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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Pieper: Ohio's great error (old ELCA) – on Justification

I have read somewhere of interest to find out exactly what the Ohio and Iowa Synods taught (old American Lutheran synods)...   and what were their errors?  The Ohio Synod of Columbus, Ohio was one of several American Lutheran synods that merged into the ALC synod in 1930, and then into today's ELCA synod.  It should be noted that the Ohio Synod was one of the original members of the Synodical Conference in 1872 (with the Missouri Synod) even though the Wikipedia article on the Synodical Conference does not mention it.  And these Ohio and Iowa synods were identified by Professor Theodore Graebner in 1938 as the ones that had the right Doctrine of Objective Justification, along with his LC-MS.
But unfortunately the Ohio Synod broke away from the Synodical Conference because they held to doctrinal errors, chiefly the Doctrines of Justification and Election.  Franz Pieper spoke of the great error of the Ohio Synod in the pages of Lehre und Wehre in June 1889 (vol. 35, pgs 195 - 196).  Here is what he reported:
Ohio. It is a great deception that the Ohioians and all synergists still speak of justification by grace through faith for Christ's sake, by which they cover themselves and alas! also inexperienced Christians with their utter waste of the central doctrine of Christianity. For the origin of faith is not merely at the mercy of God, but also by the good behavior of man as the Ohioians teach, faith itself includes a human achievement or a work of man in himself, and justified "through faith" then means  justified in so far as through a partial work of man.  Of a justification by grace in the biblical sense, there can no longer be talk of.  As Luther says, "Justification, which is done by grace, that suffers no work or no merit."   "And St. Paul thrusts" (with the "by grace" of Romans 3:24) "to the ground both the Pelagians with all their merits, and the Sophists with their few or small merits".  (The Bondage Of The Will. Dresden edition, page 300) [see section 149 (CXLIX) here].  So this subject has been discussed by all sides in the last fight.  But now there is something new to report.  For some weeks the Ohioians therefore fight expressly against the doctrine of justification as heresy, which they confessed at the first meeting of the Synodical Conference in 1872 with the whole Synodical Conference.  (Report of the first meeting of the Synodical Conference, 1872, page 43 ff.)  Will this possibly help to open the eyes of at least some of those under the unfortunate seduction of the spirit of error?
This is the error that modern Lutherans (such as Prof. T. Graebner in 1939 and today's Prof. David Scaer) want to ignore and overlook.  I have given the following quote many times before, but I want to rub your nose in it, today's LC-MS.  Here is what your Professor Theodore Graebner said in 1939:
One of the statements in the A.L.C. declaration has been criticized as hiding a denial of objective justification – when this doctrine is accepted by the American Lutheran Church (because it has accepted our Brief Statement) and when both Ohio and Iowa Synods for generations past have taught correctly this same doctrine.  As long ago as 1872 and as recently as 1938 the public doctrine in the areas here placed under suspicion has been the plain doctrine of Scripture as we teach it ourselves.
All the women and homosexual pastors in today's ELCA (and NALC) cannot roar louder against the true Doctrine of Justification than Professor Theodore Graebner did in this quote.  Theodore Graebner, the great Editor of the Lutheran Witness and chief popular spokesman for the LC-MS in 1938, set himself on a mountain top, way above C.F.W. Walther, way above Franz Pieper, and roared:
The fathers of the old (German) Missouri Synod were wrong!  ......  I am the one who knows the Doctrine of Justification!  I am the one who knows the central article of Christianity!  Listen to me!
And unfortunately today's LC-MS did.

Not so for the old (German) Missouri Synod.  From the perspective of old Missouri, the Ohio Synod was already beginning to return to the Roman Catholic (Sophist) doctrine and would not be so surprised (but would be saddened) that the descendants of the Ohio and Iowa Synods, the ELCA, would sign the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification with the Roman church.  The old (German) Missouri Synod believed the Bible.  Do you?
If by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. Romans 11:6

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