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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Walther to Philip Schaff: "This you do not teach!" (What?)

Who followed Franz Pieper as president of Concordia Seminary when he died?  Ludwig Fuerbringer.  And Fuerbringer wrote a book in his later years of his remembrances, calling it 80 Eventful Years; Reminiscences of Ludwig Ernest Fuerbringer.  I have spoken before about President Fuerbringer and the sad fall of the Missouri Synod during his tenure.  But in his "reminiscences", he reported the following about C.F.W. Walther and a certain well-known church historian (pages 87-88):
Walther was very interesting when he had guests at his table. ... I remember that one day Dr. Philip Schaff, the well-known church historian and Re­formed theologian and founder of the American Society of Church History, at that time professor in Union Theological Seminary in New York, called on him. At the close of his [page 88] visit Walther showed him through our new Seminary build­ing, and I had occasion to note that the conversation was quite animated. But also on such occasions Walther never failed to testify. I do not know what was under discussion, but I heard Walther say very emphatically: “Das lehren Sie eben nicht,” this you do not teach. And finally I saw that he escorted Dr. Schaff to the streetcar and very courte­ously bade him adieu
Philip Schaff
As one reads Fuerbringer's account of Walther's exchange with Dr. Philip Schaff, it is quite apparent that Walther, through all his courteous manner, was quite forceful with the unionistic Dr. Schaff.  But what was it that Walther was referring to when he spoke the following words to the widely known "Church Historian" Philip Schaff:
"This you do not teach!"
What was it that Walther charged the great Schaff, the writer of 8 volumes of Church History, with NOT teaching?  Although Ludwig Fuerbringer could not tell us, I will tell you, dear reader.  It was this:
The Lutheran Doctrine of Justification
 That is what all the Reformed DO NOT TEACH ==>> the pure, unconditional Gospel!
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What does this mean?  It means that all the "Church History", all 8 volumes of Schaff's massive work is suspect in its spiritual judgments.  It means that Dr. Philip Schaff is NOT the best source of "Church History" because, as C.F.W. Walther put it to him, "This you do not teach".

And so all true Lutherans should bid "adieu" to the Reformed saying "You left your first love, the love of the Lutheran Church – the pure, unconditional Gospel... this you do not teach"

@franzpieper: Pieper quotes; Where is Steve Born? (saved copy of his work)

There are 2 items of interest (maybe 3) concerning what appears (and doesn't appear) on the Web:

1) @franzpieper
@franzpieper (Twitter)
I ran across a website that I was unaware of before: the Twitter site called @franzpieper.  This site offers daily short quotes from the writings of Pieper without any comments added, at least that I have found so far.  I was rather impressed with the short quotes which appear to be largely gathered from Pieper's Christian Dogmatics series.  For example, the "Tweets" from December 15 and 16 are from volume 3, page 297.  Although the quotes are a marvelous read, yet I have to wonder who the person is that is posting these quotes verbatim from the English translation of Pieper's Christliche Dogmatik...  and why is he (she?) doing this?  One wants to believe they are posting these because they believe Pieper's teaching... but do they?  It is a bit odd that one posting (I would rather not call it a "tweet") shows a picture of Pieper and a caption that would purport to be from Pieper himself, which of course is not true since Pieper died in 1931. — These quotes are a wonderful start to learn Lutheran (i.e. Christian) theology, but after reading a few quotes, the reader who is unfamiliar with Pieper and Lutheranism would do well to just purchase the complete 4-volume set, used or new, and read them cover to cover, over and over, making notes as you go... like I (and Ludwig Fuerbringer) did.

2) Steve Born - where are you??
[NOTE!! see comments below for corrections to this information!  My apologies to Mr. Steve Born.]

An Index to the Works of Martin Luther
by Steve Born
There was another website that was working to bring more of Franz Pieper to the web: Steve Born.  I blogged on this last August 15.  Mr. Born's work of providing a cross-reference listing of various publications of Luther's works was originally pointed out to me by James Swan's BeggersAllReformation blog (see sidebar "Luther's Works Etc.") and I have ever since made extensive use of Mr. Born's Index.  BUT it appears now to be off the Internet – for some weeks now – without a trace.  I have waited awhile to see if it would return, but now after some weeks of nothing, I think Mr. Born's work is too valuable to let it disappear completely. One would think that an archive copy would still be available via the WaybackMachine, but it is not because Born's page was fed by a database (Ajax?) that could be resorted at runtime.  I saved a copy of Steve Born's webpage "An Index to the Works of Martin Luther" while it was still live and am republishing it here:
  1. Download ZIP copy of his former webpage ===>> here <<  (47 KB ZIP file of all HTML files)
  2. Download screen capture of entire page =====>> here << (4MB PNG file)
Unfortunately my saved copy of Born's page will not allow a re-sort to anything but in "St. Louis German" order.  So I am starting to use my old published Index on this blog post, and the spreadsheet is available to view here.

I am especially saddened by Mr. Born's departure because it was apparent that he too valued Franz Pieper's Christian Dogmatics.
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

3) Hmmm... I wonder why James Swan of BeggarsAllReformation, who purports to speak for Martin Luther from a Reformed standpoint, took my blog off his listing of links for websites on "Lutheranism"?  Am I too Lutheran for him?  If so, I would point him to Walther's statement that "All Reformed sects... were first Lutheran".

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Stoeckhardt on Missouri-5b: Means of Grace (Baseley's attack against Walther)

This continues from Part 5a, highlighting a major convention essay (in English translation) by George Stoeckhardt: The Missouri Synod (Table of Contents in Part 1).  In this part 5b, I am proceeding from Berthold von Schenk to a pastor in today's LC-MS who is much less crass in his attack on old Missouri: Pastor Joel Baseley, who has translated sermon books (e.g. From Our Master's Table from Brosamen) and periodicals from C.F.W. Walther.  This is a most difficult task for me as I held out hopes for this pastor that he had returned to the faithful teachings of Walther.  The first portion from Stoeckhardt is where he quotes Walther verbatim.  The quote from Pastor Joel Baseley is from this month's "Time in a Bottle" newsletter presenting his latest translation of Der Lutheraner:
G. Stoeckhardt:
"This treasure, justification, forgiveness of sins, is comprehended in the Word, in the Gospel. It is the hand of God.  Faith is the hand of man. Faith takes what the Word gives. Faith must have something to which it clings. This is the doctrine of universal justification.  In absolution, as well as through the Gospel generally, the treasure which is the forgiveness of sins is distributed. There it is said: Your sins are forgiven you.  And this is God speaking.  Faith now takes what God gives, grants. --  When the pastor absolves you, this is always God's word to you; you can believe that it is God who through the mouth of a poor sinner says to you: As you believe, so shall it be.... As gold remains gold, even when it is stolen or is cast into the mire, thus absolution remains absolution, even though it is despised by unbelievers."  "In absolution God gives and grants, regardless whether it is accepted or not."  "Cursed be the doctrine which makes the worthiness, power, and validity of absolution dependent on my faith."

page 295:
What is briefly the neo-Lutheran perception of the church? The apostolic symbol is still confessed: "I believe one holy Christian Church”, and it is conceded that the church is the congregation of believers; but it is immediately added that this does not fully define what the church really is. The church is described mostly as an institution, as a sanitorium, and the functions and external trappings of the church are included in the essence of the church...

page 326:
The foremost means of grace, we can say, the true means of grace is the Word. The Sacrament is simply confirmation of the Word or is the visible Word.
Joel Baseley
Time in a Bottle Newsletter (Dec.), Vol. 3 #17:
This issue of Der Lutheraner's (Vol. 4, Issue 17; April 18, 1848) lead article stiffles earlier attempts to re-establish individual Absolution as the standard form in the Missouri Synod. After Keyl's series (Vol. 3 pp. 15, 18, 34) ends with the promise (p. 35) "This worthy effort will meet many obstacles on the way which will seem insurmountable; only faithful preachers and willing hearers will be all the more convinced at length of the contrary. Now for their sake in the installment that follows the chief reasons for retaining general confession and against the introduction of private penance will be refuted (p. 35);" The Lutheran never publishes this promised final installment and, it seems, this article signed "I.N." does away with the issue under the banner of "adiaphoron." While a careful theological structure had been constructed in the early years of this publication to champion the cause of the better general practice of individual confession and absolution, based not upon legalisms, but based upon the merits of individual absolution over and against the corporate practice, and, thus upon regenerate, sanctified reason, the argument is here difused and the cause lost; abandoned. While the article rightly places the matter under the banner of "Christian Freedom," arguments for the inate superiority of the former practice seem neatly put away, even while another synod, in the final little article of this issue, is reported as considering returning to a practice of "announcing for communion." Hmm. While the author and publisher of what you're now reading is a dedicated proponent of the rights of Lutheran lay people and the proper authority of the voter's assembly, if Walther's inclusion of this article and cessation of the Keyl series is his conceding that compelling arguments of regenerate reason, which originally gave rise to the practice of individual confession and absolution, will no longer convince or find a place in the voter's assemblies of lazy preachers and parishoners that do not desire to do what is better, but what is easier, then I have come to understand the criticism of Walther and his voters assemblies. The tyranny this enables is no more benign that that of a papacy, but is certainly less avoidable since its danger sits not upon a single throne in Rome but in every parishioner's and pastor's sinful heart. When a demonstrably "better" form of confession is against a believer's conscience it is more than legitimate to make the point that that concience should not be forced, thus destroying the weak brother, yet if the arguments for the 'better' form are stiffled, even by a majority vote, the weak (joined by hypocrites), voting against what is essentially better, maight squelch their own being made strong by better instruction. It's an interesting enigma in this issue that the ones most fearing this practice (out of weakness) are the ones most needing it (to be strengthened)! Sanctifucation, dying to sin and self, is unpleasant for sinners but freeing for saints; and believers are blessed to be both; and God, not us, is the true Master who alone works through his means in our hearts.

Pastor Baseley said a mouthful in this December newsletter!  As I read the newsletter announcing his latest installment of translations of Der Lutheraner, I wasn't paying much attention until he made the following statement:
“then I have come to understand the criticism of Walther and his voters assemblies”.
Oh… what?  The translator of several of Walther’s sermon books and essays in recent years appears to maybe “come out of the closet” against Walther, against his “voters assemblies?”    And what is this: “the criticism of Walther and his voters assemblies”?  Who is Baseley referring to with “the criticism of Walther”?  Could it be that Pastor Joel Baseley has planted himself squarely among those that Pastor Jack Cascione has so earnestly warned against?  Pastor Cascione is by far today's most widely known defender ("Reclaiming Walther" website here) of Walther’s teaching on the voters assembly.  As I reread Baseley’s newsletter, he comes very close to charging Walther with teaching that the supremacy of voters assemblies is based upon “arguments of regenerate reason” rather than God’s Word, a serious charge indeed! –  Pastor Baseley seems a little upset and even has 8 misspellings in this short newsletter… a fact that is not important in itself.   But just how upset is Pastor Baseley?
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To Pastor Joel Baseley:  I have wondered about you.  I cautioned you about the praise you received from Prof. John T. Pless who is rather outspoken in his criticism of Walther’s theology.  I then pointed you to Walther’s core teaching  – the Lutheran Doctrine of Justification… but you did not respond.  And now you would “understand the criticism of Walther and his voters assemblies”?  Could it be that you are coming out of the closet, Pastor Baseley, that you are just like Matthew Harrison who proceeds as if to praise Walther and Pieper by publishing books of Walther’s works but essentially only uses these to clandestinely bring alternate teachings for the "here and now"?… and have you hid your own theology at variance with Walther until the right time?  Could it be, Pastor Baseley that through all your indignation at Walther’s doctrine of “voters assemblies”, that perhaps you don’t quite understand what true absolution is, whether it is pronounced to an individual or to a congregational body?  Do you not understand that if you don’t have the right doctrine of Justification, that your doctrine of Absolution, whether individual or corporate, is nothing?  Or had they not taught you that at CTS-FW?

Before I would begin to review your contentions against “Walther and his voters assemblies”, to review your case for “individual Absolution”, I must ask the much larger question: What is Absolution?  George Stoeckhardt answered that question above by quoting Walther:
“Faith must have something to which it clings. This is the doctrine of universal justification.  In absolution, as well as through the Gospel generally, the treasure which is the forgiveness of sins is distributed.”
Do you preach a Universal Justification?... an Objective Justification?  … a God who is already reconciled to all men, even before they believe?  Do you teach an Absolution as Stoeckhardt/Walther teach, that it is only a distribution of just this forgiveness of sins, this Justification:
“As gold remains gold, even when it is stolen or is cast into the mire, thus absolution remains absolution, even though it is despised by unbelievers.”
If you, Pastor Baseley, do not teach a Justification, an Absolution just like George Stoeckhardt and C.F.W. Walther taught, then it is all for nothing…. nothing because the poor sinner would have to think that he would have to summon up faith to make the absolution effective or that he would have to be better than others in some way, or that he would have to improve himself to make himself worthy to receive the absolution.

Pastor Baseley, you have an odd title for your newsletter, calling it “Time in a Bottle”.  Where does this phrase come from?… is it a line from one of Paul Gerhardt’s wonderful Lutheran hymns?  No, I see, it is a popularly known song by Jim Croce in the 1970s.  I remember this song all too well, like I remember thousands of other popular songs from my youth, a time of my falling away from my Christian faith.  Why do you use this “catch phrase” song?  Are you saying that Walther and Luther have been kept “in a bottle” and you are bringing them out, like opening a time capsule?  You have seemed to imply in the past that they should not have been put “in a bottle”, but is this really true? In this newsletter, you seemed to have found yourself in agreement with others (most of today’s LC-MS?) in criticizing and judging Walther.  These other judges of Walther are not proclaiming the pure Gospel that Walther uncovered and so are not properly distinguishing it from the Law.  I cautioned you previously about that but you have not responded and I have nowhere found that you even recognize the heart of Walther.  It appears you would rather see the false teaching of Prof. Pless and Wilhelm Loehe as your truth...
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 

Note to the reader:
Pastor Baseley did not respond to my earlier post pointing out the heart of Walther to him, that it was Walther who restored the pure Gospel of UOJ.  And so I must put Pastor Joel Baseley in the questionable category, not for his translation work, but for his own doctrinal judgments:
  1. Because he seems to be part of those who would put Walther “in a bottle”, because he ignores Walther’s teaching on Justification… even while translating some of his works.
  2. Because he now openly admits to disagreeing with Walther’s doctrine concerning “voters assemblies”, even while admitting “the article [in Der Lutheraner] rightly places the matter under the banner of 'Christian Freedom'".
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –  

To Pastor Baseley: maybe you now think your efforts would be better spent translating the works of Wilhelm Loehe?  Maybe Prof. John T. Pless has convinced you of the “weaknesses” of Walther?  But may I suggest that instead of listening to Prof. Pless, that you rather study your own translation of Walther's "Address to Synod from 1848", you know, from your book From Our Master's Table, pgs 243-248 , or from Pastor Cascione's website here (Brosamen pgs 517-527).  There you will learn true theology, how to properly distinguish in doctrinal matters relating to the authority of the local congregation (Distinguendem Est).  – And one more thing Pastor Baseley, perhaps you should consult with that Australian pastor you know of, the one who is a faithful follower of old Missouri... in Australia... who listens to Walther and Pieper ... and teaches his sheep properly with their theology?
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –  

Dear reader, if you want the better doctrinal judgment, then read Walther's sermons and essays in Baseley’s translations, then read George Stoeckhardt’s essays, but be especially discerning when reading the theological judgments from Pastor Joel Baseley's current writing.  And if Pastor Baseley should continue to ignore the heart of Walther, then I suggest the reader put Baseley's own theological judgments “in a Bottle”.
================================

This post ends my series highlighting the dear Prof. George Stoeckhardt and his essay that so wonderfully equips one to discern the true theology of the Bible, the theology of the old (German) Missouri Synod.  Although I have not put Stoeckhardt in my masthead, his theological judgment (since coming to America and teaching under C.F.W. Walther) is the better teaching than virtually all of the writers in today's LC-MS... since the day Franz Pieper died in 1931.

Stoeckhardt on Missouri-5a: Means of Grace (vs. von Schenk)

This continues from Part 4, highlighting a major convention essay (translated to English) by George Stoeckhardt: The Missouri Synod (Table of Contents in Part 1).  In this part 5a, I highlight a somewhat striking statement of Stoeckhardt on page 326 under the sub-section "Church Practice" and contrast it with a past LC-MS pastor held in high regard by some in today's LC-MS:
G. Stoeckhardt:
The foremost means of grace, we can say, the true means of grace is the Word. The Sacrament is simply confirmation of the Word or is the visible Word.
Berthold von Schenk,
Lively Stone, p. 89-90:
I never doubted the dogma of the authority of Scripture, but this dead concept and absolutism has no life or mystery in it. The Missouri Synod theology of inspiration has been tragic. To accept the St. Louis definition of the Bible robs me of the Bible, its mysticism, its possibilities, and great uses. The Bible has great mystery and adventure, even as the Sacraments of the Church are the Mystical Body of Christ which put life into theology. ...
The contrast between Stoeckhardt's statement and that of Berthold von Schenk is quite breathtaking!  To call, as von Schenk does, those Christian theologians (e.g. old Missouri) who taught the authority of Scripture as teaching a "dead concept and absolutism"... oh, horror of horrors!  One can hardly believe what came out of the mouth of many of the LC-MS men once they departed from the pure Gospel after Pieper's death.  I can only say that based on Stoeckhardt's statement above, the Sacraments do not put life into theology until the Word gives life to the Sacraments... there is NO life in the Sacraments without the Word, they rather become a "dead concept" or ex opere operato.  Ah, but it was the old Missouri Synod that gave life to the Sacraments, for it was the Bible church.

Stoeckhardt's crystal clear statement refutes all "Lutheran" teachers who imply in their discussion of Lutheran differences that the main difference lies in the doctrine of the Lord's Supper or Holy Communion.  But Stoeckhardt sets the foundation for any and all differences chiefly in ... the Word.  And today's LC-MS should sit at Stoeckhardt's feet, not Berthold von Schenk or those who hold von Schenk up as a "good read".

In the next part 5b, I call out a distressing statement made by an LC-MS pastor I previously had hopes for...

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Stoeckhardt on Missouri-4: Cosmology

This continues from Part 3, highlighting a major convention essay (in English translation) by George Stoeckhardt: The Missouri Synod (Table of Contents in Part 1).  In this part 4, I address one aspect of the Inerrancy of Holy Scripture, quoting Stoeckhardt against today's theologian for the LC-MS – Hermann Sasse:
G. Stoeckhardt:

They [leaders of Protestant Christendom, Neo-Lutherans] think the Bible contains also matters of lesser importance, and these are of human origin. e.g., what Scripture says about sun, moon, and stars, what it relates about the history of nations, that is purely human. That's where you will find human errors, mistakes, and contradictions.
Hermann Sasse,
“Additional Notes Concerning Holy Scripture”
edited by Jeffrey Kloha
p. 170:
The third instance of the human limitation of the Scripture concerns the world-view of the holy writers. Where they speak of nature, of the sun, moon and stars, of heaven in an astronomical sense, and of the earth and its component parts, the Scriptures speak of the things in the way that they appeared to people of antiquity, not as they appeared to men of later centuries, and not as they are in themselves.

Prof. Jeffrey Kloha was particularly pernicious in his attempt to exonerate Hermann Sasse's erroneous teaching on Holy Scripture, long before the current "plastic text" controversy (see here).  Both Kloha and Sasse hate the theology of Walther and Pieper, and Kloha has openly stated that the LC-MS should disavow the Brief Statement of 1932.  I have news for Prof. Kloha: why bother?  The Brief Statement already has only lip service given to it anyway...  it's a great way to continue to deceive the laity, like the statue of Luther on the grounds of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis...

Stoeckhardt does not go into great detail on all the points where modern theology either denies outright or is not sure about the Creation account and Geocentrism.  But he says this to refute it (p. 255):
True "Missourian"
Our synod has all along protested against this view of Scriptures. It has maintained that the Bible is totally inspired by God and so is in all its parts infallible truth. But this is now called "Missourian separatistic doctrine". And many a controversy has arisen over this. Whoever in Germany does not accept this new doctrine or is not at all pleased with it does not belong in the church [in Germany] any longer. – G. Stoeckhardt
The year was 1894, but now in 2014, the statement concerning Germany then can not only be said of America, but also about those who would today call themselves the "Missouri Synod", at least to the extent the LC-MS allows room for evolutionism and an anti-Christian cosmology among its teachers, in violation of the Scripture teaching.

In the next Part 5a, I quote Stoeckhardt against Berthold von Schenk.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Stoeckhardt on Missouri-3: "Confessional Lutheran"; substantive changes in Roman Church?

This continues from the Introduction publishing the English translation of one of George Stoeckhardt's major convention essays, The Missouri Synod (Table of Contents in Part 1).  In this part 3, the misuse of the label "Confessional Lutheran" is highlighted.  George Stoeckhardt knew well this misuse as he recounts in numerous places in his Missouri Synod essay the errors of the modern theology of the German State Church from which he came out of.  But what strikes me is that these modernists would call themselves "Confessional Lutherans".  Franz Pieper also spoke about those who would call themselves "Confessional" in Germany in 1930:
Confessional Lutheran theologians are just that in their theology.  Knowledge is encouraged to the extent that they have recognized the doctrine of the Lutheran Confessions as scriptural and are able to teach effectively.
These so-called "Confessional Lutheran theologians" in Germany, some of whom likely taught Dietrich Bonhoeffer, were just using that "Confessional Lutheran" label to appear more authentic, but were in reality using it under false pretenses.  —  Here are 2 passages comparing Stoeckhardt and today's LC-MS:

In our day a theology is come in to the fore which is struggling for credibility, which directly calls itself Confessional-Lutheran, but which seeks to make Lutheran belief plausible to reason and to placate the spirit of the age.
Without question, congregations and denominations of the twenty-first century are different from those of the sixteenth century when the Reformation was so needed. The ecumenical movement during the twentieth century increased dialogue among Christians worldwide. Vatican II (1962–65) brought substantive changes to Roman Catholic practice and attitudes, which is evident when you visit their services.

Now the Editor(s) of The Lutheran Difference would certainly call himself a "Confessional Lutheran".  But when he says that Vatican II "brought substantive changes" to the Roman Church, he thereby is directly targeted by Stoeckhardt's warning against modern theology, that it seeks to "placate the spirit of the age", for modern theology does not use the forceful language of the Confessions or the old (German) Missouri Synod.  He may cry foul all he wants, but today's LC-MS continually points to "Vatican II" as proof of "substantive changes", all the while he would claim to be a "Confessional Lutheran".  But Stoeckhardt saw through this weakening of Christian doctrine first hand in the German State Church, where differences were blurred.

NO! -- There were no "substantive changes" from Vatican II and today's CPH editors could learn from the Romanists themselves for even they say themselves (per Wikipedia):
As Dei Verbum reads, "Therefore, following in the footsteps of the Council of Trent and of the First Vatican Council, this present council wishes to set forth authentic doctrine on divine revelation and how it is handed on…”, Vatican II did not deny previous councils' correctness.
It does not matter what the CPH editors and writers say about "The Lutheran Difference" after the Editor says "Vatican II brought substantive changes"... the damage is already done.  Perhaps the CPH editors and writers need a lesson on what "substantive" actually means.  Here is what Google popped up when I asked for a definition:

sub·stan·tive
adjective
ˈsəbstən(t)iv,səbˈstan(t)iv/
  1. 1.
    having a firm basis in reality and therefore important, meaningful, or considerable.
    "there is no substantive evidence for the efficacy of these drugs"
  2. 2.
    having a separate and independent existence.

Of course Google's definition isn't concerned with spiritual matters.  We have to go Back To Luther to get the spiritual meaning:

      3.  having a firm basis, an objective existence in the truth of the Gospel, "by grace, not by works"

Now that we have established the proper meaning of the word "substantive", does the reader believe that Vatican II, with its continued anathema against the truth of the Gospel, brought substantive changes to the Roman Church?  –  Did you see that "wink" in their eye as they attempt to explain the "Lutheran Difference" vs. the Pope's Church, the Church of the Antichrist?  ... the Antichrist that George Stoeckhardt plainly speaks of in his essay?

Could it be the CPH book "The Lutheran Difference" lacks substance and is not actually Confessional Lutheranism when it mixes false teaching with truth?  And that Lutherans should rather look to George Stoeckhardt for truly Confessional Lutheran teaching?

In the next Part 4...

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Stoeckhardt on Missouri-2: Walther’s UOJ (Justification)

This continues from the Introduction publishing the English translation of one of George Stoeckhardt's major convention essays (Table of Contents in Part 1).  In this part 2, I want to reproduce several paragraphs from Stoeckhardt's sub-section on Justification (pgs 262-263) regarding the old Missouri Synod's teaching on this doctrine:
     What and how our Missouri Synod teaches and speaks about justification we see best from its public statements. In the report of the Western District 1874.43 it reads: "It is not faith which first produces justification. Faith is only a laying hold on, a taking, an accepting. Faith must have something in which to believe. Faith takes what is there, what is already in existence. Justification is already won, has occurred, exists before faith, and is not first made possible by faith. In [page 263] accord with God's Word the Lutheran Church says to man: Everything has already been done.  You are already redeemed.  You have already been justified in the sight of God.  You have been saved.  Therefore, you don't have to do anything to save yourself.  You do not need first to become reconciled with God.  You do not have to earn salvation for yourself.  You should simply believe that Christ, God's Son, has already done all this for you, and by faith you partake of this and will be saved.”
     In the proceedings of the Chicago Pastoral Conference 1880, 45-46 we read: “If I believe in Christ, I have righteousness and salvation.  It is already promised me.  It is not true that, if I by faith have appropriated to myself objective righteousness, a new act has been added.  The act has occurred.  By faith I already have righteousness.  Thereafter God does not first need especially to impute it to me.... The minute I believe, I have what faith appropriates.  The minute I believe, God, my God, has judicially forgiven me my sins.”
     Walther says in the report of the synodical conference 1872 [or SCR 1872], 46: "So teach also the Confessions of our church, as in Article 6 of the Augsburg Confession, where it reads according to the Latin: 'Remission of sins and justification is apprehended by faith' (Concordia Triglotta 45, Art. VI, #2) and 'we obtain forgiveness of sins, grace, and justification only by faith' (p. 53, Art. XX, #9). So also the Apology: 'By faith alone we obtain remission of sins (C.T. 143). Further: 'Justification is only a matter freely promised for Christ's sake and therefore is already received before God by faith alone.' (C.T. 179, Apology Art. III, #96). These passages clearly demonstrate that first there must be a justification which faith can appropriate, that faith lays hold on it as already existing."
     Further, 59-62: "This treasure, justification, forgiveness of sins, is comprehended in the Word, in the Gospel. It is the hand of God.  Faith is the hand of man. Faith takes what the Word gives. Faith must have something to which it clings. This is the doctrine of universal justification.  In absolution, as well as through the Gospel generally, the treasure which is the forgiveness of sins is distributed. There it is said: Your sins are forgiven you.  And this is God speaking.  Faith now takes what God gives, grants. --  When the pastor absolves you, this is always God's word to you; you can believe that it is God who through the mouth of a poor sinner says to you: As you believe, so shall it be.... As gold remains gold, even when it is stolen or is cast into the mire, thus absolution remains absolution, even though it is despised by unbelievers."  "In absolution God gives and grants, regardless whether it is accepted or not."  "Cursed be the doctrine which makes the worthiness, power, and validity of absolution dependent on my faith."
     This is the voice of our synod with respect to the doctrine of justification.  Is this the true doctrine? What does Scripture say to this?  It shows, first of all, that without any merit on our part we are justified and saved before God by grace, through Christ.
                                                     — G. Stoeckhardt (Georg Stöckhardt)
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = 
Two points can be brought out from this quote:

1) Who wrote the Report presented and adopted at the first Synodical Conference meeting 1872?  What is Stoeckhardt's testimony?

G. Stoeckhardt, Missouri Synod, page 263
Walther says in the report of the synodical conference 1872...
“...the essay on Justification presented and adopted at the first Synodical Conference Convention of 1872, … Written probably by F.A. Schmidt…”


“The doctrine of justification was the subject of the other set of 12 theses, prepared by Professor F.A. Schmidt…”

Others have testified publicly that the report was Walther's report: Franz Pieper, Martin Günther, and Theodore Engelder – all of whom which were much closer to those involved than Marquart or Schuetze.  So why would today's theologians continue the error that this report was from F.A. Schmidt?  They should have known better.

But the dear Stoeckhardt shows that Walther taught the doctrine of Justification in multiple essays, just as Franz Pieper reported in his extensive essay "Walther as Theologian".  And Stoeckhardt includes a source that is rarely mentioned today – the Chicago Pastoral Conference of 1880 (and 1881).  I plan to publish information on this important conference in the future.

2) Stoeckhardt repeats the beautiful quotes from Walther's essays and declares that these doctrines are those taught by his Missouri Synod:
  • objective righteousness
  • universal justification
Hmmm... I doubt that "objective" and "universal" are barely used in the new CPH book The Lutheran Difference to describe The Lutheran Doctrine of Justification.
In the next Part 3, I deal with Stoeckhardt's defense of cosmology of the Bible...