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Monday, December 10, 2012

The Second Walther on... the first Walther's textbook.

In the previous post, Ludwig Fuerbringer, President of Concordia Seminary, reminisced in 1947 about the new young professor, Franz Pieper, that joined the great C.F.W. Walther in St. Louis in 1878, a professor destined to become not only Walther's successor, but one who carried on Walther's greatness in spiritual matters.  I will have more on this below.

But Fuerbringer also reminisced in 1931 (see older blog) about Franz Pieper where he recalled the very first article published by the new, young professor in 1878.  Walther was so highly regarded in the old (German) Missouri Synod — the laity, the pastors and teachers alike saw in Walther's teaching the truth of Christianity,  first and foremost his Doctrine of Justification.  But it seemed that in 1878 there was not an up-to-date textbook for the seminarians to use in their studies...  up-to-date in refuting all of the errors where modern theologians attacked Christian doctrine, especially in Germany but also in America.  Various members of the (old German) Missouri Synod were clamoring for Dr. Walther to produce a dogmatics textbook... a book that could be used for training new pastors in pure Christian teaching.  So Walther selected an old German textbook by Johann Wilhelm Baier that he considered to have a basis of good Lutheran doctrine, a textbook previously re-published by Eduard Preuss in Germany in 1864.

And in 1878, a new young professor had joined the faculty – Franz Pieper.  So in the premier journal of the old (German) Missouri Synod, this issue,
began the great career of the new, young Professor Franz Pieper on pages 371 - 372:
Johann Wilhelm Baier's Compendium Theologiae Positivae. 
Presented anew by C.F.W. Walther. Fourteenth edition, corrected and enlarged. In the City of St. Louis, printed by the Missouri Lutheran Synod (Concordia Publishing). 1879.
A work will appear, God willing, next year with the above title in books whose first pages have just left the press.  Professor Dr. Walther has moved to publish this work long desired by various quarters, in particular with regard to the needs of our theological seminary, by getting relief for the time-consuming work of dictation.  —  The following remarks may serve for the general characterization of Walther's work.  He does not as editor bring his own explanations, but allows for the presentation, conclusion and defense of divine truths from the most eminent orthodox teachers of the Church, especially those that occurred in the 16th and 17th centuries.  The original plan was to print only these testimonies that were given by Dr. Walther in his dogmatic lectures as explanations on the Compendium of Baier.  But then it was considered more appropriate to reproduce again the entire Compendium of Baier  and get a correct copy of this work – the Schlawitz edition; then insert the illustrative quotations at the relevant passages.  One may say that this work will give us a full insight into the dogmatic work of our Church.  In particular the implementation is very detailed in locis or parts of locis which are in our time in part not clearly understood, in part disfigured completely.  It must also be noted that the sentences of Baier which are exposed to misunderstanding learn from other old dogmatists their correction position.  Because Baier's Compendium treats theology only thetically, the antitheses are put up in the citations also against old and new false teachers.  However, from newer times, only those best known dogmatists who still take up the predicate "Lutheran" for themselves are considered here. 
As this work now is to be first for the aid of dogmatic teaching at the local seminary, it will also be welcomed with joy by every pastor who has kept interest in the detailed study of Lutheran theology.  —  The exterior features of the work are excellent.  In the format of Lehre und Wehre, it brings the sections of Baier in large print, the notes of Baier in ordinary print, the quotations of Dr. Walther in smaller print.  The latter are also indented so that they can be distinguished at first sight.  So that the reader can get an idea in what relation the explanatory citations stand to the text of Baier, it should be noted that the first chapter of the Prolegomena which includes 42 pages in the Schlawitz edition (kl 8 °), takes pages 1-79 in the present work.     The first issue will be ready in a few days for shipment. The price of a booklet of 96 pages is  50 Cents.  Those wanting to order should promptly submit to the "Lutheran Concordia - Verlag", St Louis, Mo.  
                                      F.P. [Franz Pieper] 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
The highlighted portions of Pieper's article show that Walther was like Luther in that he could judge the old "dogmatists" as Luther could judge the old church fathers.  Luther could judge St. Augustine and St. Bernhard  — Walther could judge Hunnius, Quenstedt, and Baier, Lutheran dogmatists of the 16th and 17th centuries.  Both could accept their predecessors where they taught the full grace of God... and correct them where they started to cause a question on that grace.  Luther stood above the old church fathers with his faith  —  Walther stood above the old dogmatists and could see all the way back to Martin Chemnitz and Martin Luther.  Both stood by faith, faith in God's grace.  Franz Pieper, the new young professor, stood shoulder to shoulder with both.

You can read the translated headings of this book at Project Wittenberg (here).  You can read Benjamin T. Mayes short review of Walther's edition on Amazon here.  Mayes actually sold reprints of it some time ago (here). And you can actually see (and read in Latin) Volume 1 (here) and Volume 3 (Google Play here).  Here is the title page of Volume 1:

You may be able to buy old used copies, usually for a high price.  Paul McCain had a copy of this for sale some time ago and said this in a blogpost (here if unloadable):
"In 1865, Dr. C. F. W. Walther wrote that he had been persuaded to try and write his own dogmatic textbook, but this, unfortunately, never happened. Instead, synodical president H. C. Schwan “compelled” Walther to publish an edition of Baier’s Compendium that would include “annotations,” and that edition began coming off the press in May 1879. Besides correcting the publishing errors of earlier editions, Walther included copious quotations from sixteenth- and seventeenth-century theologians as elaborations on Baier’s terse comments. In this translation, the major loci and footnotes to them are from Baier. The interspersed quotations from Luther, Chemnitz, Gerhardt, et. al., were added to this edition of Baier by Walther."
But McCain's statement is not quite true, at least in a spiritual sense... for you can save yourself a lot of trouble by just buying the "updated" textbooks of The Second Walther (that young fellow) that brings not only his own theology but that of the First Walther – C.F.W. Walther (The American Luther).

What textbook?  This:

It has already been conveniently translated
 <<== from German into English ==>>

These textbooks: 

Christian Dogmatics 

4 vol. set  by Franz (Francis) Pieper

Walther's dogmatics textbooks were finished... by Franz Pieper!

According to President Matthew Harrison,
"Every Missouri Synod pastor has studied this text for his basic Christian doctrine."
Would to God every new (English) LC-MS pastor, professor and teacher actually taught and preached according to this textbook, the textbook that he is supposed to have learned. Would to God they would have learned from that "young fellow" who carried the torch passed by C.F.W. Walther, the teaching of God's grace, until the day he died in 1931.  Sad to say that for the most part, Franz Pieper is not only not followed, but in many cases is ridiculed... a ridicule that applies equally to Walther and Luther.

Yes indeed, President Harrison, the Christian religion is not popular, sometimes not even with your LC-MS.

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