Monday, June 20, 2011

Pirates Talking Theology: Objective Justification

This idea is shamelessly taken from Rev. Hans Fiene.  At least it is not taken from the Pentecostals, though!  This is what it would be like if pirates actually listened to Pirate Christian Radio.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Reconciliation: God is not a liar

A man sins against another man.  Then, the man apologizes and the other forgives him.  Thus the two are reconciled.  This is reconciliation.

God's reconciliation of the world to Himself is different in that it is hidden.  The world did nothing in this reconciliation.  The world did not say, "I'm sorry."  Rather, God completely accomplished the reconciliation.  But it still stands that reconciliation means that there is peace between God and sinners.  By God not imputing their, i.e. the whole world of sinners', sins against He forgave their sins.  God forgave everyone on account of Christ's death and resurrection.

The story of the two men is an example of a reconciliation which is fulfilled and before our eyes.  We can see their reconciliation, but we cannot see the reconciliation of the world to God.  It is hidden in God's Word.  And so it is only through God's Word that our hearts are softened and we receive faith which receives and clings to this objective act of God.

Just like we cannot see that the bread and the wine in the Lord's Supper are Christ's body and blood, we likewise cannot see that the entire world has been reconciled to God, having their sins completely atoned for and propitiated for by Christ Himself.

The subjective reconciliation occurs when the Holy Ghost calls us by this gospel.  I think the problem some people have with Objective Justification is one or more of three things.  First, they cannot see the objective act of God reconciling the world to Himself.  Second, they react against the heresy, no, the blasphemy of universalism.  Third, they want to maintain that it is only by God's Word that a man is brought to repentance and forgiveness.  For one, God's reconciliation of the world to Himself is a mystery.  It is revealed in His Word but hidden from the carnal eye.  Secondly, Objective Justification, and thus Universal Atonement or Reconciliation is not a heresy and does not imply that all will be glorified and that all receive subjectively this promise.  Finally, God's saving act of atonement in His Son cannot be separated from His Word.  It is only in His Word that we know that He reconciled the world to Himself.  It is only from His Word that faith is created in the heart which clings to the promise.  Therefore, His Word Itself is objective.  Confessing Objective Justification is simply confessing the Word of God and that It is objective.  It is only by the objective external Word that man comes to repentance and faith in the forgiveness of sins already given to him.  When the words are spoken that God has already not imputed our sins against us, i.e. has forgiven our sins, they have a collative power.  First, they communicate to us the information that God has done this (objective).  Then, they create faith in our hearts which trust this promise (subjective).

Praise be to God that He has already declared to us the forgiveness which we obtain by faith in Christ our Lord!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Propter Christum: Why Is Objective Justification so Important for Lutheran Theology?

Propter Christum: Why Is Objective Justification so Important for Lutheran Theology?

Why Is Objective Justification so Important for Lutheran Theology?

This is important because it is Biblical.  God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself (2 Cor 5:19).  Through one Man's obedience, justification came to all men (Romans 5:18). 

What we know about the Bible is that it is all centered around Christ, who He is, and what He did.  So practically, all teachings of Scripture tumble down if the Bible's message about Christ's reconciliation of the world to God and His justification for all people is not true.  For one, how can a pastor forgive sins in Christ's stead and pronounce with certainty the grace of God upon a sinner if he cannot see the sinner's faith?  If the pastor says to a sinner who inwardly does not have faith "I forgive you your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit," does the pastor as a result lie or say something untrue?  Of course not!  If that were the case, then God would be a liar.  Sure, the sinner does not personally receive by faith the forgiveness and will be ripe for destruction if he continues in his unbelief, but that does not make God a liar!  Rather, it makes the unbeliever the liar! 

Here is what the Old Norwegian Lutheran Synod president Herman Amberg Preus (1874) had to say on this topic when a seminary professor was denying this teaching of Objective Justification:

According to his new gospel the professor must preach that through his suffering and death Christ has only accomplished so much that God has now become willing to let his wrath cease and to be reconciled and to loose, confer grace, forgive, justify and open access to salvation, but that in actuality he can only do and does all this if man on his part fulfills the condition placed on him by God, namely that he is supposed to believe. And the thing which is thus supposed to be believed does not become this that God already has done this and is reconciled but that God will do it and will be reconciled when he sees the obedience and the good quality in man, that he believes.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Question of the Week

In light of Jesus' high-priestly prayer, was Jesus glorified on the cross (see John 17:24ff) if the "hour" which He speaks of in John 17:1b includes His passion as well as His ascension?