I preface this by explaining that I have had private correspondence with a conservative Lutheran who attempted to tell me the LC-MS and WELS are correct (or orthodox) on the Doctrine of Objective Justification. How is this so, according to my correspondent? Because they have official documents that teach it. It is official with them, so my correspondent says, and therefore both the LC-MS and the WELS are correct on the Doctrine of Justification. One of the documents mentioned is the 1983 CTCR document Theses on Justification, and of course the Brief Statement of 1932. The reason my correspondent makes his claim is that he wants to debate the "hot button" controversial doctrine of Church and Ministry, where the perceived basic difference lies between the LC-MS and the WELS.
But I have had to correct my correspondent to tell him that it is not true!... that it is not true that both the LC-MS and the WELS are orthodox on the Doctrine of Objective Justification, even if they have official documents that say they are! How is it that I, BackToLuther, can say this? I will bring 2 witnesses to my defense:
1) C.F.W. Walther said this (in the previous post, Part 6b on The Church, II):
Particular churches are of a twofold sort, orthodox or heterodox. That church is orthodox in which the Gospel is purely preached and the holy Sacraments are administered according to the Gospel. ... For that in a church or congregation the pure Word of God or the church confession is merely officially acknowledged does not yet make a church or congregation orthodox, but it is requisite that the pure Word actually prevail in its public preaching. ... The communions which have become guilty of a partial falling away from the pure doctrine of the Word of God are rightly called heterodox churches. Such heterodox communions are called both churches and also sects, but in a different respect. They are called churches insofar as God’s Word and Sacrament are not entirely denied in their midst, but both are still essentially present, and hence true children of God are still to be found also in these communions. But insofar as these communions persistently err in fundamental doctrines of God’s Word and have caused divisions in Christendom they are called sects, i.e., heretical communions... (bold, italics, underlining are mine)Walther is quite clear in his delineation of which churches are orthodox – those churches where the pure Word "actually prevails in its public preaching". (I will comment further on Walther's definition of "sects" later.)
But who is my 2nd witness, other than the great C.F.W. Walther? It is...
2) Pastor Paul Rydecki of the WELS who was suspended by the WELS for teaching against Objective Justification. Now Pastor Rydecki may be shocked that I would call on him as my witness since he teaches against Objective Justification, but it is Pastor Rydecki who is reported to have said this:
If “Objective Justification” is an official doctrine of the LCMS as indicated in the CTCR report, then why are there not Bible studies proclaiming it, and why do not CPH publications and LCMS materials promote it instead of it appearing in an isolated document by the CTCR in May, 1983?Thank you!... Pastor Rydecki, if the report is true. This statement of yours is one of the best witnesses I have because it clearly states that today's LC-MS is heterodox on the Doctrine of Justification for it does not purely, publicly, perennially proclaim and preach Objective Justification. Indeed, you can say to your WELS that suspended you that this is a case of "The pot calling the kettle black".
What would Luther say? Monstrous! (monstrom incertitudinis)