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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)!

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