Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...
(Say, the next time you write an open letter to Intrepid Lutherans, be sure to actually send a copy to Intrepid Lutherans. Someone directed me to your letter, or else I would never have seen it.)
First, I sympathize with you and your family over the turmoil you're going through. I don't know your whole situation, but I wish the dialogue on justification between you and your pastor hadn't been so quickly taken "off the table," as it were. It sounds like there's lots to talk about and study yet.
To your letter: I disagree that my comment above was convoluted and "esoteric," and I also disagree with your answer of "No" to the question, "Was forgiveness acquired before repentance?", so I'm not sure if we're on the same page here or not. As I explained in the first part of my comment above, forgiveness was most certainly acquired by Christ for all people of all times (therefore, without respect to anyone's repentance). Forgiveness is not distributed to anyone apart from the Means of Grace. The forgiveness that Christ acquired for all is acquired by an individual through faith alone, worked by the Holy Spirit through the Means of Grace.
I think you're actually confusing the issue when you bring repentance into it. It just adds another dimension that is not necessary if your point is to keep it simple. "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." Whether quoting from Genesis 15 or from Romans 3 or 4, repentance isn't brought into the picture. But faith is. Stick with talking about faith, in my opinion. This would also be in keeping with the historical Lutheran understanding of the "ingredients" of justification: 1) The grace of God, 2) The merit of Christ, 3) The promise (Means of Grace), and 4) Faith in the promise.
I think I would agree with you (not having read everything you've written on the matter) that it is not right to say that you, Joe Krohn, were forgiven before you were born. Scripture does not talk that way, nor do our Confessions, nor does Chemnitz in his Examination. Is there forgiveness in Christ for all? Yes. Did God love you before you were born and see to it that his Gospel was preached to you that you might believe and be saved? Yes. But before you were in Christ, you, like the rest of us, were still counted among "the wicked."
Again, I don't know enough of your particular situation, but speaking in general, I can't imagine why anyone would be excommunicated (from a Lutheran church) for holding to justification by faith alone in Christ, as long as "faith" is not ascribed to man as man's good work, and as long as "faith" is defined as nothing more than to believe in God's promise of mercy for Christ's sake.
Peace be with you.