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Saturday, May 26, 2012

The downfall of LC-MS on Justification (Abiding Word, 1947)

I see that CPH still offers the book series published in 1946, 1947, and 1960 called The Abiding Word, a 3-volume set.  It was published to celebrate the centennial year of the founding of the Missouri Synod.  It was intended to send a message to the world that the LC-MS had not changed from the orthodoxy (or pure teaching) of it's founding fathers... of the Missouri Synod.  However there is an article among the many essays one on The Doctrine of Justification by Professor William Arndt (Volume 2, pages 235-257).  In this article Arndt falls into a trap... a trap that can confuse a troubled conscience that wants to know if God is gracious. Here are 2 quotes from this article:
Page 249:
VIII.  This doctrine declares that in the minute that we take this righteousness God pronounces us justified, free from sin, acquitted (subjective justification).
... When the sinner says, Jesus is my Savior, and puts his trust in Him, then God declares that his sins are forgiven and that he is righteous.  One or the other of you [?] will probably interpose the remark that the sinners already were forgiven.  That is perfectly true.  But the Bible tells us in addition that when faith springs up in the heart, then one is justified. ... You observe that here Paul says (Gal 2:16) justification takes place when we come to be believers.”
Page 256:
“Moreover, we say that whoever is justified is thereby put into a state of righteousness which continues as long as he is a believer. ...In saying this we must not forget the sad fact that justification can be lost.  When the sinner gives way to unbelief, when he ceases to be connected with his Savior and to put his trust in Him, then the sentence of acquittal falls too, and he reverts to the ranks of those who are subject to the wrath of God. ... But, God be praised! when the sinner has through unbelief lost the state of justification, he can through the grace of God obtain it anew if he repents and again seizes the helping hand of Christ.”
Professor Arndt attempted to teach Objective Justification in preceding portions of his essay.  But compare the above highlighted statements to how C.F.W. Walther taught this so that a troubled conscience would never doubt God's grace:
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.)
It is said that man must also do something in justification, namely believe.  Under such circumstances justification is not attributed solely to God.  But that means nothing else than robbing God of part of His honor and ascribing it to man.  Then it would not be God alone who saves us, but we would work together.  Only those who cannot distinguish sharply between condition and means can conceive such a thought. ... We are not reconciled to God when we believe, but we are already redeemed, are already reconciled to God, so that we believe.  This is also true regarding justification.  (Selected Writings of C.F.W. Walther - Convention Essays, page 105)
And now compare God's own Word:
2 Timothy 2:13If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.  
Thank God!... He "abideth faithful" and "he cannot deny himself"!  If this Bible verse is not true, I’m going to hell.  If God isn’t reconciled for all people, for all their sins, for all time, then I’m going to hell.

No, today's LC-MS is not the Missouri Synod from above, the Missouri Synod that hammered home the grace of God in Christ.  No, the centennial series of books called The Abiding Word rather showed that one must go past them, back... back, Back To Luther and the old (German) Missouri Synod.

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