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Monday, November 28, 2011

Pieper's Fear

As I researched the old Missouri Synod in the 1990s, I came to realize 2 things:
1) the old (German) Missouri Synod had the doctrine pure, the doctrine of Luther and the Lutheran Church and
2) the old (German) Missouri Synod had largely passed out of existence and even those who claimed to be successors to this church body were questionable

That left a very large question for me.  What external church body should I join?  As I researched various church bodies, I continued reading the writings of the old (German) Missouri Synod –
  • reading Christian Dogmatics carefully, thoroughly
  • reading every English translation of Walther, Pieper, and Luther
  • scanning, transcribing, and translating virtually every important publication of the old German Missouri Synod
As I became disappointed in the church bodies that claimed to be successors to the old (German) Missouri Synod (see this post and this post for examples), I also found that Dr. Franz Pieper (the 20th Century Luther!) noticed in his last year also that things were not quite right as things stood in talks with other "Lutheran" church bodies. So I wrote the following essay to myself:
Pieper's Fear
Franz Pieper near his death in 1931:
I fear that some of our adversaries and former opponents themselves confess these Theses (Brief Statement of 1932) and yet with the heterodox they promote a mixed belief.
Prof. Theodore Graebner in the American Lutheran magazine of December 1939:
One of the statements in the A.L.C. declaration has been criticized as hiding a denial of objective justification - when this doctrine is accepted by the American Lutheran Church (because it has accepted our Brief Statement) and when both Ohio and Iowa Synods for generations past have taught correctly this same doctrine. As long ago as 1872 and as recently as 1938 the public doctrine in the areas here placed under suspicion has been the plain doctrine of Scripture as we teach it ourselves.
Yes, Dr. Pieper, you knew there was a problem just as Martin Luther knew there was a problem at the time of his passing. Indeed, Satan was loosed in the unionism to follow Pieper's death in the Missouri Synod. Pieper's Theses, the Brief Statement of 1932, were adopted but have passed into non-use and misuse. There is no Missouri Synod anymore. But that does not make the Gospel of no effect. Rather, God is testing His own with a situation of a dead external church.
True faith will cling to God's Word – the Word of His Grace. And it will rejoice in the writings of the fathers of the Missouri Synod.
= = = = = = = End of essay = = = = = =
The quote above from Prof. Theodore Graebner shows the definitive evidence that the modern LC-MS is not the old (German) Missouri Synod.  For it shows that Prof. Graebner was confused on the basic doctrine of Christianity – Objective Justification!  It is especially this doctrine that the new (English) LC-MS failed the test of pure doctrine and wavered in discussions and interactions with other church bodies, whether in America, Germany, or the world.  It was this doctrine that the new (English) LC-MS wants to avoid because it clearly separates pure doctrine from error.
It is this doctrine that I cling to for dear life!... my spiritual life!  Go ahead, modern LC-MS, just try to argue against the old Missouri with your modern arguments that miss the point!  You stand in the muck that causes doubt on this doctrine!  I stand on the Rock that is firm - the Gospel!  i.e. Universal, Objective Justification!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

An error in report of Walter A. Maier (part 3 in series)

Among the statistics reported of Walter A. Maier by his son Paul L. Maier is the following:
In 1922, Maier accepted the call to become Professor of Old Testament History and Interpretation at Concordia Theological Seminary. At 29 years of age he was the youngest person to hold the rank of full professor in the institution’s eighty-three year history.
While researching the life of Franz Pieper, I noted how young he was when he was appointed to be a professor at the St. Louis Concordia Seminary.  So I decided to do some simple math and discovered that Pieper was indeed younger than Walter A. Maier in his appointment, being about the age of 26.  Another error is the name of the institution "Concordia Theological Seminary".  Because the institution W.A.M. was appointed to was in St. Louis, it had to be "Concordia Seminary".  "Concordia Theological Seminary" was located in Springfield, Illinois at that time.

So why would Paul L. Maier, W.A.M.'s son, make this error?  One could write it off to the enthusiasm of a father's son.  But I must correct this error publicly because it is one of many ways in which the modern LC-MS has ignored the bountiful Christian heritage of the old (German) Missouri Synod.

It was Franz Pieper who was the youngest man to be appointed to professorship then, not Walter A. Maier.  And who was it that was appointed to be the successor to the great C.F.W. Walther as President of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. when he died in 1887?  It was the young professor Franz Pieper, age 35.

All of this means nothing in the spiritual realm... rather it was the doctrine that makes Franz Pieper the giant that he is – The Twentieth Century Luther!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Problems with Walter A. Maier...

(See previous post for background)
Professor Walter A. Maier (W.A.M.) was a contemporary to Franz Pieper.  He was contemporary to Theodore Graebner.  Where was W.A.M. when Theodore Graebner went public with his unionistic messages in 1938 and beyond?  He was the same as W.H.T. Dau, silent.  He could not properly defend the pure scriptural doctrine that Pieper had set down in his Christian Dogmatics volumes and the Brief Statement of 1932.  W.A.M. was a party to the modernization of the old (German) Missouri Synod.  This is not due to his use of the English language, but rather the doctrine he held.  All of his "15,000 pages" of published works don't hold well in the light of Luther's writings, in the light of Walther's wonderful sermons, essays and books, in the light of Pieper's doctrinal writings in Christian Dogmatics.

No, when the Lord brought me back to his fold, I had to go past Walter A. Maier, my namesake, and read Walther and Pieper, and Luther.  There the kingdom of heaven was pounded into my lap.  There was no watering down of God's teaching.  And although Walter A. Maier preached "Back to Luther!", it wasn't him that I listened to, even if "A World Listened".  Rather I listened to the pure Gospel without any doubts.  I listened to the defense of this Gospel against all attackers no matter how unpopular it would seem to the World.

Today, the Internet can bring the whole world to this website.  That is technology.  In Walter A. Maier's day it was radio broadcasts.  But it is not man's technology or popularity that saves, it is rather God's Word.  How can I, a single person, against all that popularity of Walter A. Maier, be his judge?  It is because I have the doctrine pure.  Although I rejoice in part of W.A.M.'s work, I have to bypass him for my ultimate assurance of salvation.  That is why it is Luther, not Walter A. Maier, that it can be said:
Luther's Doctrine Pure Shall To Eternity Endure

Thursday, November 24, 2011

My middle name is Walter... (The Lutheran Hour)

My middle name is Walter which was given to me after Walter A. Maier, the first speaker for The Lutheran Hour radio program (1930-1950).  One of Dr. Maier's sermons was titled "Back To Luther!" and his notoriety in his day was quite amazing – you can read about it in Wikipedia.  It is amazing how he stood up to the likes of Clarence Darrow, Eleanor Roosevelt and the Federal Council of Churches, stood with Herbert Hoover and Rear Admiral Byrd, and filled stadiums.  It is amazing that:
By end of year, 1949, the Lutheran Hour was broadcast from 55 countries to a potential listening audience of 450,000,000 in 120 different lands. Programming was translated into thirty-six languages, and plans were in motion to raise that tally to fifty. An agreement had been reached to add a 111-station Japanese Lutheran Hour to ongoing broadcasts in Spanish, Afrikaans, German, Chinese, Arabic, Slovak, Italian, Greek, Estonian, Latvian, Hungarian, Bulgarian, Polish, Russian, and others. The broadcast could be heard in Australia, Latin America, throughout Africa, the Far East including much of Communist China, the South Pacific Islands and the West Indies, and all of Europe, including Soviet Eastern Europe and some of Asiatic Russia.
What also amazes is how popular it was with the masses (450 million mail count in 1 year) and yet how little it is known today.  Walter A. Maier made national news.

The book A Man Spoke, A World Listened, written by his son Paul L. Maier, says the following (pgs 388-389):
Walter Arthur Maier was the first person in history heard around the world on a regular basis, the first to preach to a cumulative total of some two-thirds billion people annually, the first to have his words translated and aired each week in thirty-six languages, the first to receive daily masses of correspondence from 120 nations and territories, and probably the first American churchman whose published works exceeded 15,000 pages.  Authorities have stated that "the most heard preacher in history" ought to occupy a place eventually on the pages of church history in the post-Pauline succession of the great preachers and missionaries of Christendom: Chrysostom, Boniface, Luther, Wesley, Edwards, Whitefield, Carey, Livingston, Spurgeon, Maclaren, and others.  Perhaps this is overstatement.  At any rate, in just one sermon Maier addressed more people than the cumulative total congregations of all these greats over a lifetime of preaching.
So why don't I call Walter A. Maier the "20th Century Luther" instead of Franz Pieper? It is because of his doctrine. See the next post for more on this.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Letters to a Fort Wayne LC-MS professor - Eugene F. Klug (Part 3)

In Part 2, I started my cautions to Dr. Klug who was perhaps the closest man in the LC-MS to the true heart of the old (German) Missouri Synod.  This last letter is a bit more harsh towards him than my third letter in Part 2 since he showed some tendencies towards the practices of the modern LC-MS.  But I believe he is with the believers in the Lord now as he passed away since this letter was written.  Here is my final letter to him:

Dr. E. F. Klug
6600 N. Clinton St
FortWayne, IN  46825-4996

Now I must address to you a matter that is evident to all.  It is there for all to see- the other name on the cover of the books Sermons of Martin Luther - The House Postils- 3 volumes is “Baker”.  Any Lutheran taught in the former members of the Synodical Conference would most likely know that Baker is unfamiliar to Lutherans as a Lutheran book publisher (Concordia, Northwestern, Lutheran Synod Book Co., Bethany Lutheran College).  I know that Grand Rapids is home to largely Reformed Church activities.  Perhaps you could tell me their background.  Another publisher in this category would be Eerdmans.

Do the leaders of these publishers believe as you do - world/universal justification  (i.e. that the resurrection of Christ was the actual absolution of the entire sinner world)?  Do they believe this is the very heart of the Gospel, the true message of Easter? alone which opens the Holy Scriptures? alone which distinguishes Law from Gospel? alone without which there is no true comfort or peace?

Have they said to you: “You are right, Dr. Klug, not only did Christ’s work on the cross pay for the debt of all mankind, but the Father actually absolved all sinners, even Judas and all those sweating in hell, and that the proclamation of the Gospel is nothing other than to announce an already existing pardon.  We were wrong in either limiting justification to only the elect or “persevering believers”,  or to those who have “made a decision for Christ” in our synergism.  You are right, Dr. Klug, we have wrongfully limited the grace of God by saying that the pronouncing of the forgiveness of sins (absolution) cannot actually be a powerful imparting of the same, not just bare repetition of man.  We have cut off the power of the Word of God by saying your assurance must come from your own feelings, that the “Spirit” must do that and thereby cutting off the only source of assurance available to man, God’s gracious means of grace in His Word and the Sacraments.  Yes. Dr. Klug, the doctrine of universal justification is correct and we want to start publishing this truth to all the world by publishing your books of translations of the sermons of Martin Luther.  We want to stop publishing books that call into question any of this truth.  In fact, could you lend us a copy of your Lutheran Confessions and see for ourselves these things?  Also, we will publish in our preface to your books that we hold to these doctrines and explain to all Lutheran readers that their Lutheran small catechism was a wonderful way to understand this truth.”

Perhaps you think I am being facetious about these things.  No, it is a “matter of life and death” - Franz Pieper, Synodical Conference, 1912.

You remain in a synod that tolerates doubt on this doctrine.  How so?  By the discounting of this doctrine in dealings with other church bodies- unionism.  What would Luther say?  “Monstrous!” - monstrom incertitudinis.

Signed, Xxx Xxx
I can tell you that life for Dr. Klug was not easy.  How can I be certain of this?  Because he saw his beloved Missouri Synod deteriorate from the certainty of Holy Scripture to the uncertainty of human reason.  And it almost dragged him down with it...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Letters to a Fort Wayne LC-MS professor - Eugene F. Klug (Part 2)

In Part 1, the second letter that I wrote to Prof. Klug repeated a doctrinal question from the first letter.  My third letter below indicates the answer he gave me on this doctrine and the beginnings of my warnings:


Dr. E. F. Klug
6600 N. Clinton St
FortWayne, IN  46825-4996

Dr. Klug:
I received your response to my second letter some time ago.  I rejoiced at your use of John 3:16 and thanked God for that confession, as evidenced in the following:
“Your question is answered, isn’t it, by John 3:16?  God’s redemption/salvation/justification of sinners (the world) left no one out, but included all, ...”

However, the portion that followed is of grave concern:
“...but only he has it who by faith receives it.  He that believeth not shall be damned, he shall not have the benefit of X’s gracious, salvatory work in behalf of the whole world.”
What could possibly cause my concern?  After all, you largely use Scriptural wording in this phrase.  And it is certainly true that “ without faith it is impossible to please him” (Heb 11:6).  What concerns me is that you felt compelled to add this portion, which does not directly deal with my question.  My question was:
“Do you believe objective/universal justification (allgemeinen Rechtfertigung)?”
I couple this with your statement in your November 4, 1996 letter:
“...Engelder as a significant expert and influential teacher  on the proper use and understanding of these two terms [objective/subjective justification], also cautions about possible misuse of them in theological discussion.” (underlining mine).

In an earlier letter, you called Franz Pieper “the premier systematician among all Lutherans in America”.  However, this is not how he taught redemption/salvation/justification.  To be sure, he also taught that faith is necessary, but only as an instrument:
“In treating of justification Scripture places faith in opposition to all works and all goodness in man.  ‘By faith, without the deeds of the Law” (Rom.3:28)...” Christian Dogmatics II,438.

In view of the manifold errors on the doctrine of faith, teaching that faith is necessary to receive justification without clarifying this as only an instrument (not a condition) leaves doubt in the mind of the poor sinner’s conscience.  No, Franz Pieper never left this thought gain a foothold.  He always taught according to Scripture that this faith means “without the deeds of the Law”.

This doubt caused by faith-as-a-necessary-condition for my forgiveness (suggested by your addition of the final phrase in your letter) I must reject and cling to the first phrase.  It is a matter of life and death- (Pieper essay to the Synodical Conference, 1912, page 10, Moving Frontiers -,CPH,  pg 289).  All those who would almost scream “Justification by FAITH” are in reality clinging to faith as a work, as a condition.  They repudiate Walther’s teaching of a Justification before faith - objective, universal, general justification.  And mark well, there is no subjective justification apart from universal justification.

You are probably aware of Walther’s words on this, but I take this opportunity to recite his heart:
“On the other hand, the Lutheran Church assures man on the basis of God’s Word: Everything has already been done; you are already redeemed; you have already been made righteous before God; you have already been saved. . . . Only believe that Christ, the Son of God, has done all this in your stead; and by means of this faith you are a participant in this salvation.  Being saved by faith means: saved through the righteousness of Another, namely Christ, whose righteousness becomes man’s personal possession.” (Western District, 1874- Convention Essays, CPH, page 75.)

“One dare never say to people: ‘You are saved provided you have faith’; rather the reverse: ‘Because Christ has redeemed you, therefore you now believe that you are saved’.” (Western District, 1874- Convention Essays, CPH, page 77.

“As certain as these things are, so certain it is also that God the Father, in raising Jesus Christ from the dead, has already absolved all men from all their sins. . . And this is not just one of the many comforting doctrines which the Scriptures contain, but rather it is the only real foundation of the comfort which is contained in any doctrine of the Scriptures.”  Brosamen, Sermon starting on page 138, translated in ELS The Word of His Grace- Sermon Selections, page 233.

“In order to present the perfect redemption of all men by Christ in its full clarity, Walther is concerned to insist that there exists for every person grace, righteousness, and salvation even before faith is engendered, that every sinner is righteous before God; even before he believes, so far as this righteousness has been procured and God has purposed to bestow it, . . .” (Franz Pieper on the teaching of C.F.W. Walther on Justification, CTM, vol 26, 1955, page 920, Lehre und Wehre 1890).

“As Walther shows, the very concept of faith demands that we regard grace, redemption, righteousness, and salvation as already existing.  He who denies this fact must also deny that man is justified and saved by faith.” (Ibid, CTM, 1955, page 922 top)

Accordingly, none of them can say: "How can the minister know the condition of my heart?  What is absolution to profit me when I am impenitent?"  Answer:  "Indeed, in that case it is of no benefit, but it is of benefit when it is believed.  However, this is certain that you have been absolved. (The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel, page 376.)

This last quote contains words similar to what you wrote me.  However Walther, in order to be sure there is no misunderstanding, adds the last sentence: “However, this is certain that you have been absolved”.  I must take this as Walther’s last word.  It is this teaching that alone brings the proper distinction of Law and Gospel.  He does not leave me in the least doubt that my sins are forgiven because all sins have already been forgiven for Christ’s sake.  Whenever Scripture, Luther or Walther (and Pieper) bring out the importance of faith, they mean: (1) apart from the Law (faith alone) and (2) believe it because it is true.  And thereby does the Savior “spread out his hands all the day”, Isaiah 65:2 and Romans 10:21,  “gather us together”, Matthew 23:37, and give us “the things which belong unto our peace” Luke 19:42.

Why am I writing these things to you?  Because you worked with Theo. Engelder, who succeeded Franz Pieper, who succeeded C.F.W. Walther.  They were teachers of Israel.  C.F.W. Walther- Mr. Universal Justification!  I am fully aware of the popularity of Walther to be known as Mr. “Law and Gospel”.  Because of the controversy on the doctrine of Justification, I am first and foremost calling Walther Mr. “Universal Justification”.

Doctrine is heaven, life is earth- Martin Luther, Commentary on Galatians (Luther's Works 27,41)

Signed, Xxx Xxx
As you, dear reader, can see, this "blog" is dedicated to the pure doctrine of God's grace - a doctrine so wonderfully proclaimed by Luther, Walther, and Pieper!  Part 3 is to follow with my last letter to Dr. Klug.

Letters to a Fort Wayne LC-MS professor - Eugene F. Klug (Part 1)

This post will be a little different than the harsh letter I wrote to the St. Louis professor in the previous post.   This is because in Prof. Eugene F. Klug († 2003), there remained vestiges of the old (German) Missouri Synod.  O how sweet the fragrance of that church body! Although my last letter to him contained a warning, yet it was a softer warning than the warning I gave the St. Louis professor.
Below is the first of four letters to him:

Rev. Eugene F. Klug
1554 Colony Dr
Fort Wayne  IN  46825

Rev. Klug:

You state in your preface to Handbook of Lutheran Theology that you were the amanuensis for Theo. Engelder during 1941-1942.  You called him a giant like F. Pieper.  Then you say that it was likely to be expected that he be a somewhat the unsung also-ran of Missouri Synod following F. Pieper.  Why would this be so?  Why was not Engelder the successor to Franz Pieper as head of the St Louis Seminary?

Dr. Engelder was alive when the Statement of the 44 in 1945 was issued.  What was his response?  And what is your response?

Dr. Engelder was alive when the Lutheran Church- Missouri Synod was in discussions with other church bodies for the purpose of union.  What was his position?

Dr Engelder was the bastion of defense of true Christian doctrine, especially objective justification and the Scriptures.  He was a true student of Walther/Stöckhardt/Pieper.  Dr. Klug - what do you say?  Do you believe objective/universal justification (allgemeinen Rechtfertigung)?

Signed, Xxx Xxx
Professor Klug responded wistfully that it just was not to be that Engelder would succeed Pieper as the seminary president.  As my letter indicates, that was most unfortunate for the LC-MS.
My second letter to Prof. Klug zeroed in on a very important point of doctrine:

Rev Eugene Klug
6600 N. Clinton St
FortWayne, IN  46825-4996

Rev. Klug:

I received your letter of November 4 some time ago and am thankful for your first-hand report of Dr. Engelder.

Perhaps it was overlooked, but I did not see a specific response to my last question though.  It was: “Do you believe objective/universal justification (allgemeinen Rechtfertigung)?”  This refers to the doctrine specifically taught by C.F.W. Walther himself and carried on uninterrupted by his successors - Franz Pieper and Georg Stöckhardt.

Signed, Xxx Xxx
Can you, dear reader, see where I am leading?  More in my next post where I publish my third letter in Part 2...

Monday, November 21, 2011

A letter to a St. Louis LC-MS professor...

I wrote some letters to a conservative St. Louis professor in 1998 about a then current hot topic concerning "Objective Justification".   The topic was hot because a man named Larry Darby had written an article vehemently denying the teaching of Objective Justification and that Walther and Pieper did not hold to this teaching.  But for me this was a matter of spiritual "Life or Death" and so I wrote to several well known "conservative" Lutherans and Lutheran teachers to see if they believed and taught this doctrine.  One of the persons I wrote to was a professor at Concordia Seminary-St. Louis who seemed to be "conservative".  I will call him Prof. X.  I am presenting this letter now to the public because it contains my confession of faith that I believe Universal, Objective Justification and hang onto it for dear life!

Dr. X
Concordia Seminary
801 DeMun Ave.
St Louis, MO  63105

Dr. X:

Your short answer to me did nothing for my confidence in you.  I do not follow your defense of the doctrine of Objective Justification – rather I believe it.

Cursed is your precious Graebner Synod.  Cursed are your seminaries.  And Dr. X, if in your short answer you hide behind this doctrine to save your precious Synod, cursed are you!

Here are your PUBLIC doctrines, Dr. X:

“… A. Hoenecke, whose magnificent dogmatics is in important respects superior to F. Pieper’s” (Anatomy of An Explosion, page 45); “Foreign missionaries had, if anything, even more occasion to complain of impossible rigidities.” (ibid, page 56); “Graebner said long ago that a short-sighted legalism would ‘breed radicalism, liberalism, strife, and division.’  He was right.” (ibid, page 57)

Pieper, Francis. Christian Dogmatics. 3 vols. “… this comprehensive synthesis of Scripture doctrine does not discuss some of the more recent theological developments.”  (What Luther Says, page 1634)

C.S. Meyer:
Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, The. VI. Conservation, 1887-1932. 2. F. Pieper … “favored German culture.” under same heading, same page: 10.  “In relations with other churches the synod seemed to stand aloof.” (Lutheran Cyclopedia, 1975, page 491);

Theodore Graebner:
“I told you at Decorah and I am repeating it now that Dr. Preus and Rev. Torrison had every reason to be confounded by such an ‘opinion’.  It is not for me to judge what caused Dr. Pieper to write this meaningless letter.  All that I have a right to say is this: due to my enormous respect for Dr. Pieper as a theologian, I did not have the courage to protest against the letter but became a partner in these evasive tactics. …  Preus and Torrison are with the saints of God and whatever injustice they experienced in this life cannot disturb their rest.” (Aaberg, A City Set on a Hill, Board of Pub., ELS, 1968, page 279.  Letter written by Theodore Graebner to Dr. Nils Ylvisaker on November 12, 1938)

One of the statements in the A.L.C. declaration has been criticized as hiding a denial of objective justification – when this doctrine is accepted by the American Lutheran Church (because it has accepted our Brief Statement) and when both Ohio and Iowa Synods for generations past have taught correctly this same doctrine.  As long ago as 1872 and as recently as 1938 the public doctrine in the areas here placed under suspicion has been the plain doctrine of Scripture as we teach it ourselves.” (American Lutheran, December, 1939 {vol. 22, pgs 3796-3797)

“But the real “Breakthrough” in Dr. Graebner’s change in attitude toward other Lutherans was observed at the Philadelphia meeting of this conference several years later (I would guess mid-1940s - ed.).  In a session when Dr.  Elmer Flack of Hamma presided, Dr. Graebner asked for the floor to make a statement.  I wish somebody had taken down the statement, but all of us were intent to listen carefully; the statement in essence was: “All of you know how active I have been in keeping my church suspicious and hostile with respect to developments in other Lutheran churches.  I want you to know that I regret many things I have written and said.  I have learned to respect and trust many Lutheran brethren in other synods.  From now on I shall devote the rest of my life, the few years that may remain to me, to rectify matters and plead with my brethren in the Missouri Synod to follow my example”.  At times his voice halted and tears come into his eyes while making this statement.  All of us in the meeting were stunned, not exactly surprised, but lacking words to express our appreciation.  I remember seeing Elmer Flack’s tears roll down on his face and temporarily he was immobilized.  But after a bit he arose and without saying a word he stepped over to shake Dr. Graebner’s hand and embrace him.  Then I remembered Dr.  Greever’s prediction and thanked God with the others at the meeting for Dr. Graebner’s statement.” (Edward C. Fendt, The Struggle forLutheran Unity and Consolidation in the U.S.A. from the Late 1930’s to theEarly 1970’s., Augsburg Publishing House, 1980)
Theodore Graebner, in the American Lutheran article, could not have been more plain in his attack on Objective Justification. He should have been immediately questioned by theological leaders in Synod and stripped of his offices of professor and editor if he adhered to this position.  He wasn’t.  Your doctrinal discipline now “should” start with Dr. Theodore Graebner.  And then perhaps, after several other later teachers in the LC-MS were disciplined, you could address the Larry Darby situation.  But you would have to instruct your President Barry who “has elected to stay above the fray and leave us to his wolves.” – per Xxxxx Xxxxxxxxxx.

In your face, today’s LC-MS:

= = = = = = = =
“In the long term, if the world lasts, Missouri is as doomed as Jerusalem, Constantinople, Rome, Moscow, or Wittenberg” (prophetic words from Anatomy, page 55)

I recorded a statement of Luther in my readings of him:
“Farewell, unhappy, hopeless, blasphemous Rome! 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 habitiation of dragons, specters, and witches and, true to her name Babel, an everlasting confusion, a new pantheon of wickedness.”
Substitute for “Rome” the term “today’s LC-MS”, for your synod has returned to Rome.  How could I say this?  Because the Lutheran Doctrine of Justification opened my eyes.

I am not through with the Breakthrough Graebner LC-MS yet.

Signed, XXXX
A Pieperian ‘short-sighted legalist’
Jeremiah 5:2, 6:14, 8:11
This professor did profess to believe this core doctrine of Christianity.  Good!  However he had to be warned of the grave danger he was in to be in fellowship with so many who would question or falsify this basic doctrine.  In the next post, I am publishing a letter to a Fort Wayne seminary professor in the LC-MS.
= = = = = = = = = = = = = =
  • As of Nov. 6, 2012, I have decided to reveal the identity of this Professor – it is Professor (emeritus) Thomas Manteufel.  His defense of Objective Justification was published in a letter section of Christian News on January 12, 1998.  The 2-page PDF copy is available to download here.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

"Calvin and Luther" - Pieper's historical theology

In CTM volume 2 of 1931, pages 308-309, is the following item by Dr. Pieper (my translation with Internet help):
Calvin and Luther. With last year's “Augustana-Fair of the General Evangelical -Luth. Conference in Augsburg” after the report of the “A. E. L. K.”, the French-Lutheran P. L. Appia said about Luther and Calvin: “It must not be forgotten that the French Reformation, which in some respects in its origins of the Lutheran Reformation (page 309) is independent [?], but from the beginning stood in close relationship to her.  The first Huguenot martyrs were as 'Lutherans' condemned and burned. The great reformer of France, Jean Calvin, who had a significant intellectual and organizational influence from Geneva on our country, quite strongly felt his spiritual kinship with Martin Luther and was probably familiar with the Augsburg confession. 'I have', he wrote in 1557, 'for a long time signed voluntarily and with all my heart, as I understand it the same as its author.'"  Calvin is referring to the altered Augsburg Confession variata by Melanchthon in which Melanchthon omitted the clear rejection of the Reformed absence doctrine for the sake of the Reformed. For the rest, Calvin was so vehement an opponent of the Lutheran church that he looked to oust them where they had already opened the area. He became such a determined enemy of the Lutheran church because the fraternal fellowship of faith was denied him.                 F. P.
Luther was the only reformer of the church... the others followed or fell.  Pieper is the best teacher of Historical Theology.

"Luther's public library" (St. Louis Edition - Missouri Synod)

Dr. Pieper reported in Concordia Theological Monthly (CTM, vol. 2, pgs 309-312) in 1931 of events in Germany concerning Luther's writings and publishings there.  One pastor (P. Ernst Herrmann-Eßlingen) caught Pieper's eye by saying "Back to Luther!" again.  How Pieper rejoiced.  But at the same time other voices in Germany reported that there was a general misunderstanding of Luther because his language had been reduced through modernizing and re-translation.  To this Pieper responded:
We ask: Is it really true that our Christian people no longer understand Luther's German, as Wolfgang Metzger claimed? We have the contrary experience. The Missouri Synod has almost as long as it exists, "Luther's public library," "to the use and benefit of the Lutheran Christian people selected complete writings of Dr. Martin Luther unchanged and reprinted with the necessary explanatory notes," in thirty volumes. Our brethren in the Free Church of Saxony and other States have probably a hundred "Luther notebooks" with brief remarks, but also with the unaltered text of Luther. And as well as we in our “Luther's public library” like them in their “Luther-notebooks”, Luther's German is understood by our Lutheran Christian people. We know this from experience.
Yes, there are other publications of Luther than the Missouri Synod's St. Louis Edition, most notably the Weimar Ausgabe from Germany.  The modern LC-MS hardly even mentions the old Missouri's St. Louis Edition (or "Luther public library") in their English translation of Luther in Luther's Works series.  But it was the St. Louis Edition (in German language) that followed Luther faithfully in it's comments and background information because Luther can only be understood spiritually, by faith.  This the St. Louis 
Edition did.  And I will say along with Dr. Pieper: "We know this from experience."

A school of the prophets - Concordia Seminary, St. Louis (1892)

Below is a picture of the faculty during the glorious days of pure Christian doctrine, the old (German) Missouri Synod. Dr. Pieper is the young man in the middle, the President of the Seminary:
(photo updated 2016-08-19)
The Faculty of Concordia Seminary 1887–1892
Sitting, from left to right: C. H. R. Lange, M. Guenther
Standing: G. Stoeckhardt, F. Pieper, A.L. Graebner

This picture was taken a few years after the death of Walther (published in 80 Eventful Years, page 102).  Pieper was chosen to be on the faculty when he was 26, and became it's President when he was 35.  Pieper was a young man among older men, yet he was their leader.  Pieper was a spiritual leader, leading the way with pure Christian doctrine, working for agreement with other church bodies and attempting to correct their un-Scriptural errors so that they too might know the truth.
And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions...  Acts 2:17

Friday, November 18, 2011

Pieper's "nervous breakdown"

It was noted in Theodore Graebner's biography of Dr. Pieper that he had a "nervous breakdown" at two different times during his career that interrupted his teaching.  I recall during my intense study of Pieper in the 1990s that this was reported in the Missouri Synod press elsewhere with this term.

Today Wikipedia describes a "Nervous Breakdown" as "...a specific disorder that presents primarily with features of depression or anxiety."  Who knows what that term meant back in Pieper's lifetime.  But I have difficulty believing that Pieper was depressed about anything.  If anything, he was surely distressed with the doctrinal errors of the "Lutheran" opponents of the Missouri Synod and those Lutheran bodies flirting with unionist tendencies towards erring bodies, especially those of the Norwegian Synod.  I recall how he looked for signs of life in the Norwegian Synod... to their return to the pure doctrines of Conversion and Election.  This concern along with a heavy work load of teaching and administration probably caused exhaustion... not a "nervous breakdown", an ambiguous term probably in vogue then.  Luther too was distressed in his lifetime... with some tendencies of his associate Philip Melancthon and others struggling with their Christian faith.  Being distressed or exhausted is a different thing than being "depressed" or nervous about anything.

Let the modern world cook up it's own terms for the human condition.  I'll stick with the human condition that the Bible describes.  Jesus was sorely distressed in the Garden of Gethsemane... was he having a "nervous breakdown"?  Peter denied his Lord three times under questioning... was he having a "nervous breakdown"? When the apostle Paul wrote the Corinthians with "much affliction", "anguish of heart" and "many tears" (2 Cor. 2:4), was he perhaps having a "nervous breakdown"?  But perhaps Herod had a "nervous breakdown" when the angel of the Lord smote him after his oration to his people (Acts 12:23).

No, Pieper believed God, and it was credited to him for righteousness (see Genesis 15:6).  During his 2 times of exhaustion (not "nervous breakdown), he took some time off to get mental and physical rest from his extensive labors and came back refreshed and ready to "fight the good fight of faith" (1 Tim. 6:12)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pieper's error (Monier-Williams, not Max Mueller)

In all my extensive reading of Dr. Franz Pieper, I found one error.  That I found such an error stunned me because Pieper was intellectually so bright and meticulous that it seemed impossible that he could make such an error.  On the other hand, the error is certainly not one of doctrine.  What was Pieper's error?
On page 15 (volume I) of his Christian Dogmatics book, he quotes "Monier-Williams" extensively on his comparative study of religions.  This person was a professor of Sanskrit in the University of Oxford for 40 years (or more).  However, footnote 22 on page 16 states:
"Max Mueller: wrong name."
But further references in the English language Christian Dogmatics continues the use of the name "Max Mueller" instead of "Monier-Williams".  And the index Volume IV of this work only lists the person of "Max Mueller". So I went to the original German text in his Christliche Dogmatik and found that Dr. Pieper originally identified this person as "Max Mueller" with no mention of the name of "Monier-Williams".

The truth is that the person who wrote so eloquently that all religions except Christianity teach "salvation by works" was indeed Monier-Williams, not Max Mueller.  So I wrote to Oxford University back in 1997 to inquire more about this matter and a Mr. Gombrich replied and determined that indeed the person who wrote the essay on comparative religions to the British Bible Society could only have been Monier-Williams.  This can be clearly confirmed by the article in Wikipedia about Monier-Williams. I then wrote to Concordia Publishing House to try to find out who corrected Pieper's error in the English edition.  Mr. Ken Wagener replied that he could not determine who corrected this error by the notes available to him.

So I have a theory that some other fellow professor reported to Pieper the essay on comparative religions and gave him the wrong name of the author as Max Mueller. And Dr. Pieper accepted this report without confirming it and so it was likely a trusted associate... perhaps Prof. A.L. Graebner, or Prof. W.H.T. Dau.

So what was written by Monier-Williams that so impressed Pieper to quote him several times in his writings?
"In the discharge of my duties for forty years as professor of Sanskrit in the University of Oxford, I have devoted as much time as any man living to the study of the Sacred Books of the East, and I have found the one keynote, the one diapason, so to speak, of all these so-called sacred books, whether it be the Veda of the Brahmans, the Puranas of Siva and Vishnu, the Koran of the Mohammedans, the Zend-Avesta of the Parsees, the Tripitaka of the Buddhists – the one refrain through all – salvation by works. They all say that salvation must be purchased, must be bought with a price, and that the sole price, the sole purchase money, must be our own works and deservings. Our own holy Bible, our sacred Book of the East, is from beginning to end a protest against this doctrine..."
Although the Wikipedia article on Monier-Williams makes no mention of his essay to the British Bible Society, I am presenting it here to honor him.

[2017-05-31: see my later expanded blog posts on Monier-Williams]

My confession

If Jesus did not die for the sins of the whole world, that is everyone who has lived and will ever live (yes, including Judas), then I am going to hell!  And if when I die and find out that I was wrong in my understanding of the teaching of Scripture, then I will point to God in his face and say: "You, God, deceived me!"
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.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Pieper's Christian Dogmatics - the greatest of all time

In the last post, Prof. Ludwig Fürbringer commented on Dr. Pieper's Christian Dogmatics extensively.  Now I must add my comment:
The 3 volumes of Christian Dogmatics (or Christliche Dogmatik in German) are the greatest publication of Christian doctrine ever! As Fürbringer pointed out, Walther wrote extensively but not a comprehensive doctrinal publication.  So it was Dr. Pieper, the Elisha to Walther's Elijah, that actually wrote the dogmatics that Walther would have wrote.  And Walther is the man who brought the true Luther, the man of faith, to our time.  I recall a statement of Walther in one of his essays: "O you Luther!".
And what did Pieper write in his Dogmatics?  One statement in his Preface to Volume I says it all:
"Modern theology has gone the way of Rome."
So it is this Dogmatics that sweeps away all "modern" theology, especially of his homeland Germany, but also in America.  It is this Dogmatics that clears away all the errors of today and sets forth the pure doctrines as God has given in the Scriptures.  As Pieper so often quotes John 10:35 in his work:
... the scripture cannot be broken

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Dr. F. Pieper als Theolog (Dr. F. Pieper as Theologian)

I stated on my other website the following:
Who was it that Concordia Publishing House chose to write the biography of Dr. Franz Pieper at his death in 1931? Professor Theodore Graebner, the one who now charges in 1938 (and 1936 privately) Pieper with writing a "meaningless" letter and bringing "injustice" to Preus and Torrison...
However after studying the articles in Concordia Theological Monthly after Pieper's death, I must say there is an article by Prof. Ludwig Fuerbringer (Fürbringer), his successor as Concordia Seminary president, that does some justice to Dr. Pieper.  If only he had been stronger in resisting the poison of unionism being pounded into the Missouri Synod by his fellow professor Theodore Graebner.  Here is the English translation of Fuerbringer's German language article from CTM, volume 2, October, 1931, pages 721-723 [updated link]:
Dr. F. Pieper as Theologian
(by L. Fürbringer)
     In 1888, almost a year after the death of Dr Walther on May 7, 1887, began a series of articles under the headline "Dr. C.F.W. Walther as Theologian" (vol. 34, pg 97) in the April issue of "Lehre und Wehre" (Doctrine and Defense, ed.) by Professor F. Pieper, the fine young colleague and successor to the presidency of the seminary at St. Louis. These articles went through four years – five appeared in 1888, five in 1889, nine in 1890 and two in 1891, a total of twenty-one articles.  These masterful articles, which probably deserve to be reprinted,  present by Professor Pieper Walther's entire theological position on the basis of careful research through his entire literary activity, and Walther's position treated on every major point of Christian doctrine. Such an article should really appear, now that Dr. Pieper has gone home on June 3, and bring his position in all parts of Christian doctrine to representation. But such an article would require, as just the series of articles about Walther shows, longer, more detailed study of the publications of Dr. Pieper in books and magazines in his more than 50-year public activity from 1878 to 1931, and therefore could appear only after a long time and would also, if it should be fairly complete, extend over yearsHowever, even apart from that just mentioned, it seems that such a series of articles is not so necessary, as was the case for Walther, for from Pieper was to come – and we say with heartfelt gratitude to God and in grateful remembrance of the departed what had not come from Walther in spite of his eminent and many-sided activities, namely the preparation of a detailed dogmatics. Though Walther did have a new edition of J.G. Baier Compendium Theologiae Positiva procured, in fact, an editio auctior et emendatio (new, improved edition, ed.), as the title says, because he had so many of the most precious additions added in quotations from ancient and modern times, these so-called additamenta (additions, ed.) are more extensive than the original compendium and are in some sense a dogmatics of Walther and can retain their value over time for all.  (page 722) It was interesting to me as I looked to see that the first post of Pieper to "Lehre und Wehre" (Doctrine and Defense", ed.) was a display and recommendation of just this first issue of this work of Walther (vol. 24, p. 371). Dr Pieper, however, was fated to present his own independent presentation of Christian doctrine, and his three-volume "Christian Dogmatics" in the years 1917 to 1924 appeared (also including the 1928 detailed index volume almost indispensable for the right use of the work) which brought his position on every single point of Christian doctrine, and that is in all points the biblical - Lutheran doctrine. The work displays all the qualities that always distinguished Pieper's oral and written presentation: first make clear, definite, and intelligible exposition comprehensible; because Pieper was always vigorously for the principle that anyone who is clear in doctrine, can and must also clearly explain this doctrine; that Christian doctrine is not only the property of scholars, but Christians, and that in order to understand the truth, one must stand in the truth.  This educational presentation is then demonstrated sharply, clearly and certainly from God's word as the sole source and norm of all doctrine and confirmed as Lutheran with evidence from the confessions of the Lutheran Church and the writings of it's fathers. Here also the academic nature does not fall short, but rather, anyone who knows and uses this work must recognize that even all the necessary text-critical, exegetical, historical and doctrinal historical explanations, especially in the comments, are presented. And finally, we say of this work of imperishable glory, that the whole presentation is not only a reason theology but also a heart theology, practical in the full and best sense of the word, and so meets the purpose of each correct Dogmatics like all true theology, namely, to speak by Pieper with the words of our old, so esteemed and thoroughly studied theologians, ad sensum sacrae Scripturae inveniendum atque aliis demonstrandum .... salutem ad hominum Deique honorem (to discover the sense of Sacred Scripture and the other to  demonstrate.... for man's salvation and God's honor, ed.). I may probably say at this point that I have perused Pieper's dogmatics when each volume appeared after the other to make from beginning to end word-by-word with the pencil in the hand, in order to make notes carefully to myself with the greatest interest and benefit; and if there are found repetitions frequently, then it is partly due to the emergence of the work from very different periods, and partly due to impress with deliberate effort certain basic truths in ever-changing connections. What has been said here has also been expressed by theologians outside of our own Synod.  (page 723)  In 1924, a German university professor in Systematics, who belongs to the sharpest theological-philosophical thinkers of the present, but is definitely not on our theological position, wrote me: "The Dogmatics of Dr Pieper is already known and valuable to me. I find many thoughts that are familiar and meaningful. I am particularly pleased of an extensive agreement in the doctrine of the sacraments. But especially important to me is that the principle controlling the whole dogmatics is to go back to Luther. This has also been for my theology the determining point of view. We stand, however, in different historical connections than the American Lutherans, so that in detail probably some differences show; but nevertheless it is also with us a deepening in Luther's thoughts the longer, to notice all the more." And recently a German-American theologian, who has struggled through in hot battles with the Lutheran doctrine, wrote me:  "The last nine months were the hardest of my life. Augustine's interpretation of John chapter 6 about the spiritual enjoyment of the sacred meal used the evil enemy, to drive me into such confusion, that I almost would have told the Lutheran church Valet (or be my servant? ed.). However, God's good Spirit bothered me again to get Dr Pieper's Dogmatics and to compare the teaching at the hands of Scripture, Luther and the Confessions. Saying heartfelt thanks to God, I have come through his grace now to achieve clarity and inner peace.Whoever looks honestly, today also finds, I have learnt literally.... .... Next to the grace of God, Dr. Pieper's incomparable dogmatic theology has helped me to full peace and clarity. All my doubts and concerns have disappeared."
Yet if we are preparing now to publish here a short article about Dr. Pieper as a theologian, we want to emphasize just two points, but just the main points of right biblical-Lutheran theology; and anyone who has read and heard something of Dr. Pieper knows that he arrived at his theology especially on those two points. They are in truth the principles and therefore also the hallmarks of genuine Lutheran theology. These are the two basic truths, that Pieper pronounced as a true Lutheran theologian (who knows how many times) and laid to the heart in old, known ways yet ever new connections of the Church: sola scriptura and sola gratia.
I have omitted several pages at this point that quote from Pieper's various writings on these points because they are sufficiently covered in his volumes of Christian Dogmatics and in the Brief Statement of 1932.
As I read Fürbringer's article, I decided to search his other published writings.  But I could not find that he continued with the spiritual strength of Pieper and he wrote more of reminiscing of the old Missouri Synod.  Unfortunately this allowed the spirit of unionism to gain a foothold and brought the downfall of this once beautiful church body.  Dear God! ... how beautiful it was!
Lord have mercy on us and send teachers as Luther, Walther, and Pieper again!  Thank thee for giving us tools to unlock their many untranslated German writings so that we may feast more on thy doctrine as thou hast given us in thy Scriptures!  In Jesus precious name I pray.  Amen!

Dr. Franz Pieper's commentaries in "Lehre und Wehre" - uploaded

[2015-10-26: changed Google Doc version from "edit" to "publish" mode]
I have uploaded my doc file containing all listings (and some portions) of Dr. Pieper's comments on current happenings during his tenure in the periodical "Lehre und Wehre" (Doctrine and Defense).  These are dated from 1878 to 1931 and include his commentaries in the subsequent publication Concordia Theological Monthly (1930 - 1931).  The document contains my imperfect machine translations from the original German language (somewhat rough) done in 1999.  And I have highlighted items and phrases of interest to me.

This file is in Google Docs and is rather large. It will be the basis for many of my future postings...
Here is another link from Dropbox if the first one does not work.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Pieper - Historical Theology - "What Einstein does not know"

Pieper was a contemporary of Albert Einstein and commented on a speech he gave.  Pieper's comments are found in Concordia Theological Monthly, January 1931, pgs 69-70.  Translations from the German language portion are largely from Google Translate:

What Einstein does not know about he gave himself distinctly in an Associated Press report, dated Berlin, 15 November 1930:

"Dr. Albert Einstein, originator of the relativity theory, lectured on the laws of cause and effect last night before a crowd of young (page 70) radicals in Humboldt Hall. He encouraged his audience to ask questions and not to imagine they were foolish questions. 'For before God we are relatively all equally wise or – equally foolish,' he remarked. He touched on the metaphysical and psychological aspects of causation, beginning with the ideas of primitive peoples, who are able to conceive only an 'animistic will cause'; who, in other words, believe all happenings are directly caused by a thinking agency, human, divine, or demoniacal. He said he saw nothing to prove that the world was 'causal.' As to the 'first cause,' he said, he couldn't even now tell which came first, the hen or the egg. Determinism, which lays down that everything that happens is due to the law of necessity, Einstein said, 'is belief, not knowledge.' Physicists no longer believe in strict determinism, he added. Mankind, he said, has not gone very far in knowledge. 'The farther we proceed, the more formidable are the riddles facing us,' he asserted. He said the ultimate issues were beyond man's ken."
The talk is modest. And this modesty is in order. There is a "metaphysical problem". It will remain true that no created spirit penetrates into the interior of nature. It was also pointed out recently by naturalists that the mysteries of nature increase as the the tools are sharper with which we observe nature. The reason is this: As God has created all things, he is also the one who receives all things in their being and life and movement, Col.1, 16:17. God is invisible, 1 Tim. 6, 16, so out of reach for the microscope and telescope. Hence, the result that with the increasing sharpness of our observation instruments the riddles increase. But this "modesty" can be carried too far. This happens when it degenerates into agnosticism. The world is "causal" in the sense that it is recognized as made by God if it is looked with understanding (xxxx), Rom. 1, 20: "God's invisible nature, that is, his eternal power and Godhead is clearly seen, so one perceives in the works, namely the creation of the world." As for the famous question of priority, whether the chicken or the egg, or - what is on the same line - whether it was the oak or the acorn first, the Scriptures teach, as is well known, that through God's creative word a complete, fully-trained plant and animal world came into existence. The plants are more likely than their seed, and the animals rather than their offspring. Likewise, man is ready and created fully trained. On the contrary assumption, the whole and the half evolution, prudent scientists even of the modern era admit missing the "filling intermediate link".
Modernists can claim all kinds of answers to Pieper's mention of the "missing link" but it does not change Scripture which clearly does not admit a theory of Evolution.  Pieper is a true judge of Einstein and this issue.