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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.

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