Martin Chemnitz Press
Pastor Gregory L. Jackson, Ph.D.
6421 West Poinsettia Drive
Glendale, Arizona 85304-2419
One person thought it was extreme to call Jack Cascione a Universalist just because he teaches (with Otten, Romnes, Rolf Preus, William Bischoff, Drickamer) that God has forgiven the entire world all of its sins, without faith, without the Means of Grace, without the efficacious Word. Needless to say, there is nothing in their doctrine to address the Holy Spirit working through the Law to make our hearts contrite, ready to hear the Gospel.
The question is, Do the Universalists teach that the entire world is forgiven its sins? If you look up the history of Universalism, you will see that their emphasis was upon universal salvation. So some Lutheran critics would say, “Aha. Objective Justification is not the same as Universalism.”
Bear with me a little, because I have spent many years comparing doctrinal systems. As far as I know, I am the only person using a massive database to show how these teachings line up. Every single quotation was typed into the database by one person and reviewed many times by that same person. Call it immersion without being a Baptist.
I did a Google.com search on the subject of Objective Justification and immediately came up with WELS Seminary Professor Frosty Bivens’ article posted on a WELS site. (Note that WELS denies teaching the Kokomo Statements. I call that lying, but others think that is too strong. Call it not telling the truth.) Ponder Bivens’ silken words:
Bivens on Kokomo Justification
To phrase it somewhat
differently, God has justified, acquitted or declared righteous the whole world
of sinners. He has forgiven them. They have been reconciled to God, their
status in his eyes has been changed from that of sinner to forgiven sinner for
the sake of Jesus Christ.
Since all this applies to all people, the term universal or general justification is used. In our circles an alternate term, objective justification, is also used. If justification is universal, it must also be objective - sinners are forgiven whether they believe it or not.
This is precisely what Scripture teaches in Romans 3:23-24, when it says, "There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." All have sinned and all are justified freely by God's grace. Romans 4:5 also teaches the grand truth that our God is the "God who justifies the wicked," all of them. "God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them" (2 Corinthians 5:19).
END OF BIVENS QUOTE
This is the normal UOJ claptrap, which is entirely absent in the Robert Preus book, Justification and Rome. Dr. Preus argued and proved from the dogmaticians that justification (forgiveness) comes to us only through faith, never before faith.
Bucky Helwig tried to argue that UOJ advocates oppose Church Growth, but Bivens and Valleskey are both CG gurus (and deny it).
In addition, it is worth noting that separating forgiveness from the Word is Enthusiasm, which is roundly condemned by Luther and other authors in the Book of Concord. So the doctrine of Christian New is doubly wrong. It is Universalistic and pure Enthusiasm. No wonder Otten is content to peddle Valleskey’s Church Growth textbook which just happens to endorse and name Universal Justification.
Luther constantly preached about the Gospel creating faith and faith receiving the forgiveness of sin. Moreover, he often preached that when sin was forgiven, eternal life sprang up. This is true, so we have to admit that the concept of Universal Justification (declaring all people forgiven) is the granting of eternal life and salvation to all people.
I won’t go into all the fine points. But I know from a lot of reading that Fuller Seminary, supposedly conservative, teaches salvation without Christ. I think that UOJ is a clever way to reach that point. It is not pure unabashed Universalism, but covert, sly, sneaky, Universalism, far more dangerous in that it is blended with the image of Lutheran doctrine.
The Lutheran CG snake oil salesmen (there I go again) want to simply gather in those people who are already forgiven. Gathering implies Universalism. As Wayne Mueller stated and Valleskey implied, it is just a matter of gathering people in. Note the Valleskey title in Forward (nee The Northwestern Lutheran):
Bob: "..I'd like to share with you a book I came across the other day. It's interesting, easy to read, and may be the answer to our problem..."
[Could this be the Bible, The Book of Concord, What Luther Says?]
"Its title is Your Church Can Grow, and it's filled with all sorts of practical hints that could help us turn things around here."
Author: "Bob didn't realize it at the time, but in his browsing he had stumbled upon one of many similar books written from the perspective of the church growth movement, books with such titles as How to Grow a Church, Ten Steps for Church Growth, Church Growth: Strategies that Work, and Leading Your Church to Growth."
Prof. David Valleskey, "The Church Growth Movement, Just Gathering People or Building the Church?" The Northwestern Lutheran, May 5, 1991, p. 184.
END OF VALLESKEY QUOTE
The WELS, ELS, and LCMS leaders have all trained at Church Growth institutions, Fuller Seminary and its clones. The false doctrine did not bother them at all. But when I teach justification by faith and reject their favorite seminary, they are up in arms.
I am still waiting for Jack Cascione and Rolf Preus to write a review of TSW, to show where they disagree with Dr. Robert Preus, Luther, the Book of Concord, J. Gerhard, Chemnitz, Luther, Chytraeus, and Andreae.