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Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Second Walther!

I was the one who gave the main epitaph to Franz Pieper in my original website back in 1999.  After much reading of many writings, it became clear to me who spoke the clearest for Christianity and Lutheranism in the 20th Century... it was Franz Pieper – The 20th Century Luther!

I will now add a second epitaph for Pieper that has come to me.  It springs from the epitaph that was given to Martin Chemnitz as the "Second Martin" because of his faithfulness to Luther's pure doctrine.  The story of this faithfulness has been preserved by 2 essays now hosted by the Wisconsin Synod.  J.A.O. Preus and Eugene Klug both presented essays in 1985 for the "Reformation Lectures" at Bethany Lutheran College of the ELS Synod:
Chemnitz and Authority by Dr. Eugene Klug
Martin Chemnitz on the Doctrine of Justification by J. A. O. Preus II
Martin Chemnitz is a true hero of Christianity and the reader is encouraged to download and read these essays.

Now C.F.W. Walther is the theologian of Christianity since the days of Martin Chemnitz.  Like Chemnitz, he too sat at the feet of Luther theologically and "gathered the luminous rays" of the Gospel like no theologian since.  Lutheranism was languishing under Germany's waywardness, but it was in America that God restored the glory of His grace, the glory of the pure Gospel through C.F.W. Walther.  Those who recognized this have given him the epitaph of The American Luther!
Ah, but God did not stop there, but gave us another theologian to follow Walther, to show the true beauty of the Gospel that had been restored by him.  The Missourians under Walther lamented that he did not write a complete systematic textbook on theology but rather edited an older textbook by a previous theologian, Johann Wilhelm Baier.  Although Walther made good comments in this textbook (see here for English topics), it was not the best vehicle for presenting the pure doctrine.  And Walther did not have the time to write his own textbook.  But Walther's successor did write the textbook that Walther did not – it is Franz Pieper's 3-volume Christian Dogmatics (or Christliche Dogmatik), not to be confused by other textbooks of the same name.  This was Walther's textbook because it followed him perfectly.  And so I will call Walther's successor
Franz Pieper – The Second Walther!

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