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Thursday, July 20, 2017

A.L. Graebner, passing of a true teacher (Pieper’s address)

      This continues a series of blogs (from Part 2, Table of Contents in Part 1) presenting Dr. Franz Pieper's words of comfort at the passing of fellow teachers of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.
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      After Prof. Günther's passing, it would be another 10+ years before President Pieper would again have to speak to an assembly of mourners for a fellow colleague.  This time, in 1904, it was for Prof. A.L. Graebner.  Pieper's address was taken from Der Lutheraner, January 3, 1905, p. 3-4.  Translation by BackToLuther.

Memorial address at the funeral Dr. A. L. Gräbner,
held in the Aula of the Concordia Seminary by F. Pieper.
A teacher has been called by God from our midst. A man has been taken by God out of our midst who was first placed here in our institution as the teacher of the future ministers of the Church, and then served the Church with teachings in wide circles, beyond the borders of our country. God has put an end to this active life. He called his servant that his work  was at an end.  We think that this call came too early. But we Christians also know that our thinking is not the measure by which things are measured in the kingdom of God. Thus we submit ourselves to God's will, but we listen to the reminder which God in His Word (Heb. 13:7) calls to the Church:
Remember your teachers who have spoken the Word of God to you.
Teachers are one of the gifts of God to His Church. The Son of God has devoted much to his Church, and His care is still directed to His Church. He has first redeemed them, that is, purchased with His own blood, from death and condemnation. Then He also gave her His Word through His Prophets and Apostles, which she now possesses in the Holy Scriptures. But even more! He has also arranged a personal teaching office in the Church, whereby His Word is to go forth, and He gives to his Church, up to the very Last Day, men who are capable of teaching not only himself, but others as well. Thus the teachers belong to the gifts of Christ to his Church. Teachers of the Word of God are not a gift which can be bought with gold or silver, but they are a gift which the Son of God has acquired with His blood, and are distributed now to His Church as the exalted Lord of the Church at the right hand of God. This is what the Scriptures teach. St. Paul writes to the Ephesians, (Eph. 4:8): “When he ascended up on high, ... he gave gifts unto men.” And in the enumeration of gifts are expressly named the teachers: “He Has put some to apostles, some to prophets, some to evangelists, some to shepherds and teachers.” (Eph. 4:11.)  The Church is well served when she is amply supplied with teachers of the Word. Thus, in the description of the prosperity of the Church of the New Testament (Psalm 68:11): “The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it..” And the Church goes bad when [page 3, col. 2] the right teachers of the Word are missing. Where the teachers of the Word of God are absent, the of Word of Christ is fulfilled: “They fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd,” Matt. 9:36. Therefore, the Christians should deal with their teachers well during their lifetime. “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.,” 1 Timothy 5:17.  And when they are dead, let them remember.  “Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God.” [Hebrews 13:7]
It is true that not all of us, who appear within the Church as teachers, are to be counted among the gifts of God. In the Church there are, under God's approval, teachers who teach not the Word of God, but their own Word, as the Holy Scriptures describe such teachers in Jer. 23:16. “They speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD.” Such teachers are not a blessing, but a plague for the Church. Such teachers do not praise God, but He threatens them with his wrath, Jer. 23:31: "Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that use their tongues, and say, He saith.” The Christians shall not hold themselves to such teachers, but flee after the Apostle’s exhortation Rom. 16:17: “Mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them..”  Such a teacher was not the one who has gone home. He was a true teacher, a gift from God. He was one of the teachers who, with great care, carried forward the Word of God pure and unadulterated, and with all sincerity, rejected all false doctrine, which rises above and without the Word of God in the Church. In the hot struggle for the divine truth which our Church had been destined for the past twenty-five years, in the struggle for the Gospel of grace, he was at the forefront of the struggle.  Thus, the one who went home belonged to the gifts of God to his Church, and therefore the Word also applies to him: "Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.” [Heb. 13:7]  God has given the orthodox Lutheran Church of our country loyal and proficient teachers and preachers in large numbers. What is in abundance, that is easily respected lightly. It should not be so. Let us beware of the contempt of the gifts of God, for that is the way you lose it.
A true teacher must wait out his office under  self-denial, in disinterested spirit, in the profession of God. Neither good rumors nor nasty rumors, neither praise nor reproof, neither abundance nor want, should alienate him from his office, or make him weary.  Such teachers are rare. They were rare even in the apostolic church. The Apostle Paul complained in the letter to the Philippians (Phil. 2:21) of a number of teachers who were working next to him: “For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's..”  We must now confess with gratitude to God that God has given a great number of preachers and teachers to our synod, as far as people can judge, who have not the ruling manner of themselves, but look to Christ Jesus and His Church. To these also belonged the one who has gone home. He was prepared for service for others, without asking: What is in it for me? He has served the Church [page 4, col. 1] for 25 years – nine years in the Wisconsin Synod, and sixteen years in our Synod – as a theological teacher and has been satisfied with food and clothing. He could leave no earthly property. That is why we are reminded of the following: “Remember your teachers which ...  have spoken unto you the word of God.”
Luther, in his last sermon, which he preached at Wittenberg in January, 1546, asked his hearers to ask God with all their heart for right teachers of His Word. This request is also very necessary for us, since God has taken such a tried and tested teacher from our midst. Indeed, God does not look at our sin and ingratitude, but acts with us according to His great grace and mercy.  He gives us and our children pure, faithful, self-denying teachers of His Word for the sake of Christ our Savior. Amen.
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      For myself, I have found the most edifying teaching from Prof. A.L. Graebner to be his presentation of the 1886 essay to the Synodical Conference on the "Divinity of Holy Scripture".  This essay proclaimed to all the world that the Synodical Conference stood on Holy Scripture, and defended against all attacks on the doctrine of Verbal Inspiration.  —  Pieper mentioned that Graebner had traveled outside the country in his work as a teacher.  I believe he traveled also to Australia for which the faithful Church in Australia continues to remember today.
      In the next Part 4, the last colleague of Pieper to pass away (or "go home") in the above faculty picture would be George Stoeckhardt.  And Pieper's address for him would include a grand tour of most of the previous teachers of Old Missouri.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Dogmatik: Baier-Walther Compendium refs. (Part F)

      This concludes from Part E (Table of Contents in Part A) my project of listing Franz Pieper's references to all Old Missouri Synod writings in his Christliche Dogmatik.
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Joh. Wilh. Baier — C.F.W. Walther

Compendium Theologiae Positivae
      The last installment in this series turned out to be perhaps the most ambitious for it took some weeks of work to compile this hyperlinked listing.  There are about 232 references (give or take a few) to the Baier-Walther (or Baier only) Compendium Theologiae Positivae in Pieper's Christliche Dogmatik series.
Christian Dogmatics
(in English)

      I have previously blogged several times on this work from Walther, but I wanted to portray just how much of Dr. Franz Pieper's theology was drawn from the Compendium.  The following listing shows that if one reads Pieper's Dogmatics, he will be able to almost fully understand the theology of… C.F.W. Walther, Martin Luther, and the Lutheran Church through the centuries since the Reformation.  It is no small advantage that although the Compendium is in Latin and German, Christian Dogmatics is largely in English.  This becomes a gold mine of translation work, not only of Pieper's own text but in some cases of his source material
      With the following cross-reference, one may (by clicking the hyperlinks) immediately access Pieper's source material directly.  In some cases, I found even a fuller treatment of a particular topic in his source.

      Now I present all references to Baier-Walther Compendium in Franz Pieper's Christian Dogmatics:
This document may be directly accessed >> here <<.

This document may be directly accessed >> here <<.

May the above cross-reference bring renewed use of both, the works of Franz Pieper and C.F.W. Walther.  They are the prime teachers of Old Missouri!

      With the completion of all Old Missouri references, I will move on to other references in the future:

  • Lutheran Confessions
  • Martin Luther
  • Martin Chemnitz, John Gerhard (maybe Quenstedt and Calov)
  • Other American Lutherans: Adolf Hoenecke, Charles Porterfield Krauth, Theodore Schmauck
  • Friedrich Adolph Philippi, and others yet to be determined

Future blog posts will be forthcoming on these projects.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Triglotta– difficult, impossible, not serious? OR Great work! Golden! (Scaer/LC-MS) Part 3

      This concludes from Part 2c (Table of contents in Part 1) in connection with the unveiling of the complete 1921 Concordia Triglotta on Google Books this year, 2017. —  After thoroughly studying the writings on Lutheranism's "sola fide", I return again to focus on how this book has fared in the 20th century and now in the 21st century.
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     Some may wonder how it came about that the massive Concordia Triglotta book (1551 pages!) came into disuse so quickly after its introduction in 1921.  It is puzzling because it was a massive effort by the old (German) Missouri Synod to bring the Book of Concord into an American edition that included the original Latin and German languages.  World War I had forced them to develop their own supply since their sourcing from Germany was cut off.  The 400th Anniversary of the Reformation in 1917 provided the motivation to commit large amounts of money and teaching staff resources. And there was great joy from "real orthodoxy" (my use of Sasse's term) exhibited at the unveiling of the Concordia Triglotta in 1921.
      In 1989 Dr. Robert Preus gave us a mile-marker on the road to oblivion paved for the Concordia Triglotta.  In his Foreword to the book Concordance to the Book of Concord (edited by K. Larson, published by NPH) he said (all emphases mine):
“Members of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and of the former Synodical Conference may wonder why the Tappert text was the preferred choice from which to make a concordance. The reason is quite simple. Even in Missouri Synod circles the Tappert text is the one the overwhelming number of students have been using for the last twenty years. The Triglotta, however, is referenced as well, which will enable older pastors and those who want to check the Latin and German the opportunity to use the concordance to great advantage as well.”  –  Dr. Robert Preus
Preus testifies that the Triglotta was essentially abandoned by 1969.  It seems a bit strange to me why he made no comment about this situation, no reason was given, no expression of sorrow over this… it just happened.  The LC-MS killed it by using the Tappert edition.  Why?

      But the mystery begins to be solved when one sees how quickly the old (German) Missouri Synod morphed into today's (English) LC-MS, a synod that would almost overnight become an enemy of the teachings of its forefathers.  The history of the breakup of the old Synodical Conference and of the separation by some prominent members (OLC, etc.) testifies to this sudden (almost unbelievable) change.  But what about today's LC-MS, here and now, supposedly recovered from its "explosion"?

Dr. David P. Scaer – against the Concordia Triglotta

Dr. David P. Scaer of Concordia Theological Seminary-Fort Wayne is thought of as one who defended against those who left the LC-MS in a walkout in 1974 and formed Seminex.  But his stand for the faithfulness of the old Missouri Synod seems in question as he has issues with the "noble" Concordia Triglotta.  In the following table, I present his comment from the year 2000 and compare it with other Lutheran scholars for a survey on the book that celebrated old Missouri's 400th Anniversary of the Reformation:

Concordia Triglotta
4 comments: 1 critical, 3 praiseworthy
-Chairman, Systematic Theology- CTS-FW
-Editor of CTQ
-Faculty Marshal
Paul T. McCain,
General. Editor
Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions
J. Michael Reu
The Augsburg Confession, 1930
Pres. Franz Pieper
Lehre und Wehre, vol. 67 (1921), pgs 297-301
“The old synodical conference Triglotta, … provides a single English translation for both the Latin and German versions of the Lutheran Confessions that makes it difficult, if not impossible, to appreciate either one. It cannot really be used for serious study, though it has served nobly in our circles for years.”
“ … the Concordia Triglotta was produced in 1921, an edition that used only the texts of the Confessions as they are contained either in the German BOC of 1580 or the Latin BOC of 1584, both being the "received texts" of historic Lutheranism. … For these reasons, the editors of Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions … [followed] the same decision made by editors of the Concordia Triglotta.”
“In their Book of Concord in three languages (Latin, Ger­man, and English) [Triglotta], edited by Dau and Bente 1921, the Synodical Conference, particularly the Missouri Synod, has given the church a great work of lasting value”  “... the Synodical Conference, particularly the Missouri Synod, has given the church a g
Just read the Confessions, check their Scripture evidence and convince yourself that a more than adequate Scriptural proof is made. … As for the exterior features of the Concordia Triglotta, our Concordia Publishing House has particularly succeeded this time in providing a suitable dress for the "golden Concordia”.
Logia 09-1 (2000), p. 62
Quoted at this blog post.

J. Michael Reu
Hmmm, it seems that Dr. David Scaer is more of an opponent of the old (German) Missouri Synod than the noted Professor Johann Michael Reu of the opposing Iowa Synod (later ALC).  Having read from Reu's book from 1930 that is still sold by CPH (The Augsburg Confession, ebook only), I wonder that he is a greater scholar of the Lutheran Confessions than Dr. David Scaer.  And Prof. Reu called the Triglotta (p. 205

"a great work of lasting value".

My "apologies" to Dr. Scaer, but I have been able to seriously study all three languages of the Apology, Art. IV in the Concordia Triglotta, especially on its teaching of "sola fide".  —  Is it any wonder why the Triglotta fell into disuse?… when its teachers not only abandoned it, but also practically condemned anyone who would use it for "serious study"?  How quickly the Tappert edition killed almost all use of the Concordia Triglotta.  (What greater enemy of old Missouri is there than today's LC-MS teachers?)
      I would suggest to Dr. Scaer that he should seriously study Article IV of the Apology of the Augsburg Confession in the Concordia Triglotta (in whatever language) and then explain to his students and to all alumni that Rev. Richard John Neuhaus abandoned the heart of Christianity when he left Lutheranism to become a Roman Catholic priest.
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      Enough of today's LC-MS!  How happy I have been to:
  • re-discover J. Michael Reu's scholarly work on the Augsburg Confession and his great tribute to the Concordia Triglotta
  • study in the "Triglot" what the Lutheran Confessions laid down in writing for its defense of "SOLA fide"
  • discover and glory in these two great treasures…
Sola fide!
The Lutheran Shibboleth!

Concordia Triglotta 
now in Google Books in 2017!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Lutheran confusion on SOLA fide?… not Triglotta! Part 2c

      This continues from Part 2b (Table of contents in Part 1) in connection with the unveiling of the complete 1921 Concordia Triglotta on Google Books this year, 2017.  —  Along with outright warfare against the doctrine of "sola fide", there is substantial confusion… a confusion that aids the enemy of the truth.
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      Although its "ongoing discussion" is silent since 2010, the below Book Of Concord blog at least published some defense of "sola fide", a basic doctrine of the Lutheran Reformation, albeit a weakened defense (in 2008).
Rev. Paul T. McCain
In his blog post "Roundtable 36: The Papacy (Smalcald Articles II.iv)" (archived copy) of July 26, 2008, Rev. Paul T. McCain used the word "alone" 18 times!  Quite magnificent!  We learn from Rev. McCain that he speaks at times officially for the LC-MS ("yours truly authored" FAQ).  In an official LC-MS FAQ, he states the following that gives a true Lutheran some clear counsel (emphasis mine):
“Rome's view of justification is that they view it as a process, whereby we cooperate with God's grace in order to merit eternal life for ourselves, and even for others (that is a paraphrase of what the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches). They view grace as a sort of “substance” that God infuses into us that permits us to do those works that are necessary in order that we might earn more grace.”
The reader will note that McCain gives a similar explanation of Rome's duplicity as Franz Pieper does – "infused grace".  And it was helpful that McCain published a Vatican statement showing that papists have not changed since 1910 or 1530:
"... good works of the justified are always the fruit of grace. But at the same time, and without in any way diminishing the totally divine initiative, they are the fruit of man, justified and interiorly transformed."
"Interiorly transformed" is another term for "infused grace".  The Roman Catholic Church still teaches that "good works... are the fruit of man ... interiorly transformed" or by "infused grace", not the fruit of faith alone. John 15:5.

So why then?
      So why then is there such great emphasis in this same article and in the LC-MS that the person or the individual of the Pope is not the Antichrist?  Compare this with Luther's writing in the Smalcald Articles:
LC-MS / Paul McCain
Smalcald Articles,
“The LCMS does not teach, nor has it ever taught, that any individual Pope as a person, is to be identified with the Antichrist.” …
Today we can be thankful that there the extravagant claims made for Papal authority on heaven and on earth are no longer being made by the Papacy, and we praise God for any movement more toward the proclamation of Christ that we do see and notice in more recent Papal sermons and addresses.
“Just as little as we can worship the devil himself as Lord and God, we can endure his apostle, the Pope, or Antichrist, in his rule as head or lord.”
I would invite the reader to form their own judgment as to whether the LC-MS and Paul McCain are here speaking in the spirit of the Smalcald Articles (i.e. the Lutheran Confessions) or not.  Nowhere does the Smalcald Articles II, iv teach what the LC-MS teaches on this point.  No, rather than McCain's assertion that "confessional Lutherans must be sensitive", they must remain vigilant so that they do not succumb to the duplicity of the Papists. They must rather continue to sharply warn of the Pope as the very Antichrist and the reason why: sola fide!  That is the proper way to be truly "sensitive".
      And why is McCain's blog on the Book of Concord now silent since 2010?  Could it be that McCain and his partners were already showing weakness as Lutherans by their rhetoric that "the person of the Pope is not the Antichrist"?  Could it be that as Paul McCain and the LC-MS teachers attempt to be "sensitive confessional Lutherans", they need to be reminded of Luther's sharp warning to Philip Melanchthon?

"Bible Fundamentalists"?
To: Rev. Paul T. McCain:
      As I scanned through your blog article, I first thought you were raised Catholic since you attended a Roman Catholic High School.  And so I wondered that you had later been confronted with the errors of the Roman Church and left it for the Bible truth of the Lutheran Church.  But then I read your article more closely and what did I find?  No, you were "a Lutheran kid"!  But why were you, as "a Lutheran kid", sent to a Roman Catholic High School?  I also grew up among many Roman Catholic families who attended a large church in the neighborhood that had an attached school.  But my LC-MS parents (farm family) would not have dreamed of sending their children to that Roman Catholic school!  But you speak of this schooling without embarrassment, indeed you speak with affection:
"There is so much in the Roman Catholic Church that I love and cherish"
– Rev. Paul T. McCain
In your blog article, you disparage "Bible fundamentalists", but would it not be natural for them to group you with the Roman Catholics because you attend their church school with them, even though you were "a Lutheran kid"?… but you attack the so-called (ignorant?) "Bible fundamentalists" who do just this?  Maybe those "Bible fundamentalists" were aware that Martin Luther defied the Roman Pope!… but there was that "Lutheran kid" Paul McCain going to school with the Roman Catholic students, being taught by a Jesuit priest ("S.J."), nuns, and "sisters and brothers", presumably because he either wanted this or his parents sent him there.  Could it be Rev. McCain, that with your "sensitivity" towards Roman Catholicism today you are one of the many victims of the LC-MS's confusion of Lutheranism?  I have gleaned from some LC-MS modernists (e.g. Carl S. Meyer, A.C. Piepkorn, etc.) the charge that the old Missouri teachers were actually "Bible fundamentalists"!  In that charge, I too am a "Bible fundamentalist"!  Franz Pieper praised Bible fundamentalists for their stand against liberal attacks on the Bible.  And in his 1921 essay to the North Dakota-Montana District, Pieper said:
"The Pope's Church curses the Gospel of Christ, and against that Gospel it teaches that the works of men are the way to obtaining forgiveness of sins and salvation.  Of this path, however, the Scripture says: "For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse" (Gal.3:10). … Thus all those who enter into the celebrated "unity" of the papal church go into eternal perdition. If there are still people in the Pope's Church who are saved, this is because they inwardly leave the "unity" of the papal church and enter into the unity of the Christian Church, that means, they cease their trust in men's works and in the distress of trial and in the anguish of death they hold firmly alone to Christ's merits obtained by His work of redemption." [translation courtesy Australian ELCR pastor BLW]
And again, Franz Pieper wrote about the Papacy in his Christian Dogmatics, vol. 3 (as quoted earlier):
It has been urged that the Papacy still confesses "fundamental articles" of the Christian faith, such as the article of the Trinity and of the theanthropic Person of Christ. We answer: These "fundamental articles" save no man if at the same time he denies and curses the Christian doctrine of justification. Without the article of justification all other doctrines are empty husks.   That the Papacy still confesses some "fundamental articles" is part of the external adornment by which it seeks to cover up its apostasy from the Christian doctrine.
How is that for "sensitivity"?  Dr. Franz Pieper, President of Concordia Seminary–St. Louis, speaks for the Lutheran Church, just like Smalcald Article II, iv!  Could Pieper's strong stand against the Pope's Church be the reason why you (CPH) are no longer selling the Index to Pieper's Christian Dogmatics?   Rev. McCain, I wonder that Franz Pieper is just a "Bible fundamentalist" to you, for he is as sharp in his attacks against the Roman Church and the Pope as… Martin Luther and Smalcald Articles II, iv! –  But there you are, Rev. Paul T. McCain, in your article explaining to the whole world purportedly as a spokesman for Lutheranism (ostensibly defending the Lutheran Confessions) but saying "there is so much in the Roman Catholic Church that I love and cherish". (Hmmmm...)
      I put it to you, Rev. Paul McCain, that I am not challenging you on old Missouri's teachings of Usury, Life Insurance, or Copernicanism…, no, I am challenging you on the confusion you bring to the Lutheran doctrine of "sola fide" by your over-sensitivity to Roman Catholicism.  As I read your article, one wonders that now, in your times of great distress, you wish that a nun would again whisper to you, you pride yourself for having been awarded (twice!) by them as "religion student of the year", you long for the "Roman Catholic Church that you love and cherish".  I challenge you that you are indeed watering down the Lutheran Confessions' Smalcald Articles, Part II, Article IV Of the Papacy with your fine distinctions that the Pope is NOT the Antichrist (at least not as an individual or person).  And in this, you are watering down the "SOLA fide".
==>> Could it be, Rev. Paul T. McCain, that you are not the prime spokesman for the Lutheran Church that you would have us believe?
      And Rev. McCain, I've seen you compliment the following blogger who identifies himself as Reformed, but since he defends the "sola fide" against a Romanist based on the bare words of Holy Scripture, maybe you should call him a "Bible fundamentalist"?

A Reformed defense?

Beggars All: Reformation And Apologetics
      It is distressing as a Lutheran to see a Reformed blog by James Swan present a splendid defense of sola fide against a Roman Catholic on his BeggarsAllReformation blog.  Why is this distressing?  Because he rests his case on the bare words of Holy Scripture… there are so few Lutherans who do the same thing.  But that is exactly what the Lutheran Confessions do!  They stand on the bare Word of God.  Indeed, I might have switched to some conservative Baptist or Reformed fellowship had I not gone all the way back to Martin Luther and the old (German) Missouri Synod.  By these faithful Lutheran teachers, it became apparent that those Reformed defenders who seemed to hold to the Scripture doctrines, at least on the "sola fide", were only demonstrating what Walther pointed out

All the Reformed sects... were first Lutheran.

A Lutheran shibboleth! 
      >>> HERE <<< is the Triglotta page spread (especially p.141) where the Apology Article IV deals with this basic Christian doctrine, "sola fide".  All Lutherans should refresh their faith by reading this short section.  All Christians will be strengthened by witnessing where the true Evangelical church, the Church of the Reformation, had it written down, that the teaching of

sola fide, by faith alone, not of works

was the heart and soul of every Christian.

      And although Paul McCain's Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions has some benefits, especially for readability of the English translation, yet I first go to the Triglotta because it came from those old (German) Missouri Synod "Bible fundamentalists" who never leave a Lutheran questioning their Lutheran Confessions!  —  The old Concordia Triglotta is still being attacked by prominent teachers in today's LC-MS.  In the last Part 3, I will examine one of the criticisms and hold it up to a comparison with other commentators.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Warfare against SOLA fide; Triglotta, Pt 2b

      This continues from Part 2a (Table of contents in Part 1) in connection with the unveiling of the complete 1921 Concordia Triglotta on Google Books this year, 2017.  —  While studying Lutheranism's "sola fide", the question arose: What does the world think of Luther's great Reformation, of the Lutheran Confessions' affirmation of the "sola fide", "by faith alone", the heart of Christianity?… it is a war!
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     Here is a sampling of just how contentious the world gets over against this doctrine, even by non-Catholics, even by… Lutherans:
(1) Lord Vansittart – British statesman during World War II
We see this contention through the ages, not just from the Papists but also from all unbelief, such as from Lord Vansittart, a well-known British statesman during World War II.  Lord Vansittart was not only known for his anti-German stance (as a Germanophobe), he also fulminated against Luther's translation of Rom. 3:28  in his Lessons of My Life, p. 189:
“He [Luther] altered the text of his German translation of the Bible to suit a cardinal point in his doctrine”
(2) Dr. Andrew Steinmann, – Concordia University, Chicago
"because of faith"?
Recently it was reported in a Reclaim News post by Pastor Jack Cascione that a distinguished LC-MS scholar, Dr. Andrew Steinmann, caused the fall of the NET Bible translation project by insisting on the phrase "justified because of faith" for Romans 1:17. This reportedly killed the GWN translation or the New Evangelical Translation (NET):
“The incorrect interpretation of prepositions can kill a Bible translation.  In 1995 the entire GWN Bible translation, after spending at least 6 million dollars in donations and foundation money, collapsed when the head translator, Dr. Andrew Steinmann, demanded that Justified by Faith in Romans 1:17 should be translated Justified because of faith (because, he said, the Greek preposition ἐκ had to mean because).  Steinmann dug in his heals, and killed the whole translation, 40 plus people lost their jobs, and the magnificent new building paid for by the Swann [Schwan?] Foundation was sold to an insurance company.”
If this report is true, it kills my interest in reading any of Steinmann's many publications for CPH, even his major work From Abraham to Paul: A Biblical Chronology.  I think I would rather read Martin Luther's Biblical Chronology since Luther understood the foundational doctrine of Holy Scripture (sola fide!) whereas Steinmann is reportedly confused.

(3) Even in Paul McCain's Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions, 2nd edition, one of the editors, in their preface to the above Article IV to the Apology, says (p. 90):
“...the Roman Catholic Church does not bypass Christ or God's grace
It is difficult to believe that a book that prides itself in publishing the authentic text of the Book of Concord, purportedly from a pure Lutheran standpoint, would make such a statement!  It does not help that the editor subsequently essentially proves this statement to be false because it allows the above statement to stand as stated.  Indeed, if the statement above is true of the Roman Catholic Church, then I would want to be a Roman Catholic!  But if Justification is truly sola fide, "by faith alone", then since the Roman Catholic Church flatly denies this, it introduces works into Justification, essentially bypassing Christ and God's Grace, i.e. “grace is no more grace”. Romans 11:6  —  I shudder to think what comments the editors of the more liberal Kolb/Wengert edition have to say on this Article IV of the Apology to the Augsburg Confession.

      One might argue that the last item is overstepping the mark, that because the editor explains that the Roman Church bases its doctrine of Justification on "our cooperation with God's grace rather than on Christ's work alone", therefore the editor redeems his confusing remark.   But it is precisely in this confusion that the Lutheran "sola fide" loses its exclusionary forcefulness.  The above editorial statement is not Lutheran.  It is certainly not from… the Concordia Triglotta!  The editors of the Concordia Triglotta would never have phrased their explanation of Article IV in the above manner.  In the next Part 2c we find more evidence of this confusion (warfare?) against "by faith ALONE".

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Lutheran shibboleth: SOLA fide– Luther & Triglotta (Part 2a)

      This continues from Part 1 (Table of contents in Part 1) which announced the complete 1921 Concordia Triglotta unveiling on Google Books this year.  Now I want to present the subject covered by the Triglotta (the Lutheran Confessions) that began my research which led me to that discovery.
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      While continuing my project on Pieper's Christliche Dogmatik (now hyperlinking all Baier-Walther references), I ran across his short treatment of the doctrine of “by faith alone” or the familiar Latin phrase “sola fide” (Christian Dogmatics 2, p. 532-534, Christliche Dogmatik 2, p. 641 ff.).  Pieper brings to bear one of Luther's great Reformation sayings that caused me to just freeze… and thank God for the Reformation!  But what was it that Luther said?
      During the discussions surrounding the presentation of the Augsburg Confession, Philip Melanchthon reported to Luther the following from Augsburg in 1530:

[Johann] Eck finds fault with the word sola. He does not condemn the doctrine in itself, but says that the unlearned would be offended by it. I forced him to admit that we are right in ascribing righteousness to faith.”

Since Johann Eck was the chief spokesman for the Papists, Luther knew him very well and so answered the naive Melanchthon:

“You write that you made Eck admit that we are justified by faith. If you had only gotten him not to lie!” 

The above exchange is unfortunately not to be found in Luther's Works American Edition… what a shame.  Pieper then speaks for Luther by explaining Eck's "grace":
“Eck was very willing to say that a man is justified “by grace and by faith,” understanding grace to mean not the gracious disposition of God, but “infused grace,” that is, good works.”
Melanchthon’s erroneous judgment of Eck on “justified by faith” is in St. L. 16:1401 (WA Br 5, 554, #1691), Luther’s answer to Melanchthon on Eck’s “lie” in St. L. 16:1403 (WA Br 5. 576, #1699). See my Luther's Letters, p. 245-246; Reu, The Augsburg Confession, Part 2, p. 386-387 for a near full English translation. —  For the past 2 weeks or so, I have paused my work and just gloried in this statement by Luther.  Justification is accomplished sola fide, only by faith.  And the Church of the Roman Anti-Christ will not follow what the Holy Scriptures teach on this, even to the point of deceitfully agreeing to the words but not the meaning.  This is how Franz Pieper drove home the great teaching of the Reformation to his Concordia Seminary-St. Louis students.  This is why Martin Luther is the only Reformer of the Church.
      Franz Pieper then refers to several writings, but I will highlight just two of them:

(1) Luther's essay titled “On Translating, An Open Letter” where he gives his "cutting reply" and an explanation for his use of the word sola (or "solum") in Romans 3:28 (1545 German text):
“However, I was not depending upon or following the nature of language when I inserted the word "solum" (alone) in Rom. 3 as the text itself, and St. Paul's meaning, urgently necessitated and demanded it.  He is dealing with the main point of Christian doctrine in this passage – namely that we are justified by faith in Christ without any works of the Law.  In fact, he rejects all works so completely as to say that the works of the Law, though it is God's law and word, do not aid us in justification.” — [This text was translated for Project Wittenberg by Dr. Gary Mann in 1995 and was placed by him in the public domain.  You may freely distribute, copy or print this text, providing the information in this statement remains attached. — Here are all sources: St. L. XIX, 968, esp. 978-982;  WA 30, II, pp. 632-646;  Project Wittenberg English translation, (search “So much for translating”), archived copy;  Am Ed. 35, 175-202, esp. 195-202.] 
It was distressing to me that after extensive research, I could find no English translation of Romans 3:28 that followed Luther's German translation: "allein durch den Glauben", "by faith alone".  Why is that?  However you will find the word "alone" in the Lutheran Confessions – see the next item.

 (2) Article IV of the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, paragraph 73:
“The particle alone offends some, although even Paul says, Rom. 3:28: We conclude that a man is justified by faith, without the deeds of the Law. Again, Eph. 2:8: It is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast. Again, Rom. 3:24: Being justified freely. If the exclusive alone displeases, let them remove from Paul also the exclusives freely, not of works, it is the gift, etc. For these also are [very strong] exclusives. It is, however, the opinion of merit that we exclude. We do not exclude the Word or Sacraments, as the adversaries falsely charge us. For we have said above that faith is conceived from the Word, and we honor the ministry of the Word in the highest degree.”
Concordia Triglotta
(in Google Books!)
p. 140-141
     And Oh!...  while researching all online resources, I discovered to my great joy that the beloved printed Concordia Triglotta was now fully available in Google Books (and HathiTrust 2-pg spread), not just "snippet view" or "limited search".  I could now not only hyperlink references to the great website, but now everyone will be able to see not only the English translation, but also the 2 source languages, Latin and German, on facing pages as they were printed =======>>>>>>>>
by the old (German) Missouri Synod in 1921.  Now everyone, the whole world that has access to the Internet, can read how the Lutheran Confessions have it written down... that Justification is "sola fide", by faith alone.  Every Lutheran, indeed every Christian (including me!), should study Luther's complete writing of "On Translating" in the above reference and the Apology's explanation of this "main point of Christian doctrine" in the 3-language Concordia Triglotta HERE.  It is the heart of the Reformation! 

1910 Catholic Encyclopedia
"By leaving out the obnoxious word sola (alone), the article might be glossed in a Catholic sense.
1910 Catholic Encyclopedia
      Pieper calls on this reference work under the sub-heading “Faith, Protestant Confessions of” (here) to show how this doctrine has never left the center stage, as the RC Church speaks of the “obnoxious word sola (alone)”.  This doctrine, the "sola fide", is by no means settled in today's world.  It is just as much in contention "here and now" as in the days of the presentation of the Augsburg Confession in the year 1530.

      We see that Franz Pieper, Martin Luther, and the Concordia Triglotta are all in agreement.  And how the world rages!  It isn't just the Roman Church that wars against it.  In the next Part 2b, I bring a small sampling of this contention over the doctrine of… SOLA fide!