On Justification

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Ken McGuire | Forum Activity | Posted: Fri, May 25 2012 3:29 PM

Got something much more recent for you this time. I saw that the (in)famous study on Justification for the Lutheran World Federation's 1963 conference is available.  Main source is http://archive.org/details/studydocumentonj00unknuoft .  I converted the text into the docx and used the paragraph numbering feature of Word for the first time.

On the one hand, this document does not affirm all that Lutheranism says about Justification.  On the other hand, it does say some good things about proclaiming Justification to a world that doesn't seem to care about it anymore.

SDG

Ken McGuire

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Milford Charles Murray | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Sep 16 2012 4:34 PM

Kenneth McGuire:

Got something much more recent for you this time. I saw that the (in)famous study on Justification for the Lutheran World Federation's 1963 conference is available.  Main source is http://archive.org/details/studydocumentonj00unknuoft .  I converted the text into the docx and used the paragraph numbering feature of Word for the first time.

On the one hand, this document does not affirm all that Lutheranism says about Justification.  On the other hand, it does say some good things about proclaiming Justification to a world that doesn't seem to care about it anymore.

SDG

Ken McGuire

Peace to you, Ken!                   *smile*                                .. and ...            Always Joy in the Lord!

             Thank you very kindly for your efforts.  Frankly, I must confess it, I have not read this material before.  I look forward to reading and studying it and am grateful to you!                                              God Bless you and your loved ones!

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NB.Mick | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Sep 17 2012 1:12 AM

Kenneth McGuire:
I saw that the (in)famous study on Justification for the Lutheran World Federation's 1963 conference is available.  Main source is http://archive.org/details/studydocumentonj00unknuoft

Why is this study famous/infamous? Can you point to some aspects of praise and criticism? It seems nothing in my library shows up for "Lutheran World Federation" NEAR 1963 NEAR Justification.

Kenneth McGuire:
this document does not affirm all that Lutheranism says about Justification

I was unaware of its existence and today read into the archive.org online book version of it - this seems to be a very clear and well-worded explanation of justification. I haven't dissected it in its details but would like to hear where you feel it lacks substance.

It clearly strikes a more irenic tone than Luther's original language against his opponents, but this is not necessarily a bad thing this side of all the wars, persecution of believers by believers etc. Actually I liked the paragraphs about modern ways of religious self-righteousness, which said good things even to people within the church. 

If you don't feel like "discussing theology" here, we may happily do so on faithlife (we won't we able to share Community Notes on a PB, unfortunately). 

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Ken McGuire | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Sep 17 2012 6:09 AM

I admit - in my introduction I kinda ducked the issues argued over in this.

A quick google search on justification 1963 lutheran gives some of the following (reorganized a bit...)

      A Time magazine article about how Lutherans are fighting about the meaning of Justification http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,875116,00.html

      A Logia article primarily on the 1997 Joint Declaration. http://www.logia.org/features/TributariesJDDJ-Boehme.pdf

      A survey of Lutheran views on Justification in the Concordia Theological Quarterly http://www.ctsfw.net/media/pdfs/klanncontemporaryviews.pdf

In the Logia article, it references Carl Braaten speaking about how it was a fight between the students of Karl Holl and Theodosius Harnack.  The CTQ article points out the influence of Karl Barth on the document.  Personally, I find Gerhard Forde's analysis of this debate quite informative in his book _The Law-Gospel Debate_, thankfully now back in print.  Forde shows how this theological conflict between Barth and the Lutherans goes back to at least the debate over the atonement a century before between Hoffmann and his critics, with Barth being quite influenced by both Hoffmann and Ritschl.

Issues involved include - is our "God Problem" which "atonement" and "justification" are rectifying really a lack of knowledge?  (a way to at least read Barth) Or do we have an alienation between us and God before we believe, even if we do not see it?  In what way is the new reality of our reconciled relationship to God visible?  Is it really in any sense OURS?  How vital is the forensic component?  Is it a facet of Justification?  Is it the Core?

Personally, I have two different perspectives on this debate which are, at best, in tension.  On the one hand, it is a sign of health in the church when things like this are discussed, argued, and hopefully clarified.  On the other hand, some of this discussion can obscure the pastoral meaning of the Reformation.  When a person comes to you at the end of their rope, do you say, I can only help you if you want to change, or do you say something about what God is doing for you in Chirst?  Too much of our world answers the first.  The reformation, at least to me seems to clearly say the later.  And they justify this talk because they find this "Gospel" message in scripture - that Scripture does not make sense without it.  It is too easy for us who are aware of the debates to, like I did in introducing the document, allude to the issues instead of proclaim the Gospel.

I hope this is still informative.  You are probably right to suggest that we may want to move this discussion to Faithlife.  I just thought that some historical background might belong here with the document.

SDG

Ken McGuire

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Milford Charles Murray | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Sep 17 2012 7:05 AM

NB.Mick:

I was unaware of its existence and today read into the archive.org online book version of it - this seems to be a very clear and well-worded explanation of justification. I haven't dissected it in its details but would like to hear where you feel it lacks substance.

It clearly strikes a more irenic tone than Luther's original language against his opponents, but this is not necessarily a bad thing this side of all the wars, persecution of believers by believers etc. Actually I liked the paragraphs about modern ways of religious self-righteousness, which said good things even to people within the church. 

If you don't feel like "discussing theology" here, we may happily do so on faithlife (we won't we able to share Community Notes on a PB, unfortunately). 

NB.Mick:
Why is this study famous/infamous? Can you point to some aspects of praise and criticism? It seems nothing in my library shows up for "Lutheran World Federation" NEAR 1963 NEAR Justification.
Peace to you, Mick!

             I have a major medical procedure later today and don't feel very much like writing; however, I thought I'd send you a PDF file which goes into detail why some "Confessional Lutherans" have a problem with the Joint Declaration.  The document comes from LCMS.org.  3630.Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification.pdf

Philippians 4:  4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand..........

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NB.Mick | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Sep 17 2012 7:59 AM

Milford Charles Murray:
    I have a major medical procedure later today and don't feel very much like writing; however, I thought I'd send you a PDF file

Thanks a lot, Milford, for going out of your way to answer here. For me, it's always a pleasure to read your posts and how you wish peace and everything to us fellow forum users.

I pray that God protects you during this medical procedure and everything goes well with your health!

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tom | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Sep 17 2012 8:09 AM

Milford Charles Murray:
"Confessional Lutherans" have a problem with the Joint Declaration

Hi Milford,

I do want to say that your post is somewhat confusing.  1st, all Lutherans are confessional.  (We all confess that the Book of Concord is a correct understanding of scripture.)  Now, how we understand the Book of Concord is a totally different subject.

2nd, the original post is not about the JDDJ (Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification) that was produced by the LWF (Lutheran World Federation) in 1999.  The original post was about the LWF's 1963 article about justification.  These two documents are completely different documents.

But I am saving the most important thing for last.  I hope and pray that everything goes well for you and your medical procedure.

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Andy | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Sep 17 2012 8:53 AM

Dear Milford,

Just a note to let you know that I am praying also that Christ would protect and keep you and that you would know His peace which truly surpasses understanding (Philippians 4:7).

Andy

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NB.Mick | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Sep 17 2012 11:14 AM

Ken,

it seems the time magazine article is only available to subscribers. I googled myself for the topic and found, of all places, a Spiegel article from 1963 (the Spiegel ['mirror'] is a typically left-leaning, critical-of-faith-and-religion magazine in Germany) discussing German Bishop Lilje and the Lutheran conference in helsinki http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/print/d-46171667.html (in German) - it says the conference accepted a short, lay language text of his, but not a longer theological statement. 

Now I'm a bit lost. I wasn't even born in 1963 and I don't know the debates from back then - is your document the longer one that was refused? Or is it background information? It isn't the shorter one, even though it's in lay language rather than 'theologese', since it has another author.

I found that your source Klann, seemingly coming from a more conservative/confessional position, took issue with no. 42, the self-righteousness of the Lutheran orthodox. But then, these paragraphs seem to seek to adress us all (who never paid for indulgences), and he conveniently forgot to mention that e.g. pietists get their share in no. 43 and the 'ecclesiastical activists' in no. 44. Hmmm.

Recent papers citing the 1963 conference seem to bemoan a certain sentence from Helsinki which states that the question of justification (Luther's famous "Wie bekomme ich einen gnädigen Gott?" [difficult to translate, "How do I find a gracious god" doesn't ring as strong than the German in my ears - maybe "Help me! Where do I find God's mercy?" is better]) is no longer pressing on modern man's mind. I happen to think that this was (and still is) simply true, and no need to kill the messenger - but no need to water down the Gospel either.

So much to read and learn...

 

 

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fgh | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Sep 17 2012 11:28 AM

tom collinge:
1st, all Lutherans are confessional.  (We all confess that the Book of Concord is a correct understanding of scripture.)

We do? That's news to me. First of all, the Church of Denmark and several other Lutheran churches have never accepted the Book of Concord at all. Secondly, even though we [sort of] have, we'd been Lutheran for well over a hundred years when we did, it's status has always been shaky, and it's never been part of our actual confession, just approved as "explanation and commentary" on Augustana. It was considered useful to repress any Calvinist influences, that's just about all. Today it's essentially forgotten. I'd guess that far more than 99% of our church members have never even heard of it.

(EDIT: Does this mean you don't recognize the largest church in the LWF as Lutheran? Big Smile)

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Ken McGuire | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Sep 17 2012 12:34 PM

My understanding is that this document is the "study document" written ahead of the convention by Warren Quanbeck.  I believe that this is the "longer theological statement", but like you was not born until later. :)  As for the rest, I think it would be better to discuss on Faithlife.

 

The Gospel is not ... a "new law," on the contrary, ... a "new life." - William Julius Mann

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Ken McGuire | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 19 2012 11:21 AM

I have created a "Lutheran Theology" group over on Faithlife.  I invite anyone interested in discussing this or other items of interest to Lutherans to join me there.

The Gospel is not ... a "new law," on the contrary, ... a "new life." - William Julius Mann

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