Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Elephant in the Room - 2 Corinthians 5:18-21

This is the third in a series of posts that seek to present key passages pertaining to the doctrine of Justification by comparing the statements of contemporary authors with the patristic writings of the the Church Catholic. It's by no means exhaustive; if it were, there would be far too many quotations for a simple blog post. But I hope it brings to mind a number of important questions: "Why is there so much disconnect? Why do the interpretations of these passages appear to completely contradict and disagree with one another?" (The first and second posts can be found here and here, respectively)

-- Interpretations of 2 Corinthians 5:18-21 by modern sources --

A Brief Statement of the Doctrinal Position of the Missouri Synod (1932)
4:25." (

Francis Pieper
"God no longer looks upon sinful man with wrath, but 'before His divine tribunal' forgives the sins of mankind, does not impute their trespasses unto them (2 Cor. 5:19). 'By the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life' (Rom. 5:18). And this reconciliation is, as has been shown, complete and perfect, extensively and intensively, for we certainly have no right to restrict the meaning of of either the terms 'world' (2 Cor. 5:19) and 'all men' (Rom. 5:18) or the terms 'not imputing their trespasses' (2 Cor. 5:19) and 'justification' (Rom. 5:18). Nor do these passages speak merely of a new relation between God and man, but they state definitely that God’s action produced the new relation, God’s action in not imputing their sins unto men, in forgiving them their sins, in justifying men in His heart, this is the meaning of objective reconciliation, as taught in 2 Cor. 5:19, Rom. 5:18; 5:10; 4:25. CHRISTIAN DOGMATICS, by Francis Pieper, Volume 2, pages 398 & 399

Edward Preuss
So, then, we are reconciled (2 Cor. 5:18); however, not only we, but also Hindus, and Hottentots and Kafirs, yes, the world (2 Cor. 5:19). “Reconciled,” says our translation; the Greek original says: “placed in the right relation to God.” Because before the Fall we, together with the whole creation, were in the right relation to God, therefore Scripture teaches that Christ, through His death, restored all things to the former right relation to God. We, then, are redeemed from the guilt of sin; the wrath of God is appeased; all creation is again under the bright rays of Mercy, as in the beginning; yeah, in Christ, we were justified before we were even born. For do not the Scriptures say: “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them” (2 Cor. 5:19)? This is not the justification which we receive by faith, but the one which took place before all faith."
(The Justification of the Sinner Before God)

Siegbert Becker
"Paul’s actual words say that God was reconciling the world to Himself not counting their sins against them. The only possible antecedent of “their” in that sentence is “the world,” and the world certainly includes all men. What Paul actually says, therefore, is that God does not count the sins of all men against them. In his letter to the Romans the apostle indicates beyond question that not to count a man’s sin against him means to forgive his sin. Paul writes, “Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.” We are therefore justified in saying that Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:19 teaches that in Christ God has indeed forgiven the sins of the whole world. God reconciled the world to Himself by forgiving the sins of all men." (

J.P. Meyer

"Objectively speaking, without any reference to an individual sinner's attitude toward Christ's sacrifice, purely on the basis of God's verdict, every sinner, whether he knows about it or not, whether he believes it or not, has received the status of a saint. What will be his reaction when he is informed about this turn of events? Will he accept, or will he decline?"
J. P. Meyer, Ministers of Christ, A Commentary on the Second Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 1963, p. 103f. 2 Corinthians 5:18-21.

John Moldstad Jr.
“When Paul uses the word ‘reconciling’ here, [2 Corinthians 5:19] he clearly means that forgiveness of sins is really imputed to ‘the world.’"
Lutheran Sentinel, October, 1996, p. 11

--Interpretations of 2 Corinthians 5:18-21 in the writings of the Orthodox Lutheran Fathers--

The Wittenberg Faculty Writing against Huber's "Universal Justification"
“Never does Paul teach universal justification. For as far as concerns 2 Corinthians 5, the words ‘not imputing their trespasses unto them,’ they are not to be understood universally about all men regardless of faith.
Actorum Huberianorum pars prior. Durch die W├╝rttembergischen Theologen Pars posterior, p. 122

Martin Chemnitz
"10 Now this power of forgiving sin must not be understood to have been given to the priests in such a way that God had renounced it for Himself and had simply transferred it to the priests, with the result that in absolution it is not God Himself but the priest who remits sin. For Paul expressly distinguishes between the power and efficacy of reconciliation which belongs to God, and the ministry which was given to the apostles, so that it is God who reconciles the world to Himself (2 Cor. 5:19) and forgives sins (Is. 43:25), not however without means but in and through the ministry of Word and sacrament.

Ministers indeed are said to loose and remit sins on account of the keys, that is, because they have the ministry through which God reconciles the world to Himself and remits sins.
Thus Paul says (2 Cor. 1:24) that although he has authority, he nevertheless does not lord it over their faith but is a servant and steward of the mysteries of Christ (1 Cor. 4:1), so that he who plants and he who waters is nothing, but He who gives the increase, namely God (1 Cor. 3:7). Nevertheless, he shows that the use of the ministry is useful and necessary, for, says he, we are co-workers, that is, assistants, whose labors God uses in the ministry, but where nevertheless all the efficacy belongs to Him. We are servants, says he, through whom you have believed. Likewise: “I became your father in Christ Jesus through the Gospel” (1 Cor. 4:15). Paul treats this distinction clearest of all in 2 Cor. 5:18–20. It is God who reconciles us to Himself through Christ, not counting our sins against us. To the apostles, however, He gave the ministry of reconciliation. But how so? “He entrusted to us,” says Paul, “the message of reconciliation. So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making His appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”

Thus this distinction honors God and gives Him the glory that properly belongs to Him; it also claims for the ministry the honor and authority it has according to the Word of God. For even as it is Christ who baptizes through the ministry and also imparts His body and blood, so also it is Christ who through the ministry absolves and remits sins.

Chemnitz, M., & Kramer, F. (1999). Vol. 2: Examination of the Council of Trent (electronic ed.) (559–560). St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House. (HT:

Philip Melanchthon
"2 Corinthians 5:19

…not imputing their sins to them.

This demonstrates what the effect is of the reconciliation made by the Son. For since God the Father transferred the sins of us all from us to the Son so that He might pay for us the penalty for sins and in this way reconcile again the offended Father, the eternal Father now does not impute sins to those who believe in His Son; He regards them as righteous on account of the obedience and intercession of His Son. For the righteousness of man which God regards as righteousness is that sins are remitted, are not imputed and are covered, as Paul defines righteousness in Romans 4, citing Psalm 32. Therefore, the effect of reconciliation is that sins are not imputed; instead, the faith that embraces Christ the Reconciler is imputed for righteousness.

And He placed among us, etc.

That is, He instituted the ministry of teaching about the reconciliation made through the death of the Son. For God wants it announced to the entire human race that reconciliation has been made by the Son, so that sins are not imputed to believers; instead, righteousness is imputed to them, and thus believers are saved. For this reason, among the ruins of the empires and so many sects and heresies, God has to this day wondrously preserved this ministry, and will continue to preserve it until the end of the world and the advent of His Son, as Paul says, “You shall announce the death of the Lord until He comes.”


St. Augustine
He says this, of course, of the whole Church, which, by itself, He frequently also calls by the name of the world: as when it is said, God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself. 2 Corinthians 5:19...But that world which God is in Christ reconciling unto Himself, which is saved by Christ, and has all its sins freely pardoned by Christ, has been chosen out of the world that is hostile, condemned, and defiled.
Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Vol. 7. Edited by Philip Schaff. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1888.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <>.


  1. I respect the fathers, don't misunderstand me, but forget them all. First of all, there's no reason to refer to Luther as the Blessed Reformer or to give special titles to those who have been sainted. I understand the sentiment behind it, but it's disturbing and really shows a misunderstanding of the relationship between us and the fathers. Don't fall into the trap that so many have. If you bind yourself to the confessions of the fathers, than you are bound also to their mistakes. I will say this unabashedly, exegesis is king. It is not convincing to me to see the quotations of dead men especially when they disagree. Who cares what they say? What matters is only what the bible says. Do your own exegesis; interpret the text for yourself. For all the good that comes from the Confessions as the norma normata, and the fathers as being wise, they can be a trap that leaves you outside of the Scriptures. Study what the bible says. Have reasons for what you teach and believe. Just because Luther said something doesn't make it right. It also doesn't make you a good Lutheran. Exegesis is king. In matters of crisis, the rally cry is ad fontes. Go back to the Scriptures. You can interpret it for yourself. That's what the reformation was all about. The Scripture is clear; you don't need dead men to tell you what it says.

  2. I agree that we must only form doctrine from Scripture, the norming norm. But when each side in a debate takes a different stance on the same passage(s) then it's nice to look at Church history and how it's been taught and interpreted. New doctrine usually is false doctrine (Nestorianism, Huberianism, Arianism, etc., etc.) If the concept is absent from the earliest of antiquity (not to mention from the fountain of Truth, Scripture), then it's wrong. Also, if antiquity agrees with Scripture, then I think it's healthy to quote them to help support the argument -- sort of a "we're not alone" kind of thing. We do the same with the Confessions. Written by mere men, but aligns with Scripture 100%.

    Allow me to quote a Father about quoting the Fathers (sorry). Chemnitz says in his locus on justification, page 923 (of the newest print version from CPH): "In the fifth place, to confirm the true and correct meaning of justifying faith it is useful also to have before us some of the testimonies from antiquity as supporting statements, both in order that our consciences may be strengthened by their agreement with the correct meaning as well as that the clamors of the papists may be put to silence, when they say that this is a new understanding of faith, a special teaching (as they call it) without any corroboration from antiquity."

  3. Once, in the Theologische Quartalschrift, August Pieper wrote this: "Our synodical proceedings are characterized by nothing as much as by their mass of quotations from the Confessions, from Luther, Chemnitz, Hutter, Gerhard, Hunnius, Calov, Huelsemann, Quenstedt, Musaeus, Baier, and Hollaz. The exegetical treatment of a significant section of Scripture almost never occurs. And what was the consequence of this method? This, that, although we emphasized the sola scriptura in principle again and again, inwardly we were bound more and more to the authority of the fathers, and taken captive by them."

    I think that his point is exceedingly valid. We cannot come to any conclusion about justification by subjecting ourselves to the authority of the fathers (it's interesting to notice they were quoting Hunnius). My only point is that everyone quotes and quotes and quotes and quotes, but no one has presented a true exegesis. I know that many have quoted the fathers' exegesis or their thoughts. But, who in our age, in the days after the election controversy, in the days after all the other justification controversies (and honestly they reoccur like every 30 years), has written a thorough exegesis that isn't a facade to talk about Luther or the Confessions or who has not tried to force their predefined terms of "justification by faith" or "universal objective justification" on to their study? This is what needs to be done.

    It isn't even a matter of just the three passages everyone keeps discussing. Why not Romans 5:8? Why not John 12:32? Why not Colossians 1:19,20? It isn't as if justification is only taught in three spots. It flows throughout all of Scripture. It always seems like we quote the fathers or the confessions and then back them up with passages, and this is backwards. We quote Scripture, then show how the fathers agreed with this. This latter method means that sometimes we will have to make theological distinctions where one before us has not had to do so. This is why we start with Scripture and if we do not see something directly quoted in the fathers, it doesn't make us feel uneasy, nor does it mean we are teaching falsely.

    So, use the bible. Use exegesis, but take a step back from the fathers, lest they take you captive.

    1. I agree with your concern. I do.

      "We quote Scripture, then show how the fathers agreed with this. This latter method means that sometimes we will have to make theological distinctions where one before us has not had to do so. This is why we start with Scripture and if we do not see something directly quoted in the fathers, it doesn't make us feel uneasy, nor does it mean we are teaching falsely."

      I agree again. But, in my opinion, this has been dealt with and touched upon by Fathers before us so I don't think it has to go specifically to only Scripture (I hope you understand what I'm saying). I'm thinking of the Huberian controversy. I know that Huberianism isn't EXACTLY what WELS or the LCMS, et al are teaching, but as far as concerns universal justification, I see no points where the synods disagree with Huber (bold statement, I know). Before anyone says it I'll just say that it is false that Huber thought all were going to heaven.

      And when I say that I think this has been dealt with before, I think it's plain to see especially by comparing these two statements:

      "God no longer looks upon sinful man with wrath, but 'before His divine tribunal' forgives the sins of mankind, does not impute their trespasses unto them (2 Cor. 5:19)." -- Pieper

      and this quote which completely condemns the former:

      “Never does Paul teach universal justification. For as far as concerns 2 Corinthians 5, the words ‘not imputing their trespasses unto them,’ they are not to be understood universally about all men regardless of faith.” -- The Wittenberg Faculty

      In addition, regarding exegesis, a while back I read this essay by an LCMS pastor (who I think is departed now) by the name of Vernon Harley. I'd send you the PDF but this is easier. Yes, it was published on Ichabod and I know there is a knee jerk reaction to that (not necessarily you) but you can find his exegetical treatement of UOJ here:

      He also wrote other essays that can probably be found there.

  4. I am just now looking back over the three posts you made concerning quotes about justification. First of all, congratulations on being so well read both in the patristics and Lutheran doctrine. This is a good thing.
    Now, maybe it is just me, but it seems that these quotations however, don't deal exclusively with the passages you list as headings. They list them as proof passages for a point they are trying to make but they are not truly a thorough commentary on those passages. (with the exception of Phillip Melancthon).
    I'm sure you know that you can find other quotes from fathers and confessions which do speak of justification that applies to the whole world. I just included two of the ones you have probably heard before as a sample.
    Smalcald Articles say this:
    The first and chief article is this: Jesus Christ, our God and Lord, died for our sins and was raised again for our justification
    (Romans 4:24-25). He alone is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29), and God has laid upon
    him the iniquities of us all (Isaiah 53:6). All have sinned and are justified freely, without their own works or merits, by his
    grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, in his blood (Romans 3:23-25).
    I am sure you know this quote of Luther's also in regard to the keys:
    Even he who does not believe that he is free and his sins forgiven shall also learn, in due time, how assuredly his sins were
    forgiven, even though he did not believe it. St. Paul says in Rom. 3 [:3]: “Their faithlessness nullifies the faithfulness of
    God.” We are not talking here either about people’s belief or disbelief regarding the efficacy of the keys. We realize that
    few believe. We are speaking of what the keys accomplish and give. He who does not accept what the keys give receives,
    of course, nothing. But this is not the key’s fault. Many do not believe the gospel, but this does not mean that the gospel is
    not true or effective. A king gives you a castle. If you do not accept it, then it is not the king’s fault, nor is he guilty of a lie.
    But you have deceived yourself and the fault is yours. The king certainly gave it.
    In my opinion, if you want to make a case that the WELS teaching in regards to justification is wrong, piling up quotes that speak of justification through faith alone does not make your case because I don't know of anyone in the WELS who disagrees with justification through faith alone. At the same time, the WELS, teaches that the world has also been justified by Christ, even if the benefits of that justification are not appropriated to them through faith. That is really the case you would have to make to show that somehow the WELS disagrees with the confessions. Not just showing those places that speak of justification through faith but showing where we have a faulty interpretation of those sections of the confessions that do speak of a justification for the whole world.
    Thank you again for these quotes. They are good to read. However, I am just not sure they are in disagreement with the other quotes of the Fathers and Confessions that speak of a justification for the whole world.

    (Just a suggestion to other posters, and I will do the same as well, that we should stick to a discussion of confessional writings in regard to justification. The authors of this blog always do a great job of that but some others go in a million directions. Myself included at times. It doesn't really help the discussion to do so. If you want to discuss exegesis or something else maybe you should start a new thread.)

    1. "That is really the case you would have to make to show that somehow the WELS disagrees with the confessions. Not just showing those places that speak of justification through faith but showing where we have a faulty interpretation of those sections of the confessions that do speak of a justification for the whole world."

      I make this case because the WELS' This We Believe cleary interprets one passage of Scripture (Rom. 5:18/19) as the whole world being justified without faith, objectively, in God's heart. Whereas the Confessions interpret the passage as only referring to justification by faith alone -- not a universal justification by God of all men without faith.

      "This faith is a gift of God, by which we truly learn to know Christ, our Redeemer, in the Word of the Gospel, and trust in Him, that for the sake of His obedience alone we have the forgiveness of sins by grace, are regarded as godly and righteous by God the father, and are eternally saved. 12] Therefore it is considered and understood to be the same thing when Paul says that we are justified by faith, Rom. 3:28, or that faith is counted to us for righteousness, Rom. 4:5, and when he says that we are made righteous by the obedience of One, Rom. 5:19, or that by the righteousness of One justification of faith came to all men, Rom. 5:18. 13] For faith justifies, not for this cause and reason that it is so good a work and so fair a virtue, but because it lays hold of and accepts the merit of Christ in the promise of the holy Gospel; for this must be applied and appropriated to us by faith, if we are to be justified thereby." (

      Notice, the object of faith is not an already declared justification. It's only Christ. Christ's righteousness. Not a pseudo-declaration that's not actually true. And they interpret these passages as only speaking of justification by faith. They don't, like the WELS, and other synods, think of these passages as proving that God justified the world without faith, the Spirit, or the means of grace in His heart. I think the reason why there's so much talk about justification by faith is because, well, that's the only justification the writers of the Confessions knew about! If universal justification is so well known and accepted by them, it would have been a massive slam dunk argument against the papists. But there's nothing that alludes to this in the Confessions. The closest thing is Ap IV, 103. Out of context, it looks like it. But in context it clearly can read like this (I'm paraphrasing from memory): When the Lord Jesus Christ came He forgave all sin...after the laver of Baptism.

      As for the Luther quote, the context is the keys, not a universal declaration before the Sacrament of the Keys. Just as there's no justification of a man before the Sacrament of Baptism and faith in the Word. Yes, forgiveness exists prior to justification, but as Luther said, it's like gold sitting in a pile. It must be distributed through the means of grace, through faith. What UOJ says, however, is that God has already justifed all men. That's no longer forgiveness in a pile (Christ's objective righteousness), but it is distributed. It's distributed and declared upon sinful man but they just don't know it. When they are informed that they are righteous, as J.P. Meyer teaches, "will they accept or decline?"

    2. Maybe just to run a little farther with this pile illustration that both you and Luther used. I think Luther says that there is more than just a pile existing but that the pile was given to me. I possess it though I may receive no benefit from it. I think that is an important distinction to make between what Luther says and your illustration. The pile exists and the pile is certainly in my possession. The quote ends with "the king certainly gave it."
      I guess you and I will disagree about whether a justification for the world exists in the confessions because I can find many places where the confessions speak this way.
      I guess I would also say that the object of faith is not a declaration but it is the person and work of Jesus, which is Christ. I think that is understood from the fact that Christ is a title, not a name. There are lots of people who believe in a historical Christ. There are fewer who believe in the person and work of Christ. That is saving faith.
      Finally, and this is a minor thing but maybe it gets to a larger issue that you and I read the confessions from a different view. I know you speak of the Sacrament of the Keys and I know that at one point Luther spoke of Confession as the third Sacrament, but didn't he stop doing this by the end of his life and the other confessors as well? Why it's not wrong I am just unaware of many (if any) places in the confessions that speak this way. Just curious why you do that? Not trying to start a fight.

    3. I disagree that Luther says that one possesses the pile. The Luther quote I was referring to was from one of his sermons in Pentacost:

      "But in addition to what is thus preached, something else is needed; for even though I hear the preaching, I do not at once believe. Therefore, God adds his Holy Spirit, who impresses this preaching upon the heart, so that it abides there and lives. It is a faithful saying that Christ has accomplished everything, has removed sin and overcome every enemy, so that through him we are lords over all things. But the treasure lies yet in one pile; it is not yet distributed nor invested. Consequently, if we are to possess it, the Holy Spirit must come and teach our hearts to believe and say: I, too, am one of those who are to have this treasure."

      We only "receive" and "possess" through faith which is the means through which Christ imputes His righteousness. Hence, why Luther says that to possess it the Holy Spirit must come and give us this treasure through faith.

      I do agree with you on the object then :) It's just that many who defend UOJ make it seem as if the object of our faith is that declaration that all are already justfied. "Just believe it and it's true," essentially. You must believe this declaration to actually "benefit" from the declaration. But nonetheless, I do agree that the object is only Christ and his universal righteousness, available and ready to be imputed to the believe through the gift of faith which then covers and lifts God's wrath against the sinner.

      You're right about "it's not wrong" and I wouldn't force anyone to think of it as a Sacrament because I think it's only really necessary to agree that there are for sure, unequivically, two Sacraments: Baptism and the Supper. But there can be cases made for other Sacraments. Christ in John 20 gave the Keys to the Church to be excersized by the Office of the holy Ministry. God's Word and promises attached to the earthly element -- the external Ministry and the man who performs on behalf of Christ this duty. Luther even says in the Confessions that Christians should be willing to run 100 miles to the priest to receive absolution in the Sacrament, if you will, of the Keys. Just as we'd run 100 miles to hear the Word preached and Baptism administered for the forgiveness of sins.

      "If you were a Christian, then you ought to be happy to run more than a hundred miles to Confession...For those who really desire to be true Christians, to be rid of their sins, and to have a cheerful conscience already possess the true hunger and I yearn anxiously and tremblingly for God's Word, Absolution, the Sacrament [of the Altar], and so forth." (

      Some contend that even ordination can be a Sacrament, heck, including our Confessions: "But if ordination be understood as applying to the ministry of the Word, we are not unwilling to call ordination a sacrament." (

      As a side note, I've been planning a post on the arguments for or against ordination as a Sacrament, but am still in the very early stages of researching it.

    4. I should also add this quote in my defense of Absolution or the excersizing of the Keys as a Sacrament:

      "Therefore Baptism, the Lord's Supper, and Absolution, which is the Sacrament of Repentance, are truly Sacraments." (

    5. And a correction to my numerous mispellings: excersising*

    6. Sorry I misunderstood your above quote. I thought it was strange that you turned "castle" into "pile" but I thought maybe I was missing something.
      I am glad we do agree on the object of faith. (yay agreement!) I would also add that I agree with your definition of faith being a "receiver." (yay more agreement!)
      I guess where we will still disagree is on "whom does God declare justified for the sake of Christ?" We both agree that it is only through faith that we receive the benefits of this justification.
      My Pastor just led a Bible Study on the keys and he mentioned that Luther used to consider it a Sacrament but then stopped later because he felt it didn't have a tangible enough earthly element, not because it didn't give forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation. I was just wondering if there was any significance to you again referring to it as a Sacrament.

  5. To the old readers who may have read the post and now are just following the comments. I added on the "modern" author side a quote from Edward Preuss. It's also interesting to compare his quote with that of Aegidius Hunnius who was writing against Huberianism.

    "Thesis 1

    Huber professes such a justification, for the sake of which Christ has properly, actually and practically conferred redemption on the entire human race in such a way that sins have been equally remitted to all men, including the Turks, and that all men (including unbelievers) have received remission of sins, and that the whole human race has, in actual fact, been received into the grace and bosom of God.

    Thesis 20

    Huber will never be able to explain his way out of this nonsense of insoluble contradictions and most prodigious absurdities. Therefore let him enjoy his justification, and let him bless his elect and sanctified people with it – Turks, Jews, and all unbelievers. We, in the meantime, shall restrict justification to believers only, as prescribed by all prophetic and apostolic Scriptures."

    Many thanks to an Intrepid Lutheran post which reminded me of Preuss' quote and the subsequent Hunnius quotes which show just how similar Huberianism is to the universal justification taught by the synods today. (

  6. If this post is centered on the fathers, so be it, but they are no authority. Someone write an exegesis. Write about how the bible speaks of justification. Forget the terms that have been used so far to describe it. Just read what scripture says and speak from that. If we just throw quotations back and forth from patristics then we are taking ourselves captive to them. It is the wrong way.

    1. Again, Read the exegetical treatments by Harley and respond to that. But don't claim that there are none because there are as I've referenced. I also know on Intrepid Lutherans that Pr. Rydecki deals with the Greek on occasion in random comments.

    2. And Seth, read what Moldstad (Pres. Of the ELS) and especially Preuss says about 2 Corinthians. And then read the Wittenburg theologians' quote right after. (And the Hunnius theses in the way bottom comments here). Can you honestly say that all are in agreement? If you say so then your head is in the sand, quite frankly. If not, then who is right and who is wrong? The Wittenberg faculty or Preuss/Moldstad?

    3. Listening to patristics may be the "wrong way" for Seth Enius, but it is not the wrong way for the Ecclesia Augustana, which prides itself in being the same Church as that of the Fathers; She prides herself in her Catholicity and uses the Fathers for guidance when it comes to matters of doctrine and practice. This does NOT mean that Scripture cases to be the pure fount of Israel; rather, it is a matter of confession. EVERYONE says they are following the Scriptures. Even the Mormons say that! But what do we confess the Scriptures say? These are arguments that have been going on since A.D. 33. And frankly, I don't think we need to re-invent the wheel here. We have the testimony of Scripture that has been consistently confessed the same way for 2,000 years. No need to re-interpret it in the 21st Century. Our Fathers took the Lord's advice and told it to their children and their children's children. We should listen.

      That being said, I'm not adverse to a text study of the relevant texts. Ad fontes indeed! But don't use that salutary suggestion to gainsay the testimony of the Fathers.