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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Pieper on Germany and it's lost Lutheran heritage

In the June 1927 issue of Lehre und Wehre, pgs 188-189, Franz Pieper commented on a German newspaper (Freikirche) article about elections in Germany:
German-Lutheran and Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of God. In the same paper ["Freikirche"] we read: "It would be a questionable matter if evangelical Christianity were given the choice between a German Lutheran gospel of justification by faith and an Anglo-Saxon gospel of the kingdom of God, given the choice between a religious sermon and a social ethic." We would like to see the above statement in a German newspaper as a sign of an impending general return to the Lutheran doctrine. But this can only happen through a general return to Scripture doctrine of satisfactio vicaria [vicarious satisfation] which is known to be openly denied in part by most university professors, or is sometimes criticized. F. P.
Germany was the land of Martin Luther, the Reformer of the Church. But unfortunately Germany has largely thrown off Lutheran/Christian teaching.

Germany was the land where Walther and Pieper were born... but they left for America.  Why did they leave?  Because of the fall of Christian doctrine and the ensuing unionism.  Walther and Pieper commented extensively on the fall of German theologians throughout their lifetimes.  And Pieper's comments above were made in the time span between the two World Wars.  We see that before the rise of Hitler that Germany was not the center of Christianity as the world likes to suppose.  Germany was following a lie... a false or water-down "Gospel".  It's theological leaders were (in the 1800s) Schleiermacher, von Harnack, Ritschl, etc. 

Pieper also commented in his Christian Dogmatics (volume I, pg 183) about Germany's theologians:
Instead of reading our literature, they seemed to believe what our American opponents had to say about our "strictly confessional trend," viz., our alleged Calvinism, our idolizing of the dogmaticians, and our dishonoring of the dogmaticians, our unity and our mutual strife, the congregations' democratic enslaving of the pastors. This need not surprise us, for we are theologically divided by a gulf so wide and deep that it cannot be bridged. We regard Holy Scripture as God's infallible Word and therefore as the only source and norm of theology, while the modern theologians regard the "identification" of Scripture and "Word of God" as an outmoded position that is taken today only in "lay circles" and among theological "laggards." An agreement cannot be reached by theologians who represent such antipodal positions.
Germany was the land that the new English LC-MS looked to for common ground and sent delegate theologians for this purpose.  Unfortunately the unionistic LC-MS found some common ground with heterodox German theology ... and showed it's contempt for it's fathers in the faith – Walther and Pieper. Today's LC-MS seeks after the likes of Hermann Sasse and Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Pieper on the Turks, Islam, Koran (true Historical Theology)

In the June 1927 issue of Lehre und Wehre, Franz Pieper commented on a report of the Associated Press about a supposed religious tolerance among the Turks (or Turkey). Here is a translation of that article as best I can produce with the help of online translation tools:
The new Turks preach tolerance, specifically citing the Koran. The Associated Press reported in early March [1927] from Constantinople: "Turkey is quietly self educationing itself in religious tolerance. Although the regulation was not published, it was well known that the government has instructed the directors of all Turkish public school religious education programs to observe in religious instruction a program that does not glorify the Muslim religion over all other religions, but also highlights the good points in other religious confessions. Under the Sultans all public schools were run by priests whose education was limited almost exclusively to the Koran. The new order is seen as a tacit application of a principle contained in the Mohammedan religion recommended by Muhammad himself, namely the recognition of Moses and Christ as prophets whose words should be taken to heart." The latter is true however.  It says in the Quran [Koran, Qur'an]: "Believers, be they Jews, Christians or Sabians [John Christians] if they only believe in God, to the Last Day, and work righteousness, then have their reward with their Lord, and neither fear nor sadness will come upon them. " (Surah 2,62, at Baier-Walther I, 130). But the Koran is a product patched together from different religions. Therefore, it is also contrary to the foregoing (Surah 3,85): "Whoever accepts a religion other than Islam, of them God does not take care, belonging in that world to the lost." It is also a fact that in the Koran is found a number of statements in which Moses and Christ are recommended as prophets. So says Surah 2,87, : "Once we revealed to Moses the Scripture, let him follow still other messengers, equipped Jesus, the son of Miriam, with conviction and gave him the Holy Spirit." On the other hand the Koran insists however that Mohammed stood over Moses and Christ and all the prophets, and is the correct interpreter of all prophets.  Surah 61,6: "When Jesus, the son of Mary said: O children of Israel, verily I am God's messenger to you, confirming what was there before me from the law, and bring the good news of an Apostle who will come after me, whose name is Ahmed [Mohammed] is."  Mohammed, as had been done before by Mani, based on the promise of the Paraclete (Holy Ghost) himself by him at the same time gave the name of Ahmed. (Ex Oriente Lux, Yearbook of the German Orient Mission, 1903, p 24) The small anti-Christ makes it like the great Anti-Christ because the papacy also recommends Moses and Christ but reserves for himself the higher supervision of both, namely their interpreter. F. P.
So we see the Koran is contrary to itself, and Mohammed would sit over Moses and Christ. And the "tolerance" of the Turks in 1927 was only a cover for the real Islam.
As to the blindness of today's world concerning Islam, one need only view the following picture and caption by the Associated Press published in a newspaper March, 14, 2012:
Although the picture clearly shows a Christian cross being burned by Afghans, yet the caption to this story makes no mention of it.  However, in the ensuing report, it states: 
...protesters in the east burned an effigy of Obama as well as a cross, which they used as a symbol of people — like many Americans — who are Christians.
It is the Afghan Islamics that raised the issue of religion in this situation which had no ties to Christianity.  And so it is quite clear which passage in the Koran is being followed by the Islamics of all ages: Surah 3,85, not Surah 2:62.

One more recent report of this was published by Newsweek Magazine in their February 13, 2012 issue. author Ayaan Hirsi Ali wrote an article on the persecution of Christians in all Muslim lands, yet she is even listed as an "atheist" on the current Wikipedia page about her. Even she can see more truth than some Christians.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The books of Walther – new translations by Mark V; CPH restrictions

Since my intensive study and research 10 to 15 years ago of all things Christian, Lutheran, Luther, Walther and Pieper, I have recently discovered a "new" publisher of English translations of Walther's works – Mark V Publications. I was amazed at the work of Rev. Joel R. Baseley because I thought that no one was actively working on translating more of the many essays, articles and books of C.F.W. Walther, and especially not CPH. How thrilling it was to see several of Walther's sermon books now in English!

So why do I criticize Concordia Publishing House on this?  Here are 3 clear indications of the real CPH when it comes to promoting Luther, Walther (and Pieper):

1) Rev. Baseley indicates on his "About Mark V. Publications" page that his organization
...was founded in 1996. Back then, after some years of translating "Luther's Taegliche Housandacht" ..., he sought to have it published through Concordia Publishing House. The editor assigned to considering the project back then replied by estimating only 200 copies would be sold and that it did not merit publication
2) In the Introduction to Law and Gospel - Selected Writings of C.F.W. Walther (CPH, 1981), the Series Editor August Suelflow said several things that reveal how things really are in today's LC-MS:
a) Page 8: It is an ambitious project to permit C.F.W. Walther (1811-87) to address English readers.  (An odd word indeed ... "to permit"?)
b) Page 9: The project to translate Walther into English received support from The Lutheran Church –Missouri Synod in 1962, when a special committee was formed. When funds were not available, the project was transferred to Concordia Publishing House. (No money or interest in the LC-MS for Walther?)
c) Page 9: Concordia Historical Institute... has in recent years transcribed several hundred original Fraktur letters. Only a few have been published in English heretofore, and we too can bring only a selection.  (Walther is not as important to publish as other more important publications?)
3) In the same Law and Gospel book, in his Translator's Preface, Herbert J.A. Bouman stated the following on page 10:
The current work represents a considerable abridgment and condensation of the original.  Many of Walther's extensive citations from Luther and other authors were either reduced to their essential point or deleted entirely.,  As a rule, ... much of Walther's running comment was condensed. These cuts in the material were dictated by the publisher's space limitations. (Space limitations??... for the writings of the founder of the Missouri Synod?)
I will have more to say later about CPH and the translations of Luther's Works.

If I ever considered joining one of today's congregations, I would be tempted to join Rev. Baseley's congregation in Dearborn, Michigan because of his closeness to Walther and Luther.  But the good pastor has told his readers (like me) the following on his biography page:
If you see me in error, please use God's Word to rescue me from it! 
Unfortunately he remains in fellowship with today's heterodox LC-MS.  He knows that he is in a heterodox church body by the Introduction to his own book Holy Communion: Vanishing Mark Of The Church. His "About us" page is a testimony to the danger he is in – CPH would not publish his English translation of Luther's daily devotions.
But Pastor Baseley might be a little unsettled when I use the following passage to rescue him:
John 3:16 - For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,...
Romans 16:17 - Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
But I am very thankful for the translation work of Rev. Baseley and am herewith publishing one of his books below that is freely available on Google Books, an English version of Walther's sermon book Brosamen.  I would encourage all to buy his translations for they bring truly Christian teaching through the writings of Luther and Walther.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Story of the Good Samaritan (and Justification)

Everyone knows the story of the Good Samaritan... there are even Good Sam RV campgrounds with a picture of a man with a halo implying he was "good" and destined for heaven.

And probably most people know the story was presented by Jesus himself.  The whole account is given in Luke 10:25-37.

But what was it that prompted Jesus to tell the Story of the Good Samaritan?  Why would he give such a detailed account of all the good deeds of the Samaritan in contrast to other seemingly "good" people such as a priest and a Levite?

It was in response to a certain lawyer.  What was it about this lawyer that caused Jesus to give the true teaching of the Law?  It was because of this:
Luke 10:29 - But he, willing to justify himself, ...

It was because the lawyer wanted to justify himself. How?  By his good deeds.  How I struggled with this whole account of the Good Samaritan!  Jesus did not give the man the Gospel, he gave him the Law!  Why Jesus would you do this?

And Jesus answers: Do you too want to justify yourself?

And at the moment that God re-kindled my faith again, I had to answer: No Lord.  I can't justify myself, but you have already done it for me on the cross.  I know this only because you have justified the whole world apart from anything I have done.

This is what C.F.W. Walther taught - Universal, Objective Justification! (the Gospel)

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2019-04-09 - Addendum: Another Bible passage using the word "justify" in this sense is Luke 16:15 where Jesus responds to the Pharisees:
"And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts… "
A telling ending to Jesus's teaching to the Pharisees is in Luke 16:31:
"And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead."

Thursday, March 22, 2012

CPH and the books of Walther, "Reader's Edition" (Part 3)

(see previous posts Part 1 and Part 2)
And finally another problem I have with CPH's offerings is the proper title of Walther's best known work of today.  In the original German, the title is "Die rechte Unterscheidung von Gesetz und Evangelium." In English, it used to be titled "The Proper Distinction between Law and Gospel" but their version shortens it to "Law and Gospel".   Although I do not fault the practice of abbreviating, yet this abbreviation strips Walther's work of it's real beauty -- "The Proper Distinction".  Walther was the master of the proper distinction between Law and Gospel.  Practically all so-called Christian writers can write about "Law and Gospel".   But only Walther could properly distinguish them because he taught the Lutheran Doctrine of Justification (the Gospel) purely!

Now Publisher Rev. McCain of CPH may object to this last protestation saying they also now have a "Reader's Edition" (see here and here) with a fresh translation of this work of Walther, going back to even Walther's handwritten lecture notes instead of the student transcriptions of his lectures.  I have spent some time now with their promotional materials for this relatively new book... the audio file of a KFUO broadcast and a sample file of 182 pages of the full 708 page book.  I notice that the 4 reviews of the book on Amazon all have 5 stars and most reviewers seem to understand the magnitude of this work... high praise for not only Walther himself but also the editors and translator. I see that CPH even has currently a sale price (through May 31, 2012) of only $19.99, quite a bargain for such a significant book.  I commend them for this effort and pricing. May it be for a true honoring of C.F.W. Walther!

How I envy Christian C. Tiews, the translator!!  He can read the old German as I can read English which means he does not have to struggle like I do when dealing with the fraktur font and a language that is foreign to me.  How hard I have had to work to figure out how to OCR and translate the volumes of old German Missouri Synod works!  I blame today's modern English LC-MS in part for my lack of German language knowledge.  Why?  Because the departure it made from the old German language was swift and thorough.  And this departure is a testimony to the truth that Pieper spoke of - the use of the German language in America helped them to keep the doctrine pure.

One hopes that Mr. Tiews will continue to translate more of the previously untranslated works of Walther such as Kern und Stern (Book of Concord), Brosamen or Licht des Lebens, and Pieper's works such as his essay Christianity in Its Relation to All Other Religions  from the 1926 Synod or his essay to Kansas District in 1892 entitled The Practical Importance of the Right Distinction of Law and Gospel. As an incentive, I can furnish you the complete digital text of all these old German Missouri Synod books... and much more.

But dear editors Schaum, Hellwege Jr., Manteufel and translator Tiews, did you know there is a better book than yours to get to know Walther's theology?  It is my publication of Franz Pieper's Walther as Theologian (Walther als Theolog), translated by the great Wallace McLaughlin.  Also Pieper's Christian Dogmatics...  As I wrote to Professor Eugene Klug (link here), I would not call Walther "Mr. Law and Gospel", but rather first and foremost "Mr. Universal, Objective Justification"!  Why?  Because all praise and knowledge of Christ, the sacraments, Scripture, and yes, even Law and Gospel is nothing unless you believe UOJ, that is Universal, Objective Justification, that is ... the Gospel itself.  This is where your synod has become heterodox.

I heartily agree with the editor's criticisms of W.H.T. Dau's translation work. Yet the reader of Dau's volume "The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel" can get essentially all of Walther's intended message even with the mediocre translation.  Despite the "Reader's Edition" case against Dau's translation, yet let the reader who has this old book not despair that he has been mislead, since Walther's teaching is so clear that not even Dau can muddle it too much.  As you read Dau's book, just ignore any and all forwards, introductions, and footnotes that presume to judge Walther's theology.

And let the reader not despair that they may not be able to visit Concordia Historical Institute (CHI) to get the real doctrine of Walther and Pieper, for their teaching is clear enough, even in the English translations that are available... even from today's Concordia Publishing House!

I will have more to say on CPH and the books of Walther and Pieper.

"Missing books" and other books of Walther by CPH (Part 2)

After researching for my previous blog post the confusing situation of the "missing books" Essays For The Church by C.F.W. WaltherI was going to give CPH a call to find out if perhaps they still did offer these 2 volumes even if not listed on their website (or any other website in the world of booksellers)!  But as I was about to search for the phone number of CPH, I noticed a comment arrived from Rev. Paul T. McCain, Publisher of CPH, saying that I should have contacted CPH before my previous blog post to get the latest update.

At least now I do not have to make that phone call. And I was glad to hear that CPH has not decided to quit publishing Essays For The Church.  Whew! But why would CPH not sell online the old format until the new format is published?

I have found since my last blog post that there does seem to be one place where you can still purchase the previous edition of Walther's Essays For the Church online -- from the Fort Wayne seminary bookstore - link here. (Item 531011WEB; as of 8/3/2012 -- this link is broken, thanks CTS.). As far as I can tell, it can only be found by using this link because it does not seem to be in any of their catalog listings of books.  Better buy these before they are replaced by CPH's new format... but hopefully there will not be any abbreviation of these extensive essays.  Again, why would CPH not sell online the old format until the new format is published?

I decided to research the coding systems for these books, the ISBN and OCLC numbers and here is what I found:

You will notice that for some strange reason, the ISBN numbers for the 2 volumes of Essays For The Church were duplicated with 2 other books published by CPH.  And this appears to be the reason why the wrong covers are displayed in virtually all web listings of these books (except the Fort Wayne web bookstore).  It is unfortunate this error had to happen, especially on the most extensive English publication of Walther's essays.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

The other point made by Publisher McCain in his comment is about a new "consistent set" of the books of Walther.  But the new format for CPH's books by Walther are somewhat confusing.  How so? Because the initial web images of all the new books have titles in big letters "Selected Writings of C.F.W. Walther", but only after clicking through each selection and then clicking again can you see the printed cover title of Walther's book, e.g. "Convention Essays" or "Letters", etc. Although I am thankful CPH still publishes Walther, yet I do not have much praise for this.

Another difficulty is that of "Concordia On Demand" which means "Print on Demand – Please allow 2-3 weeks for delivery".  That means apparently they will digitally print these per order and so they cannot ship them from stock immediately.  Although I can see the advantage for their setup and inventory costs, yet this is not the same as their "popular" books that they highlight, for example The Fabricated Luther: Refuting Nazi Connections and Other Modern Myths by Uwe Siemon-Netto (CPH, 2007).  One wonders whether "Print On Demand" books will ever be offered anywhere else but by CPH.

What other problems and comments do I have on CPH (and the LC-MS) and their books of Walther?  I will cover this topic in my next post.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Concordia Publishing House and false honoring of Walther - missing books!

I have just discovered a most troubling omission by Concordia Publishing House (CPH) regarding their current offerings of C.F.W. Walther's writings. Not only have they repackaged the previous offerings thereby causing confusion but they have apparently dropped a major publication entitled Essays For The Church in 2 volumes published in 1992.  Here are pictures of the covers of both volumes:

These are still in some libraries:
  • Concordia Theological Seminary (CTS), Walther Library here
  • WorldCat here shows 23 libraries worldwide with these 2 volumes, but with wrong cover picture (see my review there).
  • Valparaiso University Library here
  • Concordia Seminary Library, St. Louis2 (COSL) BX8011.W2913 1992 here [updated Dec. 22, 2013]
It is not even listed with Amazon which lists most books even if they don't sell them.  [updated 2017-03-05:] It is now listed on Amazon here. Volume II (1877 - 1886) is incorrectly identified in Google Books and CTS Walther Library with an incorrect picture of the front cover!  Volume I (1857-1879) is correctly identified in Google Books but without a cover picture.

I can hardly believe this... these 2 volumes were the largest publication of English translations of Walther's convention essays.
So much of Walther's works have not been translated - several books of sermons, articles in Der Lutheraner and Lehre und Wehre, and several more essays.  But at least these 2 volumes of Essays for the Church were a major work published by the modern English LC-MS... and now they are not available for purchase.  But CPH sees fit to publish President Matthew Harrison's recent translations of Walther's essays and letters, a rather small sampling.  And Concordia Publishing House presumes to honor Walther with their "bicentennial celebration"! Maybe someone should ask the head of CPH, chief "cyberbrethren", why the inconsistency.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The British-Jewish "homeland"; Christians and Jews today (Frederick Danker)

Most people of today don't have any idea how the modern nation of "Israel" came about for the return of the Jews. They were largely empowered to replace the Palestinians by the British.  There are numerous articles in Wikipedia: Balfour Declaration, Herbert Samuel, and Palestine Zionist Executive. Kevin Phillips, a former Republican strategist, wrote the following in his book American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century (Penguin, 2007) on page 256 pertaining to world events surrounding World War I:
More than any other European people, nineteenth-and early-twentieth-century Britons spoke of resettling Jews in the historic land of Israel.
Mr. Phillips does not write from a Christian perspective, but Franz Pieper commented numerous times about the British, the Jews, and the resettlement of Jews in their "homeland".   I hope to bring out some of Pieper's comments in Lehre und Wehre as events unfolded during those early years of the 20th Century.
= = = = = = = = =
On another note, it was announced in a St. Louis newspaper that Frederick Danker passed away, a former professor at the St. Louis Concordia Seminary.  The article introduces him:
...along with most of the faculty at Concordia Seminary here, were fired for what the college president called their liberal teachings.
The firing was associated with those who started Seminex in 1974.  But Danker, according to the article was:
...a prolific author and a world-renowned Bible scholar. His most famous work, published after 30 years of research, is an acclaimed Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament.
So why am I mentioning this in relation to the Jews?  Because Frederick Danker, according to this article, had this to say about the word "Jews" in the New Testament:
For example, the Rev. Danker investigated centuries of Gospel readings about Jesus' final hours that said "the Jews" called for Jesus to be crucified. That led some Christians to blame the Jewish people for Jesus' death, the Rev. Danker said.
But he determined that "Jews" should be translated as "Judeans," referring to the proper name of the people who then lived in southern Palestine.
"Over the centuries, the word 'Jew' in translations got so distorted and caused so much unnecessary acrimony, causing such tragedies between Christians and Jews," the Rev. Danker told the Post-Dispatch in 2001, in an interview about his lexicon.
We see from this that Frederick Danker is as responsible as anyone for causing Christians of today to doubt the condemnations of the Bible regarding the unbelief of the Jews... and for causing the condemnations of Martin Luther for his writings against the Jews. And finally it was reported that Frederick Danker spent "...12 years working 14-hour days on the lexicon". How hard he worked to prove his scholarliness and that we did not understand our Bible. I would not deny the usefulness of a scholarly approach to Biblical studies, but only when coupled with a spiritual understanding. And so Danker's (and all modern biblical scholars) great works would have to be approached with great caution because of his lack of spiritual understanding. Danker does not hold a candle to Luther, Walther, and Pieper! They believed God at His Word... and were scholarly!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

usque ad nauseam - to the point of nausea (Objective Justification)

In Franz Pieper's Christian Dogmatics, there are many Latin phrases since the Latin language was that of the church through the ages.  To help seminary students follow the meaning of these phrases, David P. Scaer published his little booklet A Latin Ecclesiastical Glossary for Francis Pieper's Christian Dogmatics.  This was a very helpful guide to me as I voraciously studied Pieper's volumes.  This guide is not quite so necessary now that Google Translate now offers free translation from Latin which appears to be amazingly good.

But as I was again browsing my copy of Scaer's booklet, I ran across the Latin phrase:
usque ad nauseam = to be repetitive as to bring a person to the point of sickness
So how and where did Pieper use this odd phrase?  I had written in the margin this:
page 439 Obj. Just., remind of  Obj. Just.
What was it that Pieper had to repeat "to the point of sickness"?  I had to look this up again... what volume was it?  What subject was Pieper talking about that he had to make me "nauseous"?
In volume II, in the section The Application of Salvation, sub-section The Function of Faith in Justification, Pieper had this to say:
Because men are always forgetting it, we have to repeat usque ad nauseam: full forgiveness of the sins of the world has been obtained through Christ's vicarious satisfaction, is wholly independent of any human quality or any "improvement" in man ("not imputing their trespasses unto them," 2 Cor. 5:19), and is made known unto men by God in the Gospel ("and hath committed unto us the Word of Reconciliation") that men should believe it. The idea that faith in its function as a receptive organ must do more than merely believe the Gospel, that it receives forgiveness because it is a good quality ("ethical act") or produces good qualities, finds favor only with those who deny, or at any rate have forgotten, that Christ has perfectly redeemed the world and that the Gospel is the message of God's grace.
Dear God!  Make me sick with the Word of Thy Gospel!  May the Good News "bore me to death"!  Bring again teachers like Walther and Pieper who are not afraid to keep repeating thy Gospel in it's purity to the point of making me nauseous and bored for Thou knowest that I will always only forget it!  Lord, "help thou mine unbelief"! (Mark 9:24)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Luther's Chronology of the World, Part 1

In the December 1898 (volume 44) issue of Lehre und Wehre, Franz Pieper reviewed the latest issue of the St. Louis Edition of Luther's Works, volume 14 from Concordia Publishing House. A portion of this volume contains Luther's Chronology of the World.  Here are Pieper's comments:
... Finally, this book contains in Columns 484-802 the so-called "historical and philological writings." In the first place, "Luther's Chronikon or Calculation of the Years of the World" is here. This writing is also particularly important, because Luther here clearly provides the authority of Scripture over all human research and science. Here Luther says, among other things: "This thing has moved me that though I have not despised the historians completely, I have preferred Holy Scripture to them. I use the historians in such a way that I am not made to contradict the Scriptures. For I believe that in the Scriptures the true God speaks; but in the histories, good people by their ability, their diligence, and their faithfulness prove (but as human beings), or at least that the copyists, can err." (Column 491) So must every Christian theologian stand. This should be remembered particularly by our modern shard collectors [archaeologists], for whom the authority of Scripture is often less than that of a lying Oriental royal court historian who, in the interest of the stomach, imputes a dozen ancestors to his ruler more than he really has. ...
 F. P.
I believe Pieper's last comment refers especially to the confusion of the histories of the Egyptian Pharaohs by European historians.  What a comedy!  A Christian's response to any finding of archaeologists that a certain piece of Bible history may be true is this:
  ==>> So what?  I knew it was first true because God said it in His Word!  It doesn't matter what you archaeologists may think is true, for I know what true history is as far as Biblical people, places, and events.

In Luther's Chronikon, you learn of Luther's calculations as best as humanly possible as far as God has given in the Bible.

There is another book sold by (AIG) by James Ussher entitled Annals of the World, also available for free download here.  AIG has published a nice graphic of Ussher's chronology – PDF file here.  It looks like this:

I would like sometime to compare Ussher's analysis to Luther's but I will take Luther's as more authoritative.  I believe Luther stuck to the Bible text better than Ussher, especially when Ussher tries to fix the exact year and day of the beginning of Creation. Luther fixes the beginning about 3960 B.C, while Ussher says "1a AM, 710 JP, 4004 BC".  In the Wikipedia article on Ussher or Ussher's Chronology, there is no mention of Luther's Chronikon.  Why don't today's Lutherans hold up this teaching of Luther?  The old German Missouri Synod did. Are modern "Lutherans" afraid of the scoffing of the world on practically all things Biblical, such as Creation, Geocentrism, the Jews, etc?

This series is continued in Part 2 where I present an English translation of Luther's work on Biblical Chronology.
Sept. 23, 2012:   Because this series will be extensive, I am including a Table of Contents in this Part 1 so that one can jump to any of the parts from here:
Table of Contents – Biblical Chronology and Luther
  • Part 1 – Introduction; Pieper's comments on St. Louis Edition, vol. 20 containing Luther's Chronikon; also comments on James Ussher's Biblical Chronology and publishings
  • Part 2 – English translation by Pastor Kenneth K. Miller, with download
  • Part 3 – Original of Luther's version in German from the St. Louis Edition of Luther's Works, with download
  • Part 4 – Preface texts by Pastor Miller and Martin Luther
  • Part 5 – Comments on Preface texts; introduction of Prof. James Barr, modern scholar
  • Part 6a – Review of James Barr essays, Part 1
  • Part 6b – James Barr and modern theologians and scholars
  •      Part 1 – Pieper's defense of Doctrine of Inspiration, variant readings of Bible text
  •      Part 2 – Pieper's defense of Inspiration, Contradictions and Errors
  • Part 6c – Barr's objections to the general figure of 4000 years in Old Testament
  • Part 6d – Barr's use of the term "theoretical schematism" -- actually legends and myths of the Bible
  • Part 6e – Barr's use of textual variations and textual criticism of the Bible
  • Part 6f – Barr's remarks about the Bible's "inconsistencies" and "errors"
  • Part 6g – Barr's demand for the use of the "historical critical" methodology – i.e. "scholarship"
  • Part 6h – Barr's insistence that Scripture be "reasonable" and "sensible"... for him.
  • Part 6i – Barr's comments against Luther's use of Daniel's prophecy of the Seventy Weeks
  • Part 6j – Barr's demand for extra-biblical information to have a true biblical chronology.
  • Part 6k – Barr's second "gotcha" – Luther "followed" historical forgeries. 
  • Part 6L – Conclusion to reviews of Barr – his grand notion of the Bible's "literal intention" 
  • Part 7a – Review of WELS Prof. John Brug's essays on biblical chronology
  • Part 7b – Review of WELS Prof. John C. Jeske's essays on biblical chronology
  • Part 7c – Review of WELS Prof. Siegbert Becker
  • Part 8 – Conclusion

Who Am I?

I'm not a pastor.  I'm not a teacher or professor at a seminary. I'm not a missionary.  I'm not a "Church Professional". I'm even not a member of any congregation now.  So who am I?  Who is this BackToLuther?

Dear God! Who am I that I should be the only one in the world today who is expounding the Doctrine of Universal, Objective Justification like Walther did?  Even in his day, Walther was almost the only one who expounded this doctrine and had to strengthen his brethren... he had to answer many questions when he taught this most beautiful doctrine.  How he rejoiced when Prof. Georg Stoeckhardt (Stöckhardt) came to the St. Louis Seminary from Germany and also expounded this doctrine (i.e. the Gospel) as purely as he did.

I recall a "confession" by my elderly father (about 15 years ago) as he and I attended a weekly Bible study on the book of John.  My father did not speak much of his faith and did not comment much during this Bible study. Somehow the Bible passage of Mark 9:24 came up and I recall my father speaking before the group from the heart saying the same words:
Lord I believe, help thou mine unbelief!
I was struck by my father's words... they were his confession of faith!

And so who am I? I'm just a Christian like any other Christian, hanging on by a thread, just a thin thread, because all I bring to the table is my unbelief.  God has given me a faith to believe Him at His Word, that He truly means it when He said: "For God so loved the world...", a fallen, sinful, proud, unbelieving world!  And so this confession of my father is also my confession (like my other one):

Lord I believe, help thou mine unbelief!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Quotes of C.F.W. Walther on Doctrine of Justification (Part 5)

After that unpleasant task of censuring a St. Louis professor in my last post, I am returning to the green pastures of the teaching of God's Word through one of the most glorious essays (1874 - 1875 Western District)  that Walther delivered.
See the previous blog posts Part 1Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.  
We are now up to the the topic of the Doctrine of Election.  This was becoming a hot topic in 1874, and would soon even cause a split within the venerable Synodical Conference.  It was an important topic!  But listen to Walther... is there a doctrine that is more important?  A doctrine that is required in order to begin to understand the Doctrine of Election?:

page 74: ...the question was raised whether perhaps the 12th point (on the election of grace) should be considered next, since the Iowa Synod maintained again and again that only the leaders in our synod hold to the doctrine of predestination (election of grace) which is presented in our publications, while the remaining members of the synod hold a different position.  However, we can rightly recognize how the Lutheran Church gives all glory to God also in the teaching of election by grace only after we have gone through the doctrines which precede it in the third thesis.  Besides, it appears impossible to convince the Iowans even with the most compelling evidences from God’s Word.  Therefore it was resolved to continue with the present order. (emphasis added- the third thesis is “The Reconciliation and Redemption of the Human Race”)
page 79: But there is a falsehood in what they say (redemption of whole world).  Why do they so vehemently oppose the teaching of the divine Word on Baptism, absolution, and the Lord’s Supper? .... They counter: “That would be too easy to go to heaven,...”  But thereby they show that they do not actually believe that Christ has really and truly, through His suffering and death on the cross, redeemed the entire world and reconciled it with God. . . . .   He is opposed to the means of grace because he does not believe in the grace.  “Really,” says the enthusiast, “I can’t believe that God would give such wondrous gifts through such common, ugly means.”  Let this serve as a reply: “This stems from the fact that you are lacking the faith that Christ has earned forgiveness of sins and God’s grace for all people; 80: They claim: “We are united with you Lutherans in the basics of Christianity, we believe like you that Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of all humanity, page 80: The only difference between us Christians and the enthusiasts is that in our case our faith is so weak that we cannot comprehend the magnitude of Christ’s benefits as we ought; while the enthusiasts blaspheme these heavenly truths and trample them underfoot.
page 81: When, for instance, the Methodists and the Presbyterians, especially those of the new school, have worked on a person and have brought him to the point where he, full of longing for grace and for liberation from sin, in his anxiety does not know how he can be helped, cries, sighs, and wrings his hands, they do not ask him, “What do you believe?” but, “How do you feel?”  If the person says he feels good, they say Jesus is there; if he does not feel good, they say He is not yet there.  They continue until he has the feeling that Jesus is there.
Means of Grace:
page 79-80: for if Christ has won such blessings, would He leave us without means to acquire these blessings for ourselves?  Surely not.  So that we do not have to ascend into heaven to bring Christ and His blessings down, He wills to be in the Word and where His Word is used.”
page 80: “Need you ever doubt,” Christ reminds the redeemed, “the assurance of forgiveness of sins?  No, you can now be absolutely certain of God’s grace.  Baptism is My hand, absolution is My hand, the Lord’s Supper is My hand, the Gospel is My hand with which I grant you these great and glorious blessings.”  And it is not an empty hand, but a hand filled with a variety of spiritual goods.  We people should truly rejoice, sing, and jump for joy when we hear this from Christ’s own 80: That we are steeped in so many doubts, are torn and distressed by so many worries, are at odds with God and the world, are dissatisfied with our lot in the world--this has its basis in our lack of faith that through Christ God is reconciled with us, that our salvation is already prepared, and that it is bestowed on us through the means of grace.
page 106: For when God raised His Son from the dead, He did not forgive Him His own sins, but the sins of all mankind which He had taken upon Himself. .... So the entire world was justified by the resurrection of Christ, which man must now accept by faith.
page 80: That we are so lazy and cold in hearing the Word of the Gospel, that we so little value the absolution pronounced by the pastor, that we have so little desire for the spiritual refreshment of Holy Communion -- this is due to our lack of faith in the reconciliation of all mankind through Christ and the fruits thereof.
page 108:page 109: When the little word “if” is used in Scripture, it is not always necessarily a conditional “if,” but often a syllogistic “if,” which serves to indicate consequence. ...

page 110: How could one comfort a disturbed person?  He is already assailed with doubts about his faith.  He would have to despair with such a doctrine.  Rather one must seek to convince him that the Savior is there for him, has already forgiven him, and wants to accept him.  As soon as one makes faith even in the least a requirement for justification, one takes from such a person all the comfort of the Gospel.
O you Walther! What a wealth of Christian teaching and wisdom is in these quotes!  Dear Reader... do you see the heart of Christianity in them?  Ah, the words of 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.
No one taught this passage more purely since the time of Martin Luther and Martin Chemnitz than C.F.W. Walther!  
Dear God!  Have mercy on us!  Cause the light of thy doctrine, thy Word, to come to light again in these last times!  SDG!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

How today's (English) LC-MS = Graebner Synod

[2019-05-10: added inline text note in red on exception to Graebner's teaching; 2018-04-19: see also this later post for quote in American Lutheran from Theo. Graebner, The Birth Certificate of today's LC-MS]
I am interrupting this series of Walther quotes to switch gears and expose the transformation of Missouri from old to new, from orthodox to heterodox... away from the Scriptural teaching of Walther and Pieper.
In previous posts (here and here), I have identified the new "Missouri Synod" as the "Graebner Synod" after it's founder, Prof. Theodore Graebner.  Some might fault me and say it was rather other people like  J.W. Behnken or those who staged the "walkout" of the St. Louis Seminary in 1974.  But the spearheading of the demise of the Missouri Synod happened before these people, for it was Theodore Graebner who had first gained a reputation as a "champion" of orthodoxy.  Faithful pastors, teachers, and laymen gravitated to him for guidance and comfort... as if Theodore Graebner was an equal of ... Franz Pieper!  As I stated in my original Internet posting,,:
There was no other man in the world who knew as much as Theodore Graebner about what was going on in the world. He was the editor of the Lutheran Witness, the main publication of the Missouri Synod to its members. And it was to Graebner that many in the Minority [later the ELS] wrote of suspicion with Preus/Torrisons’s explanation of Pieper/Dau/Graebner’s January 9 letter. 
Theodore Graebner was a prolific writer and communicator well before the death of Franz Pieper. In his earlier days he wrote many books, articles and letters seemingly battling unionism, prayer fellowship with heterodox, evolution, Boy Scouts intrusion into the church, lodges, Reformed tendencies, Pietism, Romanism, etc.  Much of his earlier works were in the German language. But in the later half of his life, he turned around on many of his conservative writings to support the issues he wrote against. And he wrote in English.  His turnabout has been well documented. Perhaps one of the better accounts is that of Prof. Mark E. Braun of the WELS in his book A Tale of Two Synods - Events That Led to the Split between Wisconsin and Missouri (TTS), Northwestern Publishing House, 2003. But also Mark Braun published an essay entitled Theodore Graebner: Bellweather of Changes in the Missouri Synod (TGBC) which documents many of the events and writings by and about Theodore Graebner. (email me if you would like the text of this paper for ease of searching as the original download is in rasterized PDF format.)

Theodore Graebner was a "giant" in the history of the Church in the 20th Century, albeit an infamous giant.  After all, he was the judge of Walther and Pieper on the Doctrine of Justification!  He was a translator of Luther's commentary on the book of Galatians, one of Luther's greatest works. Do a Google search on "Theodore Graebner" and so far (as of 3/3/2012), there are no major articles on him... no Wikipedia articles, no extensive biographies, only references to a few books that he published or translated. (Didn't O.P. Kretzmann say Graebner would be a legend? see TGBC pg 215) There is a very brief sketch of his life in the Lutheran Cyclopedia here.  ... except there is the major article by Prof. Mark Braun above of the Wisconsin Synod that rather documents his downfall.
  • Who did the leadership of the Boy Scouts of America turn to in the 1940s to appease the Church on it's teachings and practices?  Theodore Graebner. (see TTS pg 107)
  • Who did the founding fathers of the ELS turn to for comfort and brotherly counsel during the stressful beginnings of that faithful synod?  Theodore Graebner.  (Concordia Historical Institute contains many letters to not only Franz Pieper but also Theodore Graebner.)
  • Who did President Behnken turn to for guidance in clearing up "misunderstandings" between Missouri and the Norwegian Synod?  Theodore Graebner. (see my website
  • Who was chosen to write the book of the biography of Franz Pieper when he died?  Theodore Graebner.
  • And who was it that questioned the doctrine of Justification as taught by Walther and Pieper, Universal, Objective Justification?

Theodore Graebner, founder of the new English LC-MS, the "Graebner Synod"!

Why was Graebner not censured for his article in the American Lutheran magazine in 1939 that directly and publicly questioned Missouri's doctrine of Justification?  Why? Not only did Graebner repudiate Pieper when Pieper warned against the opponents (A.L.C.), but Graebner also repudiated Walther who warned against the Ohio and Iowa Synods' error on this most basic Christian doctrine. Why has virtually everyone overlooked this clear public departure of a St. Louis professor from the doctrine of the Grace of God proclaimed in the Gospel?  When I realized that Graebner not only reversed on issues of unionism and prayer fellowship, I scoured his older writings, the writings that others considered orthodox and conservative.  Nowhere did I find that Theodore Graebner taught or preached the doctrine of Universal, Objective Justification! [2019-05-10: I have discovered exceptions to this in Graebner's 1932 book Pastor and People, p. 62-63, 73-74, 76, 87] This has been my test of orthodoxy since the Lord opened my eyes to His Gospel. Virtually all of Graebner's writings were written against something, warning against something.  But did he ever teach the unbounded Grace of God in Christ?  I have not seen it.
Then I will do it now in this blog... I, BackToLuther, will 
repudiate and censure Professor Theodore Graebner of the St. Louis Faculty

Even some of the so-called "conservatives" inside and outside the LC-MS were confused on the Doctrine of Justification. For example Pastor Paul Burgdorf, editor of the Confessional Lutheran periodical, attempted in an article in the September 19, 1983 issue of Christian News to censure the president J.A.O. Preus for his teaching of Objective Justification!  Burgdorf attempted to do this with Walther's teaching on the necessity of faith to receive the Gift.  But Burgdorf rather shows his weakness on the Doctrine of Justification because the necessity of faith, to believe and receive the Gospel, in no way mitigates the doctrine of the Universal, Objective Justification! Burgdorf quotes Walther against Walther!
I will warn all those who are either in today's LC-MS or in fellowship with them of the grave danger they are in because of this basic doctrine of Christianity!
And I will even go one step further on this.  In the current Wikipedia article on "Lutheranism", there are 21 references to the writings of A.L. Graebner (father of Theodore) on Lutheran doctrine. There are only 3 references to the writings of Franz Pieper.  I will not deny there are good teachings in the writings of Prof. A.L. Graebner. But dear reader, if you want to read the best book ever written on complete Christian, Lutheran doctrine, you will get Franz Pieper's Christian Dogmatics, and read the 3 volumes cover to cover.  Then read them again... and again!
Back To Luther... and the writings of the old German Missouri Synod!

(see this later post for quote in American Lutheran from Theo. Graebner, The Birth Certificate of today's LC-MS)

Friday, March 2, 2012

Quotes of C.F.W. Walther on Doctrine of Justification (Part 4)

See previous Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.
In the previous Part 3, Walther makes it crystal clear what Faith Is Not... it does not appease God and make Him forgive our sins.  But what then is Faith?

Faith is:
page 76: But faith is the hand which makes salvation one’s own.
page 77: However, faith is necessary in regard to fruit and acceptance. (Calov quote)
page 105-106: One can see the doctrine of justification correctly only when one considers faith as merely the hand with which one appropriates the offered justification.  The old fathers spoke of two means for the attainment of justification, the giving means, namely Word and sacrament, and the receiving means , namely faith.  If a means for giving is present, then the gift must already be at hand.  Thus it is also with justification.  It is already there.  The question is only how God desires to give it.
page 107: So also faith is nothing but the raised hand which man extends to take what God unconditionally offers, presents and seals to him.
Heerbrand continues: “It is the way and means of accepting the benefit that is offered and given to us through and for Christ’s sake; and so it is the tool or, as it were, the hand that accepts and appropriates Christ and His gracious gifts offered in the Gospel.  When alms are offered to a beggar and he takes them with his hand, the hand is not called the condition, but the means or instrument with which the gift is taken.”
page 108: Consequently faith is the intrument, or as it were the hand, with which we grasp what God offers in His promises  If we wish to make very clear to people how faith is related to justification, these two expressions are best suited to achieve this.  It is very necessary that one understand this point clearly; only then will we teach justification perperly.  As much as all Christian groups speak of faith, only a minority have a correct conception of faith and how it justifies.  . ... But, faith is only an accepting; that it changes people is only its fruit.  Whenever one accepts, fruits will follow -- such as a different will, a different understanding.  Yes, a person is now a new creature.
page 109: Faith is not itself a work, but only an instrument.
Faith -justified apart from: 
page 79: They have already been given us, are always available for our benefit, even though we do not have faith.
page 109: If justification depended on the perfection of our faith, then we would all be lost.
Faith - Believe:
page 75: Only believe that Christ, the Son of God, has done all this in your stead...
page 81: But when a person has been shattered by the Law and is penitent, they should direct him to Christ and say: “Only believe!  As soon as you believe, you have all the blessings of Christ.  You are already redeemed;...
page 85: We preach about faith because in this way Christ is proclaimed.
page 111: We therefore hold fast to what Scripture says: “This is the work of God, that you believe...” (John 6:29)
Good works:
page 76-77: To this sectarians and enthusiasts respond: “You suggest therefore that good works are unnecessary?”  Our reply: “Good works are indeed to be done; but not to reconcile God, not to redeem oneself, not to earn forgiveness of sins and become God’s child; rather, in gratitude to Christ and God for the redemption we have received.  After all, what I do in order to receive a reward is not really a good work at all.”
page 74: The doctrine of the universal grace of God appears to be in contradiction with reality.
Dear reader, these quotes show the Missouri Synod from above...  the true Christian teaching!
In the next post Part 5, Walther addresses one of the hottest topics of his day - the doctrine of Election.

Quotes of C.F.W. Walther on Doctrine of Justification (Part 3)

See Part 1 and Part 2 for previous quotes and source material.
6. Univeral Redemption:
page 75: This teaching is without doubt the crowning glory of all Christian doctrine...the Christian religion on the contrary teaches not only how people eventually shall be eternally saved, but that they are already saved.
page 75: Everything has already been done; you are already redeemed; you have already been made righteous before God; you have already been saved.  You therefore do not have to do anything to redeem yourself; you do not have to reconcile God to yourself; you do not have to earn your salvation.  Only believe that Christ, the Son of God, has done all this in your stead;.
page 76: We Lutherans, on the other hand, teach, as was stated: The entire world is already redeemed through Christ; the entire work of redemption is already accomplished.. . . Formula of Concord: “In his purpose and counsel God has ordained . . . that through Christ the human race has truly been redeemed and reconciled with God...
page 77: 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.”  A person does not believe he will come into an inheritance because of a future promise, but only when the promise has been assuredly given.
page 78: I should believe that my sins are forgiven because they have been forgiven me in Christ.
page 78: Luther continues: “Hence this is the benefit of Christ’s suffering and resurrection, that He did not do this for Himself but for the entire world,...
page 79: But thereby they show that they do not actually believe that Christ has really and truly, through His suffering and death on the cross, redeemed the entire world and reconciled it with God.
page 79: “Really,” says the enthusiast, “I can’t believe that God would give such wondrous gifts through such common, ugly means.”  Let this serve as a reply: “This stems from the fact that you are lacking the faith that Christ has earned forgiveness of sins and God’s grace for all people;...
page 88: No, the chief function, the real assignment, is that the preacher come as God’s messenger and say: “Dear people, rejoice, you are saved; are you not aware of this?  I come to you as a messenger of God to bring you this good news: God is reconciled with you!”

7. Faith is not:
Page 76: Hence, this is not Lutheran teaching: that Christ by His fulfillment of the Law, by His suffering, death, and resurrection, has been instrumental in moving God to regard faith as something so extraordinary and superior that because of it He is reconciled with man.  Rather, the Lutheran Church teaches: All, yes everything necessary for reconciliation and redemption has been accomplished through Christ.
page 78: The enthusiasts claim: Faith is the means of being saved, because through it one acquires a new heart, becomes holy and pious... But faith, as a work of man or for the sake of its good attributes and results, cannot be credited with the distinction of accomplishing salvation and redemption; . . . Therefore it is dreadful when sectarians claim: I possess all this, provided I take some responsibility for bringing it to pass....
page 105: It is said that man must also do something in justification, namely believe.  Under such circumstances justification is not attributed solely to God.  But that means nothing else than robbing God of part of His honor and ascribing it to man.  Then it would not be God alone who saves us, but we would work together.  Only those who cannot distinguish sharply between condition and means can conceive such a thought.  A condition demands a performance on the part of the person who is to receive something.  For example: “I’ll give you the horse with the condition that you pay me so much for it.”  With the meeting of the condition the other promises performance in return.  Faith would then be an accomplishment on our part for which God would give us salvation in return.  But this is false.
page 106: Faith is not a condition to be met under which God will then give to us, but He has already given.
page 106: Therefore when Scripture says we are justified by faith, basically nothing is said but this, that we are saved by grace, as the apostle writes in Romans 4:16 -- not that faith is an acceptable good work.
page 107: ... But the expression: “If we believe, we will be saved” is never used in the Scriptures in the sense that it indicates a condition.  Neither does it say “because of faith” but “through faith by grace.”  A teacher must be very cautious not to use wrong words in presenting this doctrine, words which cloud its meaning.
page 107: How does Heerbrand answer our question?  In this way: Faith is not a condition, nor is it demanded as a condition; justification is not promised or offered either because of worthiness or meritoriousness or even insofar as it is a work.. . . If faith were a condition under which God justifies us, then there would have to be some worthiness or meritoriousness in faith, or it would have to be such a [grand] work that God would have to accept it.  But that is commingling of several concepts.  Does a hand merit anything because it seizes a present?
page 108: As much as all Christian groups speak of faith, only a minority have a correct conception of faith and how it justifies.  They think of faith as a special quality in man.  [They claim that] man has been changed, so that now there is something good in him, because of which God now considers him justified.
page 109: And since God Himself works faith, it cannot be the cause nor the condition but only the means of justification.
page 109: ...Carpzov speaks on this point: “It is not accurate if one calls faith the instrumental cause of justification.”
page 109: Faith is not itself a work, but only an instrument.  We are to contribute nothing because we can contribute nothing, not even faith.  If justification depended on the perfection of our faith, then we would all be lost.
page 110: If faith were a virtue, there would have been enough lacking in Paul’s faith to condemn him to hell.  What is true of unbelief is not true of faith.  Unbelief is the cause of damnation, but faith is not the cause of salvation.
In my next post Part 4, I will continue Walther's quotes on what Faith Is...

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Quotes of C.F.W. Walther on Doctrine of Justification (Part 2)

See Part 1 for previous quotes and the source material.
The charge of  "universalism" is raised by some "conservative Lutheran" writers against Universal, Objective Justification.  But does this charge have merit?
3. Universalism
page 64: It is satanic pride to say: “If God is indeed just, then it is logical that He will want to save all people.”
page 106: Now the papists, Armenians, and other sects come and say: There you see what a fine doctrine the Lutherans have.  They say: ’Eternal life is given unconditionally.’  Accordingly the wicked, thieves, liars, etc., all would be saved.  Just as the Universalists teach, no one would be lost but all would be saved, even the devil....
But that is nothing but pure swindle. The enthusiasts know well enough that we do not teach that. Rather, such a doctrine (i.e. of Universalists) is a most disgraceful one, by which God is made to be the devil.
4. Universal will of Grace
page 64: But we do know that He actually desires to save all people; He has revealed this in His word.
page 65: This teaching we find clearly enunciated in our Confessions, where in the Formula of Concord, Art. XI of the Epitome, we read: “The passage, “Many are called, but few are chosen,” does not mean that God does not desire to save everyone.
page 65: The will of God to save him (resister) is nevertheless an earnest one, it is not a kind of charade; it is His genuine will.
page 67: Apropos of this point Luther writes: “There are those who interpret the words (“Many are called, but few are chosen”) as follows: “Many are called” - that is, God offers His grace to many - but “few are chosen” - that is , He lets such grace come to only a few, for there are few who are saved.  Truly an ungodly interpretation!” (House Postil, St. Louis Edition, XIII a 201).
5. By Faith Alone, only by Faith
page 65: When a person does not desire to hear God’s Word, does not attend church, not even read the Scriptures, but rather pokes fun at divine matters,.... God cannot save him.  

The next post (Part 3) will continue with Universal Redemption, etc.

Quotes of C.F.W. Walther on Doctrine of Justification (Part 1)

In my previous post, I prefaced the ensuing quotes of Walther with the reason why they are so important.
In 1874 and 1875, there were meetings of the Western District of the Missouri Synod at which Walther presented a continuing series of theses entitled The Doctrine of the Lutheran Church Alone Gives All Glory to God, an Irrefutable Proof That Its Doctrine Alone Is True. An English translation was published by Concordia Publishing House in 1981 under the book titled Selected Writings of C.F.W. Walther - Convention Essays. (Aug. R. Suelflow, Translator)
These quotes are a matter of spiritual life and death for me.  I had to know about the following topics, and here is the order I put them in:
  1. Justification
  2. Importance of this doctrine
  3. Universalism?
  4. Universal will of Grace? - or is it just a misunderstanding that God wants all men saved?
  5. By Faith alone, only by Faith
  6. Universal Redemption
  7. Faith is Not... - are there limits to what faith is?
  8. Faith Is... - so what exactly is Faith?
  9. Faith - justified apart from... 
  10. Faith - Believe
  11. Good Works
  12. Contradiction?
  13. Election
  14. Feelings
  15. Means of Grace
  16. Certainty
  17. Resurrection
  18. Satiation
  19. If...
  20. Counseling
On my first topic of interest, I pulled out the following:
1. Justification
page 105: It is said that man must also do something in justification, namely believe.  Under such circumstances justification is not attributed solely to God.  But that means nothing else than robbing God of part of His honor and ascribing it to man.  Then it would not be God alone who saves us, but we would work together.  Only those who cannot distinguish sharply between condition and means can conceive such a thought.  A condition demands a performance on the part of the person who is to receive something.  For example: “I’ll give you the horse with the condition that you pay me so much for it.”  With the meeting of the condition the other promises performance in return.  Faith would then be an accomplishment on our part for which God would give us salvation in return.  But this is false.
page 105: We are not reconciled to God when we believe, but we are already redeemed, are already reconciled to God, so that we believe.  This is also true regarding justification.  The whole world is already justified in Christ.  Faith is not the condition under which we are justified but the way and means by which we become partakers of the justification which God has long ago given us.  As we read in Scripture, God gave His Son to the world.  He did not merely grant the world permission to appropriate His Son; but rather (as we read in John 3:16) He gave Him to  us that we should believe in Him, and not only when we believe.
page 105-106: The old fathers spoke of two means for the attainment of justification, the giving means, namely Word and sacrament, and the receiving means, namely faith.  If a means for giving is present, then the gift must already be at hand  Thus it is also with justification.  It is already there.  The question is only how God desires to give it.
page 106: So the entire world was justified by the resurrection of Christ, which man must now accept by faith.
page 108: If we wish to make very clear to people how faith is related to justification, these two expressions [instument and hand] are best suited to achieve this.  It is very necessary that one understand this point clearly; only then will we teach justification properly.  As much as all Christian groups speak of faith, only a minority have a correct conception of faith and how it justifies.  . ... But, faith is only an accepting; that it changes people is only its fruit.
page 108: Forgiveness has been wrought also for the unrepentant.  Only their unbelief keeps justification from being effective in their case.
page 108: Justification is not something that occurs in our heart, but it occurs in God.  Sanctification occurs in us. Justification is a judicial act of God, in which He absolves the sinner from guilt and punishment and declares him justified.
page 109: And since God Himself works faith, it cannot be the cause nor the condition but only the means of justification.
page 109: Yes, the whole work of redemption would thereby be drawn into doubt.  But, thanks be to God, our justification is already accomplished.
page 109: The real reason for our justification is Christ.
page 109: If justification depended on the perfection of our faith, then we would all be lost.
2. Importance of this doctrine
page 87-88: At this juncture the convention observed that in most sermons the newer preachers tended to seriously neglect the doctrine of salvation.  [Walther continues:]  Yes, there are not a few Lutherans who think that doctrine should be treated very lightly lest the hearers become too secure.  Rather they feel one ought to stress conversion.  But how and by what manner did the Reformation of the church come into being?  How are people converted?  Precisely in this, that they let God have the honor which He has reserved for Himself in the work of salvation, that one truly believes this salvation with all his heart, and takes pleasure in it.  Anything else is no conversion.  ...that occurs alone through faith.  .... There is no teaching so worthy of being diligently and thoroughly studied, so worthy of having the preacher present it enthusiastically and graciously, as the doctrine of the redemption of the entire world through Christ. ....
Where this teaching is not preached in all its purity, there God is wretchedly despised; and conversely, where this gem is brought to light in all its brilliance, there God alone is given all glory.
page 108: If we wish to make very clear to people how faith is related to justification, these two expressions are best suited to achieve this.  It is very necessary that one understand this point clearly; only then will we teach justification properly.  As much as all Christian groups speak of faith, only a minority have a correct conception of faith and how it justifies.  . ... But, faith is only an accepting; that it changes people is only its fruit.  Whenever one accepts, fruits will follow -- such as a different will, a different understanding.
page 108: The question whether the expression “we are justified or blessed under the condition that we have faith” has no foundation, was answered: if one is speaking of the necessity of faith one might use this expression, but not without previously having forestalled any misunderstanding.  [see my letter to Prof. E.F. Klug]
page 110: This doctrine is vitally important, because if faith is made a condition for salvation, then one ascribes to man the ability to produce faith.  This is the error of the Methodists and other sects,...
In my next post, I'll continue with Walther quotes on Universalism, etc.