The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has surrendered to the Church of Rome on the issue of justification. The Missouri Synod and the Wisconsin Synod leaders think this is terrible, we are told. In fact, WELS and the LCMS are only too happy to work with ELCA on many religious projects. The ELS and WELS have both invited Roman Catholic leaders to teach them the Word.
Lutherans no longer teach justification by faith. In other words, they must teach a system of works, although they claim to be free of that error.
Chapter 5 shows how Lutherans have corrupted this doctrine by inventing and promoting Objective Justification or Universal Justification. The term is never found in the Scriptures or the Book of Concord.
The Universal Justification error hinges on the claim that God declared the entire world free of sin, apart from whether anyone comes to faith or not, when Christ rose from the dead. This claim comes from equating the Biblical term reconciliation with the Biblical term justification by faith.
WELS is famous for its Kokomo Statements, used to excommunicate two families from a congregation in Kokomo, Indiana. The Missouri Synod has a doctrinal statement just as absurd as the Kokomo Statements.
It is clear from many years of studying this issue that pastors in the LCMS, WELS, and ELS do not agree on justification by faith. Some advocate the Kokomo claim of guilt-free saints in Hell. Others utterly reject it as ridiculous.
Chapter 5 summarizes the conflict, quoting the sources verbatim. The chapter treats the New Testament terms used for the universal atonement of Christ. The justification/reconciliation equation is considered carefully, with many quotations from the Triglotta, all of which destroy the Kokomo and LCMS claims to orthodoxy.
Reaction to this chapter will be fierce, but it will be good to have Lutherans debate something more important than pension plans. Pastors and laity need to know the issues clearly and the Scriptures used to support false claims.