Monday, March 4, 2013

Public Error Warrants Public Rebuke

*Please note:  The views expressed below represent myself and not necessarily any of the other contributors of this blog.  I know some of you grow tired of hearing about universal justification all the time - I grow tired of writing about it over and over and over again.  But as much as I'd like to lull myself into thinking that the topic is entirely semantic like some of you do, I can't.  I constantly see public errorists like the ones exposed below criticizing and condemning faithful Ministers of God's Word and members of Christ's Church, and it needs rebuking.  So here we are.*

Earlier in the afternoon, Dr. Bethany Kilcrease (wife of Dr. Jack Kilcrease, self-proclaimed Theologian of the Church) posted an interesting discussion prompt in the “Confessional Lutheran Fellowship” Facebook group:

“I was just finishing Gerhard’s Theological Commonplace on the Ministry (II) last night. Chapter VIII was about heresy and section 371 is about dealing with heretics. Gerhard notes ordained clergy have an obligation to publicly ‘muzzle‘ public heretics (a vice made much more common by the internet). I was struck, and rather disgusted, but [sic] how very little any ordained clergy (with two exceptions I can think of) have had anything to say about the heresy of denying universal objective justification that seems to be gathering stem in the WELS and LCMS. Is it because some of the public heretics are really nice guys and you kind of like them because they don’t like CoWo either? Rant over.”

Her rant being over, she went on to say a few minutes later:

“To be fair, the WELS has done an admirable job dealing with this problem among their clergy. You don’t see LCMS publicly denying UOJ, I imagine because of [sic] the 1932 brief statement is pretty explicit. At least openly, this is more of a lay and WELS problem. The problem is that a tiny number of people are continually hammering on this on the internet and uneducated lay people are in danger of being led astray.”

While her posts are obviously a reference to this chain of events, Mrs. Kilcrease raises a good point: If the teaching that every sinner has been declared righteous for the sake of Christ is “the central message of Scripture upon which the very existence of the church depends,” why are the glorious defenders of the One True Fatih™ so silent in their opposition against the pernicious heresy of Justification by Faith Alone? Why was Arch-Heretic Rydecki’s excommunication from the Holy Mother Church by Pope Buccholz worked out so quietly? Why hasn’t Rydecki been publicly exposed for the heretic that he is?  Doesn't public error warrant public rebuke?  Moreover, why does the Magisterium have to lie about what he teaches, insinuating that he somehow denies the universality and all-sufficiency of the atonement, instead of simply stating that he teaches the damnable lie of a God-given, justifying faith?

The answer, my friends, should be as obvious as the sarcasm in the preceding paragraph. The answer is that Pastor Rydecki is no heretic.  The reason so many pastors refuse to publicly castigate his doctrine is that they recognize him as no false teacher.  Why, then, don't they publicly support his position?  There are some pastors and laymen (I know them) who neglect to speak up out of fear.  There are also many pastors and laymen who, though they are familiar with this issue, have lulled themselves into the notion that the entire debate is semantic. But the topic is not semantic. If it was, Pastor Rydecki would not be excommunicated. If it was, the Holy Michigan See would not have found it necessary to place Intrepid Lutherans under interdict. If it was, there wouldn’t be people like Paul McCain, Dr. Kilcrease, and Mrs. Kilcrease floating around the internet castigating the “heresy” of justification by faith alone.

No, this issue is not semantic; rather, it boils down to the foundation of the Christian Church. It's the reason the Ecclesia Augustana is no longer part of the Papal Church. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith; and this not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one may boast.” “Whoever believes and is baptized shall be saved; whoever does not believe shall be condemned.” Yea, “whoever does not believe stands condemned already, for he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”  The sinner is justified - and only justified - by grace through faith.  The sinner is not justified on Mt. Calvary (St. Dismas notwithstanding).  The sinner is justified when the Holy Spirit works faith in his heart - faith in Christ and His merits - by Means of the Holy Gospel.  Grace of God. Promises of the Gospel. Merits of Christ.  Faith.  Period.

33 comments:

  1. No. Public error warrants private conversations where you get called to repentance and ordered to be more loving.

    The preceding paragraph was obvious sarcasm.

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  2. I'm with you Mr. Baker. There are the people who deny there is a problem and it is just semantics. They are as bad, if not worse than the actual heretics who proclaim their UOJ rubbish.

    How did we get here? Apathy and ignorance. The vast majority of lay Lutherans don't even own a copy of the confessions, worse still, many don't even own their old catechism books anymore. We've also become lazy and have allowed pastors to become the de facto leaders of our congregations with church councils basically rubber stamping whatever idea the pastor and/or synod officials recommend. Placing these pastors on such a high pedestal is dangerous, not only for us, but for them too. I can't tell you how it gets under my skin when someone looks to the pastor to get an answer to a question. Suddenly, instead of being the shepherd of the congregation, pastors are becoming more and more dictator-like. This pattern continues throughout the synods' hierarchies. Long gone are the days of pastors being responsible to members. Now, members are responsible to the pastors. Members who step out of line are silenced, reprimanded, watched, and removed at the timeliest opportunity. Pastors who speak out are quickly removed also, in a fashion similar to Pastor Rydecki -- meaning that the synod pretends to be trying to work with said person, even going so far as to give bold-faced lies to people, but in the shadows is quickly moving to strike.

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  3. Classic Kilcrease - "the heresy of denying universal objective justification that seems to be gathering stem in the WELS and LCMS."..."You don’t see LCMS publicly denying UOJ."

    Daniel, thank you, and all glory to God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost for faithfully defending the chief and central article of Christian faith - Justification solely by faith in Christ alone.

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  4. The reason why the UOJ higher ups do not publicly condemn what they assess is heresy is because of UOJ.

    In UOJ, before anyone commits heresy, that heresy has already been forgiven in the first place. So applying public rebuke for public sins won't be in the style of UOJ simply because the application of doctrine warrants that. Why publicly rebuke? So they can repent? But UOJ says repentance has nothing to do with forgiveness. For to them justification which is forgiveness of sins is objective. The two are not related, that would make things subjective i.e. subject to something.

    Since by their own admission and lament, their UOJ teachers do not do public rebuke, then such a stance is un-Biblical.

    UOJ is not Biblical that is why its practice is not Biblical either.

    Thanks for fighting for the faith.

    LPC

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  5. Y'all need a remedial class in basic English...i. e. forms of verbs.

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    1. I see, you want to discuss English rather than the errors of UOJ.

      Y'all need a remedial class in basic English.

      It depends on what version of English you are using. In general, language is used out of convention. If you fail to follow convention but you are still making sense, then the intent of language has been achieved.

      Let me give an example. In here, we do not say "do you want me to call you tomorrow"? Even though the context is present and still occurring in your mind.

      Rather we use the past tense, a polite and endearing form -"did you want me to call you tomorrow"?. From the perspective of the speaker what you thought about has already terminated.

      Anymore English lessons you wish to give?

      LPC

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  6. ...Apostatizing: verb form of Apostate.

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  7. How many of the 10 lepers were healed?

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    1. If we take the Blessed Reformer's Sermon on the relevant portion of St. Luke to heart, it seems that all 10 lepers had faith in Christ's promise "you will be healed," since they all went and showed themselves to the priests. However:

      "That the priests had examined these lepers one may readily believe, and this the text also suggests. Therefore they must have trumpeted into these lepers many wicked words against Christ, and highly praised the works and offerings of the law, so that they might root out of them their great and noble faith, and establish themselves in place of Christ in their heart. And the lepers accepted this, and regarded Christ as the priests told them, so that they became his enemies, and ascribed their purification to God as obtained by virtue of their offerings and merit, and not by Christ and his pure grace. And while they were thus released from bodily leprosy, they thereby fell into spiritual leprosy, which is a thousand times worse."

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  8. C'mon, Daniel. The text doesn't say that and neither is Luther. Scripture says all were healed, but only one's faith made him well. All men are forgiven in the person of Christ (healed), but only those with faith are made well.

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  9. Joe, read the text. What was being rooted out by the priests? "Their great and noble faith." Who is "their?" "These lepers." Seems pretty straightforward.

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  10. Daniel, I don't see that in the Bible text. Luther was not always right.

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    1. In the final analysis, Luther is saying that they no longer had faith...still they were healed.

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    2. Yes, they lost their faith - but they did have faith, and so were healed. However, having lost faith, their leprosy reoccured - except this time, it was leprosy of soul, not body. And so their final state was worse than their first.

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  11. Daniel, do you understand that a man's salvation is God's responsibility, since we are such reprobates? And do you understand that a man's condemnation is man's fault?

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    1. I think you are forgetting that all of these lepers cried to Jesus, they all called on his name, and so they were healed.

      All had faith to be healed and all got healed.

      Healing of the body is not the same as the healing of the soul. Here you equate the healing of leprosy to the healing of the soul. A blunder which Luther also did not commit.

      Clearly Luther had a different idea from yours. Further, the one who returned to Jesus had his faith in tact, this was what Luther was saying. It complies to the Bible statement that we must not ignore, Mt 24:13.



      LPC

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    2. Joe, of course I understand that man's salvation is entirely God's responsibility. I have consistently confesses this on numerous forums. And yes, I understand that if man is damned the fault lies totally with him, not with God. How this can be is, of course, a paradox.

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  12. "Healing of the body is not the same as the healing of the soul. Here you equate the healing of leprosy to the healing of the soul."

    I have confessed no such thing, Lito.

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    1. You said Scripture says all were healed, but only one's faith made him well. All men are forgiven in the person of Christ (healed), but only those with faith are made well.

      You are using the word healed here in the sense of saved is it not? In your teaching, is forgiveness not the same as being saved? So all are forgiven in Christ but not all are saved?

      In your teaching there is a difference between being forgiven and being saved?
      In your teaching, is being forgiven the same as being justified?

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  13. "So all are forgiven in Christ but not all are saved?"

    This is most certainly true.

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    1. So the people in hell are forgiven people?

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    2. No! Christ, by His meritorious works accounted for their sins (providing forgiveness for them), but since they rejected what was theirs rightly through faith, no.

      Lito, go and read the parable of the king's marriage feast for his son in Matt. 22. God has invited the world to His banquet that was already prepared. If He has done this, then He would have to provide provision for the world in this banquet because He was expecting that all would attend. All men have been provided provision for salvation...but be that as it may, many reject it as alluded to in the parable and elseware. (Matt. 23:37)

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    3. "Christ, by His meritorious works accounted for their sins (providing forgiveness for them), but since they rejected what was theirs rightly through faith, no."

      Isn't this the case with every unbeliever, physically dead or alive? Why is the unbeliever not justified when they're dead but justified when they're physically alive? If unbelief and rejection make them not justified, then doesn't that stand for all unbelievers who are living? Therefore since unbelievers are in the world the world can't be justified in God's heart. So really, when the Kokomo Statements said the sinners in hell are justified, they are actually being true to their doctrine of UOJ. What would be even more true to the doctrine of UOJ would be a universal election, but I don't want to debate election at all. This is currently about universal justification.

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    4. Christian, Christian, Christian. You are using justification in the narrow sense of what happens to the believer.

      Justification; Justify; to Justify are forensic terms. They can be used subjectively in the case of the believer (JBFA) as well as a decree of pardon that has been rendered towards the world because of the death and resurrection of Jesus. (OJ) Read the parable in Matt. 22.

      God saves and man condemns.

      (Many are called-but reject) + (few are chosen-receive faith; i.e. heed the call by the HS) = mankind.

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    5. Right, but like Christian said - even those in hell are "justified" in the objective sense, since, according to you, their sins have been forgiven and they have been declared righteous by God. Of course, they have rejected this righteousness (in your view), and hence are condemned by their own hand. But in God's eyes they are just in righteous. Hence "guilt-free saints in hell," correct?

      I would also like to point out that the King having prepared the banquet does not equate to everyone actually being attendees in His eyes. They were invited, yes, but they are not attendees until they are wearing those robes of righteousness. Even if they somehow come in without the robes, they are going to be thrown out with the dogs.

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  14. "...even those in hell are "justified" in the objective sense, since, according to you, their sins have been forgiven and they have been declared righteous by God. Of course, they have rejected this righteousness (in your view), and hence are condemned by their own hand. But in God's eyes they are just in righteous. Hence "guilt-free saints in hell," correct?"

    This is where you go off the tracks...because you are thinking of these "saints" in a subjective sense.

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    1. I never said anything about a "subjective sense." They are condemned for rejecting their objective justification. Correct?

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    2. I don't know if you are being coy or sincere, Daniel.

      The Bible speaks 100% unquestionably about saints as those who are believers. These are souls who have received their objective inheritance through faith.

      So for you to refer to them as guilt free and having the status of a saint as if they possessed something (subjectively) is simply erroneous. So you were speaking subjectively; either coyly or sincerely. I pray it was the latter.

      There was a time when I went down the same road, Daniel. It comes to a great abyss. I think maybe you arrived there the other day on a FB thread where your public confession as you understand it was not jiving with your synod affiliation and someone called you on it.

      Let me give you some advice before you paint yourself into a corner and do something rash.

      There are some not so good ways of teaching OJ, but after being around the block myself; there may be some who may believe and teach it in error either known or unbeknownst to them; but I do not believe the WELS, LC-MS nor the ELS are in error on this doctrine. If you are leaning towards a church that denies this doctrine, then I would caution you about fellowship with them. Sure there are problems with all the synods, but that does not mean there are no more faithful churches within their midst. When I jettisoned the idea that a synod is a church like the WELS thinks it is, you will truly be free.

      Pax Christi.

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    3. I really don't want to butt in, but I just want to respond to the notion that the ELS, WELS, and LCMS are all aligned on UOJ.

      I've heard reliable testimonies (pretty much first hand) that the high ups in the LCMS flat out disagree with how the WELS teaches UOJ. The LCMS and the WELS are not in agreement on their versions of UOJ. And I'm guessing, and it's only my opinion and testimony at this point, that the ELS and LCMS positions are more in line with each other and the WELS explanation is far out and not in line. So for synods that claim they all understand the Chief doctrine there is still disagreement in the teachings behind closed doors. I disagree with all explanations of UOJ, but it is significant to note that even within this peculiar doctrine, the WELS is known to be very radical and out of line with the others.

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    4. Joe,

      I was not trying to be "coy," but was sincerely trying to understand your position. Again, I recognize that unbelievers do not "subjectively" possess justification in your view. I'm glad you recognize that "saint" is reserved for those who have faith - I think the same thing as it pertains to "justified." But for now, let's not worry about all that. What I want to know is this: Does God, or does He not, view *all* people, living and dead, as righteous in His eyes? If He does, then - in His eyes - are they not guilt-free? And, in a sense, objectively speaking, isn't the whole world reconciled to God? Thus being - in His eyes - God's people? His saints? That's what I was trying to understand. Hence the WELS statements aren't that ridiculous - for someone holding to the UOJ position. Of course, I do not, so I think it's silly. But I'm just trying to understand why you do (again, I understand that you view the term "saint" as something that is reserved for the "subjective" side of justification, but try to understand it in the abstract sense of "objective" justification that I'm trying to understand and deal with).

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  15. I mean with all this disagreement between those who want a universal justification, wouldn't it just be easier if the philosophies were put down and they returned to the understandable truth of all ages that sinners are only justified in a "subjective" sense by the gift of faith which receives Christ's merits -- the merits which clothe and shield us from God's wrath and justify us before Him?

    Bethany Kilcrease alluded on Confessional Lutheran Fellowship (the post is now deleted) that mostly the UOJ and anti-UOJ side don't disagree on worship -- at least as it goes in the LCMS. For me, it comes back to that I don't hate UOJers, I think ya'll are funny as hell sometimes and I respect the scholarship on most issues (Cwirla, et al), but I lose respect and fellowship because of this issue. As much as I want to like you guys and identify with you guys on most issues, I can't because this simple truth of sinners justified by Christ's righteousness, imputed to faith which clothes and shields God's wrath, is maligned. I can't back off as much as I want to. I'm sorry (well not really) but the SynCon, as smart as they might have been, got it wrong. It's not impossible. The Roman, Papists theologians of the Reformation were smart as well, it didn't make them right.

    The simple Truth of the Scriptures is not that all sinners are justified in God's heart "whether they believe it or not" but rather all who believe are justified in God's heart because their faith -- their belief -- receives Christ's righteousness which clothes in Baptism, justifies through the Word, sustains and forgives daily in the Sacrament. The Gospel's application, the Gospel's justifying nature, didn't happen irrespective of faith, irrespective of the individual and earthly time and space, but it happens in time, to that individual sinner, able to justify and clothe and guard a sinner's conscience, able to justify in real time as much as the taste of tears on a repentant sinner's lips happens through the Word -- all in real time -- no objective sense about it. The justification of the sinner is as real and subjective as Christ's Body and Blood put into your mouth each Sunday which justifies and sustains Christ's flock until physical death to everlasting life. It's no wonder WELS people I've talked about UOJ with (at MLC, the Synod's ministerial education college of all places) think of the Sacraments as a symbol. The justification of the sinner happened objectively without faith! The Sacraments are just a remembrance of that justification. "Do this in remembrance," they cite. Truly a deluded state of affairs in the Synods on The Chief doctrine.

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  16. Christian Schulz touches on a critical contention between UOJ and God's pure Word.

    The Sacrament of Holy Communion is the wooden stake to UOJ's Dracula. UOJ teaches that the atonement of Christ objectively justified the whole unbelieving world. Yet in Holy Communion those who receive Christ's body and blood without faith are not forgiven (neither objectively or subjectively) - they are condemned. Only those Christians who receive Christ's body and blood in faith receive forgiveness.

    By this one faithful application of Christ's Word the false gospel of Universal Objective Justification stands condemned.

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  17. The pardon and redemption of the world is a reality; a type of justification. To say anything less changes the pardon and redemption.

    Brett, yes you are correct about Holy Communion regarding forgiveness and condemnation. However the promise of forgiveness is there (Grace) prior to faith. Faith brings nothing into reality, but merely receives the Grace of God that was already there.

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