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Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Missourian! 4: A Missourian wants to be…; Who attacks them? Biblicism?… or “ink theologians”?

      This continues from Part 3 (Table of Contents here), a series presenting Walther's Foreword to the 1872 Der Lutheraner on the term “Missourian”. — Mr. "Missourian", Walther himself, tells us, and the world, exactly what a Missourian is... and what he wants to be. And he could not resist quoting Luther in an extended supporting footnote.  Luther was never far from Walther's thoughts.  — Then Walther reaches the reason for his essay: Missourians are attacked, but why?
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Taken from Der Lutherner v. 29 (1872), p. 1-29-10. Translation by BackToLuther using DeepL, Google Translate, Microsoft, Yandex. Underlining follows Walther’s emphasis. All hyperlinks, highlighting, text in square brackets [ ] are mine.

Foreword (“Vorwort”)
Twenty-ninth year of Der Lutheraner.
[by C.F.W. Walther, part 4 of 5]

● A Missourian does not believe, like many newer theologians, that the Christian Church should seek to become ever more enlightened and to explore new doctrines of faith; rather, he believes that the true Church of Jesus Christ always had the same faith, the same doctrine, that already the apostolic Church possessed the whole pure doctrine of the Gospel, and that through his Reformation Luther, too, did not bring up any new doctrine, but only the doctrine that the apostolic Church had already brought forth and brought to light.*) 
*) Luther once gave the following testimony about this in his famous sermon in Leipzig in 1545: 
“Isn't it distressing that the Lord Christ's Word, indeed the word of the holy fathers and prophets from the beginning of the world should mean a new faith for those who boast of themselves Christians? For we preach nothing else, nor will we preach anything else, than what you yourself read in the Scriptures of the Prophets and Apostles. Nor should one accept and hold to be articles of faith what every impudent monk makes up every day…  and on the other hand the Gospel doctrine should be called a vain new thing. Why? Because they did not preach nor know it 20 or 30 years ago, nor knew it; they do not want to know that this is the doctrine and faith proclaimed 1500 years ago by Christ's birth and 5000 years ago before the beginning of the world by the Fathers and Prophets and clearly founded in Holy Scripture.” (XII, 1865; St. L. XII, 1434-1435, § 26; not in Am. Ed.) 
A few years earlier (1541) Luther had written against Duke Heinrich von Braunschweig in his treatise [“Against Hanswurst”]: 

“We invent nothing new, but hold and remain true to the ancient word of God, as the ancient church had it. Therefore we are, together with the ancient church, the one true church, which teaches and believes the one word of God. So the papists once more slander Christ himself, the apostles, and all of Christendom when they call us innovators and heretics. For they find nothing in us but what belongs to the ancient church—that we are like it, and are one church with it.” (XVI, 1059.) [sic - XVII, 1659, § 24; St. L. XVII, 1324, § 24; Am. Ed. 41, p. 196]
A Missourian therefore does not want to raise up anything new, but to return with Luther and the whole Lutheran church of the sixteenth century to the church and doctrine of the apostles. What the Christians believed at the time of the Apostles and at the time of Luther, 
● that a Missourian wants [Page 10, Column 1] also to believe; what they have taught and confessed, that 
● a Missourian wants to teach and confess; he wants to reject and condemn what they have rejected and condemned; he wants to live as they have lived; he wants to walk the way they have walked; he wants to be saved as they have been saved. 
● A Missourian wants neither to be stricter nor better than the first Christians and than the Reformation Christians. In short, 
● a Missourian wants to be nothing in doctrine and life but a Christian, as the Apostles described them and as the proper Christians really were at the time of them; And that is because since four and a half centuries [3-½] the old Christian Lutheranism, the old Christian doctrine Lutheran doctrine, the old Church Lutheran Church, the orthodox Christians Lutheran Christians or Lutherans are called, so 
a Missourian wants to be a Lutheran Christian or a Lutheran, and this without falsehood, without mischievousness, without reservation, without ulterior motives, in reality, in truth, from the bottom of the heart.
Here our opponents will say: If this is really so, if a Missourian is really nothing else to be understood than a true, apostolic, orthodox, Lutheran Christian, then you who are called Missourians are yourselves bad Missourians. To this we first answer the following: When once in 1528 Lutherans in the lands of the hostile Duke George of Saxony were asked by him to say “whether they wished to abandon the Lutheran doctrine”, Luther explained himself and gave them the advice: “Luther taught many things that Duke George himself praised. So Luther himself did not want to be Lutheran etc., without teaching the Scriptures purely.” (XXI, 233.234.) [Source unknown] Thus we also explain so-called Missourians: that a true Missourian wants to be nothing but a true Lutheran Christian; therefore a Missourian also doesn't want to be Missourian himself, without teaching Holy Scripture purely with Luther and the Lutheran Church and lives as a true Christian according to God's Word. If, however, one continues to invade us here, and now says: But do not you Missourians have to admit yourselves that you really reveal yourselves only too often as people who are by no means in the same condition as you yourselves describe a true Missourian, then we answer the following: After Luther (in 1530), in his interpretation of the 118th Psalm, testified that it was a miracle before our eyes if someone believed that Christ was the cornerstone, and how angry and heavy it had become for him and still becomes daily for him to grasp and keep this cornerstone, he added: “Men may call me a Lutheran, but they misjudge me; or at best I am a poor and weak Lutheran. May God strengthen me!” (V, 1802. f., § 129) [St.L. V, 1242, § 129; Am. Ed. 14, 98] So we Missourians must now also say: We may be called Missourian; but they misjudge us, or at best we are poor, weak Missourians.

But here we have to say: Would to God that we Missourians were really only attacked where we are not really Missourian! We would throw away our weapons in a hurry and humiliate ourselves by revoking them. For though we really want to be in sincerity of heart what is called a Missourian, yet of course we experience daily how far, how far we are from the goals we have set ourselves. But what happens? Not what is un-Missourian, but just what is genuinely Missourian, what is truly Christian-Lutheran, that is what we are attacked for.
= = = = = = = = = = = =  concluded in Part 5  = = = = = = = = = = = = =

      In Walther's day, the attackers were primarily famous German mediating theologians.  To find today's attackers against old Missourian teaching, one need look no further than the teachers of the LC-MS.  The Missourian reliance on the Bible is directly attacked by Dr. Samuel Nafzger, author of the section "Holy Scripture" in the new LC-MS doctrinal textbook, Confessing the Gospel.  Dr. Nafzger states (page 686, emphasis mine): 
“To suggest that the gospel derives its truthfulness, power, or authority to work faith in human hearts from the scriptural documents as such must be rejected as biblicism”.
By this statement, Dr. Nafzger essentially separates Christ from His Word. But Holy Scripture says (Eph 2:20) that the Church is "built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets".  Nafzger thereby closes off his LC-MS from any connection with Missourian roots, even Lutheran roots.  It was John Eck, the papist and antagonist of Luther, who "called the Lutherans ‘ink theologians’ (theologi atramentales) because they believed that all Christian doctrine should be derived from Scripture." (Robert Preus, The Inspiration of Scripture, p. 207)  Why does Nafzger fight against Holy Scripture so hard? —  In the next Part 5 we learn why the Missourians were attacked in so many ways...

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Missourian! 3: A Missourian is…what?; denying it = falling from grace

      This continues from Part 2 (Table of Contents here), a series presenting Walther's Foreword to the 1872 Der Lutheraner on the term “Missourian”. — Now Walther gets to the heart of his essay.  The Church of the Reformation was now several centuries old and had gained a certain measure of respectability.  But its teachers, in Germany and elsewhere, were veering off course and a strong correction was needed. Oh, but what a "hornet's nest" was stirred up.  We continue now Walther's narrative.
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Taken from Der Lutherner v. 29 (1872), p. 1-29-10. Translation by BackToLuther using DeepL, Google Translate, Microsoft, Yandex. Underlining follows Walther’s emphasis. All hyperlinkshighlighting, text in square brackets [ ] are mine.

Foreword (“Vorwort”)
Twenty-ninth year of Der Lutheraner.
[by C.F.W. Walther, part 3 of 5]

Page 9, Column 1
(Continued and concluded.)
That's Missourian!” — that's how quite a few now exclaim both here and in the old fatherland when they want to warn others about certain doctrines and institutions. As soon as they have said: “That’s Missourian” they think they have said completely enough to be able to reject the matter without further proof. It is only too obvious: by calling us not Lutherans, but "the Missourians", they want to make it clear that we are a new sect, which every faithful Lutheran has to be careful of, if he does not want to be seduced. Some have already been kind enough to call us a sect, or to claim in our face that we are on the straight and narrow path to becoming a sect. Missourian doctrine and practice and new false doctrine and practice, a Missourian and a man who causes all misfortune in the church, — these are respected and now explained by many as almost synonymous things. What the Papists wanted to say four and a half centuries ago [sic, 3-½ centuries] when they called Luther's companions in faith and confession not Christians, but “Lutherans”, that's what many today want to say when they now call us not Lutherans, but “Missourians”. As one once wanted to ban the so-called Lutherans with this name from the old Christian church, so one apparently now wants to push us with this name, so-called Missourians, out of the Lutheran church.
It is therefore apparently high time that we also talk about what a so-called Missourian actually is and wants to be. Permit us to use the present “Foreword” for this purpose.
If we are now to say briefly and succinctly what a Missourian actually is and wants to be, it is this

A Missourian is an Evangelical Lutheran Christian, nothing else, nothing more and nothing less; and that the old Evangelical Lutheran Christianity will be [Page 9, Column 2] planted again and come up, that's what he wants
● A Missourian is a man who, by God's grace, has come to the firm conviction that Luther was the angel or messenger of God preached in the Holy Scriptures, who, after the Christian Church had been led by the Papacy into extreme corruption, was to fly with the “eternal,” that is, with the pure, unadulterated, divine gospel, through the midst of the church heaven. (Rev 14:6) 
● A Missourian is a person who, by God's grace, has also come to the firm conviction that the Lutheran Church of the Reformation was truly a true reformation of the church, namely a redemption from the tyranny of the Antichrist and a restoration of the old, original Christian church to its first apostolic purity. 
● A Missourian is a man who has therefore also come to the firm conviction that our Evangelical Lutheran Church, after thousands of years of oppression, has taken out of the rubble and dust of all kinds of human and devil’s doctrines (1 Tim. 4:1) that have penetrated is again resurrected visible orthodox church Jesus Christ on earth and that its confessional book, the so-called Book of Concord (above all the unaltered so-called Augsburg Confession, publicly handed over in the year 1530 to Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Augsburg), with the writings of the apostles and prophets agrees with the most exact in all points. 
● A Missourian is a person who has also firmly convinced himself that Luther, in all the doctrines of faith in which confession he remained until his death, was a witness of truth awakened by God, highly enlightened and sent to all Christendom, and that this truth was laid down for faithful preservation in Luther's writings left to us as an invaluable treasure chamber entrusted by God to the Lutheran Church. 
● A Missourian is so firmly convinced of all this in his conscience that he could only deny it if he fell out of God's grace.
● A Missourian respects the writings of the theologians of our Church who, in the seventeenth century, developed, expanded, and applied the doctrine retrieved by Luther in scholarly and edifying writings, such as the writings of [Page 9, Column 3] J. Gerhard, Aegidius and Nikolaus Hunnius, Caspar Brochmand, Andreas Quenstedt, Heinrich Müller, Christian Scriver and others, and also accepts with great gratitude what the later Lutheran theologians have said and contributed to the good from God's Word to the present day; but 
● a Missourian does not correct the confessional writings of our Church and the teaching of the Reformation from the later writings, but receives these.
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      Wallace McLaughlin, a former Presbyterian and ULC Lutheran who eventually became a pastor and teacher in the Missouri Synod, related the following while a student at a ULC seminary:
"At college I was attacked by class-mates and finally 'set straight' by the president of the institution (a former Missourian) for my 'Missourian views' on election and conversion." 
      When I read Walther's statement about denying being a "Missourian", I recognized my own path in life.  When I left my Missouri Lutheran upbringing from a small town congregation, I left the Lutheran faith… and I was actually falling from God's grace.  And it was only by His grace that I returned to the "Missourian" Lutheran Christian faith. — In the next Part 4…

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Missourian! #2: Lutheran Martyrs; deny Luther?; ceased to be dirty word? or not?

      This continues from Part 1 (Table of Contents here), a series presenting Walther's Foreword to the 1872 Der Lutheraner on the term “Missourian”. — This portion begins with those who died as Lutherans, also in America, but ends with how the label of "Lutheran" lost its dirty word connotation.
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Taken from Der Lutherner v. 29 (1872), p. 1-29-10. Translation by BackToLuther using DeepL, Google Translate, Microsoft, Yandex. Underlining follows Walther’s emphasis. All hyperlinkshighlighting, red text, text in square brackets [ ] are mine.

Foreword (“Vorwort”)
Twenty-ninth year of Der Lutheraner.
[by C.F.W. Walther, part 2 of 5]

As often as the Papists had murdered a witness of the truth in and after Luther's time, in Germany, France, England, Spain, etc., they always thought they had justified themselves sufficiently and could boast of their bloody deed if they could only say [page 2, col. 1] that the one executed was a Lutheran. Even the Calvinists were often persecuted as “Lutherans” at that time. This has even happened in America. In the time of the persecution of the Calvinists in France in the second half of the 16th century many French Calvinists emigrated to America and founded a settlement among other things on the coast north of Florida. This aroused the jealousy of the King of Spain, the fanatical papist Philip II. The same sent therefore (in the year 1565) a squadron of 11 ships, manned with 2600 soldiers, to the North American coast with the order to destroy the newly developed settlement. This order was executed on time. Whoever fell into the hands of the papist Spaniards had to suffer the criminal's death. Many were tied to the trees of the nearby forest and the headline was attached:These were not hanged as French, but as Lutherans”. By this they thought that they had sufficiently justified their murder, for a Lutheran and a man worthy of the most martyr's death were regarded by the Papists as synonymous.*) [ref. blog posts here and here]
*) Two years later, however, the French invaded the forts erected by the murderous Spaniards in the area of the destroyed French settlement in order to avenge that infamous act, and now also attached a headline to these Spaniards, but with the following: “These were not hanged as Spaniards and Catholics, but as traitors, thieves and murderers.”
But since the enemies have stubbornly persisted in calling all those who profess with Luther the old Christian apostolic faith Lutherans, so finally all confessors of this faith have had to put up with this name. Yes, in the end it has come so far that the one who did not want to admit to being a Lutheran, although he carried the ancient Christian apostolic faith in his heart, by his denial of being a Lutheran, would have denied the true faith. Luther therefore wrote already in 1522: 

“Finally, I see that I must add a good word of admonition to those whom Satan has now begun to persecute. For there are some among them who think that when they are attacked they can escape the danger by saying: I do not hold with Luther or with anyone else, but only with the holy gospel and the holy church, or with the Roman church. For saying so they think they will be left in peace. Yet in their hearts they regard my teaching as the teaching of the gospel and stand by it. In reality this kind of statement does not help them, and it is in effect a denial of Christ. Therefore, I beg such people to be very careful.
True, by any consideration of body or soul you should never say: I am Lutheran, or Papist. For neither of them died for you, or is your master. Christ alone died for you, he alone is your master, and you should confess yourself a Christian. But if you are convinced that Luther’s teaching is in accord with the gospel and that the pope’s is not, then you should not discard Luther so completely, lest with him you discard also his teaching, which you nevertheless recognize as Christ’s teaching. You should rather say: Whether Luther is a rascal or a saint I do not care; his teaching is not his, but Christ’s.
For you will observe that the tyrants are not out merely to destroy Luther, but to wipe out the teaching. It is on account of the teaching that they attack you and ask you whether you are Lutheran. Here you must be sure not to speak with slippery or evasive words but frankly to confess Christ, no matter who did the preaching—Luther, or Tom, Dick, or Harry. The person you can forget; but the [page 2, col. 2] teaching you must confess. Paul also writes thus to Timothy in 2 Tim. 1:8: ‘Do not be ashamed then of testifying to our Lord, nor of me, a prisoner for his sake.’ If it had been enough here for Timothy to confess the gospel, Paul would not have commanded him not to be ashamed also of Paul—not of Paul as a person but of Paul as a prisoner for the sake of the gospel. Now if Timothy had said, I do not hold with Paul or with Peter, but with Christ, when he knew that Peter and Paul were teaching Christ, then he would actually thereby have denied Christ himself. For Christ says in Matt. 10 [Matt. 10:40] concerning those who preach him: ‘He who receives you receives me, and he who rejects you rejects me.’ Why this? Because holding thus with his messengers, those who bring his word, is the same as holding with Christ himself and with his word..” (see Luther's writing: “Receiving Both Kinds in the Sacrament”. XX, 136. f.) [St. L XX, p 90-92, § 76-78; Am. Ed. 36, p 265-266] 
Hence Margrave Georg of Brandenburg, the well-known intrepid confessor of the truth, answered at the Diet of Augsburg when the name Lutheran was used to insult him, thus: “I am not baptized in Dr. Luther; he is not my God and Saviour; I do not believe in him and do not become saved by him; and therefore in such a sense I am not Lutheran. But when I am asked whether I confess with my heart and mouth the teaching that God has given me again through his healing instrument, Dr. Luther, I have no hesitation or shyness in calling myself Lutheran; and in this sense I am and remain a Lutheran for the rest of my life.

But what happened? In the course of time, the name “Lutheran” has finally almost completely ceased to be a dirty word; on the contrary, it has often become an honorary name; as Luther had already predicted. He wrote in the already mentioned letter of consolation to the Miltenbergers: “Although I dislike very much that doctrine and people have to suffer to be called Lutheran and thus see God’s word profaned with my name, still they will have to let Luther, as well as Lutheran doctrine and people, alone and [let them] be held in esteem. On the other hand, they and their doctrine will perish and come to shame, even to the dismay of all the world and the vexation of all devils.…  We know whose word it is that we are preaching. They will not deprive us all of it. That is my prophecy, which will not fail [to come true]. May God have pity on them.” (V, 1858. f.) [St. L. 1283, § 15; Am. Ed. 43, p. 112]  But what will be the consequence of the fact that the name Lutheran has changed from an insulting name into an honorary name? This: that the enemies of the Lutheran doctrine alone want to be the proper Lutherans, but that those who really are, now by new party names, e.g., Old Lutherans, Missourians, and the like, suspect and seek to brand as a newly emerged sects.
Be it then granted to us in the next issue to pronounce on the new name “Missouri, Missourian Doctrine” which has been pinned on us and our doctrine by the enemies.
(to be continued.)
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      As I read Walther's statement that “the name ‘Lutheran’… ceased to be a dirty word”, I was reminded of how the great spokesman for "Science" in the 19th and 20th centuries, Andrew Dickson White of Cornell University, called Lutheranism
“…that branch of Protestantism which claims special enlightenment”.
White, in a perverse way, grants the Lutheran Church a sort of respectability.  But in the 20th century, in an "Evangelical" America, Franz Pieper, in an essay in Lehre und Wehre in 1925, said:

According to [William] Shedd there are only “two great systems of theology which divide evangelical Christendom, Calvinism and Arminianism”. The Lutheran Church, which in its confession rejects both Calvinism and Arminianism, is denied the right to exist. …Princetonian Charles Hodge, joins Shedd in his judgment. Hodge declares the doctrinal position of the Lutheran Church “illogical” and untenable.
If today one announces to another of the American Reformed persuasion, whether that person is Presbyterian or Baptist or Pentecostal or "community" or whatever, that you are a Lutheran, you will typically get a response similar to those of Shedd and Hodge.  — Today, the pope "stoops" so low to appear to be in agreement with "Lutheranism"… or is it the other way around? And, of course, Arthur Carl Piepkorn said that "Lutheranism" held only a third rank in today's religious scene.  But it is all a sham.  Of course the Pope knows, as well as the rest of the world, that modern so-called "Lutheranism" has long ago left the true Lutheran faith.  But I digress.  — In the next Part 3…