Monday, October 15, 2012

Calov Quote on Objective Justification.

A number of people have questioned my use of the Calov quote regarding the distinction between objective and subjective justification (well, actually just one!).  Rydecki apparently got wind of this and translated the passage himself on his Facebook page.  Again, this is the translation of the man himself and not mine.  So you need not question my motives in how the words are chosen.  Here it is:

"Therefore, we do not effect anything in God through faith. Instead, we merely receive that which God offers to us and to our faith, and as a result we are justified by God and absolved and made heirs of eternal salvation.

You say: If justification, that is, the remission of sins, is the object of faith, how can it be the effect of faith, inasmuch as faith is an instrument?

We reply: Justification is the object of faith in that it is offered by God in the Gospel. It is the effect of faith, so to speak, inasmuch as, once we have laid hold of grace by faith, the remission of sins happens to us by that very act. Faith lays hold of the grace by which God wishes to remit sins to us. Once faith lays hold of grace, it actually obtains the remission of sins."
I think for some reason that Rydecki believes this to be damning of the position of his opponents.  All I see is a clear articulation between SJ and OJ.  Justification is the object of faith.  Hence, it's already an objective reality (OJ) prior to us receiving it (SJ).  We receive it through faith and are saved by it.  No one claims that we get saved or receive God's objective grace apart from faith or the means of grace.  We take hold of something that's already there.

Again, Rydecki's position only works if you assume that the word "Justification" is being used exactly the same manner in both contexts (i.e., the communication of forgiveness and salvation)- opposed to a verdict given (OJ) and a verdict received (SJ).  That it is not, is clear from the modify adjective "objective" vs. "subjective."  Since everyone who advocates the OJ and SJ distinction says that it's the latter and not the former, then I don't really see how you could claim that the word "justify" does mean the same thing.  Much like Jackson and his followers, to win the argument Rydecki basically has to attribute a position to OJ people that they don't hold.  Again, this is strawman and not much of an argument.

For a bonus, here's how Johann Gerhard deals with Romans 4:25 and 5:18 provided by Pr. Shawn Stafford:

“By raising [Christ] from the dead, [God] absolved Him from our sins which had been imputed to Him, and therefore He also absolved us in Him, that Christ’s resurrection might thus be the case and the proof and the completion of our justification.”Johann Gerhard, Annotations in epist. Ad romanos, Jena ed. 1666, p. 156.
Notice Christ is absolved of all the sins imputed to him.  And it was the the sin of the whole world that was imputed to him.  Ergo, in Christ, all sin is absolved as well.
“Because in Christ’s resurrection we are acquitted of our sins, so that they can no longer condemn us before the judgment of God.” Johann Gerhard, Disputationes theologicae, Jena, 1655, XX, p. 1450


  1. Dr. Kilcrease-
    I cannot take credit for the Gerhard translations.
    The first appeared in the article
    Ronald Pederson, “Objective Justification,” Lutheran Synod Quarterly, Vol. 52, Nos. 2-3 (June-September 2012)

    The other quote was in Hoenecke's Dogmatics, Volume III published by Northwestern Publishing House.

    By including the original publication information in my citations, it was my desire to direct readers ad fontes and also show the early dates of these quotations contrary to the claims of those who try to refute objective justification.

    -Pastor Shawn Stafford

  2. Pr. Stafford, I modified it so that I didn't attributed the translation to you. There's also some good Luther quotes that I've used a number of times. Melanchthon also cites Ambrose in the Apology. These are all good early materials. Just something to think about using in the future.

  3. So the intellectual venture, now suggests that faith does not save, but Christ. In all practicality, this is a non sequitur.