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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Pieper to the 21st Century: the lost heritage of the Reformation

The 20th Century Luther, Franz Pieper, noted in 1930 (CTM vol 1, pg 151) that some were questioning whether the spirit of the Reformation had been lost.  Certainly many today wonder at the same question... are we "missing the boat"?  Have we gone astray from the true teaching?
Pieper's comment:
What still prevents in our day "the return to the heritage of the Reformation"? This question is answered by Luther's dictum: "Whoever not yet is nothing, can out of that God also make nothing." (St. Louis Edition, vol. IV, column 1692.)  As long as we still do not believe that our conversion and salvation is based on God's grace alone, but in the last analysis is based on our good behavior, we ourselves fight against the legacy of the Reformation which is on the sola gratia (grace alone). The same is true with respect to the principium cognoscendi (source of knowledge) of theology, which is on the sola Scriptura (Scripture alone). We must be convinced that we know not one iota more about the things which concern our salvation than is given in the Holy Scripture which is revealed in God's own, infallible Word.  Hence, we must drop all thoughts of Modern-Lutheran theology which are in advanced training of Christian doctrine. (underlining mine).
Pieper takes square aim at "modern Lutheran theology" for wrecking true Christian doctrine.  And it is a terrible thing that Pieper's own Missouri Synod, today's English LC-MS, fell to this horrible teaching which questions the sola gratia and sola Scriptura.
But when the Lord brought me back to a living faith, I took comfort that, even though the whole world seemingly went astray, God's Word did not stray.  Yes, John 3:16 was actually still true and I could take that to my grave.  And by that faith, the Lord led me to the huge sources of comfort and instruction in the writings of Pieper, Walther, and Martin Luther. Many of these sources were hidden away... ignored by today's LC-MS. Although there are writings since the time of Pieper's death that can edify a Christian, yet I want the pure truth, the good stuff.  If the reader also wants the pure truth, the "good stuff", then read Pieper's Christian Dogmatics, all 3 volumes.  And then read it again.  You will then have gotten the mind of C.F.W. Walther and Martin Luther at the same time!

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