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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.

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