*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.*
“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.