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Friday, August 3, 2012

New book: Walther's Formula of Concord-Kern und Stern, Part 1

     In an earlier post, I had commented about Walther's book Concordienformel – Kern und Stern and how Walther towers over today's theologians and editors like Robert Kolb and Paul T. McCain when it comes to presenting the Formula of Concord, part of the Lutheran Confessions.  Although I was tempted to tackle a translation of Walther's book at that time, I decided against it since the new book by CPH edited by McCain did an adequate job (with a few exceptions) of presenting the Lutheran Confessions to the people.
     But now I notice that there is a brand new book out that is published by Herman Otten's Christian News and is the first English translation available of Walther's German original (that I know of).  It is entitled The Formula of Concord – Core and Highlights; The Doctrine of Election in Questions and Answers.  It is only $7.95 plus shipping and I have purchased it.
     The translator, Kenneth E.F. Howes, had evidently tried to get it published by Concordia Publishing House (according to Otten, CN July 23, 2012) but was turned down.  I wonder that he finally gave up after waiting many years since the date of his Preface is February 27, 2008, over 4 years ago.  His experience mirrors that of Pastor Joel Baseley who also could not get CPH to publish Walther or Luther.  Does the reader see the false honor that the LC-MS, CPH, and CHI pays to C.F.W. Walther in their "Bicentennial Celebration"? I wonder that McCain deemed Walther's book would compete too well with other publications, and likely cause too much of a "black eye" to put it into the public's hands.

     Mr. Howes makes several good points in his preface. I quote:
1) "... less than half of ...[Walther's work] has ever been translated into English."
At least there is some movement on this now with the work of Pastor Joel Baseley, yourself, and my blog.  
2) "That is largely the result of the very sudden and swift abandonment of German by the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod in the 1940's."
Well said, Mr. Howes!  In case you did not know of this, see Pieper's answer to the question of why the old Missouri Synod held to the German language in my earlier blog post.  ... And do we even recognize that God has truly given our Internet age a gift, not as Robert Kolb extols "psychology" and "sociology" as gifts of God, but this: free online translation tools like Google Translate, Promt Translator, and Microsoft Translator?  These tools allow not just a few like you, but our whole generation that has been denied the German language by our ancestors to at least begin to unlock the tremendous treasures stored away in the old German Missouri Synod.
3) "This book... is one that should long since have been translated and placed in the hands of the laity."
Indeed Mr. Howes!  I almost beat you to it!  Now I am glad that I did not...  But why hasn't it been published before?  (Read my whole blog and find out.)
4) "Today's American Lutheran laymen are almost entirely unaware of the scope of the Lutheran Confessions and their contents."
But why is that? Isn't there an organization called the Lutheran Laymen's League and don't they see that their members get the literature of the basics of Christian teaching?  No? Maybe they should also get Franz Pieper's book What Is Christianity? and read his essay The Laymen's Movement in the Light of God's Word.
5) "... the typical Lutheran's beliefs could be described as those of a Baptist who believes in the Real Presence in Communion"
But it is more than that Mr. Howes.  Maybe you hint at it, but I must explain, Mr. Howes, that you have not quite hit on the primary error of today.  It is rather The Doctrine of Justification.  It is only when I finally realized that, through God's mercy, the BIG problem for today is the Gospel itself, or rather the lack of a true understanding and proclamation of it – it is called Universal, Objective Justification.  Pastor Herman Otten, your publisher, does not proclaim it even though he publishes some books by Walther such as yours.  Now I must ask you, Mr. Kenneth Howes, do you believe what Walther taught – Universal, Objective Justification (UOJ)?
- - - - - - - - - - -
There are remarks to be made about this book:
  • No reference to the exact German name of the original book, so that readers wanting to verify the original can find it.  
  • A minor point – Howes translates "Kern und Stern" as "Core and Highlights"; I prefer "Core and Star" or "Heart and Star" or "Seed and Star", but perhaps he has it more correct to the meaning of Walther.
  • No Table of Contents?  
  • No Index?  
I would like to correct these last two shortcomings... in Part 2.

Mr. Howes has done a fine service to the church.  Thank you!! This book offers a new and magnificent way to go back, back to Walther, and the Lutheran Confessions!  All Lutheran laymen should read this book instead of (or at least before) McCain's or Kolb's writings, for it was C.F.W. Walther who truly brought the Lutheran Confessions to today's modern (or post modern?) age.  Anyone who ignores Walther when writing of the Confessions is a pretender, or an actor – as the Greeks would say – a hypocrite (also search for "Greek language" here).

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