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Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Great Debate: Noland, Montgomery vs Walther/Pieper, John 10:35; Pieper’s Conversion and Election

      There is to be a notable debate to be held October 15, 2016, between Dr. John Warwick Montgomery and Dr Jeffrey Kloha, Provost and professor at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.  The sponsoring agency is The Lutheran Concerns Association which publishes their Lutheran Clarion newsletter.  This blog has already pointed out the anti-Christian errors of Dr. Kloha, errors that no Christian can accept.  But this posting is intended to defend against Kloha's opponent, Dr. Montgomery, and Montgomery's defender Pastor Martin Noland. Both claim the higher ground as the better defenders of Holy Scripture than... C.F.W. Walther and Franz Pieper.  But is this so?
      The Lutheran Concerns Association claims in it's home page that it upholds the Scriptures.  Yet it publishes the essay of Pastor Martin Noland which attempts to drive a wedge between the teaching of Pieper and Walther.  In their September 2016 Newsletter Noland writes:
...Pieper belittled the external evidences for the divinity and canonicity of Scripture on the basis of a distinction between fides humana and fides divina. I can’t find that distinction in C.F.W. Walther or the J. W. Baier (1647-95) dogmatics used by and edited by C.F.W. Walther. I think that Pieper and his orthodox peers developed that distinction through conversations or debates with the “mediating theologians” of the late 19th century like F. H. R. Franck (1827-94) of the Erlangen school of Lutheran theology; see Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 1:110-129.
So Pastor Noland, who is published also in Christian News, and on the websites and, would propose that his objection to Pieper's teaching on Holy Scripture is supported by Walther.  Poor Pieper!  How could anyone trust his teaching now that Noland has identified Walther against him, especially on the matter of how we are to trust our Bible? —
      This desire among LC-MS "conservatives" to drive wedges is most disturbing.  But let me assure the reader that Noland's "wedge" is a "fiction", as Pieper would call it, since Pieper followed Walther in all matters, and made sure his students fully understood it.  Pieper gloried in Walther's tenacious defense of Holy Scripture and its Divinity!
      To prove Pieper's faithfulness to Walther, I want to publicize Pieper's comment on Walther in one of his major works, a work of true ecumenism.  In 1913 there were major discussions among American Lutherans, particularly Norwegian-American Lutherans, regarding disputed doctrines.  Because the "Missourians" were constantly referred to in these discussions, Dr. Franz Pieper wrote a comprehensive book to delineate clearly what was Scripture's teaching.  Its translated English title became Conversion and Election, A Plea for a United Lutheranism in America. (German original: Zur Einigung...)  Pieper referred to Walther 90 times!  This book is a gold mine of clear Christian teaching... and a partial basis for the Brief Statement of 1932.
  On pages 52-53, Pieper discusses Walther in relation to the old dogmaticians of the 17th century:
Walther’s real watchword was:
“Back to Luther and the sixteenth century!” 
So how is it that Pastor Noland would drive a wedge between the teaching of Walther and Pieper?  Does the reader really believe Pastor Noland on this point? –  To "honor" Noland's essay, I want to publish the full polished text of one of the rare books where Pieper's original German book was translated into English by his own Synod.  All hyperlinks and highlighting are mine.

This document may be accessed directly here.  Open this document and search for "Walther", "Luther", and "fiction".  Then carefully read the whole book for one of the clearest, most ecumenical writings in modern Church History.  I have spent the past month reviewing this marvelous book once again.  – I will likely come back to comment further on this writing from Pieper's pen but before I leave it, I would share a few more quotes:
   p. 70: The old dogmaticians teach: Every Christian can and ought to be infallibly certain, in faith, regarding his election, because, believing the divine promises of grace, he knows that his preservation in the faith does not rest with him, but with God.
   p. 93: Walther is the theologian of the bare Scriptures (nuda Scriptura), i.e., of the Scriptures without “gloss,” or interpretation. This, and only this, affords an explanation of Walther’s amazing certainty...
   p. 94: By asserting, that the clear texts, containing the whole of Christian doctrine, must, in turn, be made still clearer, the Scriptures are knocked into a confused, disjointed mass. If any would “teach” or “fight” with an interpretation, instead of the “nude” Scriptures, Luther designates the attempt an absurdity.
   p. 97: He (Walther) insisted that never an exegesis, but always the naked text, without exegesis, must be the determinative factor in the heart and conscience of the theologian.
   p. 99: Especially with regard to Walther we maintain that he was preeminently a “Bible theologian,” according to Luther’s definition: “Whoever is well grounded and experienced in the text will become a good and efficient theologian; for one verse or text from the Bible counts for more than many authors and glosses.”
So much for Pieper's weakness on defending the divinity of Holy Scripture.  Oh, and by the way, Walther and Luther have the same "weakness" as Pieper.
      A pertinent question concerning the October 15 Montgomery-Kloha debate is why no other seminary professor in the LC-MS is challenging Kloha's position towards Sacred Scripture?  Why must the defense against Prof. Kloha come from Dr. John Warwick Montgomery who is weak because of his dependence on "apologetics" and fosters a false notion that Biblical inerrancy was stronger outside the Lutheran Church?  I will not further challenge Prof. Kloha's obvious errors in this blog post.  Rather I would challenge his opponent, Dr. John Warwick Montgomery, who is weak at pointing out the errors of today's "evangelicals", the "evangelicals" who rationalize Holy Scripture in their differences from the teaching of the Lutheran Church... chiefly on the Doctrine of Justification.  Does no one in the "Lutheran Concerns Association" recognize that the greatest antagonists against realizing their goal of upholding Holy Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions lies in their midst?
      In C.F.W. Walther's The Proper Distinction of Law and Gospel (pg 88; Law and Gospel: How to Read and Apply the Bible p. 98), he said:
God requires, not only that we love His Word, but also that we tremble at it, that is, that we sincerely dread to deviate from a single letter of the divine Word, that we do not dare to add anything to it or take anything from it. We are to be ready to shed our blood rather than yield a tittle of God’s Word.
Dear God!  My faith is so weak that I cannot accept the weak defense of Holy Scripture by the Dr. John Warwick Montgomery who depends on apologetics... I must run to the true teachers of the Lutheran Church – C.F.W. Walther AND Franz Pieper.  I believeThe Scripture Cannot Be Broken. John 10:35.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Warfield to Pieper: on Walther, Luther, Inspiration; Copernicanism Part 25

      This continues from Part 24, a series on Copernicanism and Geocentricity (see Intro & Contents in Part 1) in response to a letter from a young person ("Josh") who asked if I believed Geocentricity ... and did not ridicule me in his question.
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Dedicated to James Swan and his BeggarsAllReformation blog.

      Again I am compelled to concentrate on the importance of the doctrine of the Bible's Inspiration, even though this post does not specifically address "Copernicanism".  —  On several blog posts, I have pointed out the importance of Inspiration and inerrancy to a well known early Princeton Seminary professor: Dr. B. B. Warfield.  Warfield is highly regarded by conservative Reformed people even today.  As I noted on this blog, Franz Pieper also highly regarded Warfield for his defense of the Inspiration of the Bible.  Even Prof. Mark Noll, who seems to enjoy pointing out certain weaknesses in Warfield, says Warfield was "the nation’s strongest supporter for ... biblical inerrancy".  But when I posted Pieper's essay "Luther’s Doctrine of the Inspiration" that was originally published in Warfield's The Presbyterian and Reformed Review journal (Volume 4, 1893), I could only guess that it was actually Warfield himself who requested this essay from Pieper.  But now I have come across proof positive, personal letters from Warfield to Pieper which were postumously published in Concordia Theological Monthly (CTM) in 1933 (after Pieper's passing in 1931).  These letters show not only the specific request by Warfield for the essay on Luther, but they also show that Warfield even requested more information on... C.F.W. Walther!  Remarkable!  Below I re-publish Warfield's letters to Franz Pieper from CTM.  The first and last paragraphs are remarks by the then President of Concordia Seminary, Prof. Ludwig Fürbringer. Highlighting and hyperlinks are mine:

Three Letters of Prof. B. B.Warfield Addressed to Prof. F. Pieper.
Dr. B.B. Warfield
"how grateful we are"
Undoubtedly it will interest our readers to read the following letters of the distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology in the Princeton Theological Seminary Dr. Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield. The articles which appeared from his pen in the Presbyterian and Reformed Review, the Princeton Theological Review, and other reviews are now being published in ten volumes by the Oxford University Press. Prof. L. Blankenbuehler of St. Paul, Minnesota, has kindly placed these letters at our disposal.

My Dear Sir: Princeton, N.J., January 28, 1890.
Professor Weidner of the Augustana Seminary, Rock Island, Illinois, has directed me to you in order to learn where the works and life of the late Rev. Dr. Walther can be had and at what prices. I should like very much to make the opinions and life-work of Dr. Walther a study for my theological classes. I am also editor of the Presbyterian and Reformed Review and should like to have the publications of the St. Louis Lutheran Publishing House sent to our journal for notice. Especially should I wish to have their new and splendid edition of Luther’s Works for review in our magazine. Presbyterians and the Reformed Church in general should know more of the good work done by this house. Will you kindly inform me to whom I should have our business house apply in order to obtain these books for review?
I am
Sincerely yours
B. B. Warfield.

My Dear Sir: Princeton, N.J., February 24, 1890.
Thank you very much for sending the books, which have just reached me. I shall at once set about making the near acquaintance of Dr. Walther, and I perceive that your distinguished kindness has quite bountifully supplied me with materials for understanding him.
The volume of Luther’s Works will be at once reviewed for our Review,— probably for the July number, as the April number is already in press. I hope our Review will reach you regularly. If not, please inform me that I may have it sent.
It will be my study to discover some way in which I may partly meet your kindness.
I am
Sincerely yours
B. B. Warfield.

My Dear Sir: Princeton, N.J., May 13, 1892.
I thank you very much for undertaking so readily the paper we ask of you on Luther’s Inspirationslehre. I wish we had space to ask of you three papers covering, respectively, the ground you outline. But we are so crowded that that is for the present impossible. We shall have to beg you therefore to compress the matter which would fall under all three heads, — Luther’s direct statements, Luther’s dealing with apparent inconsistencies, and historico-critical examination of Luther’s statements often misinterpreted as favoring a free attitude over against the Scriptures, — into one paper of say 10,000 words maximum. This is the limit we set to our longest articles; and it covers twenty pages of our Review. The MS. will not be needed until the late autumn.
I cannot tell you how grateful we are for this paper. Every man who desires to attack the strict doctrine of inspiration falls back on the collection of passages former writers have made from the writings of the Reformers and pleads their example for loose views. It has become necessary in our Church to present the doctrines of the Reformers over, from the sources, in order to guard the Church from deception.
It is a great blessing to the German element of our people that your Church has occupied so firm a position on inspiration and against all synergism in salvation. Since Schleiermacher the whole world has been soiled with the synergistic leaven; and we have watched the efforts of your Church to retain the ancient truth as to sola Scriptura and sola gratia with the intensest sympathy.  May God give you ever-increased success!
I am
Yours most truly
B. B. Warfield.

Dr. Pieper had devoted much time and study to the subject, and his article on “Luther’s Doctrine of Inspiration” was published in the Presbyterian and Reformed Review, Vol. 4, p. 249. Some time later it was translated and published in Germany by Dr. Adolf Zahn in Ernste Blicke in den Wahn der modernen Kritik. Neue Folge, p. 127. L. F. [Ludwig Fürbringer]
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      The manner that Warfield corresponded with Pieper is strikingly cordial... certainly not condescending.  And we see that Pieper responded in kind by furnishing Warfield with the requested materials.  One result was that Warfield received a surprisingly favorable mention in Pieper's Christian Dogmatics book (as previously published; German edition pgs 327-328, footnote 902):
Because of this stand [on inspiration and absolute infallibility of Scripture] he had to endure opposition and derision from many in his own church body; in these trials he found much comfort in the fact that "an entire Lutheran Synod" unanimously subscribed to the doctrine of the inspiration of Scripture.
      What is notable in Fürbringer's postscript is that he thought that Pieper's English essay had been translated into German, but subsequent research of Adolf Zahn's book (see here, pgs 65-67, title in English: Serious Attention to the Madness of Modern Criticism of the Old Testament. New Series.) shows that Zahn only published a summary and review, not a translation.  So apparently Fürbringer did not have a copy of Zahn's book.  — Adolph Zahn, a German "Evangelical Reformed", is well regarded among conservative Reformed and he gave a glowing review of Pieper's essay, calling Pieper "a good Missourian".  Zahn, like Pieper, fought against the "scientific theologians" of Germany.
      Ah, if only today's LC-MS had the respect for the teaching of Franz Pieper and C.F.W. Walther that B.B. Warfield (and Adolph Zahn) had.  What was it that Warfield said?
...your Church has occupied so firm a position on inspiration and against all synergism in salvation. 
– B.B. Warfield on the Missouri Synod
Indeed, I wonder that if Warfield were asked who was the greatest supporter of biblical inerrancy in America in his day, he might disagree with Prof. Mark Noll's assessment today.  And James Swan of the blog BeggarsAllReformation continues the tradition where the conservative Reformed honor Luther's Reformation... sometimes more than today's LC-MS.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Stoeckhardt – Defender of Inspiration; Copernicanism Part 24

      This continues from Part 23b, a series on Copernicanism and Geocentricity (see Intro & Contents in Part 1) in response to a letter from a young person ("Josh") who asked if I believed Geocentricity ... and did not ridicule me in his question.
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George Stoeckhardt
      In this series, I have normally included only those teachers who have specifically warned against Copernicanism.  However, because this topic is so closely tied to the subject of "verbal inspiration", I am including a short essay from another teacher of the old (German) Missouri Synod, George Stoeckhardt, who did not mention "Copernicanism", even when he defended against attacks on the truth of Joshua 10:13.  The following essay defends against a modernist German theologian, R.F. Grau, who is rather outspoken in his attacks against the inspiration and infallibility of the Bible.  One can read further about Grau in the 1886 Synodical Conference report.
      As I read the quotes of Prof. Grau, I could not help but see similarities to writings and comments made by a professor of today's Concordia Seminary, Jeffrey Kloha, currently the provost.  Anyone who thinks Kloha's position on Holy Scripture is harmless (such as Daniel Preus and Pres. Matthew Harrison), should read and digest... George Stöckhardt.
      I do not know if the publication which this came from is available anymore from Concordia Theological Seminary Bookstore (I bought it ~ 15-20 years ago), but one could call them to find out.  There are 3 other essays included in the full booklet.  I will extract some quotes following this presentation which is only 14 pages long. The full document may be viewed here.

Stoeckhardt defends against Grau's attacks on the Bible's teachings that touch on not only creation, but also "cosmological, astronomical, chronological concepts".  Grau specifically states:
 "The purpose of the Bible is not to give directions and set goals or to apply curbs, to decree on the basis of Joshua 10:13 that the earth and the sun should stand still." – Prof. Grau
By directly attacking Joshua 10:13, Grau also implies Copernicanism.  His attack takes several forms, such as this:
"I am also acquainted with a faith, ... legalistic ..., a faith which is of the opinion that all is lost if one page is torn out of Holy Scripture."
So for Grau, it is "legalistic" to hold to the inspiration of the whole Bible, to hold that "Scripture cannot be broken" (John 10:35).  Stoeckhardt masterfully responds saying
...whoever frees himself from the restraints of the Word and criticizes and censures Scripture, his disposition and frankness are nothing but carnal arrogance, his zeal and piety basically nothing else but godlessness and enmity against God; his Christ is a creature of his own thoughts or a specter of the Devil.
Later Stoeckhardt makes the all important point of Scripture's demand on our faith:
And if now some of these things [on creation] can be demonstrated from nature and history, they are and remain, insofar as they are content of Holy Scripture, object of faith. For everything that God says in His Word is presented for us to believe.  Modern theologians have reached the point that they see in the simple faith of a Christian, who accepts in his heart everything that is written as the dear Word of God, nothing but sensual enchantment, as once the Pharisees exhibited.
      Stoeckhardt is one of the lost and forgotten great teachers of the old (German) Missouri Synod by today's LCMS.  Although Concordia Publishing still sells one of his books, yet Stoeckhardt wrote many wonderful books, books of exegetical studies of the books of the Bible, and also dogmatic works.  Books such as:
I have over 20 of Stoeckhardt's books in my library, books of English translations, purchased at the CTS-FW bookstore over 20 years ago.  They filled the bookstore with much good Christian writing then. But now hardly any remain listed on their website (only 1 today, but call them for perhaps a more complete listing.).
      Stöckhardt was highly revered among his students.  So why are his many books not competing with the multitude of Reformed commentaries on the Bible?  Could it be that the LCMS essentially buried him in their fall away from orthodoxy, their slipping away on the doctrine of Inspiration?
      In the next Part 25, another testimony for the inspiration of the Bible -- B.B. Warfield.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Wallace McLaughlin: true “Missourian”; Copernicanism Part 23b

      This continues from Part 23a, a series on Copernicanism and Geocentricity (see Intro & Contents in Part 1) in response to a letter from a young person ("Josh") who asked if I believed Geocentricity ... and did not ridicule me in his question.
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Rev. Wallace H. McLaughlin

      Concluding from the Part 23a, I want to present the broader picture of the perhaps the truest "Missourian" teacher of the latter half of the Twentieth Century -- Pastor/Professor/Dean Wallace McLaughlin.  You won't find much information online about him except where there are histories of the Orthodox Lutheran Conference that separated from the LCMS.  Before commenting further, I want to present the following biographical information.
      Pastor R.E. Wehrwein presented information on McLaughlin in his reprint of McLaughlin's A Sketch from the History of the Lutheran Church in America – C.F.W. Walther, available here from Anchor Tracts.  He included information from two sources: (1) the journal Orthodox Lutheran and (2) the LCR journal One Accord:

By H. D. Mensing
Orthodox Lutheran, Vol. 1, No. 3 (January 1952), p. 33
(Publication of the Orthodox Lutheran Conference)
      Wallace H. McLaughlin, of Scottish descent, was born in Philadelphia March 28, 1902. He was baptized and first brought up in the Presbyterian church. Due to his study of Holy Scripture [and] the Book of Concord and private instruction by a Lutheran pastor, he was received as a member of the Lutheran Church (ULCA) in 1918. He attended, in his youth, both Muhlenberg and Wagner colleges and Mount Airy Seminary, of the ULC. Ordained June 5, 1924, he was installed shortly thereafter as associate to the pastor of Transfiguration Church, Philadelphia.
      Further study, especially of Pieper's Dogmatik, convinced him that verbal inspiration is a clear scriptural doctrine. In consequence of a sermon on verbal inspiration, however, and an attempt to lead the congregation toward affiliation with the Missouri Synod, which was objected to by the senior pastor, [by] the officials of the Ministerium of Pennsylvania, and [by] his church council, he resigned his pastorate. He then severed his connections with the ULC and became a member of the Missouri Synod. His adviser was Doctor Dau of Missouri.
      From 1928 to 1938 he served as one of Missouri's missionaries in China, chiefly as a professor at the seminary in Hankow. In 1939 he assisted in Negro mission work in Philadelphia. From 1940 until now he has been pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church (Mo. Synod), Pittsburgh. Intervening years were spent in post-graduate study at the University of Pennsylvania and at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, from which he received the degrees of Bachelor and Master of Sacred Theology. He served as a member of President J.W. Behnken's Committee of Ten in 1946 and 1947, when the work of this committee was abruptly terminated by the Presidium's "Agreement." He has also been a vice-president of the Confessional Lutheran Publicity Bureau and a contributing editor of the Confessional Lutheran.
      On Sept. 26, 1951, in obedience to God's Word, Rom.16:17; 1 Tim. 5:22b; Eph. 4:3, he withdrew from the Missouri Synod, after more than 25 years in this church body, to join in forming the OLC. He was unanimously elected president of this church body.
      In 1937 he married Mary Lavina T. Ahrens. He has two step-children and two children from this marital union.
      May God preserve us truly godly, gifted, and consecrated leaders like our brother "Mac," as he is affectionately called by many who dearly love him for his faithfulness to Christ, our Savior, and the full truth of His Word! [End of OL article]
      From the article on pp. 3-4 of the March 1976 issue of One Accord of the LCR, we add the following:
      "... Taught Dogmatics and Exegesis in Concordia Theological Seminary at Hankow, wrote his MST thesis during a furlough 1935-1936 on 'The Doctrine of Verbal Inspiration and Its Opponents' (Dr. Paul E. Kretzmann serving as consultant and approving professor) ....
      "Called to a professorship in the OLC seminary at Minneapolis in 1952, called to Good Shepherd Church in 1959, helped to train men for the ministry during his pastorate, inducted into office as dean and first professor of the Martin Luther Institute of Sacred Studies at Shepherd, Mich., on July 8, 1971, and served in that capacity until the Lord called him home."
      McLaughlin died on Feb. 9, 1976, having outlived by more than a decade P.E. Kretzmann, with whom he had been a close colleague not only in the OLC but also in the LCR, and at whose funeral he had officiated in 1965.
It has been 40 years since the passing of the dear Prof. Wallace McLaughlin.  How I wish that I had met him in person.  —  There is additional biographical information below in the "About the Author" section of the included book.
We All Believe In One True God
by Rev. Wallace H. McLaughlin
      I have been asked on occasion what books to buy for good Lutheran teaching in these last days.  Along with the available English translations of Luther, Walther, and Franz Pieper, I can safely say the purchase of We All Believe In One True God by Wallace McLaughlin will do nothing but build and strengthen the Christian faith.  It is quite inexpensive – currently only $10.50 postpaid from Anchor Books and Tracts, and the book includes a Scripture Index and Subject Index.  On page 32, McLaughlin quotes directly from Franz Pieper's Christian Dogmatics work. And a significant comment was made on page 83:
(N.B. The above presentation [chapters I – XII], especially the brief treatment of the distinction between Law and Gospel, has been in large part condensed and simplified from Dr. F. Pieper’s masterly presentation in his Christian Dogmatics. The remaining six chapters [XIII – XVIII] will lean heavily upon my translation of unpublished lectures delivered in the German language by the sainted Dr. Pieper in the fall semester of 1927-28, when I sat at his feet in his Dogmatics class).
This book is the direct result of the teaching of the Twentieth Century Luther  – Franz Pieper.  How fitting it is that the person to translate all of Pieper’s series “Dr. C.F.W. Walther as Theologian” should be… Wallace H. McLaughlin – not someone from the LC-MS.  Below I present the text of this book but without the Indexes, which are included in the printed book:

(This document may be open separately here.)

Born into Presbyterian church, became a Lutheran (ULCA) by the teaching of the Book of Concord, but by the teaching of the Twentieth Century Luther, McLaughlin became (and died)...
 a true "Missourian",
a true "Missourian" who defended against Copernicanism. —  I present another great defender of Inspiration, George Stoeckhardt, in the next Part 24.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

McLaughlin vs Copernicanism – Inviolability of Bible: true “Missourian”; Part 23a

      This continues from Part 22, a series on Copernicanism and Geocentricity (see Intro & Contents in Part 1) in response to a letter from a young person ("Josh") who asked if I believed Geocentricity ... and did not ridicule me in his question.
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Rev. Wallace H. McLaughlin
† 1976

      In a previous blog on Dr. Gerardus Bouw, I noted with surprise that he, a Baptist, had discovered a writing of a Lutheran pastor/teacher that had warned against Copernicanism in more recent times.  Since posting that blog, I have discovered where Bouw likely found that writing... online.  From Germany, Pastor Mr. Roland Sckerl, has published several faithful Lutheran writings online and has some ties in part with the Lutheran Churches of the Reformation or the LCR.  This federation grew out of the original Orthodox Lutheran Conference which was started by Rev. Wallace H. McLaughlin and others who separated from the hemorrhaging LCMS.  McLaughlin served as a great teacher of both groups.  Indeed, he wrote a book that in some ways is perhaps the best theological work since Franz Pieper died – We All Believe In One True God.
      Bouw's quote from McLaughlin left me wanting to read more from the dear McLaughlin's essay.  So my discovery leaves me with a joy that God preserved a true "Missourian" teacher after Pieper's passing.  And I want to republish the entire "reprint" of Sckerl's copy of the original essay below.  The essay itself is not very long, only about 9 pages.  It contains one of the best histories of exactly how the LCMS threw off its "Missourian" heritage.  It was by unionistic practice, compromising its foundational doctrines.  It gives a masterful teaching and defense of "verbal inspiration".  And one learns of the erring theologians: (1) George Calixtus, (2) J. Michael Reu of the old Iowa Synod, and (3) Hermann Sasse, the German theologian. (The full separate document may be viewed here.)

      I want to again publish the quote that Dr. Gerardus Bouw used from the end of McLaughlin's essay, but this time I will include the whole paragraph:
     There is doubtless no attribute of Scripture more disregarded and sinned against, also in neo-Missourian circles, than its inviolability. The average Missourian will not lightly say that Scripture errs in a certain point, but he will say that a Scriptural dictum is just "a detail of doctrine" which is of no particular importance, or that only "a question of terminology" is involved, or that it is "all a matter of interpretation", or that it "need not be divisive". That Scripture infallibly interprets itself, and that Scripture's own interpretation must be accepted unmodified by any extraneous notions imported into Scripture from "science" or experience, is a principle that has been largely overlooked in modern Missouri even by the staunchest "conservatives". Dr. Pieper in an ever-memorable and classically definitive sentence of his "Christliche Dogmatik" (I, p.577)[English ed. pgs. 472-473] lays down the principle: "[It is unworthy of a Christian to interpret Scripture, which he knows to be God's own Word, according to human opinions (hypotheses), and that includes the Copernican cosmic system, or to have others thus to interpret Scripture to him.]". It is well said that Rev. F. E. Pasche's "Bible und Astronomie" offers "proof that not a single one of about sixty verses, in which the earth is said to stand still, and the sun and all stars are said to move, may be interpreted in such a way as if really the reverse were the case". Such "interpretation" is not exegesis but eisegesis. It brings into Scripture a world-view which no one has ever found in Scripture and according to this alien importation reverses the plain meaning of what Scripture actually says. The plea that "Scripture accommodates itself to human concepts”, that is, rightly understood, that it speaks in intelligible language, is not valid when such concepts are supposed to be inherently erroneous. Scripture never accommodates itself to erroneous human concepts. Moses could have made the "Copernican" world-view intelligible to the people of the sixteenth century B.C. as readily as Copernicus made it intelligible to the people of the sixteenth century A.D., if only this world-view had been true to fact. The proper scope of the Scripture is not to teach history, geography, natural science, but is given in John 5:39; 2 Tim. 3:15 ff; 1 John 1:4 etc. When Scripture, however, incidentally touches upon these matters it is still inviolable truth (John 10:35), and to "interpret” the pronouncements of Scripture even on these matters in accordance with supposed knowledge derived from sources outside the Scriptures (human hypotheses) is to dishonor the divine and self-interpreting Word. We of the Orthodox Lutheran Conference, operating, as we do, without benefit of "the human element" or "human factor" in Scripture, will, by God's grace, not be equipped to get out of Scripture any other meaning than that which the Holy Ghost put into it.
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Note to Dr. Gerardus Bouw:
You should purchase Franz Pieper's Christian Dogmatics vol. 1, and read the whole book.  McLaughlin started out as a Presbyterian, but saw the truth of the Lutheran Church which grounds itself solely in the Word of God... and became a Lutheran, perhaps the greatest Lutheran teacher of the last half of the 20th Century!  Haven't even you discovered his greatness?... the greatness of the Lutheran Church?
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      This essay presents a striking contrast between Rev. McLaughlin and the Preus brothers, J.A.O. Preus and Robert Preus.  All of these are thought to have upheld old Missouri's teaching on the Inspiration and Inerrancy of Scripture.  But while McLaughlin separated from the LCMS for its abandonment of an inviolable Bible, the Preus brothers... joined the LCMS.  Now which of the three do you think upheld this doctrine the best?
      I'm not done with the dear Pastor McLaughlin.  In the next Part 23b, I will present biographical information and also republish his great book.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Carl Gottlob Hofmann - warning on Copernicanism; Part 22

      This continues from Part 21, a series on Copernicanism and Geocentricity (see Intro & Contents in Part 1) in response to a letter from a young person ("Josh") who asked if I believed Geocentricity ... and did not ridicule me in his question.
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Carl Gottlob Hofmann
      I have listed elsewhere several references where C.F.W. Walther battled against Copernicanism.  But I have recently re-discovered another one that is a bit surprising.  In 1868 Walther was defending against the errors of the old Iowa Synod, a forerunner of today's ELCA.  As he addressed "fundamental" and "non-fundamental" articles of doctrine, he quoted a Lutheran theologian of the 1700s, Carl Gottlob Hofmann († 1774):
"The article pertaining to the Copernican system likewise is not a fundamental one, but it can easily happen that a person denying the movement of the sun around the earth adds as his conclusion that the writers of the Old Testament were altogether uncultured and ignorant people (admodum rudes). In this way, the infallibility of the holy writers and thereby the teaching of the divine inspiration of Holy Scripture are attacked. (Theol. Thet. Praecogn., ch. 11, § 26, p. 112)"
Walther goes on to discuss the over-arching importance of Hofmann's last point – the infallibility and inspiration of Holy Scripture... even above adherence to the non-fundamental "article pertaining to the Copernican system".   Walther would not sever fellowship except where the erring party did not manifest "the attitude of willingness to submit unconditionally to the whole Word of God and not to teach anything that opposes the foundation of Christian faith."
      I have not seen in any other writing (not even in Pastor F.E. Pasche's) a reference to C.G. Hofmann as being in a list of orthodox Lutheran theologians who specifically warn against Copernicanism, so I want to give him honor on this blog post.

Where may one find Walther's essay that includes his quotation of C.G. Hofmann?  In the recent CPH "Walther's Works" book Church Fellowship, in the essay "The False Arguments for the Modern Theory of Open Questions" of 1868.  This quote may be found on page 103.  Walther's whole essay is worth the price of this book.
Hmmm, that's interesting... a recent CPH book testifies against what the LCMS/CTCR teaches in the same year – 2015. —
Again, I intend to return to Pastor Pasche in Part 19b.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Synodical Conf 1886– Divinity of Scripture: Docetism or Pipe organ?; on Sasse; Copernicanism Part 21

      This continues from Part 20, a series on Copernicanism and Geocentricity (see Intro & Contents in Part 1) in response to a letter from a young person ("Josh") who asked if I believed Geocentricity ... and did not ridicule me in his question.
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Dedicated to the honor of the old Synodical Conference.
[2016-09-11 - added note in red at bottom]
      Today, August 11, marks the 130th anniversary of the Synodical Conference meeting in Detroit Michigan, August 11-16, 1886.  A doctrinal report was delivered at that meeting and published in the German language in its Proceedings, pages 5-71 (SCR 1886).  That essay has never been translated into English, as far as I know, and so a reader took up my challenge in an earlier blog post:
“Will some faithful Lutheran translate this full essay today?  It would be a treasure of inestimable value to the Church.” 
The translator who took up this challenge is... Andrew Boomhower.

      Some notes regarding this translation:  (1) the translator used the modern city name of Tartu for the older city name of Dorpat.  Other translations that referred to theologians of this city typically have used the older name of Dorpat;  (2) One of the errors of Germany's theologians relates to what Franz Pieper countered in paragraph 2 of his Brief Statement: "The rule of faith is not the man-made so-called “totality of Scripture” (“Ganzes der Schrift”).";  (3) The translator noted that various passages were more difficult to render than others.  One example of this is:
"Woerterinspiration" ==>> "inspiration of the words"; "Worteinspiration." ==>> "inspiration of the wording"
Elsewhere in the text, when this distinction is not being made, I rendered "Wortinspiration" as "verbal inspiration."
(4) My translation of an excerpt used in an earlier blog post was somewhat incorrect.  It regards a reference to "Luther's school".  I assumed the essay was in some way quoting Luther but it was rather paraphrasing the erring teachers. Although my translation is technically incorrect, yet it did not do violence to the intended meaning.  One should compare the passages:
  • Mine: Thus Christians also make it this way, if they let themselves be led into a false school and not in Luther's school.  He says: That one can not so highly credit the Bible as that it can let the sun go down; it speaks in simplicity, as it has then presented the matter.
  • Boomhower's: This is also what the Christians are doing when they can be led into a false school and not into Luther’s. They [erring teachers] say, “one cannot give the Bible much credit for letting the Sun move: they spoke naively in the way the matter was visualized back then.”
      The quality of Boomhower's translation reflects the translator's knowledge of languages in general and it is fortunate to have this kind of quality instead of mine.  Not many people today are translating works of the old Missouri Synod or the Synodical Conference.  The translator has chosen well, a jewel in the crown the Lutheran Church of America.  And, indeed, it specifically addresses the "hot topics" of... Copernicanism, astronomy, geology, etc.
      The text is fully hyperlinked -- footnotes and almost all the works of the referenced German theologians.  Most of these outside works are even linked to the original page numbers in Google Books and elsewhere.

      I want to repeat my preface given in the German language document (also here):
Although the speaker is identified as Prof. A.L. Gräbner of the Wisconsin Synod, yet just  the presence of C.F.W. Walther gives this essay a very close tie to Walther.  Some sections give quotes directly from Walther's Baieri Compendium book. No essay was ever delivered in Walther’s presence that contains any doctrinal issue against the Bible or the Lutheran Confessions.  And indeed I believe that a large amount of text of this report was actually delivered by Walther in a “discussion” setting of questions and answers  – i.e. page 37, last paragraph  –  “Auf die Frage… wurde geantwortet:”  – – >>  To the question....  was answered:.
==>>  I attribute this essay largely to Walther’s authority, but it remains official doctrine of the old Synodical Conference.
      Now I present an original translation of the 1886 Synodical Conference Doctrinal Proceedings of 1886 —  by Mr. Andrew Boomhower:
Theses on the Divinity of Holy Scripture
Speaker: Prof. A.L. Gräbner (Wisconsin Synod)
with C.F.W. Walther in attendance (Missouri Synod)

(translated from the original German by Andrew Boomhower)

A downloadable paginated PDF version (54 pages) of this essay is available here:

     Franz Pieper referred to this doctrinal essay at least 2 times in his Christian Dogmatics textbooks: Volume 1: page 93, footnote 131; page 272, footnote 84.  On page 271-272, Pieper states:

Of the more widely known theologians in Germany it is only Philippi who in the last years of his life returned to the Scripture doctrine of in­spiration.84
84 … A complete presentation and review of the doctrine of inspiration held by modern theologians is found in the 11th report of the Synodical Conference, 1886.

So the future pastors of the old (German) Missouri Synod being trained in America under Prof. Franz Pieper were directed to this essay to get updated on the history of the doctrine of Inspiration. For the first time this essay is now available in the English language. – Unfortunately modern theologians continue their destructive work today, just as in 1886 and in 1931, Pieper's final year. But today, it seems the struggle for the Divinity of Holy Scripture is within the LCMS itself. No longer can the world look to today's St. Louis (or Fort Wayne) for the "orthodox" teaching on Inspiration. One is better served by the true teachers of the Lutheran Church. And this essay is a watering hole for those feeling parched when attempting to find faithful writings.
      There are many quotes that I could extract from this essay, but I will highlight the following extended one from pages 10-11 concerning modern theologians:
These theologians are like the enthusiasts, who cry, “the Spirit! The Spirit must teach us the truth!” Likewise, the New Theologians cry, “No, Christ is the foundation of the Faith, not Scripture!” However, with that, they completely contradict Eph. 2, [Eph. 2:20] “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets,” that is, upon the witness, upon the writings of the Apostles and Prophets. To this, they come right back and say, “he who teaches this misleads the youth; that is a foundation of sand. Oh, the evil Foe is very serious about robbing us of the foundation of our faith.” It really does sound nice when they say, “No! Christ is the foundation of the Christian Faith!” But this is nothing more than a superb illusion. ... 
Illusion indeed! That is "docetism" – a word meaning to seem, or an apparition, or a phantom. This term is normally used by true Christian teaching (i.e. the Nicene Creed) to combat errorists. The false teachers attempted to use this same terminology against orthodox teaching. — Herman Sasse also used this false charge against the true teaching, as Robert Preus pointed out (The Inspiration of Scripture, pg 69: "He finds in the monergism of the dogmaticians a Monophysite-Docetic concept of Scripture which destroyed the human character of the Bible."). President Matthew Harrison even admits (Letters to Lutheran Pastors, Vol. 1. p. lxxxiv) that Sasse was wrong, his attack was "disturbing", and he "never was comfortable with the Missouri Synod's doctrine on this matter nor with the doctrine of the orthodox fathers. In fact, he remained negatively concerned regarding the Missouri Synod on the doctrina de scriptura up to his last days." (Harrison then goes on to say he believes the readers of Sasse's letters are "in for a treat", and wants them all "growing in certainty of the Gospel"... all this while even he found Sasse's attacks "disturbing".) Prof. Jeffrey Kloha quoted (I believe with approval, page 363 here) Sasse's understanding of inerrancy with his words "This inerrancy, however, does not obviously exclude certain human limitations". (Is it any wonder that Sasse espoused Copernicanism in the 1967 CPH book Accents in Luther's Theology: Essays in Commemoration of the 450th Anniversary of the Reformation, page 84, – just as today's LCMS/CTCR is doing for the 500th Anniversary?) — But the Synodical Conference-1886 responds to this charge: "This warning against Docetism is a warning against a bogey." And I will turn this misuse of terminology around and use it against these errorists, just like the Synodical Conference did -- for it is "a superb illusion" where their "Christ is the foundation"... a Christ without the Scriptures. But how did Christ teach about Himself on the road to Emmaus to the two travelers?
Luke 24:27 – Beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
There can be NO separation of Christ from the Holy Scriptures for they are Divinely Inspired! John 1:1,14.
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==>> To "Josh"
Read how the old Synodical Conference put the Sola Scriptura in practice.  Read about the pipe organ analogy (pg 49, search "pipe" and "organ") and the ridiculousness of saying that a tune is inspired but the notes are not.  Even Andrew Boomhower, the translator, was impressed with this wonderful metaphor.
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[Note 2016-09-11: see also Pieper's article on Walther's teaching of Inspiraition here; also Manteufel's translation of Walther's lectures of 1885-1886 on Inspiration here.]

     In the next blog post, I am hopeful to return to Pastor Pasche with Part 19b...