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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?:

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”)
Enthusiasts:
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;...page 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.
Feelings:
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.”
 Certainty:
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 lips.page 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.
Resurrection:
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.
Satiation:
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.
If: 
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. ...

Counseling:
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!

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