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Monday, October 31, 2011

Historical Theology

I was reading the article and discussion on "Lutheranism" in Wikipedia and noticed the considerable controversies there.  There is an attempt to present church history and Historical Theology there but this topic is not one to be covered without God's perspective from the Scriptures.  Franz Pieper covered this in his Christian Dogmatics book, vol. 1, page 100-101 last paragraph: is the dogma, that is, the doctrine of Scripture, which stamps these various branches of theology as theological disciplines and unifies them.  It is the function of historical theology not only to give a historically true picture of the events, but also to evaluate these established facts in the light of Scripture.  Historical theology is the divinely taught art of ascertaining from Scripture God's verdict on the historical events and conditions.  That is what makes church history a theological discipline.  When the church historian judges events according to his subjective view or any other extra-Biblical norm, church history is no longer a theological discipline. ...Where things are as they should be, the Church will, therefore, elect only such men as professors of church history as are thoroughly conversant with the Scripture doctrine in all its parts, well informed in dogmatics, in order that the instruction in church history will not confuse but aid Christian understanding.  (my bolding)
So it is impossible to get true church history without the light of Scripture, although there is ever so much written without it.  That is why you will get true church history from... Franz Pieper and those old German Missouri Synod fathers who held to the true doctrines.  This blog is dedicated to bring them to light again... more to follow.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Franz Pieper - 20th Century Luther!

On October 12, 1998, I made the last edit to this document about Franz Pieper.  I am now publishing it to the world:
I do not write the phrase “Franz Pieper – 20th Century Luther” to play the part of his cheerleader.  I write this phrase because it is true!  And none will understand it except by faith.  Franz Pieper stands as Moses who held uplifted arms for the Israelites, as Luther in the glorious restoration of the Gospel from centuries of darkness, as C.F.W. Walther in heralding that restored Gospel in the “new world” of America.  It was Franz Pieper who stands in this century with God’s truth from His Word.  He maintained those walls as built by Walther, so much so, that he stands on the same ground with Walther.
  • It was Franz Pieper who identified Walther as the one who brought the doctrine of Justification to light again after a period of darkness. 
  • It was Franz Pieper who stood for true unity with the brethren in the Synodical Conference.
  • It was Franz Pieper who spoke the clearest of the reformer Martin Luther at the 400th Centenary Jubilee of the Reformation and of  the Augsburg Confession.
  • It was Franz Pieper who wrote the most complete, orthodox doctrinal textbook series ever
  • It was Franz Pieper who wrote the Brief Statement of 1932.
He built only on God’s grace, the one sure foundation.  And he warned all of the disaster of departing from the truth of God’s Word and the chief article of Christianity.  No one taught more clearly the glorious Gospel in the 20th Century than Franz Pieper.  No one stood more for true unity in the Christian church in the 20th Century than Franz Pieper.  No one grieved more when that unity was not forthcoming due to remaining doctrinal differences.
If you have been bewildered at what is the truth of God’s Word, of the discrepancies in the teachings of the Missouri Synod and the later LC-MS. Bewildered at the apparent difference of teaching between the later LC-MS and the fathers of the Missouri Synod.  Bewildered by honors paid to Missouri Synod fathers and subsequent questions regarding some of the doctrines they taught..  Baffled by the reasons why the Synodical Conference split up.  Bewildered by the multitude of judgments against Luther and the Missouri Synod fathers in Concordia Publishing House books such as the foreword to Luther’s Works, foreword to Proper Distinction Law and Gospel [by Jaroslov Pelikan], Lutheran Cyclopedia, What Luther SaysMoving Frontiers, and various articles in CTM, etc and other books such as Kurt Marquart’s ‘Anatomy of an Explosion’, Theodore Graebner’s many outside publishings.  Not to mention the vast array of former Missouri Synod members.
To all who would know the truth, you will only find out if you start with God’s truth of what happened on Easter morning: to wit, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them.
To all who would question this statement for reasons advanced variously by the modern LC-MS, you do so to the peril of your soul! 
It was Franz Pieper’s Brief Statement that so clearly followed the Lutheran Confessions in defending the sola gratia and universal grace.  It was the heart of Christianity’s evangelical nature that the differences of the Iowa and Ohio Synods (now ELCA) were attacking.  It was the onslaught of human reason that Pieper defended against by declaring God the Father’s heart had changed and yet God is immutable.  And now the WELS and Kurt Marquart attack this teaching.  But this attack is not Lutheran.  For it was the Ev. Lutheran Church which defended this and did not shrink back from the arguments of human reason. 
It was Franz Pieper who assured all who would see, that the face of God was truly seen at Calvary, at the cross.  The Lutheran Church is the church that teaches truth, certainty, salvation, comfort, consolation, assurance, the true meaning of Christmas, Easter.  It was Franz Pieper who knew the danger of unionism and clearly warned against it with statements such as “It is a matter of life and death” and “They [Ohio/Iowa] were reaching for our souls.”.
It was Franz Pieper who was willing to discuss doctrine with Ohio/Iowa at the urging of fellow Missouri Synod member.  It was he who so diligently delineated the points at issue to have the best possibility for agreement. And it was he who so clearly judged (praise God) that the agreement was not there by the opponents own words.
I published earlier Pieper's last words to the LCMS here, but I will repeat an excerpt here:
Oh, I, an unworthy sinner, whom God has so greatly blessed  that I for so many years was permitted to teach and have  proclaimed this inexpressible grace! May the dear Missouri  Synod never forget that  its chief God-given calling is to carry into all the world the testimony of the Sola Gratia (salvation by grace alone)!

Monday, October 24, 2011

My farewell letter to the LCMS

Back in 1998, I composed this farewell letter to the LCMS, my old church body. After God had re-awakened the truth of his Word, the truth and beauty of the true Gospel, I began to devour all writings of Christianity.  But the more I read, the more I realized the true fountain of Christian doctrine flowed from the old German Missouri Synod.  Here is my letter which makes use of Luther's writings against the Church of Rome, and Erasmus:
“Farewell, unhappy, hopeless, blasphemous Rome (today’s LC-MS)! The wrath of God hath come upon thee, as thou hast deserved.  We have cared for Babylon, and she is not healed.  Let us, then, leave her, that she may be the habitation of dragons, specters, and witches and, true to her name Babel, an everlasting confusion, a new pantheon of wickedness.” [St. L. v. 18, 426-427]
Hear and listen! today’s LC-MS! See where you are now! For you give God the lie! Would to God I could locate and burn all your blasphemous doubtings and disputations against God’s Word and His Grace!
Luther on Erasmus: (A Life Of Luther, Fortress Press, 1966, Oskar Thulin, pg50)
“It is true that he uses refined words, like ‘the dear, holy Christ,’ ‘the saving Word’, ‘the holy sacraments’, but in reality he considers them to be very cold matters.
… Carefully and intentionally he says everything in a tone of doubt; his words are ambiguous and he can interpret them as is expedient to him.
… Erasmus of Rotterdam looks upon the Christian religion and doctrine as if they were a comedy or a tragedy, in which all the events described therein never actually happened or really took place, but were fabricated with the sole purpose of instructing the people in a good external conduct and life and preparing them for worthy obedience and discipline.” (WA,TR 2, 2420; TR 1, 699, 797; TR 2, 2170)

Hear, today’s LC-MS. This is you! The judgment for you is the same as for Erasmus!
Bold?  Yes.  But I was angry that today's modern LCMS can trample on it's heritage of pure Christian doctrine so flippantly.
I date the downfall of the old Missouri to the day that Franz Pieper died in 1931, although Professors Theodore Engelder and J.T. Mueller continued for awhile.

Jewish Encyclopedia on "Christianity"

I enjoy reading the Jewish Encyclopedia concerning Christianity.  It does a better job of explaining what Christianity is than most so-called "Christian" teachers today.  If only the papacy understood what is stated there.  The following is from the section on Christianity under subtitle "Paul's Antinomistic and Gnostic Views":
      "Having, under the influence of a vision, turned from an earnest persecutor of the new sect into its vigorous champion, he construed the belief in the atoning death of Christ held by the rest into a system altogether antagonistic to Judaism and its Law, claiming to have received the apostleship to the heathen world from the Christ he beheld in his visions.  Operating with certain Gnostic ideas which rendered the Messiah as Son of God a cosmic power, like Philo's 'logos,' aiding in the world's creation and mediating between God and man, he saw both in the Crucifixion and in the Incarnation acts of divine self-humiliation suffered for the sake of redeeming a world polluted and doomed by sin since the fall of Adam.  Faith alone in Christ should save man, baptism being the seal of the belief in God's redeeming love.  It meant dying with Christ to sin which is inherited from Adam, and rising again with Christ to put on the new Adam (Rom. vi. 1-4; 1 Cor. xv; Gal. iii.-iv).
 ...   On the other hand, Paul taught, the law of Moses, the seal of which was Circumcision, failed to redeem man, because it made sin unavoidable.  By a course of reasoning he discarded the Law as being under the curse (Gal iii, 10), declaring only those who believed in Christ as the Son of God to be free from all bondage (Gal. iv.)."  (underlining is mine)
Indeed, Paul's message was antagonistic to "Judaism and its Law".  The key to this is that "its Law" was not God's Law.  Judaism had perverted God's Law. The problem for the Jews is that they don't believe God's salvation... they rely on the Law, their good works, for their salvation.  It's a natural thing for man... we all believe this by our sinful nature.
It was Luther and C.F.W. Walther who properly distinguished the Law and the Gospel.  They did this by faith, faith in the Word, faith in Christ, faith in the Gospel.

W.H.T. Dau - his book on Luther (and Jews)

In 1917, W.H.T. Dau, a professor at Concordia Seminary, wrote a book (in English) entitled "Luther Examined and Reexamined - A Review of Catholic Criticism and a Plea for Revaluation".  This was timed during the 400th Anniversary of the Reformation and was aimed at current Catholic criticisms of Luther.  This book is in the public domain here.

Although the book has merits for it's intended purpose and should be read, it also exhibits some confusion and weakness that was starting to enter the old German Missouri Synod concurrent to the use of the English language.  I am speaking specifically about Dau's opening comments to his discussion of Luther and the Jews, pages 198ff.  He says:
One of the most pathetic spectacles which the student of medieval history has to contemplate is the treatment of the Jews at the hands of the Christians. 
and later:
The characteristic temper of the Jew in the Middle Ages, his fierce hatred of Christianity, his sullen mood, his blasphemous treatment of matters and objects sacred to Christians, are the result of the treatment he received even from the members and high officials of the Church.
One could defend Mr. Dau's remarks by saying he meant something different than he said - the term "Christianity" was meant to refer to Popery.  But the damage is done.  All those trusting hearts in the Saviour now have to question this faith because it seemingly turns them into monsters.  Dau should have chose his terms more carefully.  This is very close to how the Jews now speak of Christianity - a religion that leads to murder and the "Holocaust".

Thursday, October 20, 2011

More on the "Toledot Yeshu" of the Jews

Peter von der Osten-Sacken wrote a book titled  "Christian-Jewish Dialogue" in 1982 (translated to English 1986 Fortress Press).  On pages 36 - 39, he addresses the touchy subject of the Jewish book Toledot Yeshu of the Jews against Jesus.  He says this blasphemous book was discarded in the age of the Enlightenment and he dreams that the Jews have softened towards Jesus and gives examples "... of positive Jewish interpretations of Jesus today".  He even calls this softening a "revolution".  But this is all wishful thinking on his part in contrast to the truth that Martin Luther spoke that the "Jews" as a group will never be converted to Christianity and therefore warned against their teaching and sympathizing with them.

Don't be fooled by the article in Wikipedia (and a thousand other places) about the Toledot Yeshu which follows the usual line that it was "a reaction to Christian anti-Judaism".  This reasoning only is intended to fool Christians into thinking their religion is one of hate and murder. No, it was Martin Luther who spoke the truth about this Jewish book in his book "Vom Schem Hamphoras" (see earlier post).  Luther's book is a straightforward analysis of this thoroughly anti-Christian book.

Concordia Seminary, St. Louis - 1926 Dedication video

[2018-06-15 added link to current CSL website; Nov. 26, 2014: updated to add download link to video converted to MP4 format]
There is a silent video (lasting 16:44) on the web showing the festivities at the opening of the new Concordia Seminary (St. Louis) in 1926.  It requires iTunes to view it. I have not figured out how to download it:

Or download converted video to MP4 format directly ==>>  here <<== (43 MB)
2018-06-15: reference this CSL website that displays this video.

Dr. Pieper appears at the 0:20 and 10:50 marks.  Prof. Theodore Graebner is shown at the 12:08 mark unveiling the "Graebner Hall Tablet", presumably in honor of his father Prof. A.L. Graebner.  Rev. J.W. Behnken (later President of the LC-MS) is shown at the 13:13 mark giving an address.  Walther's (died 1887) carriage is displayed at the 13:57 mark.

This is the only video recording that I know of that shows Dr. Pieper.  I believe T. Graebner said somewhere that they wished they could get a voice recording of him but did not.

It appears that this is a major transition time for the LC-MS.  The English language had made major inroads into the activities:
  • the video has messages in English, 
  • Tyndale (a non-Lutheran) was honored for his English Bible, and 
  • A.L. Graebner wrote for the English based Theological Monthly publication. 
This was 7 years after Pieper wrote about why the German language was still the main language used in Missouri Synod publications.  Perhaps there was a headiness in the air... the beginnings of the downfall of doctrine in the old German Missouri Synod.  However there still remained a faithful teacher to head off any doctrinal compromising ... it was Dr. Franz Pieper, the "The Twentieth Century Luther!".

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

LCMS and the Jews

[2019-03-13: added link to 1983 LCMS  Cleveland Convention Proceedings]
The LCMS published an article some time ago entitled "Judaism".  The file name is "Judaism 2005.pdf". It is currently located here (as of October 19, 2011):
If it becomes unavailable, here is a link to a copy.

And in 1983, the LC-MS evidently adopted "Resolution 3-09" [Cleveland Convention Proceedings, p. 157] concerning "Anti-Semitism". (This is not to be confused with Resolution 3-09 of 1973, another well known Resolution in the LCMS):
Resolution 3-09, "To Clarify Position on Anti-Semitism," of the Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Church (July 1983)
Whereas, Anti-Semitism and other forms of racism are a continuing problem in our world; and
WHEREAS, Some of Luther's intemperate remarks about the Jews are often cited in this connection; and
WHEREAS, It is widely but falsely assumed that Luther's personal writings and opinions have some official status among us (thus, sometimes implying the responsibility of contemporary Lutheranism for those statements, if not complicity in them); but also
WHEREAS, It is plain from Scripture that the Gospel must be proclaimed to all people-that is, to Jews also, no more and no less than to others (Matt. 28: 18- 20); and
WHEREAS, This Scriptural mandate is sometimes confused with anti­-Semitism; therefore be it

Resolved. That we condemn any and all discrimination against others on ac­count of race or religion or any coercion on that account and pledge ourselves to work and witness against such sins; and be it further
Resolved, That we reaffirm that the bases of our doctrine and practice are the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions and not Luther, as such; and be it further
Resolved, That while, on the one hand, we are deeply indebted to Luther for his rediscovery and enunciation of the Gospel, on the other hand, we deplore and disassociate ourselves from Luther's negative statements about the Jewish people, and, by the same token, we deplore the use today of such sentiments by Luther to incite anti-Christians and/or anti-Lutheran sentiment; and be it further
Resolved, That in our teaching and preaching we take care not to confuse the religion of the Old Testament (often labeled "Yahwism") with the subsequent Judaism, nor misleadingly speak about "Jews" in the Old Testament ("Israelites" or "Hebrews" being much more accurate terms), lest we obscure the basic claim of the New Testament and of the Gospel to being in substantial continuity with the Old Testament and that the fulfillment of the ancient promises came in Jesus Christ; and be it further
Resolved, That we avoid the recurring pitfall of recrimination (as illustrated by the remarks of Luther and many of the early church fathers) against those who do not respond positively to our evangelistic efforts; and be it finally
Resolved, That, in that light, we personally and individually adopt Luther's final attitude toward the Jewish people, as evidenced in his last sermon: "We want to treat them with Christian love and to pray for them, so that they might become converted and would receive the Lord" (Weimar edition, Vol. 51, p. 195).
Action: Adopted (10).
Both of these documents are a bit elusive and so I have published them here for reference.  [Dec. 17, 2014: see here for current location] The adopted resolution and the "Judaism" article give aid to the enemies of Christianity.  How? By justifying unbelief.  I already answered the terminology of "Anti-Semitism" and Anti-Judaism in an earlier post.  Jesus said:
John 14:6
I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
So the LCMS gives aid to the unbelief of the Jews and are going contrary to Christianity as they go against Luther.  And I might add how silly are all the "ecumenical" movements under the umbrella of "Abrahamic faiths" (e.g. Christians, Jews, Turks/Muslims/Islam).

Friday, October 14, 2011

Objectivism and Objective (Justification)

It is reported that the founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, is a self-avowed "Objectivist to the core".  In another article on Objectivism (Ayn Rand) it states: 
The name "Objectivism" derives from the idea that human knowledge and values are objective: they exist and are determined by the nature of reality, to be discovered by one's mind, and are not created by the thoughts one has. (italics mine)
This blog post is about the doctrine of "Objective Justification".  By 'objective' the fathers of the Missouri Synod sometimes used the Latin "extra nos" or outside oneself versus "inter nos", from one's own thoughts.  The Bible has something to say about this idea:
1 Cor. 2:9  But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
So the Bible teaches there is an objective truth that man cannot conceive by himself... it is extra nos or outside him or objective.  Man can only get it from God's Word, the Bible.  And what is the fundamental truth found only in the Bible?
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
All sinful man is justified already! Only believe it, this objective truth!  This is objective justification, the Gospel itself.

Now it does not appear by all that has been written about Jimmy Wales that he believes this objective truth (i.e. that he is a Christian).  It is only by the working of the Holy Spirit through the Word that anyone can believe it.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Pieper: German language - from 1919 back to 1885

In the earlier post that quoted Dr. Pieper's authoritative answer to the question of German vs. English in 1919, I would like to go back about 34 years to November 1885 ("Lehre und Wehre" pg 384ff) when he published a comment to an article in the "Lutheran" magazine by an "American" writer that there should be more English preachers instead of German.  Since the article includes a rather lengthy quote of the "American" writer, I will abbreviate it to Pieper's comments only:

The Lutheran Church and the German language in America.
... Here are some observations. The writer is absolutely right when he insists that one should actually expect these conditions.  If one can get with the Church of the Reformation a certain "element" only by the means of the English language, it is the sacred duty of each of the synods and congregations to provide for English preaching and preachers.  It would be irresponsible stubbornness if someone from preference for German opposed the formation of English Lutheran congregations, although apparently only as a part of the children of our Church in same might be obtained.  This can not be stressed earnestly enough.  We must preach in the Tamil language when it would be necessary.  But the writer is surely mistaken if he believes in Philadelphia, and in many other places, the Lutheran Church has solely or mainly for that reason lost so much material to the sects because one did not want to venture into the English language.  Because the youth have not been educated at all in the Lutheran doctrine, therefore the youth have primarily gone so soon to the sects.  There is yet no one who will seriously suggest that the youth be educated in the Lutheran doctrine by being taught on Sundays for about an hour in the Sunday school in the faith of the parents, when they attended public schools the whole week.  When the writer says: Other means than the pure German language is needed to get the youth in the church, even so we want to confront him with another statement:  It requires other means than the English language to get the youth in the churchWhen the Lutheran Church of the East - German or English tongue - does not provide for Lutheran day schools, so they will not get their youth in the Lutheran church, but will mostly lose them to the sects.  Nor is the proposition that every German congregation in a single generation have a very Americanized element not true.  St. Louis lies so well in America as Philadelphia, and yet we have certainly not an Americanized element, that is to say such an element which evokes the English language better than German.  It is certainly the duty of the Lutheran church to provide the foundation for all English congregations where their own children can be kept in the church only in this way.  But one should even beware to create artificial needs too much.  "That the children of our German families strongly Americanized" -- that is, above all, take the English language, is certainly "no sin": but neither is it a "sin" and certainly more natural when the children of our German families make use of the German language and also hold the German language.  They are just as good Americans.  It is just how the situation is: even now there is no American language, but there are English-speaking, German, etc. speaking Americans. (underlining is mine)
Dr. Pieper made a lot of points in this article!
  • It is not the language (German or English) but the doctrine that saves!
  • Pure doctrine must be taught and not just for 1 hour a week!
  • America was a multi-lingual country in the late 1800s - especially many German-speaking people.
I was brought up in an LC-MS church in my youth.  Confirmation classes for a few hours on Saturday mornings and also 1-hour Sunday School classes.  The confirmation class used Luther's Small Catechism and portions were memorized -- the Ten Commandments, Apostle's Creed, the Lord's Prayer, the Sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper.  Although this was more than just 1-hour of Sunday School, yet it was not as much as a "Lutheran Day School" that Pieper stresses.  In those days, there were many more Lutheran children sent to Lutheran day schools instead of public schools.  There they were not exposed to so much anti-Christian teaching taught in the public schools.  So we see Pieper's point -- it is the teaching of true doctrine that overrides any consideration of which language to use.

As to Pieper's last point, Wikipedia has an article here that discusses the history of the German language in America.  It says that
"Currently, more than 49 million Americans claim German ancestry, the largest self-described ethnic group in the U.S..." and 
"One reason for this decline of German language was the perception during both World Wars that speaking the language of the enemy was unpatriotic; foreign language instruction was banned in places during the First World War..."
So we see that the 20th century saw a marked decrease in the use of German due to the World Wars... and I am a product of this.  I am supposed to "hate" all things German because of this, especially because of Hitler and the Nazis.  But the fathers of the Missouri Synod (and Luther) used German (and Latin) to hold fast to the pure doctrine and so I must go back to them using any means at my disposal.  This blog is dedicated to this very endeavor!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pieper: Why they used German in American churches

In an earlier post, I wrote about the use of German by the fathers of the Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Church.  After some work of polishing the translation, here are articles that Pieper published on this subject.  I will present them in reverse chronological order as I back track his writings.

The first is the main answer to me, a third generation German descent American who only speaks English.  It was in the August 1919 issue of "Lehre und Wehre" (page 380) that Pieper's answer to all us subsequent English-speaking generations was given.  Here is my translation of his German:
Why the fathers of the Missouri Synod used the German language almost exclusively in the church.
This question has been put to us by people of the third and fourth generation every now and then perhaps in embarrassment.  The right answer to this question has some resemblance to the answer of the question of why Luther did not start a mission to the heathen.    First of all the fact is that just from the beginning the Saxon immigrants considered using the English language in church activities.  Even in Perry County English was preached.  In the St. Louis congregational school, the lesson in English language was already introduced before they had their own church and school buildings.  But soon they were faced with church conditions which made a nearly exclusive use of the German language necessary.  It was a matter of preserving the German immigration that was flowing into the country from the reformed sects and degenerated "American" Lutheranism.  It would have been very dear to the people of the sects and the "American" Lutherans indeed if our fathers would have abandoned the use of the German language and had left the German immigrants up to them.  But what would have become then of the Lutheran church in America?  In the light of these circumstances the accusation is to be judged, which was raised and is raised in particular on the part of the General Synod and the General Council, that the "Missourians" had not turned to the English-speaking population early enough in the English language.  Also we do not see that even those which raise this accusation act according to their demanded method.  They often show little inclination to turn to the English-speaking population to win them for the Lutheran church, but rather a strong trend comes out repeatedly to take care of the still German-speaking Lutherans and to win them over to themselves.  We still remember very well that from the circle of our accusers about ten years ago a voice was expressed saying that they should give up church activity in the East because there already everything has gone bad nevertheless by their own mismanagement, and instead of this they should proceed particularly to the West, e.g. to the state of Wisconsin, where one can use very well 50 "missionaries" to all of a sudden incorporate the German-speaking Lutherans to the English-speaking Lutheran church.  In short: One is very careful in discussing the question of why the fathers of the Missouri Synod mainly worked through the medium of the German language in the churches.  (my underlining)
Oh! how I studied this article carefully since it involved me so deeply.  I so longed to understand the German language of Luther and the fathers of the Missouri Synod but I could not.
Dear Dr. Pieper: -->> Could you not see how quickly the language situation was changing in America in your later years so that you would switch your writing to English?
But now I have to ask myself whether purity of doctrine was more important than transitioning to my English tongue... and I have to answer that (praise God!) it is purity of doctrine, by far!  What good is false doctrine in any language?  St. Paul says:
Gal. 5:9  A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.
1 Cor. 6:2  Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
So it is more important to have pure doctrine so that I may know of my salvation and also "judge the world".
Pieper's earlier article published in 1885 will be presented next time.

[2017-05-18: Friedrich Pfotenhauer also authored an article on the "Language Question" in the 1918 Der Lutheraner (vol. 74, No. 15, July 16) p. 237-238]

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Why should I care what Dr. Franz Pieper said?

Because he lived well into the 20th Century.  He lived during World War I and several years after.  So I wanted to hear his comments during this "modern" age because he was the "Twentieth Century Luther"!  Admittedly he did not live during World War II, but he did give numerous comments on the beginnings of the modern "state" of Israel (there was no "Israel" for over 1000 years).  He commented on doctrinal issues and controversies, American/German/world Lutheranism, black people, J.P. Morgan, the Jews and the modern state of "Israel", Africa, Methodism, the Pope, Salvation Army, China missions, Mars, Zionism, YWCA, Bach, Mohammed, dancing, Scopes trial, Copernicus, Free Masons, Communists, Boy Scouts, Ku Klux Klan, Negro people, Henry Ford and the Jews, evolution, jazz music, women public speakers, movies, sports, Quakers, etc.

These are the subjects we live with today!  And those who would ridicule his truly Christian world view should note his support of black people and opposition to the Ku Klux Klan.  And to prove his comments are truly Christian, he corrects Henry Ford's view of Christianity in Ford's writings against the "International Jew" (Lehre und Wehre, vol. 68, August/September 1922, pg 281-282).  Ford evidently called Christianity the "Anglo-Saxon religion" but Pieper corrects him by calling Christianity "faith in the gospel" to clearly show Ford's error on this point.  And so Pieper would correct virtually all anti-Jewish writers of today in their misunderstanding of Christianity... they may speak some truths in their anti-Jewish comments but they generally do not always speak for true Christian doctrine.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

They spoke German... why?

The fathers of the Missouri Synod  came from Germany to America and spoke and used this language during most of their religious writings and speaking.  Even Dr. Franz Pieper spoke and wrote German in most all of his religious writings until he died in 1931.  How much I lamented that I could not read all of his writings!... because they were in German!  Oh! why, Dr. Pieper, did you not speak English, the language of this country? Why did you continue to write in German so that your English-speaking descendants like me cannot understand you?  Why must I only be able to read the published English translations of your works?

Pieper answered that question for me in his comments in publication of "Lehre und Wehre"  (Doctrine and Defense).  It was in the August 1919 issue, page 380, where he answered the question:
"Why the fathers of the Missouri Synod used the German language almost exclusively in the church."
The use of the German language allowed them to keep the erroneous doctrines largely associated the "English" Lutheran churches and other "English" church bodies to infiltrate the precious, pure Christian doctrine of their church body.  And so their German use was purely for spiritual reasons, not worldly reasons. See my later post for the writings of Pieper on this subject.

But God answered my plea that I might understand more writings of the fathers of the Missouri Synod in this digital/computer age.  With a scanner, OCR software, and translation capabilities available even in the 1990s, I could begin to unlock the vast German writings of these men.  But probably the largest share of my efforts in this work has been directed towards Dr. Franz Pieper since he brought true Lutheran (that is Christian) doctrine to our age like no other....  Franz Pieper, the "Twentieth Century Luther"!

Universal, Objective Justification

In discussions and correspondence with various conservative Lutherans, I pointed out initially that the doctrine of Justification starts out with God and is Universal and Objective.  But their response was not immediately an affirmation of this most joyful doctrine (the Gospel itself) but rather that  "it must be accepted in faith".  Although this is true, they are sowing the seeds of faith as a work.  I believe that if I were to speak the words of this doctrine to Walther himself, he would immediately utter a prayer for us both: God grant that you and I may always believe this!

Now here is what God says on the subject:
Romans 5:18
Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
2 Cor 5:19
To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
And this was the teaching of Martin Luther, C.F.W. Walther and Franz Pieper that made them great!

Away with all the teaching that puts into question God’s Grace!  Away with all teaching that hints of faith as a condition!  Faith in Romans 1:17 is ONLY saying NOT BY WORKS OF THE LAW!  ONLY BELIEVE!

Faith is NOT a condition!  Lord, I do believe, help thou mine UNBELIEF!  All I can claim is unbelief- that is mine!  No, the faith of the Bible is God’s work- John 6:29:
This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent”.

All who would follow up the proclamation of universal grace/ universal justification with the teaching of faith that leaves the question as to whether faith is a condition are leaving only doubt about the original proclamation.  It springs from the same source as what produced “in view of faith” (intuitu fidei).

(read Walther's 1872 essay section on faith- and Walther's 1874 Western District essay)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

"Conservative" praise of Walther

There are small church bodies today that some years ago left either the Missouri Synod (LC-MS), Wisconsin Synod (WELS), or the Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS).  The larger bodies were all formerly members of the "Synodical Conference", a truly Christian fellowship with purity of doctrine largely following from the teaching of C.F.W. Walther.
One of those splinter church bodies, the Church of the Lutheran Confession (CoLC), highly praised Walther in an article in their publication of August, 1965 saying:
We are all descendants of one man, C.F.W. Walther.
His name must be mentioned with men since St. Paul like Augustine, Athanasius, Martin Luther and their like..
These quotes had me excited about this church body which claims to be "the true spiritual descendant of the ... the 'Synodical Conference'".  But then I found later in this article that the author spoke of “weaknesses” in Walther.  What is this?  They just praised Walther along with Augustine, Athanasius, Martin Luther, etc.  and now they want to point out his weakness (?).  Could it be his weakness in trusting Martin Stephan too much?  Could it be his weakness in allowing the term “intuitu fide” too long before the controversy broke out? (Martin Luther had his weaknesses too.)  No!  It was that he neglected exegesis” and laid a “grave weakness”; “deep scriptural work was neglected”, “the Law had a very subordinate role”, “much pietism remained in him”, “doctrinal formulations of Missouri became fossilized and sterile in rigid terminology”; “the ecumenical spirit was lacking”.  All of these charges are ridiculous... and they are similar to modern charges against Pieper.  Martin Luther had friends like this: Agricola, Carlstadt, Bucer, Zwingli, Muntzer.  They weren’t friends.  Neither is the CoLC a friend of C.F.W. Walther.  (I reserve judgment on C.M. Gullerud, one of their founders who was a true champion of Objective Justification.)
No, I am still searching for the true descendants of Walther and the old (German) Missouri Synod.