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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.

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