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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Justification – Darby Situation (Part 6b – Rolf Preus)

This post Part 6b continues the previous Part 6a of a letter I sent to Pastor Rolf Preus (May 3, 1997) regarding his defense of Objective Justification and fellowship matters (See Part 1 for Table of Contents):

**************** continuation of letter to Rolf Preus  **************
All this was written and researched 1-2 years ago.  As I read it again, I found a few inaccuracies- perhaps you might know of them.  I have come across a few other names to add to this list:
The paper you mention in your essay is Larry Darby’s book “Historical Development…”.  But after reading Darby, I also read Prof. Walter Maier Jr. essay on “Justification by Faith” [WorldCat here].  I can hardly distinguish between the two writings.  At least Larry Darby is open in trying to deny that Walther taught objective justification.  Walther Maier Jr. skirts this item of church history.
Perhaps you will advance names of those who teach as you do in today’s LC-MS.  I pray it would be so.  But even you would have to admit their teaching does not reach those to be taught- the sheep.  No, I have spent years searching, searching, searching.  I know what is true.  God gives no reason for doubt.  And it is what Old Missouri taught- no questions.
No, the problem of the LC-MS, rather than Darby’s book of blasphemy against Christ’s perfect payment, must go back to something far more evident.  It has been evident for over a half century.  It is the reason for today’s LC-MS questioning, debating, and discussing this doctrine.  It is the reason given by the sister synods in the Synodical Conference- J.P. Meyer and Wendland of Wisconsin and Ylvisaker/Gullerud/Madson of the ELS.  It is the trap for which Franz Pieper worked so long and so hard to prevent by all his work of conference discussions, convention essays, letters, and books.  It is unionism.  And through this unionism, today’s LC-MS has brought doubt on this doctrine of universal justification.  It has not been openly denied, at least not to a widespread extent.  But doubt has been cast on it.  Luther gives the judgment on that word “doubt”.  The devil has already won when there is doubt.  Your essay is further testimony to the reality.  The questions raised in the LC-MS on Objective/Universal Justification is a fruit of this unionism.
And the seriousness of this unionism in today’s LC-MS?  I will let Franz Pieper pronounce it:
“It is a matter of life and death”  Synodical Conference, 1912 (quoted in Moving Frontiers, p 289)
Rolf Preus- now I must add this name to my list of those who teach Objective/Universal Justification.  I have seen your name a few times before in defense of this doctrine, mostly in back issues of Christian News.  I have your paper “Lutheran/Roman Catholic Conversations on Justification”. Sadly,  I cannot be in fellowship with you because I believe this doctrine and you remain in fellowship with those who cast doubt upon it.  But I must say this- there is no other “Preus” that I have seen in all my research who comes as close to Herman Amberg Preus (d. 1894) in recognizing God’s gracious message as taught and preached by C.F.W. Walther as you.  H.A. Preus and Jacob Aall Ottesen are giants in true church history because they recognized the pure Gospel as it had not been preached in a long time.
No, I must weep for my old  Missouri Synod church as Walther weeped for the Lutheran church in Germany.  How he ached to see signs of life in Germany!  And God blessed that – the Ev. Luth. Free Church from which Georg Stöckhardt came from.  The path of Lutheranism to our time came through one man- C.F.W. Walther – the American Luther.  And following his death it continued through especially another man, the President of Concordia Seminary for over 40 years - - Franz Pieper.  You know how Pieper is ignored and downgraded in today’s LC-MS.  Now, along with Walther, Franz Pieper must be honored for he is the Twentieth Century Luther!  No one pressed the kingdom of heaven into my lap more firmly than this man, Dr. Franz Pieper.
But you are in the church that left Walther/Pieper for the doctrine of Theodore Gräbner.  The charge of Theodore Gräbner against Franz Pieper in the matter of the Norwegian Merger of 1917 is the false charge of this century – bar none!  No man stands more in the center of all the whoredoms of this century than - - Theodore Gräbner!  A defense of Gräbner or C.K. Preus/I.B. Torrison with “objectivity” as Aaberg tried in his assessment (cf City Set on a Hill, pg.  274-282) misses the mark!  In a generally good essay presenting the material, it repudiates the Christian judgment of those who started the ELS – who saw through the false report of the Minority leaders.  The founders of the ELS knew for a certainty that Dr. Franz Pieper loved them in Christ for he wrote a book that was one of their main guides – Zur Einigung.  There was only one man who was not confusing or confused in the meeting of December 28, 1916 amongst the 5 professors gathered - - Franz Pieper!  There was only ONE man among the 3 St. Louis professors who was consistent from beginning to end - - Franz Pieper! Why did not W.H.T. Dau condemn T. Gräbner for his repudiation of Pieper?  Why?
I must repeat - you are in the church that left Walther/Pieper for the doctrine of Theodore Gräbner.
Xxx Xxx [BackToLuther]
**************** end of letter to Rolf Preus  **************

Pastor Rolf Preus did not respond to me personally.  But I believe that he received my letter and he referred to it in a later letter to Christian News.  Pastor Preus left the LC-MS after this correspondence and joined the ELS, perhaps thinking they were orthodox.  He has been suspended from the ELS in 2006 over a matter of the doctrine of the public pronouncement of the forgiveness of sins. Current information on him does not show a synodical affiliation of any of his congregations.  There is perhaps no more public pastor in the world today than Pastor Rolf Preus who defends the Doctrine of Objective Justification  I wish him well as I do for all who defend and preach this doctrine.  
(This post may be updated over time.)

I will go on in Part 7 to another pastor who seemed to defend "Objective Justification" in the pages of Christian News... John Drickamer. (I'll get to McCain and Marquart eventually.)

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