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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Justification – Darby Situation (Part 9b – Marquart essay)

     In the last post Part 9a, I prefaced my review of Marquart and his essay of response to "The Larry Darby Situation".  (See Part 1 for Table of Contents)  Now I will (finally) address it.
     Rather than review the entire essay, I will "cut to the quick" and go to his concluding section.  Here is the final section of Marquart's essay presenting his findings and recommendation.  I am reproducing it exactly as it was printed in Christian News with the original italicized words that McCain's post does not have. The yellow highlighting is mine:
6. Conclusion     If it is granted, on the one hand, that “No orthodox Lutheran disputes the fact that Christ’s vicarious satisfaction reconciled God toward all men, since that is the clear language of Scripture itself,” that “the forgiveness of sins is ‘universal,’ as long as that is understood to mean only that Christ’s vicarious satisfaction procured this forgiveness for all mankind” (HD, pp. 123, 234), and that objective justification may rightly be understood as the assertion of grace alone against Rome, of universal grace against Geneva, and of the means of grace against both (p. 39); and if, on the other hand, it is granted that the “Kokomo” version of objective justification is an aberration, and that the proper distinction of Law and Gospel requires the teaching both of the wrath of God and of the pivotal, indispensable role of the means of grace, then a great deal of common ground exists for pursuing a genuine meeting of the minds.
The reader will note the 2 uses of the word "if" in this concluding section.  It is one of the key words and it denotes a condition – if a condition is met then a conclusion is made.  So what are these conditions named by Marquart?
  1. If ... (Christ's vicarious satisfaction) reconciled God toward all men [-->> why italicize this word toward... as opposed to what?? There is a condition here...]
  2. If... as long as Christ's vicarious satisfaction only procured this forgiveness for all mankind  [-->> again, why the words "only procured"... as opposed to what?? Another condition lurking here...]
  3. If... the proper distinction of Law and Gospel requires teaching both the wrath of God and the pivotal, indispensable role of the means of grace  [-->> Certainly the role of the means of grace is very important, but as Pieper pointed out in his essay on Walther's doctrine of Justification (see Part 13 of this list):
All praise of Christ, of grace, and of the means of grace, without the right doctrine of justification, is nothing.  
The second part of Marquart's "if - then" condition is stated thus:
Then... a great deal of common ground exists for pursuing a genuine meeting of the minds.
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Now let us be clear about one thing before I go any further:

The only condition on the Gospel (Universal, Objective Justification) is that it is unconditional!
If anyone begins to setup conditions on the Gospel message, to "guard" the Gospel message, such as
  • trying to say there was no change in God's heart with Christ's vicarious atonement, or  
  • trying to avoid something called "universalism", or 
  • trying to say faith is a necessary condition for forgiveness of sins, or 
  • trying to avoid "misunderstandings", or 
  • for "scholarly" reasons, 
  • etc., etc.,  
then run!... run!.. run for your spiritual life!  Don't believe it, just cling to God's Word that says:
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
And so the apostle Paul jars us when he said:
Galatians 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
Larry Darby was teaching another gospel under the guise of "Lutheran orthodoxy", "Lutheran confessionalism".
And now let me quote the full text of Franz Pieper (Christian Dogmatics, II, pg 346) that Marquart (and others) dispute but which teaches God's Word to man:
2 Cor. 5:19 furnishes additional proof that by the objective reconciliation which Christ has effected a change of heart took place, not in men, but in God
It is precisely this point where Marquart is wrong...  and God is right...  Pieper is right... and the old (German) Missouri Synod is right.
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Marquart finishes his essay with these words:
     In these interests I have attempted, to the best of my ability, to sort out the issues without rancour.  It is difficult for us humans to put aside pain and bitterness, but the Lord never ceases to invite us to this grace of “following in His steps” (I Pet. 2:21). May He bless all who love His saving truth, with mutual forbearance, humility, and charity.  That is my earnest plea and prayer. “Behold how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity” (Ps. 133)!
Herman Otten calls Marquart a "peacemaker".  Paul T. McCain calls on this essay as "an excellent response" in "refuting errors regarding objective justification".   Unfortunately, this essay only continued the "muddy waters" that surround the LC-MS ever since the death of Franz Pieper.  I recall the stunning words of the prophet Jeremiah about those who would proclaim peace when the message became muddy:
Jeremiah 6:14 – They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.
Now someone will come to me and say "But Marquart taught Objective Justification several times in this essay."  I cannot deny this.  The forcefulness of Pieper and Walther comes through at times.  One of the greatest testimonies I have read of Professor Marquart is from Pastor David Petersen of Redeemer Lutheran Church of Fort Wayne on his blog (here) where he recounts the following story of the Professor:

My fourth year at seminary, as part of the infamous Q party festivities, we wrote scathing, mocking lyrics to the most popular hymns of Evangelical America (Just as I am, What a Friend We have in Jesus, etc.) and sang them in the midst of much beer. Marquart stood outside and afterwards I asked him what was wrong. He said: "Those hymns may be weak, but they are loved by the pious people of God. Our job is to lead them to something better, not to belittle them for ignorance."
That little lesson completely changed my attitude toward the laity and the process of catechesis. I haven't always lived up to it, and I am ashamed I didn't learn it until days before graduation, but I am deeply thankful for it. Thanks, Kurt. God bless you and yours.
But unfortunately Marquart was willing to allow a mixed message... a mixed message that at least begins to break the "chain of salvation" that Pieper spoke about in his essay "The Open Heaven" (here).   Dear God!  your chain of salvation is strong!... there are no weak links!  Thou hast said so in Thy Word that cannot be broken (John 10:35)!  Amen!

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