Some Clarifications in Articulating Objective Justification

First, Objective Justification and Subjective Justification are not two different justifications, but rather two parts of the act of Justification.   My brother David has put it well:  Objective Justification = God justifies the sinner [through faith].  Subjective Justification = [God justifies the sinner] through faith.


Objective Justification refers to the work of God in Christ as well as the proclamation of the gospel and administration of the sacraments.  Subjective Justification refers to faith, which is created by that proclamation and receives the benefits.  Subjective Justification does not refer to the administration of the means of grace.  While it is true that when we speak of the application of the the accomplished act of Christ we certainly speak of faith, nevertheless the application of the righteousness of Christ  in the means of grace as such is objective.   God, in Christ, reconciles the world to himself… entrusting the word of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:19).  It is all one motion.  This is why the pastor can pronounce absolution on a sinner even though he does not know for sure –outside of the sinner’s confession — if he truly has faith.  

Article three of the Formula of Concord lists the necessary parts of justification (SD III, 25): the grace of God, the merit of Christ, and faith, which receives the righteousness of Christ in the promise of the gospel.  The grace of God, the merit of Christ, and the promise of the gospel are all part of Objective Justification.  Faith receiving the righteousness of Christ refers to Subjective Justification.

Obviously the means of grace are involved when we discuss Subjective Justification, since it is in them that faith receives the righteousness of Christ.  Similarly, the plan and work of our redemption are discussed as well.  After all, they are not two different justifications.    However, when we speak of Objective Justification, we are not only speaking of what God did back then, but also what he declares today in the promise of the gospel.  When we speak of Subjective Justification, we are speaking specifically of faith receiving what is objectively given.  

The discussion of Objective and Subjective Justification is simply a distinction within one act.  God quenches our thirst.  This is one act.  Nevertheless, we can distinguish between God preparing the water and pouring it into our mouths on the one hand, and us receiving it in our mouths on the other.  It doesn’t change the fact that it is one act.  The fact that a sinner can know that he is justified through faith presupposes that the righteousness of Christ is accomplished for all sinners and offered to all sinners.  

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.


Some Clarifications in Articulating Objective Justification — 135 Comments

  1. Now following on my first reply on TULIP to Reverend Jakob where I first explained the biblical doctrines of grace which augustinian calvinism has so well embraced as I outlined above, let’s focus on limited atonement which is the main point of contention in TULIP. You know it is hard for me to criticize the Reformed view of the atonement because so many of the reformed held to a doctrine of unlimited atonement like Calvin, Bullinger, Ursinus (who was a lutheran who moved to the Reformed camp and is the author of the Heidelberg catechism), John Bunyan (author of Pilgrim’s Progress), Richard Baxter, John Davenant (the head of the british delegation to Dort), John Newton (the author of the hymn Amazing Grace and so many other hymns). And the great scottish reformer John Knox who held to unlimited atonement and also single predestination. The 39 articles of the Church of England affirmed both single predestination and unlimited atonement as well. The scottish calvinist confessions of the 16th century are also almost indistinguishable from lutheranism, and so is the heidelberg catechism which is the main reformed confession of faith, except for the sacraments where differences remain. Now certainly hypercalvinists and the majority of confessional calvinists which follow John Owen’s treatise on the atonement are all in error in my view. I reject limited atonement as unbiblical.

    Now scripture affirms particular redemption as I quoted in the proper context in my post above from scripture how Christ laid down his life for his sheep (John 10:11) and for the church ( Ephesians 5:25 – 26 ). This precious verses belong in the doctrine of election and are for the believer’s comfort. This does not mean that Christ did not die for all, but it does mean that Christ died specially for the redemption of the elect as scripture affirms. Christ is the savior of all men nobody denies, but that he is specially the savior of those who believe (his elect), scripture specifically affirms in 1 Timothy 4:10 , where it is affirmed in clear manner that Christ did not die for all men equally. This is why there are so many passages where scripture affirms limited atonement and other passages where it affirms unlimited atonement. The fact is the atonement is both limited (Christ died as a substitute for the sins of the elect alone and fully accomplished their salvation alone, and objective justification belongs to the elect alone) and unlimited (Christ procured for all men the forgiveness of sin and reconciled the human race, so that salvation is now possible for all men upon the condition of repentance and faith, basically Christ made salvation possible for all men as Arminius and the lutherans that deny objective justification teach). He died for all, but he died specially for the elect as scripture affirms. This is the biblical doctrine of unlimited atonement affirmed by the lutheran confessions and by the reformed prior to Theodore Beza, a student of Calvin that was the first to introduce the unbiblical doctrine of limited atonement.

    Lutherans are right now struggling, with the atonement because they fail to realize the dual purpose of Christ’s death (for all, but specially for the elect). so we have the unbiblical doctrined of objective justification for all men. And then those that follow Pastor Ridecky that was excommunicated from WELS for denying objective justification, teach that Christ made salvation possible for all men but did not accomplish the salvation of anybody. The reason both sides in the objective justification debate of lutheranism are wrong is that both sides affirm that Christ died equally for all. They fail to understand that Christ died in a different manner for the elect and the rest of mankind. As long as we try affirm that Christ died for all equally lutherans will be unable to return to the wisdom of the Reformers of the 16th century and to the lutheran confessions.

    This is a sad time for lutherans, both sides of the objective justification debate are in the wrong. And the reason is that both sides affirmed that Christ died equally for all men contradicting scripture. One side teaches a universal objective justification where Pharaoh and Judas sins are forgiven alongside the elect in the same manner, and the other side teaches that Christ’s death made salvation possible for everybody equally without actually having accomplished the salvation of anybody (just like the arminians).

    Let’s hope that God willing modern lutheranism will see its error.

  2. Dear Bill,

    As a non native writer of English I can’t answer your very long comments… Here is a link to a document I am sure you like:
    However, even though I share your main view of justification, there is urgent need for balanced judgment. Here is a link to another document, showing that there is not necessarily a doctrinal conflict between the two views of justification:

  3. Reverend Jakob, thanks for the links but I know the doctrine very well. I used to defend it up until 2 weeks ago. I used to believe everything that Pastor Preus and Quenstedt teach. I have provided a solid refutation in of the doctrine in my posts.

    My only mistake was in my last post was saying that Pastor Ridecky and the ELDoNA (Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America) were also wrong. As a matter of fact they are not, I had not read some of their material, but I now believe them to hold the biblical doctrine of the Reformers and I will explain why in a second. They do teach the dual intent of the atonement (different for the elect from the reprobate, in that God wills to apply the atonement to the elect alone and in his good pleasure converts the elect and leaves the reprobate in their sin) and they emphatically emphasize that God saves through faith the elect only and withholds the gift of faith from the reprobate. So ELDoNA is the pure gospel as taught by the reformers, and the pure teaching of justification by faith.

    The problem with LCMS and WELS is that they deny the doctrine of reprobation. For WELS and LCMS God is a Santa Claus that wants to give the gift of faith to everybody. This is not so, or else everybody would have faith. Election is the cause of faith, and God wills to give this gift solely to his elect. Although God sincerely offers and wills that everybody would repent and believe, his purpose in so doing is twofold, to convert his elect and to leave without excuse the reprobate. This is why he sent prophets that were killed, not only that the elect will believe but his second purpose was to show the sinfulness of the reprobate so that they will be without excuse, to highlight their wickedness so that they would be without excuse at judgment day and have blood in their hands and be justly condemned. The doctrine of reprobation is affirmed starting in section 54 of the Solid Declaration of the Formula of Concord, where it is explained why God does not preach the word to every nation throughout history, and why God in his justice does not convert everybody, Romans 9:18 .

    The effects of election is clearly, faith, justification, perseverance, eternal life.
    The effects of reprobation are equally clear: the lack of faith (because God so decreed, not to provide the gift), perseverance in sin, the judgment, and eternal damnation.

    God is just, the cause of damnation can only be found in sin and unbelief and not in God. And God for the praise of his justice leaves the reprobate in sin and does not provide the gift of faith.

    This does not mean at all that God does not will the salvation of all, he does, and he commands every man to repent of their sin and trust in Jesus Christ for salvation. But God’s purpose in so doing is to save the elect and to show the wickedness of the reprobate leaving them without excuse. God does not give everybody the ability to believe, this ability which is faith he gives only to his elect. But he commands and wills that everybody will believe when the gospel is preached, and when wicked man reject the free offer of the gospel, it shows their wickedness and leaves them without excuse.

    And I think this part of the doctrine is what’s missing in the LCMS and WELS, but is affirmed by those that have split from the LCMS and WELS. I have seen several posts from lutherans at Intrepid Lutherans and other places, that the problem with universal objective justification is that God has declared everybody righteous, when in fact God has reserved this declaration to his elect alone, to the few that are blessed that God will not impute their sin as Paul teaches in Romans 4:8 and Psalm 32:2. And it is not God’s purpose to justify everybody, but to justify only those that are called according to his purpose Romans 8:28 .

    So those that split from WELS and LCMS have done for a valid doctrinal reason in order to preserve the purity of the Church. The doctrine of particular unconditional election is under attack, and I quoted from the anti Huber theses in my post above that rejects the universality of objective justification.

  4. WELS and LCMS pastors are advised to re-read Luther’s bondage of the will. God commands everybody to believe the gospel, but this does not mean at all man have the ability to believe the gospel. They do not, and God provides the ability to believe the gospel to his elect alone. There is no contradiction as Luther wrote to Erasmus in saying that God sincerely wants everybody to believe the gospel, even though God gives the ability to believe the gospel to a few, he does not have mercy on all but only on the elect he gives them faith. This is why justification is by faith and is particular to the elect alone.

  5. Very, very, very interesting. Mr Johann Quenstedt denied the doctrine of unconditional election, which means he was not confessional. He affirmed election depended on foreseen faith, just like the arminians. Quenstedt was actually 100% arminian in his view that God elected based on foreseen faith and not unconditionally. I saw right away something was wrong when Pastor Andrew Preus provided the link to Robert Preus article quoting Quenstedt. Quenstedt was certainly heterodox denying the lutheran confessions, here’s a quote from this website

    “Johann Quenstedt (1617-1688, of Wittenberg), as quoted in Schmid, pp. 288-89:
    Faith, and that, too, as persevering or final faith, enters into the sphere of eternal election, not as already afforded, but as foreknown. For we are elected to eternal life from faith divinely foreseen, apprehending, to the end, the merit of Christ; (b) Faith enters into election not by reason of any meritorious worth, but with respect to its correlate, or so far as it is the only means of apprehending the merit of Christ; or, in other words, faith is not a meritorious cause of election, but only a prerequisite condition, or a part of the entire order divinely appointed in election.”

  6. @Bill #100

    Bill, WRT your criticism of Quenstedt, that is unfortunately true about most of the Lutheran Orthodox Dogmaticians. To be fair, they were trying to emphasize the evangelical nature of election by expressing the purpose of faith. Unfortunately, they confused foreseeing with foreknowing. Here is a good article explaining the history of their divergence from the Confessions’ understanding of election in FC XI.

    With all that said, though, they were hardly Arminian. They rejected synergism very thoroughly.

    Also, to say that “world” refers only to the elect is not consistent with the Scriptures’ use of the word “world.” 1 John 2:2 is very clear on this. And if Jesus is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world, this means that he has satisfied God’s wrath against all sin.

    Finally, Wesley explicitly rejected the Lutheran doctrine of justification. He said that our righteousness is not an alien righteousness, the opposite of what the Lutherans always argued against the Papists as well as the Reformed.

  7. Pastor Andrew, thanks for clarifying on Quenstedt. Regardless 1 John 2:2 as I said I think in my first post, all protestants and catholics agreed in the 16th century that Christ procured the remission of sins for the whole world in the sense 1 John 2:2 speaks, so that it can be freely offered, but only those that come to faith have had their sins remitted at Calvary. Roman Catholics, Arminians and calvinists and the lutherans of the 16th century were unanimous, only those that would come to faith had their sins remitted at Calvary, only those that God foreknew they would have faith. Because the remission of sins is by faith alone (protestants) or the catholics would say by faith alone and works that follow faith. Either way the sins of the faithful in all ages were the only sins propitiated in Calvary, now who the elect there was never agreement between arminians and calvinists and catholics. But it does not matter whether at Calvary God took the sins of those he foresaw they would have faith as Arminians teach or whether he took the sins of those he elected to have faith as calvinists teach, the atonment as far as the benefit of the forgiveness of sin is concerned was limited to those that would come to faith. Lutherans agreed, and the only thing they added is that the arminian -calvinist controversy could not be resolved and only when we get to heaven we will know whether the arminians of the calvinists are right or somewhere in between. Some christians held to conditinal and some to unconditional election, but it was not a matter of debate that the remission of sins referred to those that have faith. First John 2:2 is interpreted by traditional historic christianity just like the excommunicated pastor from WELS articulates it and all those other pastors that have left the LCMS and WELS, i.e. Christ procured the salvation of all men, made it possible for God to remit the sins of any man that comes to faith. But because the remission of sins occurs at the time of faith, only the sins of those that have or will come to faith were nailed to the cross of Calvary. Only those whose names are in the book of life. Moses sins were atoned for in Calvary, Pharaoh’s sins were not. This is so simple, every lutherean, calvinist, arminian, and catholic should never have to argue about this.

    I rest my case. Only God knows whose sins were atoned for at Calvary, but only the church had its sins forgiven, universal invisible church known to God. We know from scripture that 11 apostles had their sins nailed to the cross, but Judas sins were not nailed nor atoned at the cross of Calvary. There is no forgiveness of sin outside the church, only universalists affirm this. So if modern roman catholics (after Vatican 2 due to Karl Rahner’s influence), Karl Barth, the LCMS, and WELS want to teach this, fine do it. But you guys should expect that those that have been converted by the holy spirit will reject this doctrine and leave the church and worship at a church that teaches the remission of sins is particular to the church, and is not universal to the world. Whether people choose a calvinist, arminian, or confessional lutheran church that rejects UOJ is up to them, but bible believing christians will move to a church that teaches that there is no remission of the chruch, and as far as the remission of sins goes, the atonement was limited to the church. Teaching otherwise is teaching universalism, even though you may teach that not everybody goes to heaven.

    I believe the guys that hold UOJ believe the gospel because I used to defend that position myself, but I do believe they are in error as I just indicated, in affirming that the unbaptized had their sins propitiated at Calvary.

  8. Sorry, I added in capital letters below two words I missed on my post above, didn’t have time to edit and fix. Otherwise the sentence can not be understood,

    “but bible believing christians will move to a church that teaches that there is no remission of SINS OUTSIDE the chruch, and as far as the remission of sins goes, the atonement was limited to the church.”

  9. @Bill #108

    Dear Bill,
    Don’t restrict the atonement! All sins were paid for by Christ, even Pharao’s. Once again: Limited atonement is Calvinism, heresy. Christ paid for all, but those who do not believe don’t receive the gift.

  10. Pastor Jakob, nothing to do with calvinism, but with orthodox christianity and the heterodox UOJ universalist position. You are confusing sufficiency of the atonement with application of the atonement. And you are defining the atonement by its sufficiency (universalism) instead of its application by faith as orthodox christianity always affirmed it.

    Historic orthodox christianity (roman catholics, lutherans that deny UOJ, calvinists, arminians) maintain that SUFFICIENT PAYMENT TO SAVE EVERY MAN has been made at Calvary. The atonement is unlimited as far as the SUFFICIENCY of its value. Every calvinist I know would affirm that there was sufficient payment made to atone for the sins of the whole human race. Historic orthodox christianity also maintains that although the payment Christ made is sufficient for the salvation of every man ever born, Pharaoh included, NOBODY is actually saved until they apply the atonement by faith. And the APPLICATION of the atonement is limited to the Saints in all ages (the elect).

    So far so good, but problem with UOJ arises in that that orthodox christianity teaches that it is the APPLICATION of the atonement that determines whose sins were forgiven at Calvary and whose sins were not forgiven at Calgary, who was saved and who will be condemned. The SUFFICIENCY of the atonement does not matter. Because justification is by faith and the remission of sins happens after faith. So solely the sins of the elect have been remitted at Calvary, Christ’s church. Even though sufficient payment was made at Calvary to atone for the sins of every man, the atonement was never applied to Pharaoh by faith and as a result his sins were never forgiven by God at the cross in Calvary, his sins were not paid for and Pharaoh will have to pay for them in hell. The holy spirit alone at conversion communicates to the sinner your sins are forgiven and gives him faith. Only those people whom the holy spirit converts have had their sins forgiven and paid for at Calvary. Everybody else, has not had their sins forgiven at Calvary. The article of justification is particular to the Saints, and only the Saints have had their sins forgiven in Calvary.

    You see if you ask an arminian, a roman catholic, a lutheran that denies UOJ, or a calvinist the following question : have the sins of Pharaoh or Hitler been forgiven at Calvary ? The answer is NO. Have the sins of Judas been paid for at Calvary ? the answer is NO. The reason is because every orthodox christian defines the atonement of sin by its APPLICATION. If you have faith, your sins were forgiven. If you have no faith, your sins were not forgiven. The gift of the forgiveness of sins is received by faith. But the UOJ guys instead of defining the atonement in the orthodox manner by its APPLICATION (justification by faith), they define it by its SUFFICIENCY (the sufficient payment Christ made on the cross for every man). And since sufficient payment was made for the sins of all mankind, Pharaoh included, they conclude well Pharaoh had his sins paid for, Pharaoh is forgiven, Pharaoh is a forgiven sinner in hell, while those that received the gift are forgiven sinners in heaven. This is a heterodox position, and it is contrary to orthodox christianity. Will I call it heresy ? Yes, absolutely. Would I flee from a church that teaches this ? You better believe it. Because at judgment day Pastor Jakob, you and i have to stand in front of almighty God and we will have to give account of everything. And if you want to defend before almighty God that Pharaoh’s sins were paid by Christ to the Father, good luck with that. The payment Christ made to the Father is for the sins of his Saints, those only were atoned at the cross. Now that the payment Christ made to the father was SUFFICIENT to atone for the sins of Pharaoh, every orthodox christian agrees, but because Pharaoh never APPLIED (received) the atonement by faith his sins were never pardoned and are not paid for. He will pay for them in hell. So the atonement is defined by its APPLICATION (those that have faith only were justified at the cross of Calvary and have their sins blotted out at Calvary), everybody else remains in their sin and Christ did not satisfy at Calvary., except for the sufficiency, which as I indicated nor orthodox christian ever defined the atonement by its sufficiency. So UOJ is heterodox because it defines the atonement in its sufficiency. While orthodox christianity by its application by grace through faith in conversion. Now to be a bit more charitable we can call the UOJ teaching neo-orthodox, like the Reformed call Karl Barth, they do not call him heterodox. But neo-orthodox is a diplomatic way to say heterodox, because it departs from traditional orthodoxy. Because Barth’s error is the same as the UOJ error, they define that atonement by its sufficiency for all instead of its application by faith alone to the elect.

  11. But further to what I just wrote in my last post, I give credit to ‘Samuel Huber and Karl Barth for being honest, they acknowledged that their position involves a universal election. The LCMS and WELS on the on the other hand are either purposely deceiving people or ignorantly claiming they do do not teach universal election. Bottom line is this you teach universal objective justification, you are teaching a universal election. And this charge applies even if LCMS and WELS keep affirming a particular election, because all it means is that they teach both a universal election and a particular election, and this is simply bad theology or puposeful deceit. Because they can not deny that they are teaching universal election, either they are lying or they are ignorant of the implications of UOJ. At least Barth and Huber were better theologians or more honest theologicans than WELS and LCMS. i honestly think this whole UOJ issue God has permitted to come up so that those that understand this doctrine be called to repentance, and those that do not understand this doctrine that they become aware of how serious a departure from orthodoxy it constitutes. Anyhow I do not accuse anybody of lying, because I held to this doctrine of UOJ until very recently, I simply believe it is one of the most subtle deceptions the devil introduced into the church. And I was deceived myself by it. So I will never say people are lying, but that they have not worked out their implication is pretty obvious, so it is more a sin of ignorance that God will forgive and as soon as people see this is a false doctrine they will either leave the church or bring it up with their pastor, or if it’s a pastor they will bring it up to the Synod’s attention.

    And the reason I mentioned Barth and Huber is because both use the specific term objective justification, and both include the doctrine as part of the atonement or work of reconciliation that Christ performed. And both say it was universal. UOJ was affirmed formally with that name by both Samuel Huber and Karl Barth, but both were intelligent and honest enough to realize that this doctrine involved the teaching of universal election. While WELS and LCMS, I think out of ignorance and not out of dishonesty, failed to realize that they are teaching universal election. Universal election and universal justification does not mean everybody goes to heaven, both Barth and Huber maintained that faith in Christ was required to inherit eternal life.

  12. Dear Bill,

    Are you a member of a church whose pastor is affiliated with the ELDoNA? I don’t think they share your view Have the sins of Judas been paid for at Calvary ? the answer is NO.

  13. @Bill #111

    Bill, you are either incapable of understanding the issue or you are being ungracious. The Synodical Conference (W/ElS, LCMS) does not teach universalism. OJ simply teaches that Jesus took the sin of the whole world away by his obedience and death, and his resurrection declares this through the Word, which offers this free gift to all. Why some rejected it or never even heard it while others believed it is something we leave to the hidden will and majesty of God. But what is revealed in the gospel is forgiveness for all sinners. This is objective justification. Those who do not believe this die in their sins and the wrath of God remains on them. This is what we teach. This is what we have always taught. The fact that some people have given crass and, at best, confusing articulations of this doctrine (like that Judas and all members of hell were given the status of saint) doesn’t change the fact that the teaching itself of OJ is biblical and confessional.

    Also, the fact that you reject that the Atonement has made full satisfaction for the sins of all people of all time is very telling. And those who claim to be faithful to the historic Lutheran teaching on justification while rejecting OJ should read what you are writing. You are demonstrating that if you reject OJ then you are necessarily rejecting that Christ made satisfaction for the sins of all people.

  14. Pastor Jakob, I am not affiliated with ELDoNA, but both ELDoNA and I, as well as every calvinist and arminian teach that Christ made sufficient payment for the sins of all mankind. But this payment is conditional on faith. How many times do I have to repeat myself that Christ made SUFFICIENT satisfaction for all. But the key word is SUFFICIENT, because although the satisfaction is sufficient it is useless without faith. This is the teaching of calvinism, arminianism, and traditional lutherans. You guys deny the conditionality on faith of Christ’s death. You guys teach that sins were unconditionally removed, and this is the definition of universalism. Universalists are not those that teach that everybody goes to heaven, universalists are those that affirm the unconditional sufficiency of the atonement as you do. On the other hand ELdONA, the arminians, the calvinists, and I we all teach that the atonement was conditional on faith. You teach the atonement was unconditional for all and Christ fully satisfied unconditionally. This is univesalism what you teach.

    Question 37 of the Hedelberg catechism clearly teaches Christ that Christ bore the sin of the whole human race, but then it clarifies that this is on condition of faith, lutherans teach Christ died unconditionally. You guys forget faith was a requirement for the payment of the penalty for sin at Calvary. Christ did not satisfy unconditionally as you teach, ELdoNA, arminians, and calvinists teach Christ satisfied for all conditionally, you teach unconditionally. I will show you that:

    “Heidelberg Catechism : day 37 question
    37. Q. What do you confess when you say that He suffered?
    A. During all the time He lived on earth, but especially at the end, Christ bore in body and soul the wrath of God against the sin of the whole human race.[1] Thus, by His suffering, as the only atoning sacrifice,[2] He has redeemed our body and soul from everlasting damnation,[3] and obtained for us the grace of God, righteousness, and eternal life.[4]”

    Now it would appear as if the Hedelberg catechism is also teaching universalism, Ursinus in his commentary clarifies that this is not the case because Christ satisfied at Calvary on condition of faith. Here is Ursinus answering the objection from his commentary

    “Obj. 4. If Christ made satisfaction for all, then all ought to be saved. But all are not saved. Therefore, he did not make a perfect satisfaction. Ans. Christ satisfied for all, as it respects the sufficiency of the satisfaction which he made, but not as it respects the application thereof; for he fulfilled the law in a two-fold respect. First, by his own righteousness; and secondly, by making satisfaction for our sins, each of which is most perfect. But the satisfaction is made ours by an application, which is also two-fold; the former of which is made by God, when he justifies us on account of the merit of his Son, and brings it to pass that we cease from sin; the latter is accomplished by us through faith. For we apply unto ourselves, the merit of Christ, when by a true faith, we are fully persuaded that God for the sake of the satisfaction of his Son, remits unto us our sins. Without this application, the satisfaction of Christ is of no benefit to us.”

  15. Pastor Andrew, I never said that you teach that everybody goes to heaven. Samuel Huber never taught that everybody goes to heaven, neither did Karl Barth. Universalists are those that teach Christ died unconditionally for all men. And because you teach that, you are a universalist. Read my reply to Pastor Jakob above from a few minutes ago.

    I did a bit of research to find out where this universalism comes from. And I now know where it does. Robert Preus learned the doctrine of justification from Thomas F Torrance. Thomas Torrance was the man who introduced Karl Barth to the english world. He believed in a universal unconditional election and objective justification of all men at Calvary. he believed that only those that accept the gift through faith have eternal life. This is where the doctrine of universal justification comes from. Robert Preus learned from the barthian theologian Thomas Torrance the article of UOJ. And instead of rejecting the heresy, he brought him to teach at the Seminary ! This is like inviting the devil to your own house. And now the LCMS is paying the consequences. Here there is an article saying what Robert Preus did to the Seminary when he brought the barthian scholar and his personal teacher Thomas Torrance,2.pdf

    Let us be clear, Robert Preus allowed the doctrine of objective justification into the seminary by bringing in Torrance who affirmed it. Although some say that towards the end of his life he rejected the doctrine as heretical. Also Robert Preus when he realized what the neo orthodoxy of Thomas Torrance brought to the Seminary, he affirmed the inerrancy of scripture and combatted many of Torrance’s teachings, but not all. Thomas Torrance denied the inerrancy of scripture, he denied the historical Adam, even though he affirmed the inspiration of scripture. Robert Preus allowed the doctrine of objective justification to stay at the Seminary. And he also softened the doctrine of the importance of historical events in the bible as the article I linked mentions.
    But Robert Preus affirmed the inerrancy of scripture, unlike Thomas Torrance (who only affirmed the inspiration but not the inerrancy and denied the historical events in the bible like the historic existence of Adam).

    Thomas Torrance taught that faith was necessary to inherit eternal life. With that said he is considered a universalist in theological circles for teaching that Christ paid in full for the sins of all mankind unconditionally, the sins of all mankind were remitted. This is why Torrance, together with the UOJ lutherans who learned from him thanks to Robert Preus, they both teach that everybody that goes to hell was forgiven at the cross in Calvary. This is something that all arminians, calvinists, and traditional lutherans always denied. Go try to tell any of the lutherans reformers that the sins of Judas were forgiven or the sins of Pharaoh, they will unanimously say no. Because forgiveness of sin implies faith, there was no unconditional remission of sin for any man at Calvary, it was based on foreseen faith that man was forgiven at Calvary, so only those that come to faith, the Saints had their sins forgiven at Calvary. The unconditional universal remission of sins at Calvary is heresy, God promised the forgiveness of sin to whosoever believes, and did not atone the sins of a single man unconditionally,at Calvary, the promise was reserved to those that would come to faith, and those sins only were fully paid at Calvary.

    And now that I know that Thomas Torrance was brought to Concordia seminary, there is a high likelihood that at least some LCMS pastors know that they are teaching universal election. This is not ignorance any more, this is intentional deception. Because there is no difference between the objective justification of Thomas Torrance and Karl Barth and the objective justification of the UOJ lutherans. Torrance taught the doctrine to the lutherans, and Torrance affirmed that nobody without faith will inherit eternal life, just like the UOJ lutherans. Until somebody shows me how the objective justification of Torrance differs from LCMS and WELS, or somebody affirms that Torrance doctrine of justification is heresy, I think that they know very well that they are teaching universal election in practice. I am waiting to hear from the LCMS and WELS to say that Torrance doctrine of objective justification is heresy, until that happens LCMS and WELS ought to be considered universalists like Torrance was.

  16. Pastor Jakob, further to my post earlier this morning addressed, I will provide another quote from Ursinus commentary on the Heidelberg catechism on the atonement.

    Ursinus was a lutheran and then wrote the Heidelberg catechism for the reformed. But he had the lutheran view of the atonement, even though the Heidelberg catechism is a reformed confession, lutherans have historically affirmed that the differences between the Heidelberg catechism and lutheranism are primarily the sacraments. See how Ursinus affirms a universal conidtional satisfaction, just like ELDoNA does. No faith = no remission of sin at Calvary, justification is by faith. There is no universal unconditional objective justification that took place at Calvary, none whatsoever, sins were remitted at Calvary on the basis of foreseen faith. There was a condition, otherwise you can not defend yourself against the charge of universalism. if you want to defend yourself against universalism, you have to do it as Ursinus does it. And I will show you how, Ursinus who affirms like ELDoNA does and I do and all orthodox christians do, that sins were remitted at Calvary on condition that people will believe, i.e. based on foreseen faith. Not a single sin was paid at Calvary unconditionally, apart from faith, there is no universal objective justification that took place at Calvary. Here’s Ursinus on his commentary on Q20 answering the objection he is teaching universalism,
    “Obj. 2. All those ought to be received into favor for whose offences a sufficient satisfaction has been made. Christ has made a sufficient satisfaction for the offenses of all men. Therefore all ought to be received into favor; and if this is not done, God is either unjust to men, or else there is something detracted from the merit of Christ. Ans. The major is true, unless some condition is added to the satisfaction; as, that only those are saved through it, who apply it unto themselves by faith. But this condition is expressly added, where it is said, ” God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16Open in Logos Bible Software (if available).)”

    It is fair to say that until you guys agree with this, the charge of universalism will stick. Because Christ paid sins based on foreseen faith, he was omniscient, and knew who would come to faith and who would not and only the sins of those that would come to faith were fully paid, only the sins of those that met the condition of faith which Christ foreknew were atoned for. Pharaoh’s sins were not atoned for or paid for at Calvary, because he failed to meet the condition of faith. SALVATION IS NOT UNCONDITIONAL AS UOJ TEACHES, REMISSIONF OF SINS AT CALVARY WAS NOT UNCONDITIIONAL, CHRIST’S PAYMENT FOR SIN WAS NOT UNCONDITIONAL, CHRIST DIED FOR THE SINS OF ALL MEN CONDITIONALLY, OBJECTIVE JUSTIFICATION AT CALVARY IS CONDITIONAL ON FAITH, THE PAYMENT PAID BY CHRIST AT CALVARY WAS ON CONDITION OF FAITH. CHRIST DID NOT PAY THE SINS OF ANYBODY UNCONDITIONALLY AT CALVARY, NO UNCONDITIONAL PAYMENT OF SIN TOOK PLACE, FAITH WAS REQUIRED AT CALVARY. Only the faithful are justified. only the faithful had theirs sins atoned at Calvary, because only the faithful met the condition of faith required for the remission of sins. Arminius agreed with this, the calvinists adopted the Heidelberg catechism so they agree with it as well, and the lutheran church always affirmed the doctrine of justification by faith and denied UOJ.

    I never heard a lutheran criticizing the atonement as taught in the Heidelberg catechism. Ursinus was a lutheran early in his life, and he made an effort that everything he wrote would be in agreement with lutheranism. Though in the sacraments there were differences.

  17. @Pastor Andrew Preus #113

    Pr Andrews,
    the teaching itself of OJ is biblical and confessional. That depends on what the words mean. It’s ok for me to call [the concept of] OJ biblical. I don’t agree, but this is an exegetical issue. The difference is not doctrinal. We use different wordings and understand some verses in the NT differently, but doctrinally we agree that Christ paid for all and that only those who believe are saved. But, the OJ can’t be found in the Book of Concord, in the confessions. So it can be discussed whether OJ can be called confessional.
    the fact that you [Bill] reject that the Atonement has made full satisfaction for the sins of all people of all time is very telling. Yes. And those who claim to be faithful to the historic Lutheran teaching on justification while rejecting OJ should read what you are writing. Yes. You are demonstrating that if you reject OJ then you are necessarily rejecting that Christ made satisfaction for the sins of all people. No! I am not rejecting the work of Christ, satisfactio vicaria, but I am rejecting OJ.
    This article explains my stand further:

  18. Pastor Andrew, I affirm that Christ did not make full satisfaction for the sins of any man outside of faith. I affirm that no man has had his sins fully paid unconditionally at Calvary. No man, and that includes you and I . Your sins were not fully paid at Calvary unconditionally. Your sins were fully paid on condition you would come to faith and you would stay in the faith, just like the sins of every other man were paid Pharaoh included. The payment of your sin hangs on your faith, you are justified by faith. Every orthodox christian always affirmed this, lutheran, arminian, and calvinist. Because of this I can affirm your sins were forgiven because you have faith, and Pharoah’s were not because he lacked faith. The forgiveness of sin can only be found in faith, the forgiveness of sin can not be found in the sufficiency of the atonement for all men. Because the sufficiency of the atonement does not assure salvation for any man., because it is conditional on faith. While in faith we find an unconditional salvation and a sure promise we can trust, full assurance can only be found in our faith.

    Look the warning of Paul to any Christian that thinks for one second he’s unconditionally forgiven at Calvary, read 1 Corinthians 15:2. Nobody has had their sins fully paid at Calvary, no man can claim this, unless he has faith. Because the payment at Calvary is dependent on faith, the whole salvation depends on faith. Paul clearly teaches if you do not stay in the faith, you have believed in vain. Paul teaches to focus on our faith, and to appropriate the atonement for ourselves, and not to look at the atonement outside of faith as if Pharaoh had his sins forgiven (which is false).

    I reject the full payment of sin unconditionally, just like ELDoNA, ariminianism, and calvinism does. It is only Samuel Huber, Karl Barth, WELS, and LCMS that affirm that a full payment of sin outside of faith took place for all men at Calvary. Orthodox christianity denies that payment for a single man took place in Calvary unconditionally, no not one had his sins fully paid unconditionally, not even you and I. Your sins were not unconditionally fully paid at Calvary, and neither were, nor any of the apostles. Our sins were only paid because of our faith, the payment of sin by Christ on Calvary depends on faith. No faith – no remission of sin at Calvary, no payment made by Christ. Otherwise we deny the article of justification by faith, the view of the atonement that states that full unconditional payment took place is a denial of justification by faith. The payment Christ makes depends on our faith, it was never made independent of our faith. This is not just what we should preach to the unbeliever 3:16, but to the believer as well 1 Corinthians 15:2. This is the gospel of justification by faith that can not be softened, the effectiveness of the atonement of Christ depends on our faith, our salvation depends on our faith, the remission of sins depends on our faith. This is because remission of sins is conditional on faith, so there is no payment outside of faith. The remission of sins can only be found in faith, it is subjective. There is an objective remission of sins, there is an atonement that took place 2000 years ago, but no man can find his assurance of salvation in the atoning work of Christ because the atoning work of Christ was conditional on faith. We can only find our salvation in our faith, and never in a conditional promise of a work that took 2000 years ago, it is the fact that we met the condition of faith that assures us of salvation. Because in faith is the unconditional salvation. When we look at our baptism, at our faith, we know that we have been saved unconditionally. I can not get any assurance of salvation from the preaching that 2000 years ago Pharaoh’s sins were sufficiently paid for. Because the sufficiency of payment made by Christ does not give me any assurance of salvation, zero. The payment Christ made is a necessary condition for salvation, but does not guarantee my salvation. Faith on the other hand guarantees my salvation.

    Because Pharaoh’s sins were suffciently paid, but he’s in hell. While you and I will inherit eternal life based on the promises of baptism and the word received in faith. So I can only look at my faith or baptism to find assurance.

  19. So Pastor Andrew, as you could see the charge that Christ at Calvary treated Pharaoh different from Peter that you and Reverend Jakob charge me with is not accurate. Both Pharaoh and Peter were treated the same in that to both the remission of sin was promised on condition of faith. Peter met the condition, Pharaoh did not. The key thing is orthodox christianity affirms a CONDITIONAL ATONEMENT FOR ALL MEN. THE CONDITION TO BE MET IS FAITH. So my assurance can only come from faith, and not from the objective atoning work 2000 years ago. The objective atoning work was necessary of course, otherwise faith could not exist. Like Paul said, if Christ isn’t risen we are still dead in our sin. But that Christ rose from the dead and made sufficient payment for the sins of all mankind still gives me no assurance of salvation.. Our assurance can only be found in faith and baptism, and not in Christ’s death on the cross, because the benefits of his atoning death are conditional on faith. What differentiates me from Pharaoh is faith, and not what Christ did on the cross for both Pharaoh and I. So faith gives me the assurance, not the objective work where sufficient payment was made for Pharaoh, which I affirm it happened. Zero assurance comes from Christ’s objective work made for Pharaoh.

    And in all honesty, and this is speaking form my own experience. My assurance comes from the witness of the spirit that assures me that my sins were forgiven in Calvary. This is a gift of God, and I even recorded the day this happened ! My assurance of faith was different from many others, in that it came suddenly one day. I believed the historical facts for many years since I was a teenager. But God gave me assurance and trust 20 years after while reading the book of Romans. It was a sudden conversion, while reading the book of Romans in a sunny day in front of a lake in interior British Columbia. I even leaped in joy, in disbelief that Christ had done it all (because I had failed to see it for so many years, I was so thankful that now God revealed it, and now I believed it for the first time), and his work was complete, and even if my own striving was in vain and my works fell short, Christ covered the shortfall fully at Calvary.

  20. “the fact that you [Bill] reject that the Atonement has made full satisfaction for the sins of all people of all time is very telling.”

    This is false Pastor Andrew, you missed one key world, UNCONDITIONAL. So if you had said as I write below were I quoted you and added this one word:, then yes I deny it:

    “the fact that you [Bill] reject that the Atonement has made full satisfaction for the sins of all people UNCONDITIONALLY of all time is very telling.”

    Of course I deny it, because anybody that affirms this is a universalist. The full UNCONDITIONAL satisfaction of sin in the atonement for all men is universalism. And i am no universalist unlike the LCMS and WELS. Full satisfaction was made universally on condition of faith, but no universal satisfaction was made unconditionally in the atonement.

  21. The problem with UOJ is UNCONDITIONAL UNIVERSAL GRACE. This is universalism. I have zero problems with arminians, calvinists, or orthodox lutherans that affirm that the arminian -calvinist controversy can not be resolved.

    1) Conditional universal grace for all men is a biblical teaching. This is true because God promised it to every man that whosoever believes, shall not perish but have everlasting life. God made a covenant with man, and owes salvation to any man that comes to faith. God’s promise is sure for every man ever born. But his covenant is conditional with every man. This is gratia universalis which is conditional.
    2) Unconditional particular grace for the elect alone is a biblical teaching as well. God has made a promise to save his elect unconditionally, this is the decree of single predestination that traditional lutherans always affirmed. Those that are predestined in Christ Jesus since the foundation of the world have been promised unconditional grace, God will do it all, Romans 8:30 . God predestined them, he will call them (give them the ability to believe they lack, give them faith), justify them after they have come to faith, and finally glorify them. God’s grace for his Saints is unconditional. This is the lutheran doctrine of unconditinal election, but applies for the elect alone. There is no unconditional universal election where God provides the grace outlined in Romans 8:30, the unconditional grace of salvation of Romans 8:30 is particular to the elect alone.

    So we ought to reject any type of unconditional universal grace for all men because it teaches universalism. We do not have authority from God to preach an unconditional universal grace of any type such as UOJ. God forbids us in scripture to preach unconditional universal grace such as UOJ. God has made no unconditional universal promises in his word, and we are unfaithful to his word if we were to preach such an unconditional universal gospel. God is not a liar and keeps his promises, but he never promised unconditional universal grace in his gospel. His gospel has only conditional universal promises (gratia universalis) and unconditional promises for his elect alone (election). His gospel has no unconditional universal promises (universalism),

  22. Pastor Jakob, my last three posts (118, 119, 120, and 121) were actually addressed to you and not to Pastor Andrew. I was replying to your comments about my doctrine on post 117. I typed Pastor Andrew by mistake but they are intended for you.

  23. My objective here was to help you guys see that a definition of full unconditional satisfaction is not biblcal. Also that calvinists and arminians (and lutherans of the past) all agree that the atonement was limited in its benefits to the elect only. The difference between limited and unlimited atonement never was whether Christ died as a substitute for Judas, both those that defend unlimited atonement and those that deny it are in full agreement that Christ did not die as a substitute for Judas, as the Wikipedia article I showed in my first post proves. And I said it, the guys at Wikipedia know more than the UOJ guy on what unlimited atonement is. Here’s an article from the largest reformed evangelical group today that explains the subtle difference between limited and unlimited atonement, he explains it bettter than I in my long posts. I hope you guys can see the light. If not, I’ve done all I could, and unless God opens your ears on this matter, you will not understand it. I hope God will show mercy on you instead of harden you in your UOJ position. Read it, it is short, succinct, and shows that the only difference between calvinists and arminians is in the intent of Christ’s death, other than that the extent of the design of the atonement was never a dispute in all of historic christianity. UOJ is a controversy between univerrsalists and orthodox christians, i.e. armininans, calvinists, and lutheran of ELdONA are in full agreement on this one. We are all united on this one. I pray that when you read this short article you will understand, It is written by a reformed, that admits that Calvinists agree 100% on the atonement with what arminians affirm (Christ’s conditional death equally for every man, Judas and Peter), but affirm more (Christ’s unconditional death for the elect). But Calvinists agree 100% with Arminius, and from this perspective every calvinist affirms unlimited atonement, otherwise they would deny the sufficiency of Christ’s payment for all men. Here it is the link, it is a short reading but a sharp summary that I think will help you understand,

  24. @Bill #123

    Dear Bill,
    The article is very claryfying! The author uses logic and reason to determine the teaching of the Bible. The underlying “problem” is the question: Why are just some people saved if Christ died for all? Why are just some people converted? There must be a reason! Calvinists solve this problem by restricting the atonement so it is effective only for the believers. Arminians and synergists solve the problem by making faith to a human contribution to the salvation, man cooperates with God. Those who get lost didn’t cooperate (enough) with God. The Biblical and Lutheran teaching is however: 1/ The atonement is a full payment for all people, both for believers and unbelievers. There is no difference. The reason that just some are converted is NOT that the atonement is more intended for some. AND 2/ All people are by nature totally lost and dead in sin. There is no difference in the resistance. The reason that just some are converted is NOT that they cooperate with God. The answer to the question is: God has not revealed to us why just some are converted. We don’t know why. This teaching violates reason, but is nevertheless Biblical.
    For a fuller explanation, borrow Siegbert W Becker”The Foolishness of God” from a Lutheran pastor or buy your own:

  25. I get it Pastor Jakob, I have read the whole book of Concord.

    The point I am trying to make is this which I will quote from the link in my prior post before addressing

    “The Calvinist limits the extent of [the atonement] in that he says it does not apply to all persons . . . ; while the Arminian limits the power of it, for he says that in itself it does not actually save anybody.”

    Now let me add, you do not have to fall into the Arminian error of synergy by affirming that in itself the atonement does not actually save anybody. ELdoNA is not synergistic, because although they affirm that in itself the atonement does not save anybody, all they are doing is avoiding universalism. ELdONA affirms the traditional lutheran view that the atonement does not save anybody, faith alone justifies. But they affirm unconditional election unlike the arminian synergists. Christ’s work on the cross at Calvary did not justify or save anybody. Faith in Christ saves, justification happens at the point of faith, and not at the cross 2000 years ago. So ELdONA can affirm a full unconditional satisfaction of sin by Christ at Calvary without being universalists, because it does not justify anybody, it does not remove the sin of a single sinner, Christ’s work on the cross did not save anybody, it is faith that saves. Christ work at the cross satisfied God fully, full unconditional satisfaction was made by Christ to God for the whole human race. But ELDoNA correctly affirms that this satsfaction for the whole human race was a general satisfaction that did not take the sins of any individual sinner, the removal of sin in an individual happens at the time of faith. So the atonement refers to the human race, to sinners, but it is applied individually by faith.

    You see, Reverend Jakob, this is why I can support ELdONA’s position but I have to reject WELS / LCMS . Because the reconciliation of an individual sinner happens at the point of faith. When was the apostle Matthew reconciled to Christ ? When Christ told him follow me. Whom he called, he also justified. So justification is by faith. Individual reconciliation is by faith, at Calvary a general reconciliation of the whole human race took place, but no man was individually reconciled. Christ’s death, his death on the cross did not save anybody, salvation is by grace through faith. ELdONA would never affirm that Judas sins were forgiven at Calvary.
    ELdONA would never affirm that a tribe of indians that never heard the gospel was reconciled at Calvary, because at Calvary a full reconciliation of humanity took place, but the reconciliation of the individual sinner takes place by grace through faith.

    Let’s face it there is a clear difference between what ELdONA teaches and what WELS / LCMS teaches. It is not semantics. Does ELdONA limit in some form the atonement ? Yes, because they deny UOJ. They see that UOJ is universalism. So they limit the atonement by saying that nobody was justified or had their sins forgiven in Christ’s atoning work on the cross. Even though full satisfaction was made for the human race. The individual remission of sins happens at the point of faith. Are they arminian or calvinist ? No.

  26. And one of the very interesting things here is that the articles you pastors asked me to read mention that objective justification is the object of faith and faith receives it. So justification has 4 components (the first 3 are objective justification and the last one faith is subjective justification) according to UOJ theology:

    The grace of God.
    The merit of Christ.
    The promise of the Gospel.

    The question here is whether the promise of the gospel is conditional or not ? The promise of the gospel is objective and true regardless whether there is faith or not. So it is an objective component in the article of justification. It’s truth can not be denied. But isn’t the promise of the gospel conditional on faith ? The promise of the gospel as I understand is that “whosoever believes will have eternal life” ? So if the promise of the gospel is objective but includes faith as a condition, then faith is one of the objects of faith, and as a matter of fact it is. Because it is an objective reality that I need to believe (have faith) that faith is a requirement of salvation. So we can not really say that faith is not part of objective justification. So objective justification really has 4 components and not 3 as the the teachers of UOJ affirm and then the subjective justification is the 5th component:

    1) The grace of God.
    2) The merit of Christ.
    3) The promise of the Gospel
    4) Faith justifies because it apprehends the promises of the gospel

    5) Faith (subjective justification) is to trust in all of the above, to believe it.

    Now when we define objective justification the way I just did, then we realize that it is not universal. Because the objective gospel that I need to believe teaches that faith justifies, in a sense I have to have faith in faith to be justified. If I do not believe that faith justifies I can not be justified. I need to understand what faith is, trust in the promises of the gospel, as the book of Concord so well explains, specially the article on justification in the Augsburg confession that so well explains what faith is and why it justifies. So I truly need to have faith in faith, otherwise I am a universalist. So believing a universal salvation of all mankind does not save me, believing the universal promises of the gospel in and of itself does not save me, even universalists believe the universal promise of the gospel, those that affirm everybody goes to heaven. I really need to have faith in faith ! As paradoxical as this may sound. I need to have confidence that faith justifies (because it receives the universal promises of the gospel).

  27. Or it just occured to me a simpler way of putting it, and keeping the 4 components in the article of justification the traditional way without adding a fifth one. This way is way better because we can truly speak of unconditional promises of the gospel. In order to do that we need to define what the promises of the gospel are.

    1) The grace of God.
    2) The merit of Christ.
    3) The promise of the Gospel (The promise of the gospel is that faith justifies, Abraham believed and it was counted to him as righteousness. Also the means of grace such as baptism justify)

    4) Faith (Confidence in my baptism. Confidence or trust in the promise of the gospel that faith justifies)

    In order to have faith, the reality of the matter is that I have to believe that faith alone justifies. How can I have faith otherwise. The objective gospel requires faith of me, so I need to believe it and receive it subjectively, I need to believe that faith and baptism are required for my salvation.

    This way we can prove that even objective justification is not universal because it has faith and baptism as one of its components to be believed. Our baptism needs to be believed in faith as Doctor Luther taught, so baptism has to be a part of objective justification. Baptism is part of the promises of the gospel to be believed. So when we define the object of faith properly as I just did, then we realize that objective justification is not universal. The object of our faith can not be solely what Christ did for all mankind 2000 years ago, because believing that Christ died for all sinners 2000 years ago and atoned for the sins of the whole world 2000 years ago can not save me (as a matter of fact I could even become a universalist as a result and believe everybody goes to heaven). So I need to believe in addition to it that I have to apply the atonement through faith and baptism, in essence I need to have faith in my baptism and I need to believe that my baptism and faith justifies.

    So at the end of the day you have to have faith in faith. You have to believe that faith justifies, like Luther and the apostles taught. Faith is part of both objective justification (the object of faith) and subjective justification (where we receive in faith objective justification).

  28. Notice that I did not say I have to have faith in my own faith, but that I I have to have faith in the objective truth that faith alone justifies. So the gospel is tobelieve the article that justification is by faith and is not universal. So UOJ is the anti gospel because its object of faith is false, all are declared rightejous is at Calvary is false. It is a false gospel, and many that believe it will be condemned at judgment day. Some may be saved as if through fire as Paul teaches the Corinthians, but many will not see the kingdom of heaven, because the article of UOJ is a denial of the objective Christian faith.

  29. And what is so abhorrent about this doctrine is that it bypasses the means of grace completely. Universal declaration of righteousness of every sinner at Christ’s resurrection ? Where is this in the bible ? And then what ? After faith or baptism the sinner is pronounced righteous a second time ? Both Luther and Calvin denied it, we are pronounced righteous only once at the time we come to faith. Only once is the sinner pronounced righteous and it is through the preached word and sacrament, through the objective means of grace, received by faith.

    And frankly lutherans if anything need to learn how the reformed calvinist tradition rejected objective justification. For the calvinist is objective justification for the elect, and it’s been rejected by most calvinists, and is not preached at church services or reformed radio programs. This doctrine never took hold in calvinism, except in some odd book or in the debates of the puritans in the 17th century. Some in the reformed tried to teach a doctrine of objective justification for the elect, but in the 17th century puritan debates against the antinomians this doctrine was rejected. Only the calvinist antinomians affirmed there was a twofold declaration of righteousness once before faith (at the time of the resurrection, and some when further and affirmed before the foundation of the world the elect were pronounced righteous) and one after faith. But this doctrine is not accepted by calvinism and was never taught by Calvin. Only the antinomians in the Reformed tradition affirmed it in the 17th century. Yes, John Murray and other presbyterians mentioned it briefly, but was never adopted by the reformed church in their preaching or teaching. The Reformed church stuck to their confessions, and said if it is not in the confessions, we will not teach it. Lutherans would do well to learn from the reformed on this aspect.

    So it is not just that LCMS and WELS teach universalism, there is a bigger problem in that God pronounces the sinner righteous only once, not twice as UOJ affirms. And he does it through the objective means of grace. At Calvary no sinner was pronounced righteous, not a single one, only when a sinner comes to faith through the means of grace he’s declared righteous. UOJ denies sola fide, no matter how you look at it, and trying to go through verbal gymnastics to justify otherwise does not invalidate the fact that they deny the doctrine of sola fide with their mouth.

  30. Just to be super clear though. Both Pastor Andrew and Reverend Jakob are 100% orthodox. All I said about heterodoxy in the doctrine of UOJ I do not retract. Nonetheless none of it, zero, applies to Pastor Andrew and Reverend Jakob. Let me tell you why, Pastor Jakob clearly said there are exegetical issues with the doctrine. And Pastor Andrew, he clearly from the get go in his blog article affirmed (and I missed until I re-read now), that UOJ includes the preaching of the word and the administration of the sacraments. However, this is the first time I hear that UOJ is not only what happened 2000 years ago, but that it also includes the proclamation of word and administration of the Sacrament. This is pure lutheranism. And I would never, never, separate from a Church pastored by either Reverend Jakob or Pastor Andrew for doctrinal reasons. Both men are 100 % orthodox, nonetheless I can not say the same of the official understanding of LCMS and WELS until such time as they teach the doctrine as Pastor Andrew teaches it. Pastor Andrew also on post number 80 affirmed that there is only one righteousness, and this is the righteousness of faith. Pastor Andrew states the doctrine very differently from those that propose UOJ, and say that all men were declared righteous when Christ rose from the dead.

    I want to be clear then that my posts are addressed at the doctrine of UOJ and not one bit at Pastor Andrew or Reverend Jakob. Neither of them affirms this doctrine, at least not in the way LCMS and WELS officially affirm it in their theological papers.

    That said, I do not believe that either Pastor Andrew or Reverend Jakob see the heresy of those that teach the pure UOJ doctrine that there is an objective justification that happened 2000 years ago in isolation and outside of the preached word or administration of the sacraments, where every sinner that ever lived was declared righteous by God. But I am fine with that I didn’t see the heresy until 3 weeks ago.

    Thomas Torrance (Robert Preus mentor) and Karl Barth both taught that every man was declared righteous at the atonement outside of the means of grace. They went even further by saying that every sinner was risen with Christ in his atoning death, outside the means of grace (Romans 6 teaches we are dead to sin and risen with Christ in baptism, this means only believers are risen with Christ, and not the whole mass of sinners as Barth and Torrance teach). Barth and Torrance went even further by saying that it is not our faith that justifies, but the faith of Christ is actually imputed to us, so we are justified not by faith but by the imputation of Christ’s faith or Christ’s faithfulness. Our faith is faulty and can not justify affirmed Torrance. So we need Christ’s faith to be imputed to us. I won’t go any further but you guys get the point, luckily Robert Preus never accepted those teachings (even though because he brought him to teach at the Seminary, no doubt Torrance’s teachings poisoned to some extent Robert Preus theology), but this is where UOJ leads to when carried to the very end. This is what Torrance and Barth teach, and based on what I have seen written about UOJ some LCMS and WELS pastors are heading towards or soon will be heading in that direction. But if Reverend Jakob and Pastor Andrews keep teaching the biblical doctrines of lutheranism this will never happen, because both of them are orthodox, unlike Barth and Torrance that is heterodox. My only concern is that I am not sure Pastor Andrew and Reverend Jakob realize that the soteriology of Barth and Torrance are heterodox, it has penetrated the LCMS and WELS, and like poison now needs to be addressed. The poison of UOJ needs to be addressed head on and dealt with. Maybe ELdONA didn’t handle things properly, but in all fairness the excommunication of the Pastor from WELS left them with no option. I do not believe the pastor wanted to leave over the doctrine, he brought to the WELS his legitimate concerns and was excommunicated. So at that point what do you do ? The heresy charge had to be thrown at WELS, and unfortunately the LCMS sided with WEKS.

  31. Yesterday night I was reading Romans chapters 3, 4 and 5 and 1 Corinthians 5:19 – 20 to get a fresh perspective from scripture on justification. And what I got is this,

    1) The whole human race in Adam is dead in trespasses and sins
    2) The whole human race in Christ is righteous and justified. There is a universal redemption of the whole human race.

    Now, notice how I did not mention anything about individual sinners, because Paul speaks about the world without referring to individuals at this point. So if we want to talk about individual human beings (whether Moses, Pharaoh, Peter, Judas) we have to ask ourselves the question. How are we united to Adam and how are we united to Christ ? How do we partake in Adam’s sin and how do we partake in Christ’s righteousness ? Both Adam and Christ are prototypes of man. The answer is :

    1) I become united to Adam and a partaker of sin at the time of conception , even before I come out of the womb, so at the time natural birth occurs we already are sinners and in union with Adam. Psalm 51:5 .
    2) How do I become united to Christ ? How do I partake in his righteousness ? And this is in the new birth by water baptism in the case of infants or by faith in the case of adults. we become united to Christ

    So when we look at things this way, we will realize that Peter was in Christ and Judas was in Adam. So Judas sins were never forgiven. In summary when it comes to individual sinners, we have to look at faith for justification. But when it comes to the whole human race (without speaking of particular individuals) we have to look at both Adam for the condemnation of the human race and Christ for the justification of the human race. We need to speak of both the first and second Adam as heads of the human race.

    Now what I just summarized above would be a more balanced approach (takes into account the whole counsel of God and does not pick one piece of scripture to construct a human doctrine that is not sound) which I would recommend WELS and the LCMS adopt. Instead of stating the whole world is reconciled, which truncates scripture and cherry picks one passage and then arrives at the conclusion that Judas was a justified sinner just like everybody else in hell is forgiven. And it is this false doctrine of forgiven people in hell that really departs from the lutheran confessions. it is much better to state that sinners that go to hell were born in Adam (i.e. in sin) and died in Adam (i.e. in sin), and they were never in Christ born again and as a result their sins were never forgiven. All those in hell were never reconciled to God, and lived and died enemies of God.

  32. And now I re-read the areas related to justification in the book of concord, and I will quote from it. But it is plain that the law demands works for its fulfillment, and the gospel (the forgiveness of sins) demands faith for its effectiveness. The Defense of the Augsburg Confession Article IV II “Of Justification” in sections 50 to 56 makes it abundantly clear that there can be no promises of the gospel unless faith is implied and required, without implied faith no promise can exist, because it is the nature of a promise by definition to demand belief, and this goes for the promises of the gospel as well. Here are quotes from sections 50 and 54 of the Defense of the Augsburg Cinfession IV ( II ) that state it in the same words I just did :

    50 “There Paul fastens and binds together these two, thus: Wherever there is a promise faith is required, and conversely, wherever faith is required, there must be a promise.”

    54 “Scripture frequently implores mercy; and the holy Fathers often say that we 55] are saved by mercy. As often, therefore, as mention is made of mercy, we must keep in mind that faith is there required, which receives the promise of mercy. And, again, as often as we speak of faith, we wish an object to be understood, namely, the promised mercy. 56] For faith justifies and saves, not on the ground that it is a work in itself worthy, but only because it receives the promised mercy.”

    And the same logic I just finished quoting for justification from the Defense of the Augsburg Confession applies to the sacraments. The Lord’s Supper, Baptism, and the Absolution none of them forgive sins without faith, the only exception being baptism in the case of infants, but baptism must be accompanied by faith once the child grows and learns of Christ. Let’s look at what the Defense of the Augsburg confession teaches about the absolution on Article XII ( V ) “On Repentance”. We will see that it calls jews those that teach that the sacrament has an objective value outside of faith, it teaches that the sacrament of absolution does not forgive sins, unless faith be present. The gospel is a command, not to perform works (not of works) but to believe (of faith), and demands the obedience of faith. Sections 79 and related as well as 88 and related of the Defense of the Augsburg Confession XII ( v ) that I quote below teach in explicit language that the Gospel is a command demanding the obedience of faith, (something the UOJ fanatics deny, and puts them squarely outside of confessional lutheranism),

    11 “They falsely assert that the Sacrament itself confers grace ex opere operato, without a good disposition on the part of the one using it; no mention is made of faith apprehending the absolution and consoling the conscience. This is truly what is generally called ajpievnai pro; tw’n musthrivwn, departing before the mysteries. [Such people are called genuine Jews.]’

    56 “as Luke 7:37-38. The woman, who was a sinner, came to Christ weeping. By these tears the contrition is recognized. Afterward she hears the absolution: Thy sins are forgiven; thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.”

    61 “That absolution, however, is not received except by faith can be proved from Paul, who teaches, Rom. 4:16, that the promise cannot be received except by faith. But absolution is the promise of the remission of sins [nothing else than the Gospel, the divine promise of God’s grace and favor]. 62] Therefore, it necessarily requires faith. Neither do we see how he who does not assent to it may be said to receive absolution. And what else is the refusal to assent to absolution but charging God with falsehood? If the heart doubts, it regards those things which God promises as uncertain and of no account. Accordingly, in 1 John 5:10 it is written: He that believeth not God hath made Him a liar, because he believeth not the record that God gave of His Son”

    70 “Therefore, let pious consciences know that the COMMAND of God is this, that they believe that they are freely forgiven for Christ’s sake, and not for the sake of our works. And by this command of God let them sustain themselves against despair, and 73] against the terrors of sin and of death. And let them know that this belief has existed among saints from the beginning of the world.”

    88 “This cannot be explained, consciences cannot be made tranquil, unless they know that it is God’s COMMAND and the very GOSPEL that they should be firmly confident that for Christ’s sake sins are remitted freely, and that they should not doubt that these are remitted to them. If any one doubts, he charges, as 1 John 5:10 says, the divine promise with falsehood. We teach that this certainty of faith is required in the Gospel.”

    So all the quotes above show that UOJ and preaching a gospel that does not command men to repent and believe but instead announces a universal justification is not confessional. And runs against the confessions. UOJ is unlutheran. With that said it does not mean that everybody that confesses UOJ is not saved. But certainly they are denying the lutheran confessions, and puts them squarely outside confessional lutheranism, in the company of Samuel Huber, Karl Barth, and Thomas Torrance.

  33. The gospel proclamation of course not only commands meant to believe the promises of God, not only demands faith in God”s promises, as the abundant quotes from the book of concord I just provided attest to. But it also produces faith, the proclamation of the gospel creates faith. So God demands and also provides the obedience of faith, when the Holy Spirit freely creates faith in the
    Christian through the proclamation of the gospel. A monergistic work performed by the Holy Spirit. through the preaching of the word where trust in the promises of God is created without the sinner”s cooperation, regeneration by faith is the sole work of the Holy Spirit.

  34. And now I have new insights on where UOJ went wrong. They are trying to connect the atonement to justification. The problem with UOJ is that justification is by faith, and the atonement has not atoned for the sin of unbelief. So really you can never put the two together, justification and the atonement are not connected. if Christ did not deal with the sin of unbelief at the cross, there was no justification at the atonement. Now the question everybody will ask is if God did not deal with unbelief at the cross where did he deal with ? The answer is simple at regeneration, at the new birth, when the Spirit creates faith and removes the sin of unbelief. Christ did not satisfy for the sin of unbelief at the cross. If Christ had paid for the sin of unbelief then unbelief would not be a damnable sin. The gospel says that those that believe shall be saved and those that do not believe shall be condemned. This is because Christ did not deal with the sin of unbelief at Calvary, otherwise faith would not be a requirement for salvation. What Christ did at the cross is fulfill the law of works of Romans 3:27. But Christ did not satisfy the law of faith of Romans 3:27 that justifies. The law of faith is fulfilled at the new birth when we come to faith, and this is a gift of God. Obedience to the law of works Christ fully satisfied for all men, so no sacrifices for atonement as in the Old Testament are required since Christ is the perfect sacrifice and perfect high priest, also Christ fulfilled perfectly the whole Law of Moses, he was without sin, loved God the Father and neighbor perfectly. With that said faith in Christ is required of sinners, we can not just say that Christ had faith in himself (in Christ) for us , and we do not have to believe. No, man still has to come to faith before he dies in order to be saved. Christ did not satisfy for the sin of unbelief persisted unto death. This sin was not paid for at Calvary for any man, so no man was justified at Calvary. Justification is by faith alone. And the Spirit satisfies for the sin of unbelief at regeneration when the Christian is given faith (he’s not forgiven for lack of faith, but faith is given as a gift for salvation), and then sustained in that faith by the Spirit, since Christ did not satisfy at the atonement for lack of faith.

    The great baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon concurs that the sin of unbelief persisted to death was not atoned for at Calvary,

    “5. And now to close this point—for I have been already too long—let me remark that you will observe the heinous nature of unbelief in this—that it is the damning sin. There is one sin for which Christ never died; it is the sin against the Holy Ghost. There is one other sin for which Christ never made atonement. Mention every crime in the calendar of evil, and I will show you persons who have found forgiveness for it. But ask me whether the man who died in unbelief can be saved, and I reply there is no atonement for that man. There is an atonement made for the unbelief of a Christian, because it is temporary; but the final unbelief—the unbelief with which men die—never was atoned for. You may turn over this whole Book, and you will find that there is no atonement for the man who died in unbelief; there is no mercy for him. Had he been guilty of every other sin, if he had but believed, he would have been pardoned; but this is the damning exception—he had no faith. Devils seize him! O fiends of the pit, drag him downward to his doom! He is faithless and unbelieving, and such are the tenants for whom hell was built. It is their portion, their prison, they are the chief prisoners, the fetters are marked with their names, and for ever shall they know that, “he that believeth not shall be damned.” “

  35. Further to my post unbelief is a sin, but it is also a damning condition in which men are born. Christ told Nicodemus that a man must be born again to enter the Kingdom of heaven, he needs to be regenerated. Christ made it clear that those that believe not shall be condemned. The sin of unbelief can only be removed in regeneration, but is not a sin Christ satisfied for at Calvary. Otherwise the unbeliever would inherit eternal life which is contrary to everything Christ taught. This is why justification is by faith, and nobody was justified objectively by Christ’s death and resurrection. Christ’s death and resurrection did not atone for the sin of rejecting Christ persisted until death. Those men die in their sin with their unbelief not atoned for, but condemning them at judgment day.

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