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Sunday, November 25, 2012

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)
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

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.

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