Full Text for Objective Justification, part 3 (Text)

<1tnurnrbtu aJ4rnlngtral :tInut1Jly CODtiDaiDg LEHRE UNO WEHRE MAGAZIN FUER Ev.-LUTH. HOMILETIK THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLy-THEOLOGICAL MONTHLY Vol. IV September, 1933 No.9 CONTENTS Biblical Ethics Concerning Young People. P. E. Kretzmann Wie muss Gottes Wort gepredigt werden, damit Glaube entatehe in den Herzen der Zuhoerer? F. Pieper •.•••• Objective lustification. Th. Engelder ••..•.••.••..•..•••• Das Verhaeltnis der gratia universalis zur Gnadenwahl. P. E. Kretzmann •..••••••• Propositions Concerning the Election of Grace. Page 841 653 v 684 676 P. E. Kret2mann •• . • • • • • •• 682 Die Hauptschriften Luthers in chronologischer Reihenfolge 685 Dispositionen ueber die altkirchliche Epistelreihe ........ 686 lliscellanea. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . .. 692 Theological Observer. - Kirchlich ·Zeitgeschichtliches . . .. 696 Book Review. - Literatnr. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 713 Ein Prediger mUBB niOOt alleln tDeidM, alao u.. er die Bchate unterwellle, wie oie rechte 0brI&ten lOlleD aeiD, lOodem aum daoeben den Woelfen weArm, dua lie die Bchate Dicht usreIfen lIOd mit talscber Lehre nrtuehren IIOd Irrtum em· fuehren. - Luther. Es ilit kein D~. du die Leate mehr bel der Kirche behaelt deDD die pte Predigt. - Apolol1ie. Ar'. t~. If the t rumpet gift In UDCertain IOUDd, Ivho shall prepare himaelf to the battle, 1 Oor'~J8. Published for the Ev. Luth. Synod of Missouri, Ohio, and Other States CONCOlmIA. :PUBLISHING HOUSE, St. Louis, lito. 1,/ 664 Objective Justification. C; I q./ Objective Justification. ~ , ;./ (Ooncluded.) d--~ Does 2 001'. 5, 19: "God was in Olu'ist, reconciling the world unto / Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them," treat of the objec- tive justification or of the subjective justification or of both? We ,/ insist that these statements refer to the objective justification ex- clusively. The words "OOIlOY and avroTc; (equivalent to ,,6olloc;) abso- lutely preclude the reference to the subjective justification. That was our first proposition. We now come to our second proposition : There is nothing in the text that forbids the reference to the objective justification, that calls for the subjective justification. In discussing this second proposition, we are in a manner taking on an opus supeTM'ogationis. Our first proposition has settled the case once for all. The "OOIlO)' - avwTc; leaves no room here for the subjective justification. "Ve are frank to say that we approach the second proposition with our mind made up, with a preconceived notion of the right sort. We know a p1'ior'i that there is something wrong with the arguments presented by the proponents of the subjective-justifica- tion interpretation. Still, the discussion will not prove altogether profitless. Calling upon them to produce their arguments, we are putting them under the obligation of proving the apostle inept in the use of language. In arguing their case, they must needs accuse the apostle of having used the term xuopoc; as the obj ect of justification when he actually did not mean the world. Thus our second proposi- tion will in the end serve as a strong support of our first proposition. To put it another way, it will, in the light of our first proposition, require arguments of the strongest possible force to establish the subjective justification as the subject of the apostolic discourse. They will have to show us something in the text which forces the con- clusion: The apostle could not have had the objective justification in mind, though he did unfortunately use the misleading term world. On what ground, then, do they base their proposition that the apostle is here presenting the subjective justification? This is the argument: "2 001'. 5, 18-20 is badly bungled by many, notably the Missourians. Preconceived notions violate the highly significant tenses. Paul speaks of himself and his assistants: God, the 'One who did reconcile us (not only objectively, but also subjectively) to Himself through Ohrist and did give to us the ministra tion of this reconciliation (the service of preaching it)' - two aorists, past, historical. Then with WC; 07:1: 'that God was in Ohrist, engaged in reconciling the world, by not reckoning to them (in- dividuals) their transgressions (two present, durative, iterative par- ticiples), and having deposited in our care the Word of this recon- ciliation.' This is again an aorist: He did give us the ministry of Objective Justification. 665 this reconciliation - He did place in our care the Word of this recon- ciliation, namely, for this our ministry. Thus as Ohrist's ambassa- dors, Paul adds, we beg you: 'Be reconciled to God.''' And because of these reasons the words "not reckoning to them their transgres- sions" must be understood as referring to the personal, subjective reconciliation, cannot be understood as stating that "on Easter morning God forgave all sins to every individual sinner in the world" (See entire passage as quoted on p. 507 f. of this magazine.) The argument is thus based on the fact that the present participle is employed in 2 Cor. 5, 19a and b, while vv.18 and 19c the aorist participle is used. The author does not state in so many words why and how this fact calls for the subjective-justification interpretation. He leaves it to us to formulate his argument. As far as we can see, his argument is based on one of two considerations, either on the alleged fact that the apostle is using the present participles of v. 19 as equivalent to verbs in the present tense or on the use of the Greek present participle as exp1"essing linear, durative, iterative action. The argument in the first form would run thus; The fact that in 19a and b the present tense is used precludes the concept of the objective justification, which deals with a fact finished and completed in the past. In other words: If the apostle had the objective justifica- tion in mind, he would have had to use the aorist participle, the past tense, not the present participle, the present tense. - Before we go on, we shall have to ask leave to limit the discussion to one present par- ticiple. There are two present participles in v. 19, xaraAAaO(JWV and Aort1;6fLeVoQ. But xa-raAAaoorov cannot possibly come into consideration here. It cannot possibly indicate the present tense. The phrase ijv xalaAAaoowv is either the periphrastic imperfect (most exegetes taking it thus), and then it describes a past action, in no way pointing to the present time, as little as ijv Ott\aoxwv (Mark 1, 22) or iiv n(!oosvx6,.svov (Luke 1, 10) permits the notion of subsequent, present action. Or {Jeoq ijv lv Xeta-r:q, may be taken as a sentence by itself (thus Luther and others), the xawHaoawv serving as a simple par- ticiple. But in that case also it cannot be made to indicate present time. For what would be the sense of the statement: God was in Ohrist, reconciling, at the present time, the world? ,Ve do not know whether any man has ever offered such an interpretation. So we need not waste time in showing its impossibility. We have merely adverted to it in order to cover all "possible" cases. - The number of possible participles indicating present time being now reduced to one, the argument runs thus: Because Aay,C6,.s,'ot;, a present participle, has the force of a verb in the present tense, Paul cannot be speaking of the objective justification; he must be speaking of a justification that is still going on, and that can be only the subjective justification. Does our author take the position that ;'0r,C6,.svot; has the force 666 Objective Justification. of a verb in the present tense? The article under discussion does not say so explicitly, but the exposition of 2 Oor. 5,14-21, in the same author's Eisenach Epistle Selections, uses this language: it ft1] AOyt- r;6ftsI'o., present participle, retaining its present force and not made an imperfect by ill''' (p.492). Others take the same position. Com- mentary of Lange-Schaff: "The words ",1] Aoy,r;6",BI'O' have the force of a verb in the present tense, for they assert that God is not reckon- ing unto men their trespasses. . .. It implies that God was applying the benefits of salvation by Ohrist to individuals (a'1'h-oi".). This is set forth by means of a present participle, because the act was con- tinuously to be repeated." ~Jyfeyer's Commentary: "'Since He does not reckon (present) to them their sins.''' Revised translation by Oarl Weizsaecker, 1892: "Ja, so ist es: Gott war es, der in Ohristus die Welt mit sich seIber versoehnte, indem er ihnen ihre Suenden nicht anrechnet und unter uns aufrichtete das Wort von der Ver- soehnung." While not all of those who find in Aoy,r;6ftEI'o. the force of a verb in the present tense accept the subjective-justification theory,-Meyer repudiates it absolutely,-the subjective-justification- theory men take the position that because a present participle is used in setting forth God's act of not imputing trespasses, this act of God cannot be an act of the past, but must be an act going on subsequently to the ill' and that this cannot refer to anything else than the sub- jective justification. Lange-Schaff says explicitly that it cannot have the meaning: "God did not impute (imperfect) to men their tres- passes." Our answer to this is, first of all: It must be shown that the present participle here must be taken as a verb in the present tense. It is not sufficient to show that it can be so taken. The assertion is made that it is a bungling of the text to make the statement "not imputing their trespasses unto them" refer to an act of the past. It must therefore be shown that the text forbids us to "make the ft1] Aoy,r;6",EI'O' an imperfect by the 1)1'." The rules of the Greek grammar do not forbid it. The grammarians tell us that "as the aorist participle is timeless and punctiliar, so the present participle is timeless and durative" and "that the time comes from the principal verb." (A. T. Robertson, A Grammar of the Greek New Testament, pp. 1115. 891.) According to this rule the Aoy,r;6",EvOt; is determined as to time by the ijv. In speaking of God's not-imputing of trespasses, the apostle has an act of the past in mind. That is the common Greek usage. We are loath to adduce proofs for this. This is cer- tainly an opus supererogationis. But we are forced to undertake it in order to show that our interpretation has the authority of the Greek grammar back of it. Take Rom. 5, 10: "If, when we were (ol'n.) enemies, we were reconciled to God," etc. The present par- ticiple, "being enemies," takes its time from the aorist: we were Objective Justification. 667 reconciled; it denotes a past state, coincident with the principal verb. Rom. 5, 8 affords another illustration of this rule. Nearly every page of the New Testament presents similar examples. What would you make of Acts 5, 5? "Hearing these words" - did that take place after Ananias gave up the Ghost? So we are not breaking a rule of the Greek grammar if we let Aoyt?;ofltYOr; take its time from the principal verb, from the .jy, seeing that it is nothing but a participle. If in 2 001'. 5,19b the participle "is not made an imperfect by the~y," we have a most remarkable exception to the rule. And strong reasons must be offered to justify an interpretation which goes against the common rule. The fact that aorist participles are used before and after the present participle J.0y,COfl8YOr; proves absolutely nothing. They all fall under the same rule - they all (unless an exception can be established) take their time from the principal verb. What dif- ference does it make as to the time that in Acts 5, 5 we have a present participle, &XOVWY, side by side with an aorist participle, "toano.'! So we are going to keep on taking the AOy,COfl6YO, as applying to an act of the past because of the ijv. Whoever objects to that must point out some good reason why Paul here departed from the common Tule . .And let us remember that the rule is so well established that only reasons of the very strongest kind could justify the exception. (We shall, of course, always bear in mind that all attempts to change the objective justification into the subjective justification are predestined to come to g:rief on the rock "oofto:;.) Is it at all possible to give a present participle in connection with a verb of the past tense the force of a verb in the present tense? We need not devote much time to that question. One might appeal to the rule as given by Blass-Debrunner, § 339: "2. Das Part. Praes. kann auch eine relativ zukuenftige Handlung bezeichnen, und zwar in verschiedenen Nuanzen," or by Robertson, p. 892: "(h.) Past Action still in Progress. This may be represented by the pres. part .... (i.) 'Subsequent' Action .... " But we are not now concerned with the question whether it is possible thus to take our present participle, but with the question whether it must be so taken. What are the reasons why Meyer, for instance, departs from the rule ~ (The article under discussion does not mention any reasons.) Meyer says: "If, as is usoolly done, the participial definition flh Aoy,COflEYO, is taken in the imperfect sense as a more precise explanation of the modtts of the reconciliation, there arises the insoluble difficulty that {joift8VO, BY iiftiv also would have to be so viewed and to be taken consequently as an element of the reconciliation, which is impossible, since it expresses what God has done afte'/' the work of reconciliation in order to ap- propriate it to men." We fail to see the insoluble difficulty. Oertainly the establishment of the ministry of the reconciliation has nothing to do with effecting the objective justification. But why those who take 668 Objective Justification. the fA,~ lord;6wvo. as a more precise explanation of the modus of the reconciliation and are thus compelled to put it in the imperfect, past, would be thereby compelled to make the establishment of the ministry a factor in the reconciliation (objective), is not at all apparent. Putting both acts - the non-imputation and the institution of the mcans of grace - on the same plane as to time, both lying in the past, certainly does not compel us to put them on the same plane as to their relation to the reconciliation. If there are other reasons compelling the interpreter Lo assume that Paul here departed from the common rule requiring the participle to take its time from the principal verb, we are ready to discuss them. The reason given has created no doubt in us. "Darueber, dass lortl;6fA,Bvo. in seiner Be- ziehung auf 1)'11 xaraJ.J.aOOCtl'l' Partizipium des Imperfektums ist und nicht des Praesens (gegen Meyer), kann doch wohl kein Zweifel be- stehen." (V. Hofmann, Der Schriftbeweis, II, I, p. 327.) So much for the first part of our answer: No reason can be as- signed why Paul should have given, contrary to the established usage, the present participle the force of a verb in the present tense. But we have another answer to give. This: Even if it could be shown that ).Oytl;6fA,8'1'O. has the force of a verb in the present tense, that would not militate against the objective justification. Meyer takes it as referring to the present and still finds it descriptive of the objective justification: a 'Since lIe does not reckon (present) to them their sins and ha.~ deposited (aorist) in us the Word of Reconciliation.' The former is the altered judicial relation into which God has entered and in which He stands to the sins of men; the latter is the measure adopted by God by means of which the former is made known to men." We have no objection to this interpretation on dogmatical grounds. The objective justification is in force to-day. That means, exactly as Meyer puts it, that the sins of the world were forgiven on Easter Day, objectively, and are forgiven to-day, objectively. The judgment pTonounced then is the judgment of to-day. The apostle, howeveT, has not chosen to describe this phase of the objective justifi- cation in 2 001'. 5, 19 b. If he had chosen to do so, if he had used a veTb in the present tense, we should certainly not stamp that as stTange doctrine. But he has not chosen to do so here. - It will not be amiss to point out here that, while Meyer agrees with J. P. Lange and others in the treatment of the present participle, he does not side with them in the treatment of the x6ofA,or;. He leaves it inviolate, while the others do violence to it. Let us now examine the argument in the second form, which is built up on the fact that the Greek present participle denotes durative, linear action and the aorist participle punctiliar action. The argument is, as far as we can see: Since the }.O)!,t;6fA,B'I'O' clause uses a present participle, while the {}sfA,B'I'Or; clause and the other clauses use the aorist Objective Justification. 669 participle, the AOyt'Op8YO<; clause cannot, like the other clauses, refer to a past, accomplished act; the apostle would have had to change the AOY"OP8VO<; into the aorist if he had had an accomplished act in mind. "Two aorists, past, historical. - God was in Christ, engaged in recon- ciling the world, by not reckoning to them (individuals) thcir trans- gressions (two present, durative, iterative participles) and having deposited in our care the Word of this reconciliation. This is again an aorist." First of all, we move to strike out the "iterative." Simply for this reason: While the present participle expresses durative action, it does not always express iterative action. The iterative action would fit in very well with the subjective-justification theory. No doubt about that. Lange-Schaff: "This is set forth by means of a present participle, because the act was continuously to be repeated." But since the argument is that the present participle compels the subjective- justification sense, it would have to be shown that the present par- ticiple invariably denotes iteration. That cannot be shown. Mark 14, 54, for instance, protests against such a rule: "~Y avyxa1hlfl8vo," - Peter was sitting. That does not denote iterative action. Again: "In TOV, (Jw'ofd"ov. (Acts 2, 47) the idea is probably iterative, but the descriptive durative is certainly all that is true of ~ov, ayta'opiyov, in Heb. 10, H." (Robertson, Grammar, p.891.) So let us drop the "iterative" and con£.ne ourselves to the "durative." If the sujective- justification theory cannot be proved with the "durative," the "itera- tive" can in no way help out. This, this, is the quegtion: Does the fact that the present par- ticiple denotes durative action prove that the apostle could not have had the objective justification in mind? Or more precisely: Since he uses the aorist (ffEpsvo,) in predicating the institution of the preaching of the Word of Reconciliation, which is an act that is finished and concluded, does his employment of thc present participle ().oy"OPSYOq) , in describing the non-imputation of sins, justification, prove that he could not have been speaking of an act which is finished and con- cluded, such as the objective justification is ~ Our answer is: You can prove durative action here, but you cannot prove durative action in the form of the 8ubject'ive justification. You cannot prove that the durative concept gives no sense when applied to the objective justifica- tion. If we can show that it gives good sense, we have, we will not say, gained our point, - for our first proposition, insisting on the avwiq = xoapoy, did that once for all, - but we have shown the futility of the argument based on the "durative." We readily admit that, if the apostle wanted to describe the subjective justification here, the present participle would fit in very well (though, of course, some other word would have had to be substituted for the av,oiq). But we do not at all admit that it could not be used in describing the act of God whereby He objectively justified the world. The apostle might have 670 Objective Justification. used the aorist participle. But does his use of the present participle inject a strange, monstrous, unscriptural notion into the matter ~ "God was in Ohrist, reconciling the world." God reconciled the world through the vicarious birth, circumcision, life, suffering, and death of Jesus. The reconciliation was effected by the life and death, and sealed and proclaimed by the resurrection, of Ohrist - and all of this made up the objective reconciliation, the universal justification. Every act in the life of Ohrist had to do with it. When Ohrist was circumcised, and when He was crucified, God was viewing all human beings as paying the penalty of their sins. When Ohrist was crucified, God said: The sins of the world are no longer imputed to them. When He raised Ohrist, He declared: All men may know that their sins are no longer imputed to them. "Was abel' den Unterschied del' Zeitform betrifft, in welcher die beiden mit j]v verbundenen Partizi- pien stehen, so will ja das eine derselben ein andauerndes, in del' ganzen Geschichte Ohristi sich vollbringendes Tun - denn an die noch fortdauernde Zueignung del' Yersoehnung laesst ja das j]v nicht denken -, das andere dagegen eine mit del' Bestellung des Amts so- fort geschehene Tat Gottes bezeichnen." (Y. Hofmann, Der Schrift- beweis, II, I, p.328.) We shall not be dogmatic about this. Some may know of a better interpretation. But we do say that the inter- pretation given violates no law of Greek grammar and no teaching of Scripture. It agrees with grammar and Scripture. It is a possible interpretation, and that is all we need in order to establish our present case. Weare combating the argument that the use of the present participle cannot possibly yield a good sense if the objective justifica- tion is meant. We have something more to say on this point. Even if we could not demonstrate that the present participle is most aptly used here, the fact that the apostle used it instead of the aorist participle would not be decisive. And that for two reasons. 1) It cannot in all cases be shown why the Greek writers chose the present participle instead of the aorist, and vice versa. In many cases it seems to have been more or less a matter of chance. At any rate, we are not always able to assign the exact reason for the choice. No man can blame us for saying that we do not know the reason. And we would have the right to say it in the case of v.19. We do say it in the case of Acts 5, 5. Why did the writer use the present participle in the case of the tixovrov and the aorist in the case of the :n:suwv.'i We say it in the case of 1 Pet. 2,17. Why the aorist "flfttluan side by side with the other imperatives in the present tense ~ 2) It is well to bear in mind the rule: "But usually the present participle is merely descriptive." (Robertson, Grammar, p.891.) It may be used for the purpose of describing an act without emphasizing the duration. The gram- marians call it the "descriptive durative." You must not stress the Objective Justification. 671 "durative" too much. If it is apparent in 2 001'. 5, 19b, well and good. If not, let the "descriptive" suffice. And that is certainly a most fitting description and definition of the objective justification: not imputing their trespasses unto the world. To sum up: The use of the present participle does not require the subjective-justification interpretation; and the use of the >