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Friday, December 13, 2013

Synodical Conference–1872, Part 8; more Iowa Synod, Anders Nohrborg, Means of Grace

This continues the series of blog posts (Table of Contents is in Part 1) publishing my translation of the published essay from the inaugural meeting of the Synodical Conference in 1872.  This covers pages 46-48 from the original German essay.
    In this section, Walther finishes Thesis 5 where he draws out the opposing Iowa Synod and their attacks on Universal Justification.  Walther says:
"Let no one think that we are dealing in this matter with a mere strife about words. No, the most highly important matter is to be held here against attacks and error. Especially in this land of sects and enthusiasts we must earnestly carry on the doctrine of the universal justification..."  
In the process, he brings to the fore a Swedish Lutheran preacher's teaching.  Then Thesis 6 is stated, which begins the topic of the "Means of Grace".  But note well, this topic is only begun after the solid foundation of Universal Justification is firmly established.

   Sometimes I wonder if I am the only one who "gets" the message of this essay (i.e. the Gospel), but evidently I'm not! a comment came in on Part 7 that caused me to just sit in my chair and rejoice... to just rejoice with another over the greatest news the world will ever receive...
Part 8
===============  Synodical Conference–1872  ===============
"Over the Doctrine of Justification."
by C.F.W. Walther
(cont'd from Part 7)
That Christ [SCR 46] bore the sin of the whole world and that God the Father raised Christ from the dead, they [Iowa Synod] cannot deny, therefore they must hang on to some expressions which are perhaps a little uncomfortable (unbequem).  The appearance is thereby gained that they only apply all the zeal in order to divert the church's attention from their own defects and in the meantime occupy the people with the supposed defects of other bodies.
For example it is quite Pelagian when they claim that the final determination in conversion is something in man. And also in this matter, although they want to give the appearance of orthodoxy, they do not quite succeed; for when G[ottfried]. Fritschel [Christian Cyclopedia, #2] asserts: "In the Gospel God shows the sinner a way of escape, which can redeem him from death and damnation and can bring to pass the forgiveness of his sins," he denies thereby that justification has already been accomplished by Christ and that thus the righteousness which avails before God is already present.  But so teach the Scriptures and also the Confessions of our church, as in the 6th article of the Augsburg Confession, which states the following in Latin: "remission of sins and justification is apprehended by faith" (Of New Obedience, paragraph 2, Triglotta, pgs. 44-45, Tappert, p. 32; Müller, p. 40?), and, "grace and forgiveness of sins and justification are apprehended by faith" (Article 20, parag. 22, Triglotta, pg 55; Tappert, p. 44; Müller, p. 45?). Thus also the Apology: "Faith … receives remission of sins" (Article IV/II-Justification, parag. 62; Triglotta pg 138-139; Tappert, p. 115; Müller, p. 98?).  Further: "Justification is a thing promised freely alone for Christ's sake, wherefore it is accepted always and only by faith before God" (cf. Article III, parag. 90, Triglotta pg 178-179; Tappert, p. 137; Müller, p. 123?).
These passages show plainly that a justification must previously exist, which faith can accept, that faith does not have to bring it about first, but that it embraces it as already existing. But if someone wanted to say: forgiveness of sins are probably already there, but not [LS XXX/24, 186-1] justification, he would not know of our Confessions, which expressly teach that justification and forgiveness of sins are the same. "We believe, teach, and confess that according to the usage of Holy Scripture the word justify in this article means absolve, that is, acquit of sins" (Formula of Concord, Art 3, paragraph 7/5,  Müller, page 528, pg 291, parag. 5?;Tappert, p. 473).
[KM paragraph]
Let no one think that we are dealing in this matter with a mere strife about words. No, the most highly important matter is to be held here against attacks and error.  Especially in this land of sects and enthusiasts we must earnestly carry on the doctrine of the universal justification, for they probably still teach that man becomes righteous through faith, but then they speak of faith in a way that one soon notices that they make of faith again an efficient cause of justification, whereby they rob the Lord Christ of His glory.  For what else does he do who says that faith justifies for the reason that it gives strength for good works, to pray and wrestle, as  he pushes Christ's merit aside?
[KM 23; KM paragraph; LS paragraph]
Also the testimony of a Scandinavian, the Swede Anders Nohrberg [Christian Cyclopedia] [SCR 47] († 1767 as royal Swedish court preacher at Stockholm), may here find a place.  He writes: "Had God not raised our mediator, He would have given us to understand thereby that He was not yet content with us. But now that Jesus is arisen, so has God thereby declared that He has been satisfied, wherefore also Jesus was in His resurrection justified as Mediator in the stead of sinners. And in so far as the whole human race, when it is considered generally and as one person, was at the same time justified together with Him, was it also admitted as a fruit of this justification, into God's covenant of peace, and so the peace which had been lost in Adam was again established between God and men." (Swedish: Den fallna människans salighetsordning, Norwegian: Det faldne Menneskes Saliggjørleses-Orden; German title: Ordnung der Seligmachung des gefallenen Menschen, p. 103?).
[KM paragraph]
The same: "It remains in this analysis to apply it to ourselves, whereby the question immediately arises whether all men were justified with Christ, since He was justified in their stead. To deny this outright and beforehand would be the same as to rob us men of a great consolation, and it would at the same time argue against God's Word, which explicitly teaches so.  But if one were on the other hand to affirm this question in such a way that the conclusion should be drawn that now man needs no further justification, after he has been justified once in and with Christ, then this likewise argues against God's Word, and lays the foundation for a carnal security.  So here caution is required, to hold to the proper middle way, so that the truth may not suffer injury on either side. The Apostle Paul sheds light on this matter, when he makes a comparison between Adam and Christ, the two heads of the human race. As regards Adam, he stood in the examination not only for himself; but in his single person he represented the whole human race, whose cause lay upon him, either to preserve it or to ruin it, so that what he did and what consequently passed upon him, were later to be imputed to the whole (human) race and pass upon the same, Rom. 5:18-19.  Now, that which this first Adam had spoiled, our Saviour, Christ, who is called the second Adam and the other man (1 Cor. 15:45-47) transferred to Himself, in order to restore it again, and the Apostle shows that the same applies to Him, only conversely.  Thus Jesus also represented in His one Person our entire race, which was regarded under Him as one body, one person, one multitude, whose head He was.  And because the whole guilt of sin of the world was laid upon Jesus, this guilt could no longer remain lying on the world, for it could not be in two places at once.  Thus the world [LS XXX/24, 186-2] was seen through Christ's passion and death as free and released of all guilt.  When Jesus, on whom the whole burden of sins lay, had fought His way through so that God according to His stringent righteousness found it just to take the guilt [SCR 48] away from Him and to justify Him, it is clear, that the guilt, with all its condemnation, was not only removed from Jesus, but also from the world; for the guilt could not then fall back again upon the world, in so far as its authorized representative, on whom all its guilt lay, had repaid the same.  So we see that also upon the world a justification was given in the same hour when Jesus was justified, and at the same time with him. Rom. 5:18" (p. 116).  When Holy Scripture says: "If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain, ye are yet in your sins" [1 Cor. 15:17], when the article of the resurrection of Christ is called by the Fathers the most Christian article, when the Church is jubilant in her Easter hymns on account of it, so must certainly the Holy Spirit, the holy apostles who wrote by the Holy Ghost, the Church, and the Fathers must indeed have had reason for using such language and for attaching such importance to the resurrection of Christ. Now Scripture says: He was [KM 24] given over for the sake of our sin, etc. What does this mean? Christ was given over for the sake of our sin, the Lord dies on the cross not with His own sin but with the guilt of the world, whose guarantor He was. When He died, the debt was paid; then the whole world could shout: For me, for me satisfaction has been rendered according to the law of a surety (or guarantee). But Christ did not remain in death, He is risen, raised by the Father. What has been testified thereby? One can rightly say that the resurrection of Christ guarantees His true divinity; it teaches that there will indeed follow a universal resurrection of the dead; but it means still more. The Apostle says: Christ was raised for the sake of our righteousness. Through the glory of the Father Christ was declared righteous. The vicarious substitute is released, because He had paid all debts for which He had undertaken the role of Substitute. But since His payment was made for men, so they too are thereby free and let go. As Christ died as Saviour, so also He was raised from the dead as Saviour.

Thesis 6: "This grace, forgiveness, righteousness, life, and salvation, again acquired for all men by Christ's redeeming work, God brings to men in the means of grace. For the evangelical promise, which is contained in the Word of the Gospel and in the holy Sacraments, is not an empty sound or a promise devoid of contents, but a powerful ministration (Darreichung) and presentation (Schenkung) of all the goods which God promises in this Word of His grace."

In this paragraph there is summarized the doctrine of the means of grace, how they in their correlation come into consideration, namely that the whole treasure, as it has been purchased by Christ's doing and suffering and sealed by His resurrection, is deposited in the means of grace and conveyed there, in order that men might apprehend the treasure in these means of grace [SCR 49] and become partakers of it.

= = = = = = continued in Part 9 = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Anders Nohrborg

It was with great joy that I discovered the wonderful Swedish Lutheran preacher – Anders Nohrborg.  Both previous English translations of Walther's essay partially mis-read his original printing on the name ("Andreas Rohrberg"), but a little investigation through the power of today's Internet uncovered a name that should be remembered among Scandinavians – not only by the Swedish, but also by Norwegians, Finnish, Danish, and Icelandic.  I will call Anders Nohrborg

The Swedish Luther

for he said:
And in so far as the whole human race, when it is considered generally and as one person, was at the same time justified together with Him, was it also admitted as a fruit of this justification, into God's covenant of peace, and so the peace which had been lost in Adam was again established between God and men.
If this message doesn't give the Christmas season meaning, then nothing will.  If there are Swedish or Norwegian readers of this blog, it would pay great dividends to find Nohrborg's book and read it, for undoubtedly most, if not all, of his teaching will build your Christian faith.  Oh that I could read the Swedish language because Anders Nohrborg wrote such wonderful tidings in it.

In the next Part 9, ...


  1. I don't know if you have followed the Rydecki colloquy into ELDoNA recently, but the diocese has published a set of thesis in regards to justification in which they deny universal justification. I believe this is the same error of Iowa. It all, in my opinion goes back to Greg Jackson, whose roots are founded in the old Iowa Synod. He is from the Quad Cities after all.

    1. Although my blog is partially against those who openly blaspheme against the Gospel, it is mainly against the bodies formerly comprising the Synodical Conference. They say among themselves "We teach the doctrine of Justification properly", but show me where they proclaim it and and defend it as this founding essay in 1872.
      But my main attack concerns the body that would call itself the "Missouri Synod", when it actually is not. It is officially the LC-MS and it's birth certificate of separation was pronounced in December, 1939 by Prof. Theo. Graebner who said the Iowa Synod had the same doctrine as his LC-MS. Unfortunately he was right for the LC-MS does not teach Justification properly (i.e. the Gospel) as it was taught in this founding essay of the Synodical Conference, as C.F.W. Walther taught the "luminous rays of the Gospel".
      I will have further to say about today's synods who formerly comprised the Synodical Conference, but for now, just bask in the purest teaching of the Gospel the world has seen since the days of the Reformation century. Hmmm... doesn't the old Synodical Conference sound like... Luther?


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