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Monday, July 2, 2012

Justification – The Larry Darby Situation (Part 5 – notes to myself)

     In the previous post Parts 4a and 4b, I presented my 3rd letter to Mr. Larry Darby – a very long letter in a "life and death" situation for him and I.  (See Part 1 for Table of Contents)  Mr. Darby was the most persuasive person ever for me in his attacks on Objective Justification (or UOJ) and he surely caused me no little anxiety.  But God used this episode to grant me an unshakable faith, one that won't let go of this verse:
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 there was Walther and Pieper hammering home this verse in what seemed a thousand different ways.  And O You Luther!... how he always had UOJ in mind in all his writings!  So I had to warn Larry Darby that he was spreading false teachings about universal, objective justification.  
     In this Part 5, I am presenting a file of notes to myself.  I could no longer write to Larry Darby because he was so hardened in his logic against UOJ, that I finally wrote to him:
Go to hell, Larry Darby!
That is a terrible thing to write to anyone.  I now knew how Luther felt when he wrote the terrible things against the Jews.  Luther himself spoke of the pain he had in writing about them.
     How important is UOJ, the Doctrine of Universal, Objective Justification?  It is a "matter of life and death".  It is a very serious matter.  It is not a joking matter.  There is nothing funny about it.  God is absolutely earnest in His desire for the salvation of everyone – that everyone believes that their sins are forgiven for the sake of the vicarious satisfaction made by His Son, Jesus Christ... that everyone knows in their heart that He is reconciled to man and that no works are necessary for their salvation, only believe.
     O how my heart was filled with both joy and anger over the Larry Darby Situation.  I could not contain my thoughts and so in 1996, in the heat of the battle, I made the following notes (file DARBYNOT.TXT) that will shed more light on the arguments of Larry Darby:
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file DARBYNOT.TXT (January 19, 1996)

This is written to express anger.  After reading a paper by Larry Darby of Xxxxxxx Xxxxx, MO titled "The Historical Development of 'Objective Justification'", I cannot contain an inexpressible disgust over the lies, half-truths, despicable teachings, double-talk, and utter vicious contempt of God's Word.  It represents the epitome of the Pharisaical position: "I thank God I am not like this publican!"  The magnitude of this error can hardly be comprehended!  It stops at nothing to destroy faith by destroying the very foundation of faith!  If the reader thinks I am 'biased', then read the following:
"If Jesus didn't die for the sins of the whole world, then I am going to hell"
or if Objective/Universal/General
Justification/Reconciliation/ Redemption/Forgiveness/Salvation
  is NOT true then I am going to HELL!
Does this statement seem rash?  Does it seem to go too far?  Shouldn't I put a 'disclaimer' on this-- after all, am I not condemning myself to hell?  If these are your questions, then you too would be showing a faith-destroying doubt of God's Word.  Christianity is NOT about doubt!  It is about an ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY OF SALVATION.

Larry Darby's paper shows a large amount of time and effort.  It is amazing how he can have this output in a relatively short period of time (must have been less than one year based on correspondence).  It is quite reasoned in it's approach and makes few slips in logic.  Only a few times did I loose track of his point.  Spelling and grammar seem quite good.  I found the quotes from Lutheran writings to be accurate with only a few exceptions- only a few times did I feel compelled to look it up myself.
He seems not to have said whether he knows the other languages of German and Latin theological writings.  A Rev. Martin Noland is identified as a source of information on false translation of Franz Pieper's Christliche Dogmatik.  He does not identify who gives the "literal" English translation of Pieper's Dogmatic for comparison in his own essay.  The reader is left to assume it is Darby himself.  He admits he went searching for the "errors" of objective justification in "Christian Dogmatics".  It is ironic that the very German Edition which he holds in regard clearly teaches that which he teaches against - the resurrection in and of itself is the performance or accomplishment of something else == note 893: "So in Christ, God punished our sins, which were placed upon or imputed to Him as our Substitute, so that in quickening Him from the dead, BY THAT FACT ITSELF He absolved Him of our sins which had been imputed to Him; so then He also absolved us in Him".  Pieper - the existential philosopher! (cf note 199)

He presents his paper as one who has read extensively from the Missouri Synod fathers and calls them orthodox, towering, forefathers.  He considers his teaching as in accord with theirs with only few problems on their part.  He considers this paper as bringing back the correct doctrine from those seeming conspirators for the "modern version of objective justification".  The notable excepting is George Stoeckhardt whose teaching clearly (boldly?) taught the doctrine he attacks and for this reason is considered a false teacher on this.  Could it be that Georg Stoeckhardt who labored so many years under C.F.W. Walther and Franz Pieper (and seeming received no known reprimand or warning about his 'bold' teaching) actually was the main source of problems within Missouri?

The teaching of Darby's paper is dangerous to all who would fall under it.  A simple Christian will know it is wrong - he knows that he only deserves wrath, condemnation, and damnation yet believes that 'God so loved the world that He gave is only-begotten Son' John 3:16; that God is merciful for the sake of the vicarious satisfaction rendered by Christ for the whole world, and thereby knows for a certainty that his sins are paid for in full.  The denial of Objective Justification seeks to stomp, mutilate, trounce, mock, and attack the heart of Christianity, all under a false presentation of 'justified by faith', election, vicarious satisfaction, the Confessions, the various Catechisms, Luther.  We are justified through faith, faith in the objective justification of the whole world, faith in the merits of Christ, thereby our justification.  It is the object of our faith that saves us - Jesus Christ and him Crucified.  This essay says the vicarious satisfaction has its limits - indeed it has - it goes against every fiber of our human pride and reason.  The means of grace have their basis in objective justification - the Gospel!
Yes, there are problems in today's LCMS, but for the opposite reason as Mr. Darby states.  It is precisely because that of this precious doctrine it's teachers 1) deny it, 2) falsify it 3) devalue it by trading it away for unionism 4) ignore it (thereby denying it) or 5) are timid in it's proclamation and defense.
Thank God He did NOT put any disclaimers on His Gospel - John 3:16 stands, for all time and eternity.
The key words to Darby are to be redemption and election.  Redemption (Darby admits universal redemption) is only God TOWARD man - not an accomplished reality for man only to believe (without works of law)- thereby receiving gift already freely given, already his.  Darby denies the Calvinism that uses much of the same logic he uses.  But God says "These are written that ye might believe" John 20:31  Darby separates redemption and justification - all passages that speak of all redeemed (he admits universal redemption) do not mean all justified (cf 78f). His finding against the use of 'rescue' for redemption I agree with, but for the opposite reason.  It rather seems a step away from the beauty of redemption so perfectly paid at the cross.  Reconciliation (universal reconciliation is granted -cf pg 98) is also explicitly distinguished from justification to limit justification (page 85).  The straw-man argument (as he likes to refer to) he uses to discredit the true teaching of the 'modern' 1991 version.
Darby seemingly never calls election the election of grace.  He would rather "hard-pedal" than soft-pedal this doctrine.  It's because he is confused on what grace means - it means unfair - the justification of the ungodly.
Darby's 'justified by faith' is only an empty husk.  He strips away the true doctrine that we might believe.  He does not seem to see that 'justification by faith' means 'without the works of the law'. (See Luther's Works, Am. Ed. vol 34, 153)  Without the accomplished reality, there is no faith.
Darby's vicarious satisfaction is also only an empty husk.  Despite the numerous references to this term and it's doctrine (which Franz Pieper used so beautifully), he strips it in front of our eyes.
Darby's Scripture and Bible is only an empty husk.  His 'efficacious and sufficient' references ring hollow when in the same or next breath, takes away the truth and comfort of God's Word- the Word of Reconciliation, the Word of Grace.
Darby's 'promise' is an empty one even when he says it based on God's Word.  For it excludes the real desire of God to save everyone, not withstanding his protests to the otherwise.
Darby's 'forgiveness of sins' is empty because he skips over the heart of how God forgives sins (see page 86, 1912 Catechism #:
196. How does God forgive sins?
He does not impute their sins to sinners, or, in other words, He declares sinners righteous (Justification).
This precious question is the heart of the Gospel- Darby doesn't question it's departure from 1991.  And why not?  Because he does not understand 2 Corinthians 5:19 (the basis the this Catechism answer) and directly refuses this passage as teaching the basics of Justification at the top of page 86.  It is ironical that he refutes himself on the same page- something he is so careful elsewhere to avoid. (see LW AE vol 34, pg 164-167)  He rather thinks sins are removed (cf pg 91 note 159) instead of the non-imputation/ imputation of righteousness.
Darby's Saviour is a "Saviour of the world" who did not save the whole world.  And yet we are to let the efficacious, and sufficient words of Scripture sink in.  What blasphemy!
Darby's Godhead is a strange God- a God (our Saviour?) who will have all men to be saved, but NOT the Holy Ghost!  Darby: "There is a terrible danger in saying (without clarification) that the Holy Spirit 'wants' all men to be saved, rather than sticking to the old teaching..."  He glosses over the answer given to 1991 #167 which states "through the Gospel".  What about the Nicene Creed which says the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father AND THE SON?  Is the Holy Ghost in a struggle with the Son?  It seems so!  It is also a Godhead in whom remains the forgiveness won by Christ, not completely available for all mankind (notwithstanding Darby's words otherwise).  Indeed, a 7-year old can understand that Darby's teaching is false.
Darby confuses the issue by introducing "modern" versions of this teaching should.  This is directly refuted by his own analysis of (modern?) Georg Stoeckhardt's 1888 "General Justification" essay.  When does the "modern" period start?  In God's book, it started in Genesis 3:15.

According to Larry Darby's teaching, Xxx Xxx [BackToLuther] has been misled (pg 88).  I confess - "I have been mis-led, misled by the Almighty God, his name is JESUS- Saviour of the WORLD, the LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS, IMMANUEL, PRINCE OF PEACE, GOOD SHEPHERD.
The danger of this essay lies in its use of Lutheran-sounding words eg Law/Gospel, justification, faith, justification by faith, dogmatics, verbal inspiration, Scripture interpreting Scripture, Scripture alone, hermeneutic principles, faith is sole work of God, vicarious satisfaction, means of grace, reconciliation, redemption, election (although doesn't seem to mention election of grace), forgiveness of sins, refutation of synergism and Calvinism, Crypto-Calvinists, objectivity, purity of doctrine, etc.  He quotes Scriptures, Luther, and the Lutheran Confessions profusely.  He holds Luther, Walther, Pieper, and the Lutheran Confessions (including Art XI of FC) in high regard.  He urges to read the Scriptures (indeed - Isaiah 53, John 3:16, Romans), the Confessions- he often urges the reader the review a passage several times so that he might understand it.  He holds a position against the church of Rome.  He even understands the unionism of Fred Mayer, Th. Graebner, and Wm. Arndt.  He's aware of the 'Statement of the 44'.  He knows that problems seemed to develop in the 1930s and 1940s.  He calls Franz Pieper an 'orthodox, towering' theologian.  The problem is that his assessment that the teaching of objective justification as the key to all Lutheran problems is 180 degrees wrong.  How could it be?  Pride.  Self-righteousness.  Self-justification.  Opinio legis.  Never has the devil's attack been so direct!
The reason for problems is (as it was then) unionism caused by de-valuing universal and objective justification, as the faithful warnings were sounded then.  Don't give away your birthright Missouri!  The words of the ELS- 'the footsteps terrify!' ring with truth.  Remember the doctrine of justification.  But Buergen of ALC said it best to Fritz - you tried to use a potato stomper with your objective justification.  The ALC didn't really believe it and the LCMS members knew it.  That is how you would give an example of unionism - agreement to disagree.

Why didn't Walther and our orthodox Synodical forefathers warn us more about the concept of universal justification in 1872?
Why didn't Pieper put 'disclaimers' on objective justification, if it is so dangerous (notwithstanding Darby's essay)?
How is modern man different than men of all times in that we don't need objective justification?
LW 37, 230F. (quoted Walther -Essays for the Church, Vol 1, pg 49): "Especially little Zwingli is henceforth not worth answering anymore, unless he disavows his blasphemous alloeosis...leads him to divide the person of Christ and leaves us no other Christ than a mere human being, who is said to have died for us and saved us.  What Christian heart can hear or tolerate that?  For the whole Christian faith and the salvation of the whole world is thereby destroyed and condemned. [Certainly Larry Darby would say that God died on the cross, and yet he denies what Luther stated essentially the whole Christian faith was- the salvation of the whole world.]

Convention Essays,(1874) p. 69: "Now let us reflect on this to the depth of our soul, how horrible it would be if God had not desired the salvation of all people, but had looked upon most human beings with eternal hatred.  If we were uncertain whether or not God had intended salvation for each one, we would have to doubt eternally whether we were in the state of grace, whether our faith was correct.  For what is a justifying and saving faith other than the following conclusion?  'God wills all people to believe in Christ; I am a person, therefore I too shall believe.''God forgives all people their sins, and works the salvation of those who believe; I am a person who believes; hence also my sins are forgiven, and I shall be saved.'
Should any one of these premises collapse, all others would have no value; our faith would have no foundation.  Even though the individual whom God desires to save not be named in the Bible, Scripture nevertheless declares that God wants to save all people.  Thus the faith of each individual has an unshakable foundation."
page 77: "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.'"
page 78: God is no longer angry with mankind.... You believe that God is angry with you, but He isn't.  If you don't believe this, then for you God is still angry.  As I perceive God, so He is.  ...God is ungracious to me when I reject the accomplished reconciliation through unbelief."

I too was tempted with the same kind of logic as the doctrine here presented.  I too thought I was falling into Universalism with the doctrine of universal justification and denying doctrine of election.  Sinful human pride will stop at nothing to put up anything in God's face to say "Look what I've done!".  I too wondered at Spurgeon's reasoning that "if God died for all sins, why not the sin of unbelief?".  It is only natural to put up even my faith as something before God.  But God puts up His Son, lifts Him up on the cross as the Saviour of the World and then said "It is finished!"

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In recent web research, it appears that Larry Darby has not continued his public attacks on UOJ since the late 1990s.  I wonder if his wife perhaps persuaded him to reconsider his unbelief... perhaps he has been converted since that time and is now holding to Christianity in "intelligent silence" (Pieper on Acts 15:12) over the true Gospel.

After my correspondence with Larry Darby was finished, I began to turn my attention to some other parties in The Larry Darby Situation, some of whom defended "Objective Justification".  My next post Part 6 deals with one of them.

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