Over the last few months those in the Lutheran blogsphere who reject the orthodox Lutheran teaching regarding objective justification have been going nuts over the publication of a translation of a series of theses by a third generation Lutheran theologian named Aegidius Hunnius against a Swiss heretic named Samuel Huber. For a quick summary: Samuel Huber was a Reformed pastor who deeply disliked Theodore Beza's hardening of Calvin's doctrine of double predestination and therefore came to agree with the Lutherans regarding the objectivity and universality of God grace. He was invited to come to Wittenberg, where he was supposed to help the faculty there fight Calvinism. Unfortunately, trying to avoid the ditch of double predestination, he went in the other direction and claimed that election and justification were universal. Being universal, election and justification were communicated to all human beings. Huber never really went all the way though and said that all were going to be saved. In fact, he taught that people could (using their own free will) reject this universal justification and election.
The anti-OJ forces on the Internet take early Lutheranism's rejection of his heresy has sign that they would have also rejected the later 19th century Lutheran distinction between objective and subjective justification. There are a couple of problems with this claim: 1. Walther in the Baier compendium specifically rejects Huber's doctrine (in fact he has a whole section on it!). 2. Huber did talk about a universal justification, but his heresy was more about and a reaction to the doctrine of election. Advocates of OJ such as Walther always taught particular election. 3. Moreover, since Huber claimed that justification was not merely pronounced to all (objective justification), but communicated to all (functional universalism), he has virtually no place for subjective justification. This would pretty much destroy the entire point of the distinction between objective and subjective justification.
The main problem with Huber and the entire discussion as it has gone on the Internet up to now is this: Huber was a speculative theologian, rather than a practical one. As a number of Church historians have pointed out, he was a fairly bad one at that. Therefore, when considering this debate the following is important to recognize: The objectivity of justification is not a speculative or abstract claim about the relationship of the Triune God to the world, but rather A. A recognition of redemption as an inter-Trinitarian event (In reaction to the universal atonement brought about by the Son, the Father has a reaction of the declaration of universal grace, wherein he send the Spirit to mediate such universal grace through the means of grace). B. A rule of preaching, whereby the Church is authorized to speak the words of grace as something already accomplished- “Your sins are forgiven for the sake of Jesus.” The difficulty with Huber’s position is not only did it claim a universal election (which Lutherans deny) and free will (which Lutherans also deny), but it created a situation wherein preaching the gospel as an unconditional word “your sins are forgiven, etc.” is not possible. In such an event the gospel becomes law. Logically one would have to say “you are redeemed, if you accept universal election, etc.” or perhaps "you are redeemed if you don't reject universal election." Again, what’s the irony here: As much as the anti-OJ folks rage against Huber, they logically must have the same position. They must say “your sins are forgiven, if you have faith and repent.” Why have they taken this position? Because they have not theologized from the perspective of a bound will. They think if faith is not emphasized, then people will some how not use their free will to have faith or perhaps they will forget to have faith. This is absurd. Once you understand the will is bound, the you’ll stop worrying about giving people too much grace. God is the one who causes faith, so you don’t have to worry that people won’t have faith unless you tell them to. In fact, there is a belief among many of the Anti-OJ folks that because there is too much grace in the ELS, WELS, and the LCMS there are higher rates of immoral behavior. This is uber-Pietistic- which is ironic in light of fact that they accuse us of Pietism! It was such impulses that led Spener to start Pietism. He thought there was too much grace being preached and so people were becoming immoral.