your silly interrogation of Dr. Gard has crossed even the very liberal boundary that I keep for this site.

  39. @Joe Krohn #39

    Joe- We’re all in agreement that people in the Old Testament were saved by faith in the coming Messiah. This is something of a red herring that you’re brought up a number of times- so I’ll address it now. Since Christ is the “lamb slain from the foundation of the world” the Father has eternally pronounced his word of justification to all creation. This is possible because God is outside of time. I realize that you’re simply repeating a common Jackson talking point, but it is fairly obviously a misrepresentation of our position.

  40. @Joe Krohn #46

    Joe- I don’t really understand your response. What I said was that reconciliation was a fait accompli when the Word of justification through the protevangelium was proclaimed by God to Adam and Eve. From God’s perspective, reconciliation is eternally a present reality since he is outside of time. Therefore, having seen Jesus’ sacrifice from eternity, God the Father eternally pronounces his universal and objective word of justification. In time, he proclaimed this word to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden first after they had sinned. So, I’m having a difficult time understanding what you mean by “started.” From God’s perspective, reconciliation is an eternal event, so it never “started” in the convention sense of the word. From the human perspective, one might say that it is offered for the first time after sin, but that doesn’t mean it “started”, since what was being offered was something that had already been eternally accomplished in the foreknowledge of God.

  41. @Lito Cruz, PhD #36

    “I am student of mathematics and philosophy of science, the problem with your claim is that it is NOT falsifiable or at a minimum not verifiable!’

    Now, I do not wish to be unfair, insofar as LPC has now been banned from the discussion and cannot respond (hence, if I am being unfair, I invite the systems administrator to erase this comment), but this is statement is a fallacy. Dr. Gard knew Dr. Preus for many years. Also, Dr. Preus never denounced OJ in print or to any of his friends. In fact, Dr. Jackson claims that his renounciation of OJ was edited out of the book- hence even he admits there is no written evidence other than inferences that Jackson himself has made. So, since there is no evidence, but only Dr. Jackson and LPC’s insistence that Preus rejected OJ secretly, it would seem to me that the burden of proof is logically not on those who say that he accepted OJ, but on those who deny it.

  42. Dr. Kilcrease,

    We will let you have this last word on that particular line of argument since Lito et. al. have had plenty of time to speak. You expressed my sentiments exactly and then some.

    You all should know that we did get a comment from Lito after his banning and he very graciously accepted my decision. For that he is to be commended.

    Carry on…

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