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Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Doctrine of (Universal,) Objective Justification again (Part 1)

In Paul T. McCain's blog "cyberbrethren" was a May 24, 2012 post about the subject of "Objective Justification".  A notice of this blog post was published in the June 11, 2012 issue of Herman Otten's newspaper Christian News.  Whenever or wherever this topic is raised, I immediately sit up in my chair to take notice... maybe, hopefully, there will be a resurgence of this doctrine again.  McCain begins his blog thus:
From time to time, I hear that there are still some Lutherans who are very confused about the doctrine of justification, specifically the aspect of it known as objective justification, the teaching that God was in the world reconciling it to Himself through the death of His Son. This was an issue of some moment years ago when a dear friend of my mentor, Kurt Marquart, had a member of his congregation that was unduly influenced by false teachers. He turned to Dr. Marquart for assistance in refuting errors regarding objective justification being spread by this layman. Dr. Marquart prepared this excellent response to errors concerning objective justification...
At this point, McCain's blog publishes Professor Kurt Marquart's essay in its entirety without further comment.  He does not mention who the other parties were in this situation and he does not say any more about the doctrine of Objective Justification, implying that Marquart's "excellent response" is enough to cover the subject, both the background and the doctrine itself.

Why would McCain bring up this topic at this time?  Who are these "Lutherans who are very confused" about this doctrine?  Could it be he hears my charges of the downfall of his LC-MS on this very doctrine?  ... and so he attempts to justify his LC-MS with this essay?

So I searched McCain's blog for other instances of the specific phrase "
objective justification" and found only one other reference to it in his entire blog and that reference was not by him but rather by commenters on a blogpost in October 2007 about Absolution in a public worship service.  In that blogpost, McCain laments "loveable knuckleheads" who teach falsely about it.  Are these "knuckleheads" pastors in the LC-MS?  McCain does not reveal this. But he seems rather upset by these "Lutheran" pastors, and rightly so.

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CTCR Theses on Justification
Rev. McCain – do you not know that your own LC-MS published an official statement on the doctrine of justification in May, 1983 by the Commission on Theology and Church Relations (CTCR) entitled Theses on Justification (CTCR pagePDF here)? This statement largely defends the terminology of "objective" or "universal" justification.  It is "official", Rev. McCain.  Why is this document hardly mentioned by anyone today?  Why must Prof. Marquart to be the authority on this doctrine among "conservative" or "confessional" Lutherans?  BTW, Rev. McCain, who were the members of that CTCR panel in May, 1983?  I see the WELS was quite pleased about this statement and it was said by one of them:
It is heartening to discover that on this vital doctrine we and our former brethren in the LC-MS speak with one voice.
It is striking to me that this CTCR document was published under the presidency of Ralph Bohlmann who seemed to enjoy audiences with the Pope (search for Bohlmann in this PDF essay and this essay).  
***** Update September 19, 2012 *****
I ran across an article by Pastor Rolf Preus that states who the author of this CTCR document was:
"... a fine statement from the Commission on Theology and Church Relations [CTCR] of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod on the doctrine of justification, authored by none other than Robert Preus."
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McCain is not the first one to publish Marquart's essay of "response" – it has been online some years now by a member of the ELS, David Jay Webber, also one who would call Prof. Marquart a "mentor".

Now Rev. Herman Otten (Christian News) does discuss the background of this situation and who the parties were in some detail – it was the "Larry Darby situation".  He then summarizes Marquart's essay.  He also editorializes elsewhere in this issue of his newspaper claiming Marquart as a great "peace maker" and theologian, and his supporter.  But he also does not expound or proclaim the doctrine of Objective Justification because he is very confused on it.  So we see both Paul McCain and Herman Otten claim Marquart as their friend or mentor... and a great theologian.
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Well I have some news for you, Revs. McCain and  Otten – I, BackToLuther, was a party in that Larry Darby situation.  I have hinted at my involvement in previous posts of letters to Fort Wayne and St. Louis seminary professors.  I started to reveal my involvement in the post dealing with Professor Kurt Marquart's error on the authorship of the essay delivered at the 1872 foundational meeting of the Synodical Conference.  I said then that I would have later posts giving more details and I see now Paul McCain has given me the opportunity to do this.  It is largely the reason I am writing this blog and why I can judge both of you and your LC-MS, and all of "Lutheranism", and indeed all of Christianity today (1 Cor. 6:2).  It is this doctrine that you seem a bit reluctant to proclaim, at least in this terminology – 

The Doctrine of Objective Justification
(or the Gospel)

There is so much information related to the "Larry Darby situation", that it cannot be covered in this blog.  I touched on it in my blog post [see Part 2] regarding my letter to Professor Kurt Marquart.  But I will cover the main aspects of it in the next several posts, primarily of letters with the various parties involved in this situation.  See next Part 2 for the background of Mr. Darby and my first letter to him.
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Updated November 10, 2012:
Because of the large number of posts on this series, I am now adding a Table of Contents for ease of reference:
Part 1 – Universal, Objective Justification (UOJ) – Paul McCain publishes Marquart essay
Part 2 – Intro of "Larry Darby Situation" - 1st letter to him (Before reviewing Marquart essay)
Part 3 – 2nd letter to Darby – digging into his pronouncements against OJ
Part 4a – 3rd letter to Darby, part 1 – admonishing him w/ quotes of Walther and Pieper
Part 4b – 3rd letter to Darby, part 2 – admonishing w/ quotes of Luther, Confessions, Scriptures
Part 5 – Notes to myself – disgust over unbelief of God's true Gospel
Part 6a – Letter to Pastor Rolf Preus, a true defender of UOJ – part 1
Part 6b – Letter to Pastor Rolf Preus, part 2 (challenged him on his fellowship)
Part 7a – 1st letter to John Drickamer, another defender, but weak – part 1
Part 7b – 2nd letter to John Drickamer, part 2 (challenged him on his fellowship)
Part 8a – Letter to editor (Otten) by Steve Stranghoener, a strong defender of UOJ!
Part 8b – Letter to layman Steve Stranghoener - to encourage and challenge his fellowship
Part 9a – Introduction to my review of Marquart essay on OJ
Part 9b – Finally! My review of Prof. Kurt Marquart essay on Objective Justification

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