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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Letters to a Fort Wayne LC-MS professor - Eugene F. Klug (Part 2)

In Part 1, the second letter that I wrote to Prof. Klug repeated a doctrinal question from the first letter.  My third letter below indicates the answer he gave me on this doctrine and the beginnings of my warnings:


Dr. E. F. Klug
6600 N. Clinton St
FortWayne, IN  46825-4996

Dr. Klug:
I received your response to my second letter some time ago.  I rejoiced at your use of John 3:16 and thanked God for that confession, as evidenced in the following:
“Your question is answered, isn’t it, by John 3:16?  God’s redemption/salvation/justification of sinners (the world) left no one out, but included all, ...”

However, the portion that followed is of grave concern:
“...but only he has it who by faith receives it.  He that believeth not shall be damned, he shall not have the benefit of X’s gracious, salvatory work in behalf of the whole world.”
What could possibly cause my concern?  After all, you largely use Scriptural wording in this phrase.  And it is certainly true that “ without faith it is impossible to please him” (Heb 11:6).  What concerns me is that you felt compelled to add this portion, which does not directly deal with my question.  My question was:
“Do you believe objective/universal justification (allgemeinen Rechtfertigung)?”
I couple this with your statement in your November 4, 1996 letter:
“...Engelder as a significant expert and influential teacher  on the proper use and understanding of these two terms [objective/subjective justification], also cautions about possible misuse of them in theological discussion.” (underlining mine).

In an earlier letter, you called Franz Pieper “the premier systematician among all Lutherans in America”.  However, this is not how he taught redemption/salvation/justification.  To be sure, he also taught that faith is necessary, but only as an instrument:
“In treating of justification Scripture places faith in opposition to all works and all goodness in man.  ‘By faith, without the deeds of the Law” (Rom.3:28)...” Christian Dogmatics II,438.

In view of the manifold errors on the doctrine of faith, teaching that faith is necessary to receive justification without clarifying this as only an instrument (not a condition) leaves doubt in the mind of the poor sinner’s conscience.  No, Franz Pieper never left this thought gain a foothold.  He always taught according to Scripture that this faith means “without the deeds of the Law”.

This doubt caused by faith-as-a-necessary-condition for my forgiveness (suggested by your addition of the final phrase in your letter) I must reject and cling to the first phrase.  It is a matter of life and death- (Pieper essay to the Synodical Conference, 1912, page 10, Moving Frontiers -,CPH,  pg 289).  All those who would almost scream “Justification by FAITH” are in reality clinging to faith as a work, as a condition.  They repudiate Walther’s teaching of a Justification before faith - objective, universal, general justification.  And mark well, there is no subjective justification apart from universal justification.

You are probably aware of Walther’s words on this, but I take this opportunity to recite his heart:
“On the other hand, the Lutheran Church assures man on the basis of God’s Word: Everything has already been done; you are already redeemed; you have already been made righteous before God; you have already been saved. . . . Only believe that Christ, the Son of God, has done all this in your stead; and by means of this faith you are a participant in this salvation.  Being saved by faith means: saved through the righteousness of Another, namely Christ, whose righteousness becomes man’s personal possession.” (Western District, 1874- Convention Essays, CPH, page 75.)

“One dare never say to people: ‘You are saved provided you have faith’; rather the reverse: ‘Because Christ has redeemed you, therefore you now believe that you are saved’.” (Western District, 1874- Convention Essays, CPH, page 77.

“As certain as these things are, so certain it is also that God the Father, in raising Jesus Christ from the dead, has already absolved all men from all their sins. . . And this is not just one of the many comforting doctrines which the Scriptures contain, but rather it is the only real foundation of the comfort which is contained in any doctrine of the Scriptures.”  Brosamen, Sermon starting on page 138, translated in ELS The Word of His Grace- Sermon Selections, page 233.

“In order to present the perfect redemption of all men by Christ in its full clarity, Walther is concerned to insist that there exists for every person grace, righteousness, and salvation even before faith is engendered, that every sinner is righteous before God; even before he believes, so far as this righteousness has been procured and God has purposed to bestow it, . . .” (Franz Pieper on the teaching of C.F.W. Walther on Justification, CTM, vol 26, 1955, page 920, Lehre und Wehre 1890).

“As Walther shows, the very concept of faith demands that we regard grace, redemption, righteousness, and salvation as already existing.  He who denies this fact must also deny that man is justified and saved by faith.” (Ibid, CTM, 1955, page 922 top)

Accordingly, none of them can say: "How can the minister know the condition of my heart?  What is absolution to profit me when I am impenitent?"  Answer:  "Indeed, in that case it is of no benefit, but it is of benefit when it is believed.  However, this is certain that you have been absolved. (The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel, page 376.)

This last quote contains words similar to what you wrote me.  However Walther, in order to be sure there is no misunderstanding, adds the last sentence: “However, this is certain that you have been absolved”.  I must take this as Walther’s last word.  It is this teaching that alone brings the proper distinction of Law and Gospel.  He does not leave me in the least doubt that my sins are forgiven because all sins have already been forgiven for Christ’s sake.  Whenever Scripture, Luther or Walther (and Pieper) bring out the importance of faith, they mean: (1) apart from the Law (faith alone) and (2) believe it because it is true.  And thereby does the Savior “spread out his hands all the day”, Isaiah 65:2 and Romans 10:21,  “gather us together”, Matthew 23:37, and give us “the things which belong unto our peace” Luke 19:42.

Why am I writing these things to you?  Because you worked with Theo. Engelder, who succeeded Franz Pieper, who succeeded C.F.W. Walther.  They were teachers of Israel.  C.F.W. Walther- Mr. Universal Justification!  I am fully aware of the popularity of Walther to be known as Mr. “Law and Gospel”.  Because of the controversy on the doctrine of Justification, I am first and foremost calling Walther Mr. “Universal Justification”.

Doctrine is heaven, life is earth- Martin Luther, Commentary on Galatians (Luther's Works 27,41)

Signed, Xxx Xxx
As you, dear reader, can see, this "blog" is dedicated to the pure doctrine of God's grace - a doctrine so wonderfully proclaimed by Luther, Walther, and Pieper!  Part 3 is to follow with my last letter to Dr. Klug.

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