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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Pieper & Luther: No public ministry now? (Part 4 - Demand too much?)

This post continues from Part 3c where I concluded 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 4, I will finalize my case that we have reached that time when the Public Ministry has become empty.
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Now I will tell all "conservative", "confessional" Lutheran teachers of today who propose to proclaim and defend UOJ: ==>> Sit where I am sitting – at the feet of Walther and Pieper, not Sasse or Bonhoeffer, or any other modern theologian since their time.  Even if some have spoken somewhat like Walther and Pieper, yet here I sit having Luther and the Lutheran Confessions poured into my lap with pure Christian teaching, a teaching that brings us God's way by His Word.

Read Walther's "The Doctrine of Election in Questions and Answers" in the new book "The Formula of Concord - Core and Highlights".  Learn how true, pure Christian teaching is done.  Learn from a master who can expound the Doctrine of Election in such a comforting manner that a Christian is left praising God for His Grace and Mercy.  Walther pounds the Kingdom of Heaven into your lap.  How does Walther do this?  Because Walther brought the Doctrine of Justification to light again to our modern world!  And his faithful follower Franz Pieper (The Second Walther!) put all those "luminous rays of the Gospel" on paper... in his Christian Dogmatics volumes.

Am I asking too much to demand that all pastors of my church body proclaim and defend this doctrine front and center?
  • Pieper and Walther say no... when they say that God's chain of salvation is strong, but only by the pure, unadulterated Gospel - the Gospel of Grace - sola gratia and gratia universalis!
  • Pieper says no... when he says (see '"Justification-General" article here): "All praise of Christ, of grace, and of the means of grace, without the right doctrine of justification, is nothing.  All teaching in the Church must serve this article."
  • Walther says no... when he says: "Yes, there are not a few Lutherans who think that doctrine should be treated very lightly lest the hearers become too secure."
After I spoke to a pastor of a small conservative Lutheran church body (late 1990s) about the centrality of UOJ, that this must be at the heart of all their teaching, he responded (paraphrasing):
Yes, we teach Objective Justification, but we have to teach other doctrines too.
Now compare this with how Pieper spoke about the Doctrine of Justification (see essay "Justification-General" here):
All teaching in the Church must serve this article.  Not as though one should or could urge only this article.  All revealed doctrines must be taught with the greatest care.  But even when one is treating of hell the goal must be to show the hearers the deliverance from hell.
The only true defense of Universal, Objective Justification is to proclaim it from the mountain tops!  There are no real "misunderstandings", no caveats, no conditions on the true Gospel... only unbelief.  And there is this – no proper distinction of Law and Gospel without UOJ, the pure Gospel!  And finally, there is no Ministry without the pure, unadulterated Gospel.
God says his Gospel is objective:
1 Cor. 2:9 – Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. [from Isaiah 64:4]
Isaiah 55:9 – For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. 
God's ways are far from sight to us, too high for our thoughts.  Only by the working of the Holy Spirit by His objective Word can we actually believe the Gospel, the message (UOJ) that is "too good to be true":
John 3:16 – 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.
What better Bible verse is there than John 3:16 to explain the word "universal"?  How can it be confusing?  Who will accuse God of false "universalism" in this verse?

Now I, BackToLuther, will repeat my "war cry" to all Christianity, a saying that I blurted out in a writing to a pastor of the Lutheran Churches of the Reformation (LCR - whom I was considering for fellowship in late 1995):
God did NOT say like Ripley:  “Believe or NOT”!  NO!  He said:  Believe it!  I earnestly desire your salvation!  I sent my beloved Son to take your punishment!  I gave you the receipt by raising Him from the dead!  I am reconciled!  BE YE RECONCILED TO ME!  BELIEVE IT! (2 Cor. 5:19-21)
Indeed, this is a "life or death" situation for me.  Not only for me, but also for all Christianity.

No, my church body will speak like Pieper and Walther about their facilities and publications (see here):
Dr. Walther, at the dedication of our seminary in St. Louis on Jefferson Avenue in 1883, also stated so earnestly that he would rather see that stately and beautiful edifice crumble into dust and ashes than that the doctrine of divine grace be perverted and truth and error, side by side, be taught or tolerated in it.  In the same spirit, three years ago [1926], we dedicated our new group of seminary buildings on De Mun Avenue to their sacred use.  And this is true of all our seminaries and colleges and other synodical buildings at home and abroad.  Before they degenerate into institutions in which the Christian doctrine of divine grace is perverted and souls purchased by Christ unto everlasting life are thus prevented from entering heaven, may they rather fall into ruins
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In the concluding Part 5 to this series is one of the many accounts from the Bible concerning God – the Parable of the Talents.

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