Who was Larry Darby? Before I explain that, I believe my last communication with him was
"Go to hell, Larry Darby".What? I, BackToLuther, after just extolling the beauty of Franz Pieper's essay entitled "The Open Heaven" would reveal that I have stated such a pronouncement on anyone in the world? Indeed, I stated this in all seriousness. How could this be?
The background of this story is my own journey of faith, from a weak faith (a faith nevertheless!) to an unshakable faith. This was happening in the mid-1990s. I revealed portions of that journey in an earlier post (here) that prefaced quotes of Walther on the doctrine of Justification. A major milestone in my journey was "The Larry Darby Situation" and it was this milestone that produced a faith that says No! to all of Satan's attacks on the free grace of God for all, no exceptions!
But let us go back to the time of my weak faith... it was a time where I felt I had returned to Christianity after a falling away. The Lord said
O taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8)... and so it seemed the Lord Jesus had died for me. But my past rejection of Him would loom up at times and make me wonder – was it really true? Maybe I should insure my position with God by living right. Or maybe I wasn't one of the elect...?
Anyway, I somehow came across the weekly newspaper Christian News (CN) by Herman Otten, a longtime critic of the LC-MS who nevertheless wanted to be officially recognized by that church body. There were many articles in that publication by many different writers, some of whom seemed to bolster my Christian faith. One of those writers was Larry Darby, who seemed to strongly uphold scriptural teaching. And so I wrote my first letter to him:
7/20/94The reader will notice that at this time, I held Larry Darby in high regard because of his great knowledge and his conservative Lutheranism. So why would I later tell him "Go to Hell"? Read on in Part 3 of my next correspondence with him.
Mr. Larry Darby
XX Xxxxx Xxxxx
St. Louis, MO XXXXX
I have wanted to write so often to you. After reading your latest response to Dr. John Klotz in the 7/18/94 issue of CN, I sat down at the computer. After last weekend spent at the Dr. Martin Luther Institute of Sacred Studies in Decatur, Indiana (Lutheran Churches of the Reformation- LCR) I decided to put words to paper.
First a few words about me: 42 years old, raised LCMS, left church at about 20- heard enough; engineering and business degrees; married Greek Catholic lady- 2 sons were born; divorced- (a good description of death); attended church again with my aging father; heard the outrageous message that God has been reconciled to me in spite of all my sin for the sake of His Son because of the cross; joined Bible studies; married again (she's Baptist); left LCMS church due to unionism practices and sympathy of pastor for "social work" and psychology (I had enough of these- their drugs and group therapy were all wrong); joined local WELS church thinking it was surely more faithful to doctrine; left WELS church 3 months ago- not attending church currently- looking for church faithful to Lutheran Confessions, Luther, Walther, solid Lutheran/pure/biblical doctrine. On the weekends with my boys I teach them Small Catechism and now using the beautiful teaching of Luther's "On the Jews and Their Lies".
Enough of myself- I have been reading CN for about 1 year. I remember very well the first and all subsequent writings of Larry Darby. They spoke directly to me from the beautiful truth of Scripture (I still remembered pure doctrine from my confirmation training) and the poison of false teaching/practices.
I no longer want to depend on the mailman for each issue of Christian News with possible writings of Larry Darby. I want a church that holds to teachings that you seem also to hold to. I have been accumulating the books of men recommended by you, Greg Jackson, John Drickamer and others: Luther, Walther, Chemnitz, Concordia Triglotta, Siegbert Becker, and other orthodox Lutheran teachers.
I investigated the Church of the Lutheran Confession based on their doctrine of church fellowship which is quite scriptural. Have discovered where they seem to err in area of Church and Ministry - Walther's clear teaching. They also teach psychology and sociology at their school with no apology. Was there no church group that held to ALL pure Lutheran doctrine? Had America become a country to consider leaving as Walther left his fatherland? Walther and Luther kept telling me "PURE doctrine". Luther says in his Galations commentary: "Doctrine is heaven, life is earth".
I read Forum letters and saw a letter by Pastor Alfred Tschopp in the 7/11/94 issue (page 18 bottom). He was right! And, Decatur, Indiana was not so far away! Imagine my joy at seeing a library (at the Dr. Martin Luther Institute for Sacred Studies) filled with the above authors and other faithful teachers (Stoeckhardt, Kretzmann, Robert Preus). Pastor/Professor Twenge does not currently teach a course on pastoral counseling, but when he does he will tear down the teaching of this world first then build up the Scriptural teaching as the only true teaching. This doesn't sound like "psychology". How many doctrines are there: lodges, Jews, universal justification, reconciliation, Bible translations and "textus receptus", church and ministry, inspiration, creation,....AND CHURCH FELLOWSHIP. This is the one area you must consider in the light of Scripture. Your defense of your pastor who does not raise the false doctrine issue must be viewed in light of Romans 16:17.
I would like to correspond with you more.
[Signed] Xxx Xxx [BackToLuther]