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Thursday, June 14, 2012

2 out of 7: LC-MS low score on Walther (Part 6 of 7 - Pless)

This post (Part 6) continues the series of commentaries on the 7 essays from the 2011 Concordia Theological Quarterly "celebrating" the Bicentennial of the birth of C.F.W. Walther.  See the table of contents for the full listing.

Löhe held to serious errors in the doctrine of the public ministry teaching the "immediate divine establishment of the public ministry" rather than the call of the congregation (Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, III, 448).  But Professor Pless is rather crass in his slap at Walther when he states in his conclusion thus (page 328):
In more recent years, various aspects of Löhe's legacy have been retrieved in LCMS efforts to broaden ecumenical perspective, deepen pastoral theology, enrich liturgical life, give shape to an authen­tically Lutheran missiology, enhance the place of the female diaconate, sustain the church's corporate life of mercy, or to provide what is seen as a corrective to Walther's understanding of the office. ... Fresh, unbiased engagement of Löhe's work is to be welcomed as an appropriate way to appreciate his legacy, alongside that of Walther, in order that his voice may contribute to the life and mission of the Lutheran church in our day. 
What a great celebration of Walther's Anniversary!  To the invitation from today's LC-MS to "Join the Celebration" of the Bicentennial 1811-2011 of Walther's birth, I say
I will not join your celebration but rather celebrate Walther's doctrine.

Thank you Prof. Pless for stating the obvious...  that you are no longer in Walther's Church (not your Grandfather's church) but rather a heterodox church that listens to Löhe as a "corrective to Walther".  It is sad that President Matthew Harrison included you in discussions with the new NALC for it shows Harrison's weakness in judging the doctrine within his own Synod.

And to you Albert B. Collver, what do you say to your fellow teacher Professor John T. Pless on this essay?  Do you also say Walther needs Löhe's "correctives" to Walther's understanding of the Office of the Ministry?  You don't?  But you are in fellowship with Pless...

Franz Pieper said it well about the public ministry when he said (Christian Dogmatics, volume 3, pg 449):
There have been times – and such times may come again – when unbelief and false doctrine so overran external Christendom that orthodox Christians had to depend on the preaching of the Word in the homes. Of this Luther says : "It may happen that the world will become so utterly epicurean that we shall have no public ministry in all the world and the preaching will be solely epicurean outrage and that the Gospel will be preserved only in the homes by the fathers" (St. L. VI : 938) .... The Word of God is a means of grace also when merely read...
These times are now.  I have found that unbelief and false doctrine have so overrun external Christendom... Dear Christian!  God does not want you to accept heterodox teaching but His true teaching from the Scriptures... and the old (German) Missouri Synod of C.F.W. Walther leads us to it.

The last essay to be reviewed (Scaer) is in Part 7.

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