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Monday, October 22, 2012

Luther's Chronology, Part 7c (WELS – Siegbert Becker)

   This continues the series on Biblical Chronology – Table of Contents in Part 1.  In the last Part 7b, I reviewed WELS Prof. John C. Jeske and his questionable analysis of biblical chronology.  Now I will finish this short sub-series on the WELS teachers with perhaps their greatest light in modern times – Siegbert Becker.  Prof. Jeske attempted to use a quote of Becker to bolster his questionable essay.  This indicates he considered Becker to have a strong reputation in his synod.
   I recall Siegbert Becker very fondly.  He was one of the greatest lights for the Doctrine of Justification in the later part of the 20th Century.  The details of this are worthy of a complete blog post at a later time.  Anyway, in my previous blog post Part 7b, Becker is quoted by Jeske in an article of Becker entitled "Is Evolutionism the Answer?".  Since the article's subject matter was on the Theory of Evolution, I decided to research other articles of Becker published on The following is a listing with comments:

1) Verbal Inspiration andthe Variant Readings 
    Becker is also one of the greatest defenders of Verbal Inspiration in the late 1900s with this essay.  How beautiful it is for defending the Christian faith, a faith that has no other basis than the Word of God, the Bible.    This essay speaks like Franz Pieper.  I only wish he had given credit to the 20th Century teacher in the Missouri Synod who was the most responsible for maintaining this precious doctrine to his time - the Twentieth Century Luther (and The Second Walther).
    And because of it's strong stand for divine inspiration, Becker would not have immediately rejected chronologies that based themselves on information from the Bible.  It would have been even better had he brought out the fact that Martin Luther wrote about biblical chronology (Chronikon) and did not shy away from putting some actual dates on biblical events based on the Bible.... that Luther put the Danielic Prophecy to work in dating Bible events.  It is a mystery to me why Becker did not do this.  Perhaps he only followed what was being translated into English by Fortress Press and Concordia Publishing.  Perhaps it was because his early training was at the University of Chicago (liberal Baptist) and the Northern Baptist Theological Seminary, not a solid basis for Lutheran doctrine.  I don't know.
2) Evolution and Genesis
Again Becker presents a solid essay against Evolution, and from a Lutheran teacher so Lutheran people don't have to be forced to go to non-Lutherans such as Ken Ham ( or Carl Wieland (
3) Exegesis of Genesis One and Two (1966)

This essay, like the previous one, provides a wonderful Christian defense against Evolution.  But Becker goes beyond Evolution and deals with the aspect that Prof. Barr supported – the "mythological" nature of Genesis.  Becker states (page 8):

In recent years, however, an entirely new approach to these early chapters of Genesis has begun to make itself evident also in the Lutheran Church, and this new theology is a thousand times more dangerous than the old attempts to bring Genesis into line with the theories of Darwin and Laplace, by interpreting a few words in a loose and unjustified way. In large areas of modern Lutheranism, the stories of Creation and the all, of Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel, of the Flood and the Tower of Babel are treated as myths of a primitive age which we must learn to outgrow, or which we must at least learn to understand lest we, by accepting these accounts as historical records, make ourselves and the Christian religion ridiculous in the eyes of modern, educated, and sophisticated men.

How distressing it is to read of "large areas of modern Lutheranism" in 1966 calling the Bible a myth.  What distresses me most is that this did not just come from the ancestors of the ELCA, but also from today's (English) LC-MS!  Someone will say that this isn't true today, but try to find a prominent teacher in today's LC-MS who teaches like Siegbert Becker did.  It is distressing when one gets tired of today's modern teachers and wants refreshment by going to their Lutheran teachers and finding little help from them.
. . . . . . . . . . 
As good as these essays are, yet I wish Prof. Becker had given credit to the fathers of the Missouri Synod and the Synodical Conference, for it was Walther, Franz Pieper, etc who most emphatically taught the doctrines of Verbal Inspiration, Inerrancy, etc, who best defended the basic doctrines of Christianity.  They are the ones responsible for Becker's strength in Christian teaching.

I will leave Siegbert Becker for now and will perhaps return to him in a later blog post regarding his 2 essays on the Doctrine of Justification.

The next Part 8 will be the last post in the entire series... I will offer concluding comments.

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