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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Pieper & Luther: No public ministry now? (WELS) (Part 3c)

This post continues from Part 3b where began my examination of the WELS in relation to the sad state of the Public Ministry of external Christendom.  (See Table of Contents on Part 1 for ease of reference.)  In this Part 3c, I continue this review of the WELS by speaking to it directly on the Doctrine of Justification – it is a matter of spiritual "life and death".
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    Thank God, dear WELS, that you still mention this doctrine!... that some of your teachers work to defend this doctrine!  But just because some false teachers caricature UOJ (Kokomo Statements, David HartmanLarry Darby, "GJ", etc, etc), does not mean one should shrink back and try to "protect" the Gospel against any "misunderstandings" and stop "pushing the envelope".  I recall very clearly a phone call I had with David Hartman (of Kokomo, Indiana) when I was seeking a "conservative" Lutheran congregation.  At that point I was returning to my Christian faith and becoming grounded by Walther on Justification.  But when Mr. Hartman began to refute UOJ, I became horrified.  I was shaking...  my spiritual life depended on this doctrine – UOJ.  Here was a "conservative" Lutheran rejecting the heart of the Gospel.  There is no horror that Hollywood can portray (Halloween is finally over this year) that comes close to the horror of this.  I believe now that David Hartman was the main author of the well known "Kokomo Statements".  My reaction to Mr. Hartman was -- horror!  My reaction to Larry Darby's unbelief after repeated admonishments regarding the truth of Universal, Objective Justification was "Go to hell, Larry Darby!"  Your WELS committee's reaction to David Hartman (and the Pohlmans) was quite different from mine:
"...our impression of the appellants is that they are earnest seekers after God's truth as expressed in His Word." (See Zarling essay "Stand In Awe of Justification", page 16)
As Luther was not happy that Lyra and Burgensis were not angry enough at the blasphemies of the Jews (see paragraph 69 here), so I, BackToLuther, am not happy that you (WELS) are not angry at the blasphemies of the Kokomo heresy and David Hartman.  Your panel's "hope that a change of heart on the part of the appellants may still be possible" is weak because there is a reason for the Binding Key (John 20:23, Matt. 6:15) – it is an evangelical one... to bring them back to the true Gospel.  Indeed, they "will die in their sins" (John 8:24) unless they turn to the Truth.

But then the Kokomo appellants made a charge (same charge that Larry Darby's wife made during the heat of the "Larry Darby situation"), a charge that should worry the WELS if it is true (Zarling essay, page 16):
What struck the [WELS] panel was a statement repeated several times by the appellants. They said that before Pastor Papenfuss and Circuit-pastor A. Siggelkow had explained the doctrine of justification, they had never been taught objective justification in that way
Could it be, dear WELS, that you may have been sucked in just a bit by the disastrous storm in today's Christianity that was caused by...
today's (English) LC-MS?
...  a storm that has left modern Christians to fend for themselves?... a storm that has caused untold misery and doubt with it's relentless questioning of the pure Gospel and of the truth of the Bible itself?... a storm, like the Superstorm Sandy, that leaves its victims (i.e. weak Christians like me) casting about for their spiritual lives?  This spiritual "Superstorm" was brewing as Pieper was delivering his essay "The Open Heaven"...  this "Superstorm" made landfall when Franz Pieper died in 1931.  (Theodore Graebner stormed out of the room...)

Yes, I will say it, the awesome breadth of Superstorm Sandy, 1500 miles across, is as nothing compared to the devastation and terrible landscape after the fall of the old (German) Missouri Synod!  Yes, I will say to you, today's WELS, that God granted you a wonderful gift by frustrating Walther's attempt to consolidate all the members of the Synodical Conference into one entity.  How was this a gift?  By keeping you (and the ELS) separated from the hellish Superstorm caused by the new (English) LC-MS! (Mark Braun's book does an excellent job of pointing this out.)

But to you, today's LC-MS, I am your "Rip Van Winkle", for God has woke me up from a deadly slumber by faith, a faith that I do not deserve, for I see who the true heroes of the faith are, and they are the ones who truly give All Glory to God Alone.  It is the Lutheran Church from above that Alone gives All Glory to God!

I will leave the WELS for now with the title of Pastor Mark G. Zarling's title for his essay:
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In Part 4 of this series, I will close my case that we have reached that time when the Public Ministry has become empty.

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