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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Christmas Day post...

A commenter on my recent blogpost stated this:
"You use Objective Justification as a tool to destroy the Church..."
May I never stop "destroying the Church" with Objective Justification... so help me God!  The Doctrine of Objective Justification is none other than the true Gospel...  there is no "Church" without it.

A few months ago, an ELCA pastor, in a private correspondence, sneeringly called me "Franzie baby".  Would to God I were worthy of that epitaph.  May I never stop using Franz Pieper to bring the true Lutheran Church back to its senses...  to its true Lutheran roots...  to the true Doctrine of Justification, and so to the Lutheran Confessions.

If your pastor, teacher, professor proclaims that message, consider it to be purely by God's grace, for that is the message they are commanded to preach – it is not their message, it is His message.

On this day, Christmas Day traditionally celebrated during the winter season, may you have a "White Christmas" and believe God at His Word:
Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. Isaiah 1:18

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Ku Klux Klan – Pieper (and PBS) Part 2 - Secret Societies

This continues from Part 1 regarding Prof. Franz Pieper's comments concerning the activities of the Ku Klux Klan in 1922.  In that article, Pieper covered an assembly in Milwaukee where Charles Lewis Fowler, a Baptist minister, extolled the ideals of this secret society.

In this Part 2, I am presenting another brief article from the same year 1922 – in the June issue of Lehre und Wehre, pages 187 - 188.  This article starts out on a different element of secret societies – student societies (or so-called "Greek societies"), a topic covered in a previous blog post.  But Pieper ended this article by covering also the Ku Klux Klan:

The ban on student societies in universities.  From Springfield, Ill. it is reported:
"District judge Frank W. Burton in Springfield, Ill., on Friday, upheld the constitutionality of the State law against student societies and decided that students in Springfield must resign from such societies.  Lawyers for these societies announced an appeal to the State Court, however they must wait until the June deadline."
As we know, the lower court in the State of Missouri had decided against student societies.  But the State Supreme Court recently annulled this decision. The same can be expected in the State of Illinois.  We can understand the decisions of the higher court.  As surely it is that the student societies in universities mean a parallel government in schools and are dangerous for discipline in these institutions, so surely it is that these student societies are on the same line with lodges and other secret societies.  These actually also engage in a parallel government in the State. This was strikingly proven again by the World War [I] which the lodges orchestrated according to their own teachings, and indeed also therefore because the German emporer [Kaiser Wilhelm] refused to be a lodge member on grounds of conscience.  The defenders of student societies in universities [page 188] are in the same fortunate position as W.J. Simmons, the Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, who so successfully defended his Klan on the illustration of the Order of Freemasonry, that the Congress of the United States ceased further investigation against the Ku Klux Klan.             F.P.
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Note well – Pieper is crying out against student societies in public universities.  What would Pieper say about Greek societies in a "Lutheran" university? Or are you "Lutheran", Valparaiso University?

The Wikipedia article on Imperial Wizard Simmons also tells of the investigation by Congress.  They hint the reason that the investigation was called off saying that Simmons "stressed the Klan's fraternal nature".  Hmmm, why didn't they say that Simmons compared the Klan with Freemasonry, like Franz Pieper did?

There is a humorous statement (among many) in the Wikipedia article on Freemasonry that says "No one voice has ever spoken for the whole of Freemasonry."  Actually Franz Pieper did speak for all of Freemasonry by identifying its true anti-Christian nature with the use of "The Proper Distinction of Law and Gospel", something only true Lutherans can do... by faith.  This is something that Roman Catholics, Methodists, Presbyterians, any of the other "Protestant" sects, "Church of England", or Greek Orthodox cannot fully extricate themselves from, because a true defense springs from the Lutheran Doctrine of Justification.

Many today would not link the Greek societies with Freemasonry.  Almost no one would link them with the Ku Klux Klan.  Why?  Because they do not understand that the world constantly hates and strives against Christianity. John 7:7, 12:25, 15:18-19, 17:14, 1 John 3:13

Both Charles Lewis Fowler and W.J. Simmons of the KKK claimed Christianity, albeit from the sects of Baptists and Methodists – the very same "Protestant" sects that Walther and Pieper battled against in America.

It is Franz Pieper who identifies the real enemies of America – not only the Ku Klux Klan, but also the Freemasons and all secret societies.  Did your history teacher explain that one of the prime reasons for the beginning of World War I was due to the "orchestration of the lodges according to their own teachings"... and that the German Kaiser Wilhelm refused to be a lodge member? No? Could it be that your modern history lesson has been tainted by the influence of those very same secret societies?  Could it be that Kaiser Wilhelm could teach "modern history" something about this?

Actually there is an article in Wikipedia that begins to tell this story that most history books don't include – it is the tale of the Black Hand.  And there actually was a British (BBC) produced film named "Fall of Eagles" that provided a somewhat different portrayal of the monarchies of Europe before World War I than most portrayals.  The portrayal of Kaiser Wilhelm was surprisingly sympathetic, and towards the end of the film, it depicted Wilhelm's aversion to the Freemasons.  We see by Pieper's report that the British historical accounts aren't all tainted...  maybe there is some good to the BBC after all?

Can we blame all secret societies in all of their manifestations for much of the troubles of our modern world today?  ... not just the secret society Ku Klux Klan?  It is true, and we see it reported by the Twentieth Century Luther... Prof. Franz Pieper.  Modern history barely sees a glimpse of it.  If you want to know about "world history", real modern history, "Christianity Today" ... then read Pieper.

OK, this series of blog posts is supposed to focus on the KKK.  A further reading of "Imperial Wizard" Simmons in Wikipedia reveals how he founded the 2nd incarnation of the Ku Klux Klan with a burning cross on Stone Mountain, Georgia.  More will be reported about this in my next post.  There are many quarters today that denounce the Ku Klux Klan (or KKK).  One example was a story on History Detectives on PBS TV stations this year.  In Part 3, I will present portions of this PBS account, and explore and compare Pieper and PBS in their comments on the Ku Klux Klan.

The Ku Klux Klan – Pieper (and PBS), Part 1

In 1922, Franz Pieper reported on the Ku Klux Klan in the November/December issue of Lehre und Wehre, vol. 68, pages 346-347:
The Ku Klux Klan in the north of our country.  The original home of this secret society is the south.  They are also now entering the north.  From Milwaukee it is reported:
"The first public appearance in Milwaukee of the Ku Klux Klan, called the 'Invisible Empire', was held on Thursday evening in the auditorium.  The assembly received a special complexion by the address which national organizer C. Lewis held before an audience of about 700 people."

I suspect that Pieper (or the newspaper) made an error on the name of this "national organizer" since a google/wikepedia search shows no "C. Lewis" but rather "Charles Lewis Fowler" who shows up herehere , and here.  He was a sect (Baptist) preacher.  Pieper continues:

The main speaker gave as a purpose of this secret society to disclose the deception which the Roman priesthood plays on our country.  The order honors Negroes and Jews as a race.  But the Negro should not be allowed social and [page 347] political equal rights because the white race (the white race where it was Anglo-Saxon) deserved world domination.  So that Anglo-Saxons remain the rulers in this country, immigration must be better controlled.  The Order in this respect is against the Jews when they do not want to acquire things by their own work, but rather acquire things through others by finance operations.  The Klan is consistent with what Ford [Henry Ford] has against the International Jew.  The speaker successfully defended the secret nature of the Order with the argument that 'What is allowed for others should not be prohibited to us.'  He pointed out that
"among the ten million Negroes of the country are found 51 secret societies, and that the B'nai B'rith was one of the most important Jewish organizations, and the Catholic organizations would not be behind them." 
Concerning the spread of the Ku Klux Klan, the following information was provided:
"Who are the members of the Ku Klux Klan?  Many of them are members of Congress, governors of 19 states have joined them, and judges in various courts in the hundreds, ministers, lawyers, bankers, business men, yes, the most prominent banker in Chicago is a member and leader of the 50,000-strong force.  The total number of members is four million.  The field is not limited to a group of states, but to the whole Anglo-Saxon race."
The Ku Klux Klan wants to spread "democracy", but in such a way that the Anglo-Saxon race controls this country and the remaining world.  That's exactly the "democratic" spirit of the people who wanted the great war [World War I] to make the world safe for democracy and the people to gain self-determination.  The Apology of the Augsburg Confession is right when it says:
"The power of lustful desire is such that people more often obey evil inclinations than sound judgment (natural reason).  The devil, who is powerful in the godless, does not cease to stir up this weak nature to various offenses, as Paul says in Ephesians 2:2.  For these reasons even public righteousness is rare among people. (Mueller, pg 218, parag. 71) [Of Free Will, Apology to Augsburg Confession, Article XVIII, paragraph 71: Triglotta, pg 334-335, McCain's edition Concordia, pg 198]
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Some comments on Pieper's article:
  • He passed over commenting on the Roman priesthood and the Jewish B'nai B'rith since he comments  on these subjects on many other occasions.  But although Pieper also wrote against them, yet Lutherans (and all true Protestants, Christians) have no alliance with the Ku Klux Klan.
  • Pieper pointed out the similarity between Henry Ford's position of Ango-Saxon supremacy and the KKK.
  • The use of "democracy" by ideologues, i.e. "make the world safe for democracy", is the same spirit that the Ku Klux Klan used – and was the spirit that spearheaded World War I.
  • Pieper's main comment on this article is against those who would hold themselves higher than others, especially by the "Anglo-Saxon" race... and thus proved he was the true Christian commenter of our modern world... of the Twentieth Century.
Pieper's comment about the use of "democracy" is a real eye opener for those who want to understand history, both American history and World history.

In the same year 1922, Pieper had another brief article that included further comments on these American societies.  I will present it in the next Part 2.  (The PBS angle will come in Part 3).

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Lukewarm Lutheran Report. (Finally!)

A commenter on the previous post stated this:
In other posts you seem to accuse Dr. Scaer the Elder of denying Universal Justification. Do you even know what he has dedicated decades of his life to teaching? He's fought real battles to preserve this doctrine and been a chief factor in restoring it to prominence at CTSFW.
For a few moments, this comment floored me.  I was wondering "What have I done?"... I should never disparage a great teacher of Universal Justification, one who restores and preserves this wonderful doctrine... especially at a seminary like CTS-FW that is training young men for the holy Ministry...

Then I started to come to my spiritual senses...

Finally!  I have flushed out some "intrepid Lutheran", some Lutheran "with an attitude", some "gnesio" Lutheran who will finally suggest that the LC-MS actually teaches Objective Justification, actually teaches Universal Justification – other than Paul McCain's claim.  Yes, maybe even defends it!  If I had only known...

When Larry Darby was directly attacking my faith with his vehement denial of Universal, Objective Justification (UOJ) in the 1990s, when I was trembling in my very weak faith,  I was desperate for someone in the LC-MS to come forward, to step up to the plate, to show that the LC-MS was still actually the heir apparent to the true teaching of Christianity, what the old (German) Missouri Synod taught (and the old Synodical Conference was built on)... that it would still be able throw off all the terrible errors it had fallen into, the horrible unionism in its midst.  Larry Darby even started publishing and mailing a newsletter called "The Lukewarm Lutheran Report", basing his charge of "lukewarm" on the allegation that today's LC-MS was still following that erroneous teaching (UOJ) of old Missouri and not teaching "justification by faith", that "great cry of the Reformation!".

The pastor of Darby's congregation (Pastor William Bischoff, formerly of the LCR) struggled mightily against this layman's attack.  So much so that he called on an LC-MS professor to give his opinion, thinking he would be confirmed in his defense of UOJ.  Who did he turn to?  He turned to a member of the faculty of CTS-FW!  He turned to Prof. Kurt Marquart (why not Prof. Scaer "the Elder" who fought real battles for decades for UOJ?).

Did Pastor Bischoff ask Prof. Scaer for his opinion in this matter concerning the heart of Christianity?  No.  Did Marquart turn this assignment over to Scaer because he considered Scaer the better proponent of UOJ?  No.  Did Scaer write anything on this matter or about the Walter A. Maier Jr. controversy?  I have not seen it.  It must have been in other decades of Scaer's life that he publicly defended UOJ than the years I looked for him.  Nothing was found in your CTS-FW Seminary Bookstore... no articles in your journals... nothing.
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The WELS teachers were being charitable towards you, today's LC-MS, when its representative (on page 5) gave you complements on your 1983 CTCR Theses on Justification.  Was this CTCR document only the opinion of Robert and J.A.O. Preus?
I will consider that student who ran weeping away from Prof. W.A. Maier Jr.'s teaching to Prof. Buls, that student is the real Christian in this matter.  I too am a son of the LC-MS who is running from the LC-MS...  no... more than that, I am... oops, I'm jumping to conclusions – see my last paragraphs below.
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But then I read how your LC-MS tried to defend UOJ...  with Scaer?  No, it was Prof. Kurt Marquart who earlier had produced an essay during the great controversy that erupted over Prof. Walter A. Maier Jr. [archived] with his teaching against UOJ.  And how Marquart tried to be the peacemaker in both the W.A.M. Jr. and Darby controversies.  How hard he struggled in his essays to put a constructive face on those who utterly denied the true Gospel.
How it grates at me when I run across online LC-MS Lutherans proclaiming "Peace".  What peace?  Peace?  God gives the peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7); but to you, today's LC-MS, He says this of your "peace"  –

Peace, peace; when there is no peace. (Jeremiah 6:14, 8:11)
Does Paul McCain call on Prof. David Scaer today to write a great defense of UOJ ... maybe write a book on it... maybe extol Walther for "gathering the luminous rays of the Gospel"?  Of course not.  Because your claim about Scaer does not hold true today. 

I am aware that Prof. Scaer may have been known in earlier times for being "conservative"... he even authored the helpful little pamphlet "A Latin Ecclesiastical Glossary for Francis Pieper's Christian Dogmatics" in 1978 to help students understand the many Latin phrases.  How I longed to see him or Marquart or Buls or MacKenzie... or someone at CTSFW take up this torch of the Gospel and run with it.  How I longed that he understood Pieper's use of the Latin phrase usque ad nauseam.

During the Darby controversy, there was a professor in the LC-MS who cried out against Darby's allegations in Herman Otten's Christian News, but surprisingly (actually shocking to me) it was a professor in St. Louis!... not Fort Wayne (CTS-FW).  It was a St. Louis seminary professor!  It was Prof. Thomas Manteufel, emeritus.  I could hardly believe my eyes.  If you must believe that the LC-MS is orthodox, then read his letter to the editor of Christian News publicly defending UOJ in January, 1998.  He is probably the best defender of UOJ within the LC-MS today.  How did he get on the faculty of St. Louis?  But the greater question (that I wrote to him) was how could he stay on the faculty of an LC-MS seminary?  Where was he in the debacle of Prof. Walter A. Maier Jr.?
Lest I confirm any of Herman Otten's enemies, I will state that, although I warn against Otten for his weakness, I did (finally) find one place that he personally admitted "objective justification" in a letter to "GJ" (CN, Dec. 19, 2000 – pg 15).  But how hard I had to search for that!  Would to God that he would preach it!... proclaim it to the mountaintops instead of pining away to be certified into today's LC-MS.
But just like the new (English) LC-MS which did not censure Prof. Theodore Graebner in his public attack against Walther's and Pieper's teaching on UOJ (search "American Lutheran magazine" on my blog), so CTSFW could not expel Prof. W.A. Maier Jr. in his hardness.

Yes, today's LC-MS, you are "lukewarm" as Darby charged, but for the very opposite reason that Darby stated.  You are "lukewarm" on UOJ. (Revelation 3:16)  This doctrine is the real "First Premise" according to the Lutheran Confessions, despite those who claim "Theologia crucis", theology of the cross.  There is no "theology of the cross" without UOJ – Universal Justification, Objective Justification!
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– Here's an assignment for my commenter(s) – some real "research" for you.  Find out who all the panel members were on the CTCR panel that came out with the 1983 Theses on JustificationAccording to Rolf Preus, his father, Robert Preus was the author.  I can believe that.  Was David Scaer or Kurt Marquart on that panel?  I would like to find this out...  it shouldn't be too hard for you with your contacts.
– Here's another assignment for you... start a Wikipedia article on the "Statement of the 44".  Surprisingly there is none.  It should have been at least mentioned on the Seminex page, but I have not seen it.  Now there, that should keep you busy.
- - - - - - - - - - -

But my faith is far too weak to admit those who are weak on the Gospel... I am one step away from Hell!  I have tried to "taste and see that the Lord is good" (Psalm 34:8) by devouring all I could of today's LC-MS, chewing, rolling it around in my mouth, chewing some more, and finally, Finally!  I felt an uneasiness in my stomach, a sick feeling, a burning sensation in my throat, awful feeling, something was coming up,....

I vomited out today's LC-MS!  I vomited you out – by faith!  Then I wrote  Let that be the testimony for the Twentieth Century!

I have vomited you out, you who think you can judge Luther, Walther, and Pieper!  ... you who think you've got the Gospel down pat... in your back pocket.

I have spued you out because you cannot root out the great error that fights against the Gospel.  It started with Theodore Graebner, was allowed to grow through unionism under Ludwig Fuerbringer and J.W. Behnken, flourished through the Statement of the 44, never fully recovered after the walkout of those who formed Seminex.  It continues through your CTSFW Professor Walter A. Maier Jr. and those who will not discipline him (with his error that destroys Christian faith), who will not cry out against the soul-destroying doubt that his teaching brings.  All these have put the true Gospel in doubt!  The Devil is having a field day... right in your midst!  The WELS (with all its problems) suspended a pastor for teaching against UOJ – a thousand times more evangelical than you.  The old (German) Missouri Synod disciplined a pastor over Modern Dance (ha, ha!) –  but you can't even discipline a seminary professor over the true Gospel – you are "losing it".

No, I could not find a real defense in today's LC-MS that I needed for the true Gospel – God had strengthened my faith through the fight against Larry Darby so that I would never again throw Him off – let all men be liars, but God be true – to His Word (Romans 3:4)!

Since vomiting you out, I can see the horrible effects that you still are having on Christianity Today....  you have caused this blog that I can cry out against you.  I could go on page after page of this... but, I'm going to have to end this post now.

I will allow no comments from the likes of those on my previous blog post.  This is a Christian blog, not a quiz for the "Jeopardy" TV show.  This is not a forum for smart-alecks, smug scholar/theologians.

Let the reader judge who are the real "helpers of joy", who are the real ones who have "gathered the luminous rays of the Gospel".  See my masthead!

Now read what real confessional Lutherans start with – the Lutheran Doctrine of Justification ( hereTriglotta pg 121, Concordia, the Lutheran Confessions, page 82 – Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article IV (II), Of Justification:
But since in this controversy the chief topic of Christian doctrine is treated, which, understood aright, illumines and amplifies the honor of Christ [which is of especial service for the clear, correct understanding of the entire Holy Scriptures, and alone shows the way to the unspeakable treasure and right knowledge of Christ, and alone opens the door to the entire Bible], and brings necessary and most abundant consolation to devout consciences,
Oh! those beautiful Lutheran Confessions!  Do you see that word "alone" in there twice?  Get McCain's edition... it's on sale for just $19.99 with free shipping now!  Then turn to page 82, and highlight this portion, put a sticky note there, turn the corner of the page, read it again daily.  Here is where the Lutheran Church from above, yes all of Christianity, lives and breathes.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

"Formula of Concord disagrees with Luther" – Anonymous

I received a comment on my blog post review of Prof. Roland Ziegler's article praising Walther.  However, it seems the comment wasn't about Ziegler, but about my remarks against Prof. Cameron MacKenzie.  Although I have published the comment there, I am publishing it again here in a separate blog post because comments (and replies) may not be so visible to readers of this blog:

Anonymous (of 12/14/2012):

Are you aware that Article One of the Formula of Concord disagrees with Luther? Luther says it is impossible to distinguish between Man's nature and sin. The Formula says that we must, or else Christ did not fully become Man. In the text itself, Andrea and Chemnitz make it clear they are actively disagreeing with Luther on this point. They say, in paraphrase, "Luther said you cannot distinguish, but we must distinguish."

And just so you don't think these were apostates who rejected the true Gospel, Walther required complete subscription to every teaching of the entire Book of Concord, as did Pieper. In other words, both Walther and Pieper unquestionably submitted themselves to the Formula and bound themselves under its authority.

So what will you do? Will you reject Walther and Pieper because they agreed that Luther had fault? Or will you find fault with the Formula because it disagrees with Luther? But if you do that, you're disagreeing with Walther and Pieper!

I'm sure you will find some clever loophole and continue to break the 8th Commandment as often as possible.

Hmmm... my commenter apparently wants to drive a wedge between Luther on the one hand and the Lutheran Confessions/Andrea-Chemnitz/Walther-Pieper on the other hand.  Maybe he wants me to take Luther's "position"... or is it the other way around?  Or is it neither – maybe leave it as an "open question"?

Maybe this: He wants to say that I must leave Luther if I want to claim to be a Confessional Lutheran. 

Or maybe this: Walther and Pieper were wrong to demand unconditional subscription to the Lutheran Confessions?

One thing is clear though – he wants to impress me with his knowledge of the Lutheran Confessions, Luther, Andrea and Chemnitz, Walther and Pieper.  He wants to impress me with his knowledge of theology!  Yes, what a great scholar you are, Mr. Anonymous!

I do thank him in this regard, that he at least allows Walther and Pieper are in agreement.  (But surely he has something up his sleeve on this?)

Surely, Mr. (Reverend? Pastor? Professor? Father? Teacher?) Anonymous, you have many other examples you can share to drive more wedges between Luther, Walther and Pieper – like Prof. Cameron MacKenzie!  Surely you could fill daily a blog of your own for the rest of your life of all the great differences, of all of Luther's weaknesses, of all the many mistakes of Luther (and Walther).

There are plenty of smart-alecks (to borrow Luther's way of speaking) who think they know all there is to know about theology, yes, Lutheran theology. Maybe "Anonymous" has even memorized the Lutheran Confessions... it could be that he has a photographic memory... maybe was a champion player on the "Jeopardy" TV show.  Probably he knows Greek, Hebrew, Latin and German... and who knows what else?  He wants me to get into the ring with him (to borrow a boxing phrase) and let him show just how much theology he knows... how deeply he understands the Lutheran Confessions! ... how little I know about the Lutheran Confessions (and Luther, Andrea, Chemnitz, Lutheran Orthodoxy, etc, etc., etc.)

Yes, Mr. Anonymous, how much you have increased my Christian faith with your comment.  Now I can believe that:
God so loved the world... (John 3:16)
Now I can:
Taste and see that the Lord is good. (Psalm 34:8)

The problem for you is that I do believe these passages.  And God has given me a faith that I am entirely unworthy of!  And I believe that the wedge you try to drive between Luther and the Lutheran Confessions is a figment of your imagination, or could it rather be unbelief?

Now look, see there, Mr. Anonymous is going off in a huff, muttering something sounding like this: "But I quoted him 'chapter and verse' where he [BackToLuther] is wrong ... where Luther was fallible, where Luther made a 'mistake'... can't that stupid layman read?"

Yes, Mr. Anonymous, I can read... and by God's surpassing grace, I can believe Him at His Word:
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. John 3:16

(12/21/2012: This post has received a comment that cannot go unnoticed – see my next post of this and response)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Honoring McCain (Walther's Essays For The Church - download)

On March 14, 2012, Paul McCain, chief "cyberbrethren", Publisher of Concordia Publishing House, commented on a blog post of mine the following:
It would have been helpful for you to have checked with CPH you would have been informed that we are presently engaged in releasing a new set of Walther's works, pulling together all the previously different formats, shapes, sizes, into a consistent set of books. "Essays for the Church" will be included in this new series.
     You might want to modify your blog post to reflect this information.
I took McCain at his word and assumed that sometime in the not-too-distant future that the 2 volumes of the 1992 CPH publishing of Essays For The Church would appear, likely under the heading of "Selected Writings of C.F.W. Walther" as  they have done with other translations of Walther's works.  There are over 600 total pages, large pages, of pure Walther in these books.
As presented before, here is what they look like since WorldCat shows an incorrect image:

I was getting a little impatient a few days ago when I threatened (in this blog post) to provide a free download of these books by Walther if CPH didn't finally come out with them.

So today, I decided to follow McCain's earlier advice and call Concordia Publishing House at 800.325.3040 to see how soon these volumes would be available.  After explaining to the CPH rep that I did not see the volumes Essays For The Church on their website, she said they do not have these available.  Then I explained to her that I had heard some time ago that these would be becoming available again and requested that she check into this.  She got off the line for maybe 30 seconds, came back and said 
"No – nothing in the pipeline."
Surely this was an oversight by the CPH representative... surely Publisher Paul McCain would not tell an untruth to me, especially since his comment was published on a "Lutheran" blog such as mine.  Surely McCain still plans that the greatest publishing of Walther's essays translated into English language will be available soon.

I want to honor this intention (oversight?) of Publisher McCain, I want to honor his LC-MS that is hardly over the great "Bi-centennial Celebration" of their great leader C.F.W. Walther.  I want to provide a free download of not only scanned copies of both volumes, but also the text.  I will continue honoring McCain, CPH, and the LC-MS by keeping these download links active until the great unveiling of the new CPH re-published books that McCain promised.
  • Essays For The Church Vol 1.PDF   (37 MB, scanned copy)
  • Essays For The Church Vol 1.DOC  (OCR'd text, some errors, but searchable)
  • Essays For The Church Vol 2.PDF   (40 MB, scanned copy)
  • Essays For The Church Vol 2.DOC  (OCR'd text)

There is some overlap between these essays of Walther, and those that Matthew Harrison published in his At Home In The House of My Fathers book:

Volume I:
Why Should Our Pastors, Teachers, and Professors Subscribe Unconditionally to the Symbolical Writings of Our Church?, Western District, 1858 – pgs 119 - 137.  Harrison used the translation by Guebert in the 1947 Concordia Theological Monthly, while the same essay is in this volume, presented in Tappert's translation on pgs 19 - 29. 
Volume II:
Duties of an Evangelical Lutheran Synod, Iowa 1879 – pgs 224 - 330.  Translation taken verbatim from Essays For The Church, pgs 6-63 (translation by Everette Meier)
But this overlap is very minor since there are hundreds of pages of English translations that are not available anywhere else.

Rev. McCain (and President Harrison), do you maybe think your recent publications of translations of Walther's works are sufficient for the laity?  Maybe you think that you've given enough of Walther... and now your readers should read Sasse and Bonhoeffer?

Rev. McCain, do you think that maybe by the time of the next centennial celebration, the "Tri-centennial Celebration" of Walther, that you could have these volumes published?  You certainly have a busy schedule with many other things to attend to... but maybe please?

Update January 20, 2013:
I have received an emailed warning notice letter from an official at Concordia Publishing House on January 10, 2013.  I have removed the download links at CPH's request and responded in my blog post of January 20, 2013.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

President Obama–"Why I'm a Christian" (What would Pieper say?)

During a "backyard conversation" with local families, a woman asked President Obama this question in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on September 28, 2010:
Why are you a Christian?
The woman framed the question with her own comment that she loved Mother Teresa's answer to this same question.  This exchange was well reported in the New Mexico Independent newspaper.

President Obama answered this question this way:
I’m a Christian by choice,” the president answered. “My family didn’t — frankly, they weren’t folks who went to church every week. And my mother was one of the most spiritual people I knew, but she didn't raise me in the church. So I came to my Christian faith later in life. And it was because the precepts of Jesus Christ spoke to me in terms of the kind of life that I would want to lead: being my brothers’ and sisters’ keeper, treating others as they would treat me.”
“And I think also understanding that Jesus Christ dying for my sins spoke to the humility we all have to have as human beings–that we’re sinful and we’re flawed and we make mistakes, and that we achieve salvation through the grace of God.  But what we can do, as flawed as we are, is still see God in other people and do our best to help them find their own grace.”
After reading the many comments that Prof. Franz Pieper made about the presidents of the United States in his lifetime, I believe he would highlight this weak and flawed confession ... with approval.  Why would he do so?  Even with so many phrases showing weakness?

Oh, there are plenty of portions of his statement that a true Lutheran could find fault with:

1) Such as his opening statement:
I’m a Christian by choice
Actually the disciples of Jesus also needed a lesson on this point, so Jesus said to them
Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,... –  John 15:16
2)  And his statement that 
...because the precepts of Jesus Christ spoke to me in terms of the kind of life that I would want to lead
is pure works righteousness, if this were all that he said.  It seems the whole world, except the Jews, would accept this statement by Obama.  Those who espouse the phrase "WWJD" or "What Would Jesus Do?" fall into this trap. 
3) Then he comes to his closing sentence:
But what we can do, as flawed as we are, ...
This is not correct because we are more than flawed, we are
dead in trespasses and sins – Ephesians 2:1.
4) And then he makes a statement the world is intrigued with: still see God in other people...
One could say Obama has in mind the story beginning at Matthew 25:34 , especially this:
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. – Matt. 25:40
      But this says nothing about the grace of God.
5) Finally Obama ends with this phrase:
... and do our best to help them find their own grace.
Unfortunately, the emphasis in this sentence is on "doing".  And does he mean other people will find "grace" within themselves?

Yes, there are plenty of works righteousness phrases in Obama's talk...  plenty to condemn the talk as of a worldly religion.  But ...

but...  is his statement the expression of a weak Christian faith that begins to distinguish the Law from Gospel?  In the history of the presidents of the United States, I would be surprised if any other president spoke a similar confession, even a weak one, that spoke these words:
... understanding that Jesus Christ dying for my sins... that we're sinful... that we achieve salvation through the grace of God.
        – President Barack Obama, September 28, 2010 
Mitt Romney, the Mormon, would never have spoken these words, certainly not from the heart.  And Mother Teresa probably never spoke those words.  Prof. Franz Pieper would never have let pass these words of a President of the United States... he would have called out these words as a thing of beauty... and confirm the President in this faith, albeit a weak and confused faith.

But what about Obama's policies promoting abortion rights, so-called "gay" rights, and others... and his friendliness towards the Muslim religion at times... all harming Christian sensibilities?  That is certainly true, but there are many leaders in so-called "mainline Protestant" camps, even "Lutherans", who hold to many of these same positions.

Jesus continually had to work with those weak in faith, as is spoken of him:
A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench... Matt. 12:20, Isaiah 42:3
Pieper would have corrected the President where his statements were weak, but he would strengthen him where he spoke of a Saviour from sin and of God's grace.  That is what Pieper would say.

Lord, I am that "bruised reed", I am that "smoking flax", have mercy on me, a poor sinful being.  Help thou mine unbelief.  In Jesus name!  Amen.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Second Walther on... the first Walther's textbook.

In the previous post, Ludwig Fuerbringer, President of Concordia Seminary, reminisced in 1947 about the new young professor, Franz Pieper, that joined the great C.F.W. Walther in St. Louis in 1878, a professor destined to become not only Walther's successor, but one who carried on Walther's greatness in spiritual matters.  I will have more on this below.

But Fuerbringer also reminisced in 1931 (see older blog) about Franz Pieper where he recalled the very first article published by the new, young professor in 1878.  Walther was so highly regarded in the old (German) Missouri Synod — the laity, the pastors and teachers alike saw in Walther's teaching the truth of Christianity,  first and foremost his Doctrine of Justification.  But it seemed that in 1878 there was not an up-to-date textbook for the seminarians to use in their studies...  up-to-date in refuting all of the errors where modern theologians attacked Christian doctrine, especially in Germany but also in America.  Various members of the (old German) Missouri Synod were clamoring for Dr. Walther to produce a dogmatics textbook... a book that could be used for training new pastors in pure Christian teaching.  So Walther selected an old German textbook by Johann Wilhelm Baier that he considered to have a basis of good Lutheran doctrine, a textbook previously re-published by Eduard Preuss in Germany in 1864.

And in 1878, a new young professor had joined the faculty – Franz Pieper.  So in the premier journal of the old (German) Missouri Synod, this issue,
began the great career of the new, young Professor Franz Pieper on pages 371 - 372:
Johann Wilhelm Baier's Compendium Theologiae Positivae. 
Presented anew by C.F.W. Walther. Fourteenth edition, corrected and enlarged. In the City of St. Louis, printed by the Missouri Lutheran Synod (Concordia Publishing). 1879.
A work will appear, God willing, next year with the above title in books whose first pages have just left the press.  Professor Dr. Walther has moved to publish this work long desired by various quarters, in particular with regard to the needs of our theological seminary, by getting relief for the time-consuming work of dictation.  —  The following remarks may serve for the general characterization of Walther's work.  He does not as editor bring his own explanations, but allows for the presentation, conclusion and defense of divine truths from the most eminent orthodox teachers of the Church, especially those that occurred in the 16th and 17th centuries.  The original plan was to print only these testimonies that were given by Dr. Walther in his dogmatic lectures as explanations on the Compendium of Baier.  But then it was considered more appropriate to reproduce again the entire Compendium of Baier  and get a correct copy of this work – the Schlawitz edition; then insert the illustrative quotations at the relevant passages.  One may say that this work will give us a full insight into the dogmatic work of our Church.  In particular the implementation is very detailed in locis or parts of locis which are in our time in part not clearly understood, in part disfigured completely.  It must also be noted that the sentences of Baier which are exposed to misunderstanding learn from other old dogmatists their correction position.  Because Baier's Compendium treats theology only thetically, the antitheses are put up in the citations also against old and new false teachers.  However, from newer times, only those best known dogmatists who still take up the predicate "Lutheran" for themselves are considered here. 
As this work now is to be first for the aid of dogmatic teaching at the local seminary, it will also be welcomed with joy by every pastor who has kept interest in the detailed study of Lutheran theology.  —  The exterior features of the work are excellent.  In the format of Lehre und Wehre, it brings the sections of Baier in large print, the notes of Baier in ordinary print, the quotations of Dr. Walther in smaller print.  The latter are also indented so that they can be distinguished at first sight.  So that the reader can get an idea in what relation the explanatory citations stand to the text of Baier, it should be noted that the first chapter of the Prolegomena which includes 42 pages in the Schlawitz edition (kl 8 °), takes pages 1-79 in the present work.     The first issue will be ready in a few days for shipment. The price of a booklet of 96 pages is  50 Cents.  Those wanting to order should promptly submit to the "Lutheran Concordia - Verlag", St Louis, Mo.  
                                      F.P. [Franz Pieper] 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
The highlighted portions of Pieper's article show that Walther was like Luther in that he could judge the old "dogmatists" as Luther could judge the old church fathers.  Luther could judge St. Augustine and St. Bernhard  — Walther could judge Hunnius, Quenstedt, and Baier, Lutheran dogmatists of the 16th and 17th centuries.  Both could accept their predecessors where they taught the full grace of God... and correct them where they started to cause a question on that grace.  Luther stood above the old church fathers with his faith  —  Walther stood above the old dogmatists and could see all the way back to Martin Chemnitz and Martin Luther.  Both stood by faith, faith in God's grace.  Franz Pieper, the new young professor, stood shoulder to shoulder with both.

You can read the translated headings of this book at Project Wittenberg (here).  You can read Benjamin T. Mayes short review of Walther's edition on Amazon here.  Mayes actually sold reprints of it some time ago (here). And you can actually see (and read in Latin) Volume 1 (here) and Volume 3 (Google Play here).  Here is the title page of Volume 1:

You may be able to buy old used copies, usually for a high price.  Paul McCain had a copy of this for sale some time ago and said this in a blogpost (here if unloadable):
"In 1865, Dr. C. F. W. Walther wrote that he had been persuaded to try and write his own dogmatic textbook, but this, unfortunately, never happened. Instead, synodical president H. C. Schwan “compelled” Walther to publish an edition of Baier’s Compendium that would include “annotations,” and that edition began coming off the press in May 1879. Besides correcting the publishing errors of earlier editions, Walther included copious quotations from sixteenth- and seventeenth-century theologians as elaborations on Baier’s terse comments. In this translation, the major loci and footnotes to them are from Baier. The interspersed quotations from Luther, Chemnitz, Gerhardt, et. al., were added to this edition of Baier by Walther."
But McCain's statement is not quite true, at least in a spiritual sense... for you can save yourself a lot of trouble by just buying the "updated" textbooks of The Second Walther (that young fellow) that brings not only his own theology but that of the First Walther – C.F.W. Walther (The American Luther).

What textbook?  This:

It has already been conveniently translated
 <<== from German into English ==>>

These textbooks: 

Christian Dogmatics 

4 vol. set  by Franz (Francis) Pieper

Walther's dogmatics textbooks were finished... by Franz Pieper!

According to President Matthew Harrison,
"Every Missouri Synod pastor has studied this text for his basic Christian doctrine."
Would to God every new (English) LC-MS pastor, professor and teacher actually taught and preached according to this textbook, the textbook that he is supposed to have learned. Would to God they would have learned from that "young fellow" who carried the torch passed by C.F.W. Walther, the teaching of God's grace, until the day he died in 1931.  Sad to say that for the most part, Franz Pieper is not only not followed, but in many cases is ridiculed... a ridicule that applies equally to Walther and Luther.

Yes indeed, President Harrison, the Christian religion is not popular, sometimes not even with your LC-MS.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

"Who is that young fellow who has so much to say?"

As I was reading some of my old blog posts and reviewing some of the sources, I ran across the above question that Prof. Ludwig Fuerbringer overheard in the balcony of St. Paul's Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  He recorded it in his book 80 Eventful years – Reminiscences of Ludwig Ernest Fuerbringer, CPH, 1944, on page 67 (HathiTrust copy for free reading).  The year was 1881 and there was a big synodical convention being held in Ft. Wayne.  Why was it big?  Because of a great controversy in the American Lutheran Church over the Doctrine of Election.  There was much interest in this convention... quite a buzz.  Fuerbringer records it thus:
... then followed that important general convention of our church body in 1881 in Fort Wayne, where I again saw Dr. Walther,
There were many "venerable men of the St. Louis faculty" at this convention.  But Fuerbringer highlighted particularly two other men along with Walther.  One of those two men was Prof. George Stoeckhardt who had left Germany to teach alongside Walther, the highly-regarded President.  But there was another man, the one that Fuerbringer singled out, a professor who may have almost stole the show if that were possible with Walther in attendance.  This man created a stir... Fuerbringer was impressed with him and overheard someone in the balcony comment about him:
I remember very well overhearing on the balcony of St.Paul's Church in Fort Wayne the remark of some one saying ...
Who is that young fellow who has so much to say in this important matter and says it so well?
Indeed!  Who is he?
  • Who was that new young man that joined the faculty of Concordia Seminary when he was only 26?
  • Who was that young professor that was given the assignment in 1878 for his very first article in Lehre und Wehre (pgs 371-372) to be the one to review Walther's "doctrinal" textbook, the Baier’s Compendium Theologiae Positivae?  ... while Walther was still living?
  • Who is he that guided the Missouri Synod for 43 years after Walther's death († 1887)?
  • Who is he that lived over 30 years into the Twentieth Century and continued to have much to say to the Church... and spoke so well?
  • Who is that young fellow...   that has so much to say ... in this important matter?

He is the "F.P." in the hundreds of articles and many books he wrote during his lifetime.

He is none other than The Twentieth Century Luther.
He is none other than The Second Walther

(1852 – 1931)
He will be the guide for the true Lutheran Church for our times... here and now 
(sorry President Harrison).

I'm sitting with that church member (spiritually) in Ft. Wayne, up there in the balcony, marveling at such a young man who can speak as the prophets, who can expound on the Doctrine of Election in such a comforting manner... like President Walther.  There he is...  dear God!  ... he is the future of the Missouri Synod!

In my next post, I discuss textbooks... by both Walthers.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Luther's greatest writing? – on John 1:29 - Behold! (Part 4)

This Part 4 continues from Part 3 of a 4-part series (Table of Contents on Part 1) presenting what I consider to be Luther's greatest writing – his exposition of John 1:29.  It is the writing that C.F.W. Walther and Franz Pieper drew heavily on when speaking about the central doctrine of Christianity – Justification.

To cross-reference the quotes that Walther and Pieper used from this sermon, you will find the following indications:
  • Walther quotes will be highlighted in yellow, and bold italics added where Walther italicized
  • Simultaneous quotes by both Walther and Pieper will be done in blue
Any highlights I make for myself for commenting, I will use green.

The fourth (and final) part, pages 167-170 (LW):
12th Sermon on John 1-4 (John 1:29)
Martin Luther

(continued from Part 3, conclusion)
The Law, to be sure, can command to do this and that; it can also prescribe rules of conduct for life. It says: “Do not covet your neighbors wife, his goods, his honor; do not kill; do not commit adultery, etc.; give alms.” And it is laudable and good to comply with these Commandments. By doing so we abstain from outward sin in the world. But it is futile to try to expunge sin before God through the Law. The one thing that is effective in this respect is spoken of here: “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” And in Is. 53:6 we read: “The Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” And again (Is. 53:8): “The Lord will strike Him for the transgression of my people.” Everything centers in Christ. Therefore a Christian must adhere to this verse with simplicity of heart and not let anyone rob him of it. Then he will be aware of the blindness of all heathen, of the papists, and of the godless, who themselves want to render satisfaction with pilgrimages and with good works. They make much of these and console themselves with purgatory. But they are blind. For Holy Scripture declares that the sin of the world does not lie on the world, or St. John’s sin on St. John, or St. Peter’s on Peter; for they are unable to bear it. The sin of the world lies on Christ, the Lamb of God. He steps forth and becomes a vile sinner, yea, sin itself (2 Cor. 5:21), just as if He Himself had committed all the sin of the world from its beginning to its end. This is to be the Lamb’s office, mission, and function.
And now if Holy Scripture contains verses which seem to intimate that one should atone for sin through good works, you should apply these to the inferior realm of domestic affairs or of temporal government; enjoin them upon fathers and mothers, and do not use them in an attempt to prove that good works could present satisfaction for your sins before God. Good works leave sins unborne and unpaid; the Lamb bears them all. Therefore ask yourself if it was not just of God to be angry with us and to punish us because we had strayed into the ranks of the pope’s and the Turk’s schismatic spirits. For the Lamb Itself preaches to us: “Behold, how I bear your sins!” However, no one will accept it. If we believed and accepted it, no one would be damned. What more is the Lamb to do? He says: “You are all condemned, but I will take your sins upon Myself. I have become the whole world. I have incorporated all people since Adam into My person.” Thus He wants to give us righteousness in exchange for the sins we have received from Adam. And I should reply: “I will believe that my dear, dear Lord, the Lamb of God, has taken all sins upon Himself.” Still the world will not believe and accept this. If it did, no one would be lost.

We learn that we have all been hurled into sin by the devil and that the Lamb alone extricates us. Refusal to believe this is not Christ’s fault; it is mine. If I do not believe this, I am doomed. It is for me to say simply that the Lamb of God has borne the sin of the world. I have been earnestly commanded to believe and to confess this, and then also to die in this faith.

You may say: “Who knows whether Christ also bore my sin? I have no doubt that He bore the sin of St. Peter, St. Paul, and other saints; these were pious people. Oh, that I were like St. Peter or St. Paul!” Don’t you hear what St. John says in our text: “This is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”? And you cannot deny that you are also part of this world
, for you were born of man and woman. You are not a cow or a pig. It follows that your sins must be included, as well as the sins of St. Peter or St. Paul. And just as you are unable to expiate your sins, so they have been unable to expiate theirs. There are no exceptions here. Therefore do not yield to your own thoughts, but cling to the words which guarantee you and all believers forgiveness of sin through the Lamb. Don’t you hear? There is nothing missing from the Lamb. He bears all the sins of the world from its inception; this implies that He also bears yours, and offers you grace.

If someone does not partake of and enjoy such grace and mercy, he has none to blame but himself and his refusal to believe and accept it. He says to himself: “This does not pertain to you, but only to St. Peter and St. Paul. I must become a monk, invoke the saints, and go on pilgrimages.” Go to the devil if you refuse to believe these words! For if you are in the world and your sins form a part of the sins of the world, then the text applies to you. All that the words “sin,” “world,” and “the sin of the world from its beginning until its end” denote—all this rests solely on the Lamb of God. And since you are an integral part of this world and remain in this world, the benefits mentioned in the text will, of course, also accrue to you.

It is extremely important that we know where our sins have been disposed of. The Law deposits them on our conscience and shoves them into our bosom. But God takes them from us and places them on the shoulders of the Lamb. If sin rested on me and on the world, we would be lost; for it is too strong and burdensome. God says: “I know that your sin is unbearable for you; therefore behold, I will lay it upon My Lamb and relieve you of it. Believe this! If you do, you are delivered of sin.” There are only two abodes for sin: it either resides with you, weighing you down; or it lies on Christ, the Lamb of God. If it is loaded on your back, you are lost; but if it rests on Christ, you are free and saved. Now make your choice! According to the Law, to be sure, sin should remain on you; but by grace sin was cast on Christ, the Lamb. Lacking this grace, we should be doomed in an accounting with God.

These are clear, plain, and powerful words, strengthened by that splendid and beautiful portrait of St. John pointing to the Lamb with his finger. I was always fond of such pictures; for instance, the one on which the Paschal Lamb is depicted carrying a little banner, or the picture of the crucifixion.  But in the papacy we never understood their true significance. This is the message they really wanted to convey: “Behold, man! According to Law and justice, your sins should rest on you. But the Lamb which I exhibit here bears your sins by grace. This sin has been placed on the Lamb. Now you are holy, righteous, and free of sin; you have been saved for the sake of the Lamb. Therefore you have to know that you are not bearing your own sin. For then you would be lost; the Law would condemn and execute you. But behold, God has delivered you from your sins and has placed them on the Lamb. And thus you are saved, not for your own sake but for His.”
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  End of Sermon
In your face, today's LC-MS (notwithstanding Ewald Plass' book) – 

Do you see that angel flying through the room?  It is THE angel of the faith of Martin Luther foretold in Revelation 14:6.  He is the one the old (German) Missouri Synod followed and gained it's lifeblood from.  THIS IS LUTHER, the one that the confessors at Augsburg followed.  THIS IS LUTHER, the one that Martin Chemnitz and the writers of the Formula of Concord followed. THIS IS LUTHER, the one that C.F.W. Walther pointed to, the one the Franz Pieper pointed to.  Luther was a Lutheran, notwithstanding the official LC-MS condemnation of him!  I, BackToLuther, am a Luther Lutheran... I am an old (German) Missouri Synod Lutheran!

A Threat

As mentioned in Part 1, and to "celebrate" this Sermon of Martin Luther, I want to make a threat...  a threat that if I don't see the new series publishing the 2-volume book series Essays For The Church by C.F.W. Walther from 1992 that Publisher Paul T. McCain promised in March, 2012, then I am going to make available for free download the complete scanned copies of both books... and the OCR'd text of them as well!  It is a travesty that these books should be confused in all Internet listings and go out of print and be unavailable while the LC-MS "celebrates" Walther's Bicentennial.  They were the largest collection of English translations of Walther's writings. (If anyone wants them now, send me a private message. Or buy them used on Amazon... before I do!)  Along with Pieper's Christian Dogmatics series, they are the greatest publishings of pure Christian doctrine in the modern world!
These are the 2 books:
Oh, and Publisher McCain, do put a new unique ISBN number on it... so you don't obscure it and confuse the whole world by duplicating it with another book of yours.

Luther's greatest writing? – on John 1:29 - Behold! (Part 3)

This Part 3 continues from Part 2 of a 4-part series (Table of Contents on Part 1)  presenting what I consider to be Luther's greatest writing – his exposition of John 1:29.  It is the writing that C.F.W. Walther and Franz Pieper drew heavily on when speaking about the central doctrine of Christianity – Justification.

To cross-reference the quotes that Walther and Pieper used from this sermon, you will find the following indications:
  • Walther quotes will be highlighted in yellow, and bold italics added where Walther italicized
  • Simultaneous quotes by both Walther and Pieper will be done in blue
Any highlights I make for myself for commenting, I will use green.

The third part, pages 164-167 (LW):
12th Sermon on John 1-4 (John 1:29)
Martin Luther
(continued from Part 2)
This is the basis of all Christian doctrine. Whoever believes it, is a Christian; whoever does not, is no Christian, and will get what he has coming to him. The statement is clear enough: “This is the Lamb of God, who bears the sin of the world.” Moreover, this text is the Word of God, not our word. Nor is it our invention that the Lamb was sacrificed by God and that, in obedience to the Father, this Lamb took upon Himself the sin of the whole world. But the world refuses to believe this; it does not want to concede the honor to this dear Lamb that our salvation depends entirely on His bearing our sin. The world insists on playing a role in this too. But the more it aspires to do in atonement for sin, the worse it fares. For there is no atoner but this Lamb; God recognizes no other. Would it not be reasonable and right to take these words into our hearts that we might become aware of our sin?

Now note here that the Law of Moses, indeed, apprises you of your sin and tells you how you should obey God and man. It also informs me that I am hostile to God, that I blaspheme Him, and that I do not regulate my life properly according to the precepts of the Ten Commandments. In brief, the Law shows me what I am; it reveals sin and burdens me with it. This is its proper function. Then I become frightened and would like to be rid of it. But the Law says: “I cannot aid you in this.” Then we run to the saints, and we invoke the assistance of the Virgin Mary, saying: “Intercede for me before your Son; show Him your breasts!” Another calls on St. Christopher, although he never existed on this earth. Another hies himself to St. Barbara for her intercession. Others enter monastic orders, thereby aspiring to becoming holy themselves and their own saviors. Indeed, each one of us beholds his sins and promises to mend his sinful life from day to day, saying: “O Christ, grant me a respite and stay the time of my death, and I shall become pious and atone for my sin!” But is this not a hideous and terrible blindness? Sin is at your throat; it drives you and lies heavy on you. Reason knows of no other counsel and advice. As soon as reason sees that it has sinned, it declares: “I will reform and become pious!” But now St. John intervenes and declares that the entire world is polluted with sin. He shows us through the Law that we are saddled with this sin, and that we must not let it rest where the Law has deposited it, namely, in our bosom. For if sin remains there, you are damned and doomed. At the same time you are too feeble to remove it; you cannot overcome sin.

In view of this, St. John, by his testimony or sermon, shows us Another upon whom God the Father has laid our sins, namely, Christ the Lord. The Law lays them upon me, but God takes them from me and lays them upon this Lamb. There they fit very well, far better than on me. God wishes to say to us: “I see how the sin oppresses you. You would have to collapse under its heavy burden. But I shall relieve and rid you of the load—when the Law convicts you of, and condemns you for, your sin—and from sheer mercy I shall place the weight of your sin on this Lamb, which will bear them.”

May you ever cherish and treasure this thought. Christ is made a servant of sin, yea, a bearer of sin, and the lowliest and most despised person. He destroys all sin by Himself and says: “I came not to be served but to serve” (Matt. 20:28). There is no greater bondage than that of sin; and there is no greater service than that displayed by the Son of God, who becomes the servant of all, no matter how poor, wretched, or despised they may be, and bears their sins. It would be spectacular and amazing, prompting all the world to open ears and eyes, mouth and nose in uncomprehending wonderment, if some king’s son were to appear in a beggar’s home to nurse him in his illness, wash off his filth, and do everything else the beggar would have to do. Would this not be profound humility? Any spectator or any beneficiary of this honor would feel impelled to admit that he had seen or experienced something unusual and extraordinary, something magnificent. But what is a king or an emperor compared with the Son of God? Furthermore, what is a beggar’s filth or stench compared with the filth of sin which is ours by nature, stinking a hundred thousand times worse and looking infinitely more repulsive to God than any foul matter found in a hospital? And yet the love of the Son of God for us is of such magnitude that the greater the filth and stench of our sins, the more He befriends us, the more He cleanses us, relieving us of all our misery and of the burden of all our sins and placing them upon His own back. All the holiness of the monks stinks in comparison with this service of Christ, the fact that the beloved Lamb, the great Man, yes, the Son of the Exalted Majesty, descends from heaven to serve me.

Such benefactions of God might well provoke us to love and to laud God and to celebrate this service in song and sermon and speech. It should also induce us to die willingly and to remain cheerful in all suffering. For how amazing it is that the Son of God becomes my servant, that He humbles Himself so, that He cumbers Himself with my misery and sin, yes, with the sin and the death of the entire world! He says to me: “You are no longer a sinner, but I am. I am your substitute. You have not sinned, but I have. The entire world is in sin. However, you are not in sin; but I am. All your sins are to rest on Me and not on you.” No one can comprehend this. In yonder life our eyes will feast forever on this love of God. And who would not gladly die for Christ’s sake? The Son of Man performs the basest and filthiest work. He does not don some beggars torn garment or old trousers, nor does He wash us as a mother washes a child; but He bears our sin, death, and hell, our misery of body and soul. Whenever the devil declares: “You are a sinner!” Christ interposes: “I will reverse the order; I will be a sinner, and you are to go scotfree.” Who can thank our God enough for this mercy?

Whoever can confidently believe that the sins of the world, also his own, were laid on Christ’s shoulders will not easily be deceived and deluded by the schismatic spirits, who are in the habit of quoting us verses that deal with good works and alms and give the impression that good work wipe out sins and acquire salvation. A Christian can refute any passages which the factious spirits may adduce about good works. This cardinal text still remains intact. It reads that I cannot bear my sin or render satisfaction for it, but that God has chosen a sacrifice which was slaughtered, roasted on the cross, and eaten. Upon this Lamb all sins were laid. A Christian will not permit himself to be cut adrift from this, nor will he be led away from a proper understanding of the Gospel. Let them teach or preach what they choose in the world. He will adhere to the plain and true faith and clear words, namely: “If I had been able to earn anything for myself, then it would not have been necessary for God’s Son to die for me.” John declares that it is solely the Lamb that bears the sin of the whole world; otherwise it would surely not be done at all. I, too, will find refuge in Him. You may do whatever you please!
(concluded in Part 4)
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Do you want to see an angel fly? (click on image)