The Dangerous Doctrine of Justification

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While religion can make people happier by giving connection to a larger world, it can also make people blind and neurotic. Self-righteousness is the grand delusion distorting life in the church and outside the church (cf. Eberhard Juengel). The present is more than the present since it includes the promise. Hope can free us from everything past and present in the power of the coming, the power of the promise (cf. Jurgen Moltmann).

Life is not longevity, sickness is not sin, the sun does not revolve around the earth and the world does not depend on American exceptionalism. Faith is a leap across 70,000 fathoms of water (cf. Soren Kierkegaard), an invitation to break with old conventions and myths and attempt new life by exchanging roles and rediscovering wonder and interdependence. Faith is personal but not private and more interruption than custom. One act of obedience can be more important than a hundred sermons (cf. Dietrich Bonhoeffer).

Christians should change the world socially and not only interpret the world theologically in the sense of Jesus of Nazareth (cf. Heinz Zahrnt). The ego must die for the self to live. Christians, Buddhists and Jews should work to make the world more human and systems more social.

In the come-of-age world, God is not necessary but more than necessary (cf. Eberhard Juengel). All people are called to be subjects and not objects, co-creators for a future that is open and dynamic and not closed and static.

Light came into the world but men loved darkness and the casino more than interdependence and sharing, social justice and solidarity opening doors. May the future be bright with transformation and liberation!

Here is the first part of Dieter Potzel's article "The Dangerous Doctrine of Justification" published in 2009:


Where has "faith in Christ alone" brought us? Where will it lead us?

By Dieter Potzel

[This essay published in 2009 is translated from the German on the Internet,]

• "Not everyone who says to me, `Lord, Lord' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven" (Jesus of Nazareth, Matthew 7,21)

• "If I have all faith so as to remove mountains, but have no love, I am nothing" (church teacher Paul, 1 Cor 13,2)

• "If someone thinks he will gain forgiveness of sins, that he has love, the reviled and disgraced Christ, will find when he stands before God's judgment at the end that such a disposition is vain. Faith alone can make a person just" (from the evangelical Lutheran confessional writings, Apologie IV.151)

• "Germany has been marked by Protestantism for 500 years. Emotions, pictures and ecstasy are all ignored. It is probably the only religion of the world that promises one can only enter heaven by firmly believing. Concrete life experience does not count. Thus one perseveres with a firm faith for 85 years on earth and then there is ascension and holiday" (Jurgen Fliege, evangelical pastor interviewed in Frankfurter Rundschau "The churches know little about the soul," 7/30/2009)

"The proclamation and the sacraments were made cheap. A whole people were unconditionally baptized, confirmed and absolved... Streams of grace were poured out without end... When was the world Christianized more dreadfully and hopelessly than here? What are the 3000 Saxons killed by Karl the Great compared to the millions of killed souls today" (Protestant theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Cost of Discipleship)

One of the most quoted part of the book deals with the distinction which Bonhoeffer makes between "cheap" and "costly" grace. But what is "cheap" grace? In Bonhoeffer's words:
"cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline. Communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ."
Or, even more clearly, it is to hear the gospel preached as follows: "Of course you have sinned, but now everything is forgiven, so you can stay as you are and enjoy the consolations of forgiveness." The main defect of such a proclamation is that it contains no demand for discipleship. In contrast to this is costly grace:

"Costly grace confronts us as a gracious call to follow Jesus; it comes as a word of forgiveness to the broken spirit and the contrite heart. It is costly because it compels a man to submit to the yoke of Christ and follow him; it is grace because Jesus says: "My yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Cost of Discipleship)

"Faith alone is enough for "salvation," according to the doctrine of the church. Since the Reformation in the 16th century, this has been taught by the protestant churches. The Catholic Church has agreed since 1999. But if faith alone is enough, why do catholic and protestant pastors hopelessly cry "God, where are you" in disasters? Faith is obviously not enough regarding peace or "salvation" for the wounded soul. People question and search for God. Faith alone is not enough for them.

• "Christians have never practiced the acts which Jesus prescribed to them. The impudent gossip of faith and justification by faith and its supreme and unique importance is only the result that the church did not have the courage or the will to confess the works that Jesus demanded. The Buddhist acts differently than the non-Buddhist. The Christian acts like the entire world and has a Christianity of ceremonies and moods" (the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, Tolstoy excerpts, unpublished works November 1887-March 1888).


If faith alone were enough, why did Moses give the Ten Commandments to the Israelites? Why did Jesus of Nazareth teach the Sermon on the Mount? Why did not Moses and Jesus say: "faith alone is enough"? In bringing this offer of redemption to people, did Paul say in a single passage in the Bible that man is justified "by faith" apart from works of the law (Rom 3,28) or later Martin Luther who spoke of this again and again? Is the Bible passage of Paul a little false in this sense in that the Bible today translated by Martin Luther says a man is justified "by faith alone"? The word "alone" was not in Paul's original text. Luther added it in his translation.


The churches teach again and again "Jesus took all sins on himself." "Believe, and your sins will be taken from you." If Jesus took all sins on himself, why do people suffer so grievously, even believers? Why are they increasingly sick, unhappy and violent if Jesus took everything negative on himself? Marriages break up and envy and corruption rule in the economy. More and more people are at each other's throats with thoughts, words or deeds. Bombs fly in many countries. If Jesus took sins on himself, must not at least believers be freed from that and spread peace and happiness on earth? A glance at our world and church Christendom shows the opposite is true. What brought this doctrine that faith is enough? The history of the church and the condition of people and the earth demonstrate this today. "Behold, I make all things new! Through Jesus' discipleship or through the climate catastrophe?

In the Bible to which the churches appeal, we read: "Behold, I make all things new!" (Revelation 21,5) How does that happen? The question here is: by faith alone or that people become disciples of Jesus of Nazareth by doing what he taught step by step? Jesus explained to people how to distinguish prophets of God and wise persons from "raving wolves." His answer was: "You will know them by their fruits" (Matthew 7,16). The gradual discipleship of Jesus of Nazareth would certainly lead to good "fruits" and a positive renewal. What fruits has "faith alone" brought? The fruits of this church faith in the last centuries are manifest or will be manifest. Christendom is the dominant religion on this planet on which under its influence many things have become worse than ever. No religion has blessed more wars on both sides of the front. Animals and nature suffer in our age as never before in the history of the earth and humanity. Christianity gave the commission: "Have dominion over the earth!" (Gen 1,28). How was this commission realized? In unparalleled speed, the animals are dying out and the whole "creation" cries for redemption from its human tormentors and for renewal. One could ask: In what way could a conversion be introduced? In this drastic situation, could the believer learn communication with mother earth and all her elements and forms of life so that he feels the suffering of an animal slaughtered for meat consumption or horribly tortured in animal experiments for the alleged health of people. Can the believer renew his conduct toward God's creation in this way or will everything soon become new in another way - through climate change that expands to an unparalleled climate catastrophe because believers beastly maltreat the earth and its creatures instead of tending and preserving them. Will the planet earth be "cleansed" of believers and other people because it cannot endure their rage any more? Will "everything become new" in this way? The future will soon show us.


The immune system of animals and plants on earth becomes increasingly weak and similarly with people. Sicknesses increase worldwide. Who, when and why someone falls is "God's mystery," the churches say. "Faith alone saves you" should be the watchword in this situation. "If only your faith is firm, you will be healthy." If nothing else helps, "take the last rites and everything will be good."

Whoever only believes does not find the causes that brought him into a certain life situation and can change nothing. His life is like a puddle that has hardly any inflow and outflow any more. Believing the person languishes.


Believers often go to their pastors or priests and ask forgiveness for their sins. Then the office-holder says: "Do you believe I can forgive you in God's name?" The pastor cannot forgive. However the church Christian should believe this and answers "Yes." Jesus never taught forgiveness through confessions, pastors and priests. Rather he said: "First, be reconciled with your brother" and sister (Matthew 5,24). No church "sacrament of confession" is needed. This only leads the "sinner" astray. The concerned must bring the situation under order. If the person is now reconciled or consciously takes the first step to his neighbor, the person gradually becomes free and experiences this in his soul and body. He does not need to bear burdens any more. He does not need to "believe" anything that doesn't bring him anything and isn't true, for example the presumption that the words of forgiveness by pastors or priests allegedly bring about God's forgiveness as both large churches try to convince their faithful.

"Faith alone is enough." The church has built a whole doctrinal structure around this and yet all this is built on sand from the start.

demandside's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm


Whoever says they have faith,and is not a peacemaker, wise, and harmless forgiving,merciful with a love beyond understanding to all humans is taking Gods name in vain. Religions do this with impunity,and humans not even aware of faith show it to others being peaceful,and do not even know the spirit of God is working in them giving them a fabulous gift that will last forever. The devil sees this,and prosecution is what occurs.

You are right .The religions like the Catholics are keeping humans from being right with their brother by going to the priest,and not being right with their neighbor.

Jesus saves the soul,and because of sin in the world suffering will occur,but the perfect spirit in us keeps us from accusing,and condemning,and giving guilt to humans,and will not hate humans ether. There are peaceful humans on this planet quietly doing Gods will,and they are being assaulted by the devil trying to get humans to thing that is bad to distract them from what is really good. in an attempt to drag everyone down to be turned to dust just like Satan is.

When God makes all hings new is when his creative light shines again.

  1. It is having faith, believing the words that Jesus spoke, in the b attitudes, and believe not in what Jesus spoke in the b attitudes,and the ten commandments, and whoever will not have life in them. Love whoever keep 10 commandments,and pure in heart will see God. The persecuted see the spirit of God. Some are aware of it, and some are not.

Healing? God has healers ,and they are not being utilized as much as they should. Read Use only U,C,S, upper cervical specific only techniques. All should be evaluated even if you think you feel fine. It is the best thing anyone could ever do. Don't wait and get problems doctors give names technique names on upcspine can help to guide you. No cavitating full spine techniques..Diversified will twist the neck when atemting to adjust,and you do not want that.

Artiewhitefox's picture
Jan. 30, 2011 8:44 pm

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