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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Luther's Timeline – events surrounding Luther (w/ download)

In the previous blog post, I published my work that compiled much information and paraphrased most of Luther's many letters.

In this post I am publishing my similar work on Luther's Timeline.  As with my work on Luther's Letters, I did not do this work to be another cataloger of Luther, but because I had to cut through all of modern theology's limitations and blindness when it comes to knowing Luther.  The funny thing to me is that even though most modern theologians do not understand Luther very well (or not at all), they can at least be quite good at dating the events of his life.  Because I do not understand German, I was at a great disadvantage to those who know the languages of Luther – German and Latin.  I spent a large amount of time scouring available sources in English and cross referencing them.

I published the MDB (Microsoft Access 97) database file in the previous blog post on Luther's Letters.  The data file also contains the table on the Timeline.  But to make this information accessible to the general reader, I have output a report.  Download the TimeLine file below:
LutherTimeLine.PDF  (.5 MB or 500 KB, 42 pages, over 2000 records)
Here is a listing of the sources I used to compile this information with their abbreviations – many of these are also shown on the 1st page of my TimeLine document:
(listing last updated Nov. 29, 2012)
And below is a single page showing some explanations of the report layout (click on it or download PDF here):
I have not updated this information in over 10 years because I consider it fairly complete for my purposes.  Modern catalogers may be able to add tidbits, but that is no matter to me.  When I read Walther and Pieper, and yes, the Lutheran Confessions, I feel like I'm reading from the faith of Martin Luther.

What astounds me today is what the Internet (Google Books, HathiTrust, Google Translate,, Finn Andersen, etc) has done to bring so much useful information and so many writings from Martin Luther... right to our fingertips.  I think of all the trips to libraries I made, the hours of copying or scanning dozens of books, the many hours of reading, machine translating and data input into my data files.  Robert Kolb wants to thank God for "psychology and sociology" as tools for the Church.  Rather I thank God for the Internet — you and I are reading from it and using it right now!

I dedicate this blog post to two men that I ran across in my readings of the Reformation:
  • Nicholas Lithenius, Swedish Lutheran Pastor in London wrote that "the English Reformation was not started by disciples of Zwingli and Calvin, but by those of Luther, so that Luther, the great instrument of God in reforming the British Church, opened the way to England and Scotland to extricate themselves from Papal servitude."
  • Archbishop John Bramhall of Armagh, Ireland († 1663) said: "The name Protestants is one to which others have no right but by communion with Lutherans".

Monday, November 26, 2012

Luther's Letters – largest cross reference available?

[2017-06-14: added 3 missing sources to list below. in red; updated/added links] 
About 10 years ago, I compiled an extensive database of practically all of Luther's many letters.  The prior cataloging of Luther's works done by others – Aland, Vogel, Weimar Ausgabe – were not complete enough for my needs, especially as an English speaking Lutheran.  And the American Edition of Luther's Works is almost laughable in it's puny (although helpful) collection of Luther's letters translated into English.  The New Series will offer more letters, about 200 more according to it's Prospectus, (pages 29 - 38) which begins to fill out the English collection.  But that pales to the over 3000 letters published in the St. Louis Edition, even though not all are Luther's letters.  And the Weimar Edition has over 4000 letters, although I consider those in the St. Louis Edition to be largely complete.
My database was intended to help me
  • find published English translations and 
  • cross-reference all publications in all languages.
I used Microsoft Access and have an .MDB data file (5 MB!) – here.  I wish I could figure out how to publish this to the web, but I don't know how.  So I have decided to output the data to a 478-page file with 4,400 records.  As I said, it is extensive.  Download the different versions below:
I have decided to make this information available for anyone interested.  Below is an image of page 13 with some explanations in the form of arrows and callout boxes (click on it or download hi-res PNG here).

You can click on the above image to expand the size for more readability.

Because I was hungry for English translations, I scoured all the books that I could find.  Here is a list that I cataloged, some with links that have free copies or downloads:
(listing last updated October 17, 2017)

I did not compile my database to be a cataloger of Luther — I did it so that I could fully understand the Reformer and his correspondence.  My downloadable report can be best used by scanning through the pages and following the paraphrasing I made of many of the most important letters.  If a paraphrased letter strikes your interest to read more, look through the listed publications and find one that you can download for free.

C.F.W. Walther (and Franz Pieper) highly prized Luther's letters because Luther bares his soul and his heart for the lost and for weak Christians in them.  Even those who are not Christians are fascinated by them.  I made a brief mention of this in this blogpost about "The Fruitful Reading of Luther's Writings", but Pieper's quote from Walther should be brought out in more detail here (as also Harrison does in his book, pgs 333-343):
On Luther's letters Walther says: "As for Luther's letters, let him read especially on the preparation for the Diet of Augsburg (1530), and during that as well, and those dealing with the proceedings of the Diet, indeed all letters relating to church events. No better letters have been written. Such courage of faith, such boldness and assurance of victory is unequaled. You get just the right sense of the events if you read what Luther wrote about it."
This high praise of Luther's letters can be seen in Pieper's article during the 400-year celebration of the Augsburg Confession that I translated in an earlier blog post.  It can bring one to tears as the birth of the Lutheran Church is brought before ones eyes.

From Luther's Letters, one can quickly see the progression of Luther's faith through his life and what was happening... and when.  In the above MDB database file is also a Timeline table of events surrounding Luther's time. I will publish this Timeline in my next blog post.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Theologian vs. layman - no contest! (fellowship - Ro. 16:17) Part 6

In the previous post Part 5, Pieper continued to expand on the subject of "scientific" theology in his powerful article, Foreword to the 1888 Lehre und Wehre, journal of the old (German) Missouri Synod. (See Table of Contents with all downloads in Part 1).  Pieper was angry, angry over German theologian Albrecht Ritschl, who presumed to be master over a simple layman saying this layman (von Klencke) had "bottomless presumption" to judge him by calling out against his false doctrine.

In this Part 6, I conclude this series on Pieper's L.u.W. article with my comments.

What caught my eye in Pieper's article was the use of the Scripture passage Romans 16:17-18 on page 2. This passage played a major role in bringing to light the travesty that broke up the Synodical Conference.  This is the passage that Valparaiso University President O.P. Kretzmann laughed at.  How was this passage used by Pieper?  By his quote of Martin Luther's treatise
That A Christian Assembly Or Congregation Has The Right And Power To Judge All Teaching And To Call, Appoint, And Dismiss Teachers, Established And Proven By Scripture.
It was this quote from Martin Luther: (see also Part 2 of this series):
All the warnings St. Paul makes in Romans 16:17-18; 1 Corinthians 10:15; Galations 3, 4, and 5; Colossians 2:8 and everywhere, and all the sayings of the prophets in which they teach us to avoid human teaching, do nothing but take the right and power to judge all doctrine away from the teachers and with a stern decree impose it on the listeners instead, on pain of losing their soul. [St. Louis Edition, vol. 10, col. 1542]
What does Romans 16:17 say?  This:
Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
Pieper makes this same point at the end of his essay (see Part 5):
Whoever does not want the fruit, should avoid the tree and the root
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So to any who would come to me, BackToLuther, and say "Who are you to judge these things?"... you're no theologian, you're no scholar, you're no church official, you're no teacher in the church... 
Who are you, BackToLuther, to be so high and mighty in judging these things?
To them, I say I am nothing...  but my faith is everything... my faith can judge all things and all those above who are supposed to be teaching, preaching and admonishing me in the faith.  I stand with the dear layman "von Klencke" who in faith cried out as a layman against the great German theologian Albrecht Ritschl.

What faith?  It is this:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16
God says:
For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.  Romans 3:3-4
God says that even if every man on earth held to the untruth, let alone the scientific theologians, let alone the Public Ministry, let alone every teacher of the Church... but "let God be true"...  to His Word.  His Word that says:
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.  Romans 3:23-24

Theologian vs. layman - no contest! (a warning!) Part 5

In the previous post Part 4, Pieper spoke of the importance of using understandable language in his powerful article, Foreword to the 1888 Lehre und Wehre, journal of the old (German) Missouri Synod.  (See Table of Contents with all downloads in Part 1).  Pieper was angry, angry over German theologian Albrecht Ritschl, who presumed to be master over a simple layman saying this layman (von Klencke) had "bottomless presumption" to judge him by calling out against his false doctrine.

In this Part 5, I conclude this translation of Pieper's L.u.W. article (pages 5-6) as he adds biting warnings to his subject:
(continued from Part 4)
            Thus it is then clear:  If all goes honestly and properly on the part of theologians, so Christians are very well in a position to judge doctrine.  Thus is and remains the church "the queen", as Luther expresses himself, also what concerns the judgment of doctrine; the theologians, however, even the most learned, remain always in the position of counselors.  And true theologians want to be nothing else.  They do not desire to be masters of the faith of Christians, but consider it their highest honor when they may be helpers of joy.
            May our Synod never be afflicted with "theologians" of the nature and disposition of Ritschl, and let this "Theologische Monatsblatt" [Theological Monthly, referring to Lehre und Wehre] never be at the service of such theologians.  However, it remains a matter that we stay generally unmuddled with modern, scientifically called theology.  Because this theology is based on the principle that "theology" and "Church doctrine" are two very different things; that the knowledge of Christian doctrine which the theologians have is a very different kind of knowledge than that which comes to ordinary Christians.  So it is only natural when Christians do not want to suffer the representatives of this theology as judges, what they as scientific theologians distribute in the world as doctrine.  Ritschl's demeanor is a natural fruit of the tree of modern theology, like also many other theologians of the same direction as Ritschl have expressed themselves.  Whoever does not want the fruit, should avoid the tree and the root.    F.P.
(end of article)
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Sadly, the "Synod" that Pieper speaks of, the old (German) Missouri Synod, did become afflicted with "theologians" who were as Albrecht Ritschl, and so became the "Graebner Synod", or what is called today the "Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod"... the LC-MS.

In my early days of driving a car with a license, I was pulled over by a policeman.  He was rather stern with me after I told him that I was just following that truck up ahead who was also going through the red light.  He looked at me and said:
Would you have followed that truck over a cliff?
... and gave me a ticket with a monetary fine.  Ouch!

God has given us Christians, the laymen, the command to judge our teachers on doctrine and not fall off that cliff and lose our soul's salvation!  We are not to follow any theologians or Synods who have driven over the cliff, but hang on to His strong chain of salvation.  We are instead to follow those teachers who are not our masters but rather "helpers of joy".  We are always to ask ourselves "Is this teacher helping my faith... or not?".  We are never to forget that whatever faith we have was given by God himself to us by His Word, not man's "science", especially not "science falsely so-called". (1 Timothy 6:20).

This is why I follow
Franz PieperThe Twentieth Century Luther!, The Second Walther!
C.F.W. WaltherThe American Luther!
Martin LutherThe Reformer of the Church! Rev. 14:6-7
They not only use God's Word to build a fortress against which I cannot go over the cliff, but rather set me in the judge's seat, on a mountain top, the very spot that God Himself puts all Christians... with His Word!

In the concluding Part 6 of this series, I focus on the Bible verse that first caught my eye in this article – Romans 16:17... and the doctrine of fellowship.

Theologian vs. layman - no contest! (layman's language) Part 4

In the previous post Part 3, Pieper continued to expand on the subject of "scientific" theology in his powerful article, Foreword to the 1888 Lehre und Wehre, journal of the old (German) Missouri Synod.  (See Table of Contents with all downloads in Part 1).  Pieper was angry, angry over German theologian Albrecht Ritschl, who presumed to be master over a simple layman saying this layman (von Klencke) had "bottomless presumption" to judge him by calling out against his false doctrine.

In this Part 4, I continue translating Pieper's L.u.W. article (pages 5-6) as he emphasizes the importance of clear, understandable language:

(continued from Part 3)
            But one more thing! Is not the way of treatment of Christian doctrine on the part of theologians often one which the control of Christians deprives their work?  They speak – the theologians – not often a language that the "laity" either do not or only partially understand?  Unfortunately that is the case, and especially by the "scientific" theologians of our time.  But it should not be that way.  It is not befitting a theologian who is out in front of the Church, to talk the language of scholars.  Among the theologians may nevertheless speak so that others do not understand, although one in terms of modern, abstract-philosophical and in it's character vague theologian language must consider it better, even if the theologians among themselves strive more for the layman's language.  And this for two reasons.  Once, so that they better understand themselves and, second, that they may be better understood by their guild members.  The abstract philosophical language too often obscured the wretchedness and confusion of modern theologian's own thoughts and also gave reason that other "personalities professionally concerned with the science" not understand him.  However, now we refrain from it.  In any case, the theologian, if he goes in front of the church and wants to teach Christians, has to speak a language understandable to Christians.  If he does not want this, it is an insult and contempt of the Church, the bride Christ; and the church should not hear such a "theologian".  He may select to himself another field of the activity where it brings less damage if confusion is caused by high, incomprehensible words.  [page 6] Christians have a right according to God's Word to demand that those who want to teach them to do so in a way that is understandable to them
(continued in Part 5)
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Do we hear Pieper?  He says we are to demand of all our teachers to use an understandable language, one without confusion for anyone.  Pieper's article itself is quite clear, no confusion, therefore we should
listen to Franz Pieper (The Twentieth Century Luther and The Second Walther).
If you really want to have your fill of clear, comprehensible language of pure Christian teaching, then buy Pieper's full 4-volume set of his Christian Dogmatics books.  Even though Professor Pieper uses Hebrew, Greek and Latin phrases on occasion, yet his explanations are so comprehensible, that his meaning is fully understood.  But even the Latin phrases are easily translated by Google Translate, one of the true gifts of God (not psychology or sociology).  For the record, I only understand English.

In the next Part 5, Pieper concludes his 1888 Foreword article... and adds his warning.

Theologian vs. layman - no contest! (scientific theologian?) Part 3

In my previous post Part 2, Pieper's citations from Luther's writings were presented in his powerful article, Foreword to the 1888 Lehre und Wehre, journal of the old (German) Missouri Synod.  (See Table of Contents with all downloads in Part 1).  Pieper was angry, angry over German theologian Albrecht Ritschl, who presumed to be master over a simple layman saying this layman (von Klencke) had "bottomless presumption" to judge him by calling out against his false doctrine.

In this Part 3, I continue translating Pieper's L.u.W. article (pages 3-5) as he expands on the modern theology that boasts of being "scientific":

(continued from Part 2)
            But also is particularly the species of theologian that is called "scientific", subject to the judgment of all Christians?  Prof. Ritschl expressly gives his academic nature as a reason why he wants to be removed from the judgment of a "layman".  He finds just the "bottomless arrogance", "that a person not professionally concerned with the science" wants to judge his, the scientific theologian, orthodoxy.  Now, the Christians of Colossa were certainly not all "personalities professionally dealing with the science", and yet the Apostle Paul bears them a judgment on the "scientific" theologians of the time, when he writes:  "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy" (Col. 2:8).  Besides: Prof. Ritschl does not possibly deal with botany in his function as a "scientific theologian", but with the doctrines of the Christian church, therefore something which concerns all Christians that their salvation hangs on, and to watch over that which all Christians have received from Christ's explicit order.  So is he also subordinated as a scientific professor to have control of all Christians.
            But are the Christians in a position to judge when scientific theologians present Christian doctrine? — Christ has put them, the Christians, as judges over all teachers of the church, so also over the scientific, and he has absolutely not made a mistake in the choice of his judges.  But that they can hold their judicial office, he has taken care of himself.  He has miraculously arranged so that the Christians also do not need to be embarrassed over the most scholarly theologians.  He has put the whole Christian doctrine to a place where "science" is not sufficient.  The place is called: Divine Revelation. And that revelation is in  [page 4]  Scripture, which presents all articles of Christian doctrine in clear, simple-minded, understandable words, not only to theologians, but to all Christians.  To this revelation is bound even the most scientific theologian with respect to any knowledge of Christian doctrine. He never goes, not even by "long-standing spiritual work", beyond even one line of this revelation.  With it's "science" – the word used once in a good sense – can the "scientific" theologian treat questions, that under certain circumstances in the forecourt, on the outer shell of Christian doctrine.  But when he presents the Christian doctrine himself, he must draw from the knowledge source that he has in common with all Christians.  As soon as he enters the actual sanctuary of the Christian faith, he must take off the shoes of science and walk in singleness of faith in divine revelation, as well as every other Christian.  He stands, as far as the knowledge of Christian doctrine, with all Christians on completely equal ground; all Christians are therefore in terms of everything that they can present on the doctrine, immediately au fait [Fr. - fully informed].  But let a scientific theologian want to get Christian doctrine by drawing from his science instead of from God's Word, so that it is incomprehensible to Christians, so have they specific instructions on how they should conduct themselves.  Then they should not marvel at such a theologian as a miracle of wisdom, but heed the judicial office ordered to them and finally flee and avoid him as a false teacher.

Did you get that?  "... flee and avoid him as a false teacher" –  i.e. Romans 16:17.  I will speak more about this aspect in Part 6 of this series.

But now Pieper pulls out some good from this muddle of "scientific theology":

            However, does not a theologian know many things that most Christians do not know, and about which they have consequently no judgment?  Without a doubt!  A theologian has historicalphilological, maybe also philosophical knowledge which is totally unknown by most so-called layman.  But all this knowledge belongs not to the area of Christian doctrine itself, but stands, rightly used, only in a serving relation to the doctrine, which is known and is certain also to simple-minded Christians by the means accessible to them.  The knowledge of the philosophical systems is under certain circumstances also of great use in the church, but by this knowledge of Christian doctrine is not able to go around one single article, yet also one single article can be thereby supported in the Christian doctrine.  The theologian who knows the history of the Christian Church, knows how the Christians and the Christian doctrine formerly fared; he knows for himself and knows how to teach Christians for their instruction how the Christian doctrine was contested in the course of the centuries and how it was defended.  But the Christian doctrine itself can he not in this way not enrich.  And regarding the knowledge of languages​​, particularly of the original languages ​​of Scripture, so is this of immense importance for the Church.  But the most linguistic theologian, what concerns the Christians brought forward and carried [page 5] forward the doctrine, never out grows to judge and control of Christians.  God has, as already above noted, by miraculous manner so furnished the Holy Scripture, that in them all articles of the Christian doctrine are expressed in the most simple-minded, clearest words.  The Scripture is in a sufficient number of points so plain and simple that any translation that deserves the name of a translation must reflect all articles of Christian doctrine, which then when reading and viewing in this translation, through the issuing of the Holy Spirit that is connected with the sense of Scripture, prove the heart and conscience of Christians as certain divine truth.  That the theologian with expertise in the base languages of Scripture [Hebrew, Greek] understands more passages of Holy Scripture and he understands them better, caeteris paribus [all things being equal], than the Christians dependent of their translation, so he now may be and should be also a teacher of Christians, but he does not gain more doctrine than the Christians faithfully using their translation.  This is the consequence of the above-mentioned miraculous nature of Scripture.  The Scripture is set up for the simple. The silly are made wise (Ps. 19:8), so wise that they examine all teaching and, as far as their faith, need be no one's servant. 
(continued in Part 4)
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Pieper draws the line between good "science", and the limit of "science" in theology.  The line is drawn here: "science" must be the servant of Christian doctrine and God's Word, not their master.  Pieper beautifully points out that simple Christians cannot be controlled or judged, but rather they are the judges of their teachers.

In the next Part 4, Pieper brings out the importance of clear, understandable language for the Church.

Theologian vs. layman - no contest! (Luther speaks) Part 2

In my previous post Part 1, I introduced Pieper's powerful Foreword to the 1888 Lehre und Wehre periodical journal of the old (German) Missouri Synod.  (See Table of Contents with all downloads in Part 1).  Pieper was angry, but what was he angry about?  It was over a German theologian, Albrecht Ritschl, who presumed to be master over a simple layman saying this layman (von Klencke) had "bottomless presumption" to judge him by calling out against his false doctrine.

In this Part 2, I continue translating Pieper's L.u.W. article (pages 2-3) as he draws on Martin Luther for emphasis:
(continued from Part 1)

     Who else but the Christians or the listeners are to judge the orthodoxy of the teachers of the Church in question? The teachers themselves cannot judge in their own cause, they are the defendants in this case. The disbelievers, the Jews and the Turks will not want to be used by one to be the judges. So only the so-called laymen or Christians are left as judges.  And God's Word gives these, and these alone, the office of judgeWe should listen to Luther. He writes in his book "Bases And Causes From Scripture, That A Christian Assembly Or Congregation Has The Right And Power To Judge All Doctrine" [HathiTrust page here, St. Louis Edition 10: 1538-1549, LW–American Edition 39: 303-314]:
"All the warnings St. Paul makes in Romans 16:17-18, 1 Corinthians 10:15, Galations 3, 4, and 5, Colossians 2:8 and everywhere, and all the sayings of the prophets in which they teach us to avoid human teaching, do nothing but take the right and power to judge all doctrine away from the teachers and with a stern decree impose it on the listeners instead, on pain of losing their soul." [St.Louis Edition, vol. 10, col. 1542].
On Matthew 7:15: ("Beware of the false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves") Luther remarks
"See, here Christ gives not the judgment to the prophets and teachers, but to students and sheepFor how could one be wary of false prophets if one could not be concerned with considering and judging their doctrine?  So there cannot be false prophets among the listeners, but only among the teachers.  That is why it must be that all teachers be subjected to the judgment of the listeners over their doctrine." 
Yes, Luther calls out in holy zeal for the divine truth and the knowledge of what it is here:
"To know and to judge over doctrine belongs to any and all Christians, and indeed so, that one is cursed who damages this right of a person.  For Christ Himself has placed such a right in invincible and numerous sayings, such as Matthew. 7:15:  'Take heed to yourselves of false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing.'  This word he says ever certainly against the teachers of the people and enjoins him that he was to avoid their false doctrine.  How they can avoid these teachers without realizing them, and how can they recognize it when they have no power to judge?  But now he gives them not only the power to judge but enjoins  [page 3]  them; that this single passage can be enough against all popes, all fathers, all councils, all sayings of the schools, that granted to close down just the bishops and clergy who havtbut robbed the people, that is the Church, the Queen, in a godless and church-predatory way."  [Against King Henry in England. XIX, 424 (?)] 
Therefore Luther says finally about those who "brazenly take the judgment of doctrine from the sheep and dedicate to themselves by their own decree and crime" also this: 
"Therefore they are also to be certainly held as murderers and thieves, wolves and apostate Christians, since they not only deny God's Word, but also sit and act against it; just as it was dealt appropriately with the Antichrist and his empire, according to the prophecy of St. Paul, 2 Thess. 2:3-4." [LW, 39: 307; St.Louis Edition, X, 1541-1542, HathiTrust here
Thus Luther.
(continued on Part 3)
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Are you a listener of professors, pastors or teachers of the church, i.e. a layman?  Then Luther and Pieper are speaking to you (and me).  They are pointing to the Scriptures and saying God has commanded us to judge all their doctrine...
on pain of losing our soul.

In the next Part 3, Pieper addresses the scientific aspect of "scientific theologian"... and even finds the good side of it, not only the bad.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Harrison's YouTube video – Pieper, Easter - transcription (Part 2)

In Part 1, I introduced this video.  But I am still struck by it's beauty.  And because of this beauty, I am including a transcription of the entire video.  I'm doing this here, even though you can get it on the video via the "Interactive Transcript" button on the YouTube page.  The reason for this is that it is so beautiful and I wanted to include hyperlinks to Pieper's book passages and other relevant information.  I will likely also use this material in future comments on President Harrison.

Transcription of Harrison Video "Blessed Easter"

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(scene opens with President Harrison in front of church building)

Hi, I'm Matt Harrison, President of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod.  Blessed Easter to all of you. 

St. Paul wrote in Romans chapter 4 (Romans 4:25): "Jesus Christ was put to death for our transgressions and raised for our justification."

We are here deep in the heart of north St. Louis, in a rather challenged neighborhood, to visit one of my favorite spots in St. Louis Lutheranism.  This is Immanuel Lutheran Church, founded in 1847, the same year as the synod.  It was a bunch of people that broke off from Dr. Walther's church, old Trinity, to move a church up here.

    (scene moves to showing detail of mosaic above church entrance doors.)

One thing I really like about Immanuel is this fantastic mosaic.  There's Christ, the pantocrater, the risen Christ, ruling through all eternity.  The orb of the world firmly in his left hand, the blessing – the right hand – lifted, ready to bless with forgiveness and life.  The cherubs on either side worshiping him, the Alpha and Omega, the eternal one – a glorious depiction of the Christ indeed.  But in this life, we don't always see the glory.  In fact we won't until the last day.

(scene moves to church cemetery)

Tragically, Immanuel Lutheran Church, the 2nd oldest Lutheran Church west of the Mississippi, left the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod in the terrible and tumultuous times of the 1970s.  This old disheveled cemetery and Immanuel behind me, remind me that in this life, the glorious resurrected Christ, his Church is hidden under difficulties, crosses, trials and divisions. And nevertheless, He is the resurrected one.  He is risen.  And because He is risen, our sins are forgiven.

(Harrison turns to reading from Pieper's Christian Dogmatics book)

There's a beautiful passage, several of them, in Francis Pieper's doctrinal text – it's Franz Pieper's Christian Dogmatics.  Every Missouri Synod pastor has studied this text for his basic Christian doctrine.  Pieper says of the resurrected body that (1 Cor. 15:44, Phil. 3:21, Matt. 13:43) "we, like Christ, will have perfect immortality, strength and beauty because sin, the sole cause of decay, weakness, and ugliness is completely done away with."  First Corinthians 15 (1 Cor. 15:42-43), "It is sown in corruption, It is raised in incorruption.  It is sown in dishonor.  It is raised in glory.  It is sown in weakness.  It is raised in power."  The language of heaven will be celestial tongue, once heard by the apostle Paul in paradise, the like of which earth does not know. (2 Cor. 12:4)  [See copy of passage here, Christian Dogmatics, vol. 3, page 552]

And finally, on just about the last page [page 555, the last page] of his great doctrinal text, Dr. Pieper says "the gospel of the crucified Christ has never been popular with the world.  It's always been this way and will continue to be this way till the end of time.  It is a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Greeks." (1 Corinthians 1:23). "However, Christians do not grow faint but rise above all these tribulations.  In all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." If they do not take their eyes off the heavenly inheritance but follow the example of the apostle who says (2 Timothy 1:12): "I am not ashamed for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him until the last day."

Blessed Easter to all of you.  A blessed Easter knowing that Christ is the God of the living and of the dead and a resurrection is coming...

(camera focuses on Pieper's headstone and inscription at the base...)

...and blessed Easter to you, Dr. Pieper.

(camera focuses on headstone inscription "F. Pieper, 1852 — 1931")
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Probably due to the small size of some of the inscription on Pieper's headstone, not all of it could be read in the video.  It can be read in my picture on my blog post by clicking on it to expand it.  It reads:
Erected to the memory of the President of Concordia Seminary by Grateful Students

So many things go through my mind with President Harrison now... would to God that he would continue on this path.  But the signs are not good today......   but that is for a later blog post.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Matthew Harrison's YouTube video – Francis Pieper and Easter (Part 1)

I just discovered the YouTube video by Matthew Harrison from 2011 that shows the gravesite and home church building for President Franz Pieper, or Francis Pieper if you prefer.  It reminds me of my visit in 2002 to this same site, and for the same reason, as President Harrison (see my blog post on this).  As President Harrison lamented, the congregation left the LC-MS in the "terrible and tumultuous times of the  1970s".

I am getting closer to further comments on President Harrison, comments that are hard for me to make.

But for now, rejoice in this video, a video that lets Professor Franz Pieper speak.  For as Abraham rejoiced (John 8:56) as from the "grave" to see the day of Christ, so also Franz Pieper!

Because of the beauty of this video and Harrison's use of Pieper, I am devoting another blog post Part 2 to the transcription of this video with some hyperlinked references.

Theologian vs. layman - no contest! (Pieper and Luther) Part 1

    In the year that followed the death of C.F.W. Walther († 1887), the young Franz Pieper, now the new head of Concordia Seminary–St. Louis, was busy strengthening his brethren in the faith.  He showed that he was a worthy successor to Walther when he wrote the Foreword to Lehre und Wehre, volume 34 (January 1888), pgs 1 - 6.  (Download the German text (doc file) here; download my English translation (doc file) here; PDF English here.)
    In this article, he addresses the outrageous false doctrines coming from well known German theologians, specifically at that time Albrecht Ritschl († 1889).  Pieper reports some of these errors:
Professor Ritschl denies the doctrine of Original Sin, of the Reconciliation, and the true presence of the body and blood of Christ in Communion. 
Why would Pieper bother with refuting Germany's famous theologians?  Because their destructive influence was still being felt among Christians in America.  Unfortunately, this is still true today as today's (English) LC-MS follows Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Herman Sasse (even though I would not compare these two with Ritschl).

So here is the complete first paragraph of Pieper's essay:
     When the Hanoverian provincial synod was held in November of last year, a member thereof, the landowner von Klencke, drew the attention of the Synod to the deviation in the teaching which Professor Ritschl, academic at the state University of Göttingen, came to be guilty of.  Prof. Ritschl denied the doctrine of original sin, of reconciliation and of the real presence of the body and blood of Christ in the Lord's Supper.  To support his accusation, von Klencke read the relevant passages from Ritschl's textbook "Instruction in the Christian Religion" and urged the Synod to take a stand against these and similar teachings.  Professor Ritschl called this quite unseemly.  In a lecture held before his Göttingen Auditorium he – according to a report of the Göttingen "Free press" – rejected von Klencke's judgment and claim as a "bottomless presumption", and indeed as a "bottomless presumption" because a "layman" is "one professionally not concerned with the science personally" (such as von Klencke) "over the long-term intellectual work that scholars arrange themselves to deal with.  Therefore for this one, there belongs no scientific qualification to play the heretic judge."
I can almost imagine Franz Pieper jumping out of his chair when he read this report out of Germany... maybe grabbing a cigar to smoke, ... muttering "Nein!  Nein!", ... and thinking "I've got to write about this in the next Lehre und Wehre... and thinking "those Dummkopf theologians in Germany"!

And so our dear (mild-mannered) Prof. Pieper put the pen to paper and could not contain his anger:
     If in the "Lutheran" Church of Hanover there were only a small living spirit of Luther, so then this demeanor of Professor Ritschl would bring a storm of protest in the church.  Consider this: Someone who wants to be a teacher of Christians does not want to be subjected to the judgment of Christians in relation to the correctness of his teachings. This is popish abomination in the most distinctive shape within a church nominally called Lutheran.  This is a prank in the face of the Church of Christ. Since everything is overturned that Luther taught from God's Word about Christian rights against the tyranny of the papacy. We repeat it: if the faith of the Church of the Reformation would have only a little power within Hanoverian Lutheran Church, so the manifestation of Ritschl's would cause a public outcry, and the congregation of which Professor Ritschl is a member wouldafter unsuccessfully applied punishment, expel this "teacher of the Church" from the Christian Church. For surely there is not a spark of spiritual life left in a so-called teacher of the Church who insists that he would not suffer the "lay" judges of his teaching.
(continued in next Part 2
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Ok, OK, Prof. Pieper... you can sit down now...  I got the message.  I am commanded to judge the teachers and preachers in the Church according to God's Word.  Praise God for His infinite wisdom that
Matt. 11:25 – ...thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.
2 John 1:10 – If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed.
 "bottomless presumption"    or           God's Word?
Albrecht Ritschl              or          Franz Pieper?
I'll let Franz Pieper in my house and bid him "God speed"!  And to you, today's (English) LC-MS, I am your "von Klencke".

In the next Part 2, Pieper turns to Luther as a witness in his case... a powerful witness.

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Because this series achieved several posts, I am including this TOC for ease of reference:
Part 1 – "Bottomless presumption" by layman against great German theologian Ritschl
Part 2 – Luther's speaks!
Part 3 – "scientific" theology
Part 4 – understandable language
Part 5 – warnings!
Part 6 – Romans 16:17 and Church Fellowship

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Luther Index, online resources for Luther's works

(Updated links again March 16, 2017 — see comments below for update info from Steve Born)
(Updated resource links May 15, 2013 – see blog post of May 15 for links to online text of Luther)
[See also this later blog post for a table listing of the St. Louis Edition with links to HathiTrust, Google Books,]

For anyone (like me) who has struggled with researching Luther's writings between all the sources in the different languages, I have discovered a valuable online resource:
Steve Born's 
I found this through James Swan's resource links on his BeggarsAll blog website, on the right side under the section "Luther's Works, etc.", labeled "An Index to the Works of Martin Luther".  The BeggarsAll website also has other fairly extensive online resources on Luther's work here.  However, some of the English translations by Reformed translators are suspect.  (May Mr. Swan throw off his false Reformed "assurance", and accept the Bible's teaching of universal grace.  He will never be able to fully refute the errors of Romanists and he will never fully understand Martin Luther until he renounces the Reformed restriction of God's grace.)

The Luther Index cross-references the publications of the St. Louis EditionAmerican Edition, and Weimar Ausgabe.  It is a wonderful online resource to replace Vogel's Cross Reference printed publication (formerly by NPH, now P.O.D. by CPH).  Now I don't have to grab Vogel's book to cross reference Luther's works.  But note that neither Vogel's work or Steve Born's work is exhaustive since their content is limited to what was published in the American Edition, only one third of Luther's works.
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I also noticed recently another helpful resource link in Swan's site – Finn B. Andersen's website of Luther's works (from Denmark).  One page offers a compiled listing of online resources available for complete downloading via and  I was a bit surprised that not only was the Weimar Ausgabe (WA) available for download, but also the St. Louis Edition ("Walch 2" or W2), even if only single pages at a time.  The St. Louis Edition is listed as "Public Domain, Google Digitized".

St. Louis Edition

OK then, since the greatest non-English publication of Luther's works, the St. Louis Edition, is available from "HathiTrust", i.e. public universities of California, Virginia, Michigan, etc., then I am looking to make available for download all of my scanned copies (not Google's scans) of the St. Louis Edition.  My difficulty is that the total file size for all 25 books is 3.6 GB and so I don't know the best way to do this... especially not with my free Dropbox account.  And I notice that the following complete volumes are already available for PDF download:: – Links to complete volumes
3,  4,  6,  12,  13-1,  14,  16,  19,  21-1,   21-2
Google Books – Links to complete volumes
10,  11,  18,  20,  22,  23 catalog – Links to volumes, no complete download (no vol. 7):
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 689, 10, 11, 12, 13-113-2, 1415, 1617, 18, 1920, 21-1, 21-222, 23

For now, I am making available a PDF file of the scanned complete volume 1, St. Louis Edition.
Download ==>> here. (NOTE! 111 MB file!!  Allow for download time. HathiTrust link here.)
download complete Volume 7HERE (NOTE! 181 MB file!!  No HathiTrust/Google Bks/

May 15, 2013: 
Volume 2  ––>> HERE (140 MB file)    Volume 5  ––>> HERE (111 MB file)
Volume 8  ––>> HERE (109 MB file)    Volume 9  ––>> HERE (135 MB file)
Volume 10––>> HERE (162 MB file)    Volume 11––>> HERE (190 MB file)
Volume 13b––>> HERE (102 MB file)  Volume 15––>> HERE (193 MB file)
Volume 17––>> HERE (169 MB file)    Volume 18––>> HERE (147 MB file)
Volume 20––>> HERE (192 MB file)    Volume 22––>> HERE (133 MB file)
Volume 23––>> HERE (149 MB file)

What does the availability of the online St. Louis Edition mean?  It means that all of the many references to it by Franz Pieper and C.F.W. Walther are now mostly available to find online.  And it means one can easily find American Edition translations where they are sometimes available.  I plan to include links to these online resources along with my own resources in the future.

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I am also making available a spreadsheet that might prove helpful in addition to Steve Born's Luther Index.  You will find that it includes much of what is not in the American Edition.  And it is sorted by the sequence in the St. Louis Edition. (Download of XLS worksheet here.)

Miscellaneous Resources

Wikipedia listing - not very complete
Project Wittenberg - only selected works of Luther; a Lutheran site
Book of Concord – Lutheran Confessions online; also "Historical Introduction" by Bente (also CPH, Internet Archive)
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My Offers To You, the Reader

  • If the reader is in great need of an English translation of ANY specific work of Luther, send me a private message request, and I will see if I can provide it for you. 
  • If the reader is interested in ANY of the publications from the old (German) Missouri Synod or the Synodical Conference, send me a comment or a private message and I will respond.  This includes all of Lehre und Wehre, and much of the following:  Der Lutheraner, synodical and district convention essays, books, etc. 
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A last technical note: my blog seems to work the best in Chrome web browser as it will immediately display the PDF downloads for instant viewing in the browser instead of having to open another window to view the PDFs.  Also the PDF viewer in Chrome will show my added boxed areas and underlines that some PDF viewers will not show.
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This blog post will be updated periodically as I get new information – click on "Luther Resources" in Labels section to the right for quick reference. Last updated May 15, 2013.