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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Synodical Conference–1872, Part 15: The Justification of a poor Sinner; Judicial (Forensic) action

This concludes the series of blog posts (Table of Contents is in Part 1) publishing my translation of the essay from the inaugural meeting of the Synodical Conference in 1872.  This covers pages 67-68 of the original German essay (pages 20-68).  In this section, Theses 10, 11, and 12 are covered.
    In the discussion following Thesis 12, Walther writes perhaps the longest sentence in the whole essay.  In it he shows that he does not throw out the language of the church of all ages that speaks of the individual, the personal side of faith.  But it is his teaching of Universal Justification, and Objective Justification (i.e. UOJ) that is actually the foundation of this personal, individual faith.  This is the foundation, the Rock (Psalm 18:2) upon which all true faith is built. (More will be said in my later comments.)

Final installment, December 31, 2013 – Soli Deo Gloria!

Part 15
===============  Synodical Conference–1872  ===============
"Over the Doctrine of Justification."
by C.F.W. Walther
(cont'd from Part 14)
...a meritorious work of righteousness [SCR 67] and of obedience towards God's Word, but because the treasure of the merit of Christ, which even the weakest faith grasps in the promise of the Gospel, embraces in itself truly a perfect satisfaction for all guilt and punishment of sin, as well as a perfect obedience towards all requirements of the Law of God."
This Thesis has been added to the previous one because beside the false doctrine that faith is such a high, meritorious work, still there is to be rejected yet a further false doctrine of the Arminians, who say: The grace of God consists precisely in this, that He is willing to regard faith of such value as to save man on its account.  Against this it must be held fast that even the weakest faith, even were it only a small spark insofar as it is only faith, has Christ with His entire merit, just because it seizes Christ, who indeed has rendered such a complete obedience and has through Himself accomplished so complete a Redemption, that whoever has Him is also altogether saved.  Now it remains, however, no matter whether someone is holding a gemstone with the strong hand of a man or with the weak fingers of a sick child, if he only holds it.
Thesis 11: "The faith of the individual also does not cause by its power that the evangelical promise of grace, which God pronounces in the Word of the Gospel or Absolution, to become really valid, effectual, and true, but it simply adheres to the promise of grace and forgiveness as divinely true and [KM 41] effectual, and by thus accepting the promise of God, it thereby at the same time grasps the gift of righteousness and salvation, and has what the words say and what they are."
The subject which is expressed here, we have already discussed in detail in the previous thesis, namely that faith does not give content to the Gospel and Absolution. The office of faith is not to give content, but rather to take out the content which God has placed in the means of grace.  Therefore we never find in Scripture the language, "on because of, or for the sake of faith", but always: "through or out of faith."  Here belong also all the passages of the Book of Concord in which it is said that the Gospel profits nothing without faith, although the treasure is all-surpassing.  For it is one thing that the treasure is there, and another that he profits something.
Thesis 12: "When an individual sinner through faith seizes the promise of the Gospel in Word or Sacrament, and to himself thus appropriates the treasure of the merits of Christ for his justification and salvation,  it is so the same from God as in a judicial (forensic) action before the judgment seat of God for one such regarded, accounted and declared that now for his own person partakes of the merit and righteousness of Christ for his salvation, and also through the personal possession of the benefits of Christ is personally justified and an heir of everlasting life.”  [SCR 68]
The intention of this thesis is to show that, although we teach that forgiveness of sins has been acquired for all men and the acquirement according righteousness and salvation is present for all people, and although we also teach, for another thing, that this treasure is also offered and presented to all in the Word and Sacrament, nevertheless we do not deny, that God regards the individual, if he only accepts this treasure and holds it in Christ and through Christ, as having this righteousness and that he in the same hour, so to speak, is written into the Book of Life, and that this is the Justification which in church usage is plainly called the Justification of a poor sinner, because there every individual stands before God in judgment and is declared free for his person by Him.  This actus forensis, i.e. legal/judicial action, continues throughout the whole life of man, for God is always again and again declaring man free from sin, death, and judgment.  So we teach: when the individual believer shares in the treasure which Christ has acquired, then God also holds this in His court, since he has come unto Christ, as the Apostle says: "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus"; now he has part in the redemption acquired by Christ.  Before faith the sinner is righteous before God only according to the acquisition and the divine intention, but actually (actu) righteous, for his person righteous, indeed righteous when first he believes.  It is analogous with the reconciliation.  God is reconciled with us before we believe, [LS XXXII/2, 11-4] while we are yet enemies; but when we come to faith, we also are reconciled with God. So for example Quenstedt says: As Christ reconciled us with God through his dying, so he reconciled us with God by virtue of his death while converting us through the Word of the Cross.  For a man's conversion consists just in this that he is brought to faith.  Thereby we with God are reconciled, after God with us is reconciled through Christ's death.  In the Formula of Concord it therefore says: "'The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all [KM 42] sin' (1 John 1:7), not only according to the merit [of the blood of Christ] which was once attained on the cross; but in this place John speaks of this, that in the work or act of justification not only the divine nature in Christ, but also His blood per modum efficaciae, that is, actually, cleanses us from all sins." (Formula of Concord, Solid/Thorough Declaration VIII, 59, Triglotta, pgs 1034-1035; Tappert, p. 602).
= = = = = =  end of essay  = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
I will have further concluding remarks in the next Part 16.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Synodical Conference–1872, Part 14: The Keys; diamond in a ring; "precisely nothing"; metonymy

This continues the series of blog posts (Table of Contents is in Part 1) publishing my translation of the published essay from the inaugural meeting of the Synodical Conference in 1872.  This covers pages 64-66 of the original German essay (pages 20-68).  In this section, a quote from Luther on "The Keys" is concluded, Thesis 8 is concluded and Thesis 9 is discussed and Thesis 10 begins.
    The Lutheran Standard's English translation excludes a large section of Walther's quote from Luther on The Keys.  It occurred to me that their English translation might have been provided to the Ohio Synod, the publisher of the Lutheran Standard, by Prof. F.A. Schmidt himself as he translated Walther's work for them.  It could also have been translated by Matthias Loy – either one could have harbored doubts about Walther's powerful essay proclaiming universal justification, objective justification.  Unfortunately the Ohio Synod soon thereafter rejected the teaching of this essay (and on Election) and left the Synodical Conference.  They not only left the doctrine restored by Walther, but the doctrine of Luther's Reformation.
    On page [SCR 64], Prof. Marquart's translation seems weak saying:
Hereby the Apostle Paul testifies that faith is not, let us say, a condition, which must be fulfilled from our side, ...
This translation seems weak because this topic of "faith as a condition" is not just a topic among many topics, but strikes at the very heart of the gospel.  And so the German language allows me to translate as:
Thereby testifies the Apostle Paul that faith is not about a condition, which must be fulfilled from our side,...
Do you see the difference?  Now after Romans 4:16, we can read another passage in Romans and hear God's Word on the subject:
If by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace.  Romans 11:6
Now we can "Taste and see that the Lord is good". (Psalm 34:8)
Part 14
===============  Synodical Conference–1872  ===============
"Over the Doctrine of Justification."
by C.F.W. Walther
(cont'd from Part 13)
[SCR 64] to himself quite unconcernedly, well, if the key hits the mark, it hits the mark, that man blasphemes God and denies Christ, tramples the keys underfoot, and is worse than a heathen, Turk, or Jew.  He also who is bound or loosed, blasphemes God, and denies Christ if he does not believe but doubts and despises what is done. For one ought and must believe God's Word with all seriousness and confidence. He who does not believe should leave the keys alone. He should rather dwell with Judas and Herod in hell, for God does not want to be reviled by our unbelief. It is truly not everybody's business to use the keys rightly.  [KM 38]  Again, he who believes or would gladly believe that the keys are doing their work effectively, let him rejoice and use them with confidence. The greatest honor you can bestow on God and his keys is to trust in them. It is for that reason we teach our people that he who is bound or loosed by means of the key, let him rather die ten deaths than doubt their efficacy. No greater dishonor can be done to God's Word and judgment than lack of faith in the same.  For this means as much as to say: God, you are a liar. It is not true what you say. I do not believe it.  Hence God must be a prevaricator.  He who binds and looses must be equally as certain, otherwise he is guilty of similar abominations.  But where has one ever taught or heard of such a thing under the papacy?  Indeed, if it had been taught, the wrong keys and their companions would never have come into being. And these two keys would have been the only ones and would have remained pure and unspotted.  How many bishops and their representatives use the keys in this fashion?  They do not believe the judgment of the keys is God's Word.  They are in the habit of treating them as if they were of an ancient, worldly origin.  But if they were to believe that it was the judgment of God in which they themselves should first of all have faith, at the risk of endangering their souls' salvation, they would not treat it so thoughtlessly but rather with fear and trembling (St. Louis Edition XIX p. 907–#8, 943-944–# 82, 946–948–#86-90; Walch XIX, 1126–#8, 1172–#82, 1175–#86-90; Luther's Works,  American Edition, vol. 40, pp. 328, 364, 366-369).
[LS XXXII/2, 11-1: Lutheran Standard- all text omitted from that point to this section from January 1, 1874, pg 11, col. 1; concluding portion]
Thesis 9: "The means, by which alone man comes into actual possession of the gift of grace acquired by Christ and proffered in Word and Sacrament, is faith, which believes the promise of grace of God and thus appropriates to itself the gift of the merits and righteousness of Christ presented in this promise of God, and consoles itself with the blessing of Christ as his Sin-canceler and Saviour."
For this purpose is the precious text of Rom. 4:16: "Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed."[LS XXXII/2, 11-2]  Thereby testifies the Apostle Paul that faith is not about [KM-”let us say”- etwa] a condition, which must be fulfilled by our side if we should be partakers of the salvation which Christ has secured for us; no, he wants to say that when God calls us to faith, so he does not thereby say: My Son has done well enough for you and redeemed the world, but now also you must do something; on the contrary, it stands this way: Because we just have precisely nothing [SCR 65] more to do for our salvation, therefore faith is necessary;  if righteousness were admittedly not of grace, then something else would have to be required to obtain it; but now it is of grace, therefore faith is enough, because it is precisely an accepting. [KM paragraph]
If someone promises me something, or promises to give me something, what otherwise can I do than believe it?  Love helps nothing towards this, thinking about it does not help, also sanctification is no help; all this does not correspond to the nature of a free gift, namely that the same has come into my possession, but only so, that I accept it.  But this is [KM 39] just what faith is.  Here I hold as true this promise that God has given to me, me, me.  A woman came to see Dr. Luther with a great appeal saying that she could not believe that she would be saved, that she must be lost. There he let her recite the second article of the small catechism and then asked whether she could believe this?  And when she affirmed this, he let her go and said: So you believe this, so it stands well with you.  Whoever can indeed say this: "I believe in Jesus Christ . . . Who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil", there he has life and salvation.  [KM paragraph]
With this saying there is also repudiated the popish delusion, as if faith were a kind of virtue next to love and hope, and the enthusiastic (fanatical) delusion, as though faith as a change in the heart of man makes God pleased with man, so that for the sake of faith God had pleasure.  No, it is not faith which gives man value before God, but Christ, whom faith seizes.  It is as with a simple ring, in which a diamond is set.  From where now does it get its high value?  It lies not in the ring, but in the gem set in it.  So it is also with faith, which seizes Christ and thereby has a saving treasure in itself.  The Formula of Concord speaks of in such a way:
10] These treasures are offered us by the Holy Ghost in the promise of the holy Gospel; and faith alone is the only means by which we lay hold upon, accept, and apply, and appropriate them to ourselves. 11] This faith is a gift of God, by which we truly learn to know Christ, our Redeemer, in the Word of the Gospel, and trust in Him, that for the sake of His obedience alone we have the forgiveness of sins by grace, are regarded as godly and righteous by God the father, and are eternally saved….
13] For faith justifies, not for this cause and reason that it is so good a work and so fair a virtue, but because it lays hold of and accepts the merit of Christ in the promise of the holy Gospel; for this must be applied and appropriated to us by faith, if we are to be justified thereby. 14] Therefore the righteousness which is imputed to faith or to the believer out of pure grace is the obedience, suffering, and resurrection of Christ, since He has made satisfaction for us to the Law, and paid for [expiated] our sins….
16] This righteousness [SCR 66] is offered us by the Holy Ghost through the Gospel and in the Sacraments, and is applied, appropriated, and received through faith, whence believers have reconciliation with God, forgiveness of sins, the grace of God, sonship, and heirship of eternal life. (Formula of Concord, Thorough/Solid Declaration III-Righteousness of Faith, paragrs. 10-11, 13-14, 16; Triglotta pgs 918-921; Tappert, p. 541).
[KM -indent; LS paragraph]
The phrase "we are justified by faith" is a metonymic form of speech, that is, the thing containing is taken for the contents;   so it should be thereby said: We are justified by Christ which faith grasps.  As we say, "someone is satisfied by eating," and yet it is the food that satisfies him, not the eating, so say we to him who hungers spiritually: Would you be saved, so you must take what the Lord has offered you, but the taking does not still [KM 40] his soul, but the grace; so faith without Christ is worth nothing, and only faith in Christ is what makes righteous. [KM paragraph]
There is something further which will in our time need to be emphasized yet more, that also faith is a pure gift of the grace of God.  Man, says the Formula of Concord, behaves in his conversion mere passive, i.e. only suffering; he does nothing, but something is done to him, and only when the dear God has created faith in us, then he can start to participate.  But lately the Iowa Synod has openly expressed the doctrine that the final decision for salvation lies ultimately with man.  They say that it is certainly true that man is saved by grace, but that when God offers grace, then man can provisionally have so much grace that he can now cooperate and decide for himself.  By grace, they say, man's will is liberated to such an extent that he can freely decide for acceptance or rejection of grace, so that man is saved by the faithful use of the offered power of grace to him. According to reason we, of course, cannot determine otherwise than this: When some accept grace and others not, while all are in the same powerlessness and guilt, so must it be that the former are better because they decided to accept the gifts.  God's Word alone declares that the condemnation of guilt comes upon man by reason of his own self hardening, but in contrast faith is a free gift of God's grace, whereby man possesses the righteousness of Christ.
Thesis 10: "Faith in Christ makes righteous and saves, therefore not because as an excellent work of man, that it acquires a bountiful merit before God, and as satisfaction for sin reconciling God with men, but because it is, from man's side, the receiving hand, which really embraces and accepts the treasure of the merits of Christ and so of forgiveness, righteousness, and salvation, which are [LS XXXII/2, 11-3] offered and given in the promise of grace.  Neither does faith justify and save before God because God is willing, out of free grace and love, to let it account as a meritorious work of righteousness [SCR 67] and of obedience towards God's Word,...
= = = = = = concludes in Part 15 = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
    A diamond set in a simple ring –> Christ believed in the heart.  How wonderful Luther and Walther draw analogies of true faith.
    Thesis 10 begins what I would call the topic of "faith does not justify because of...".  This topic strikes down the error of synergism and false teaching on Conversion, a doctrine that Walther and Pieper had to battle against opposing American Lutherans all their lives.
    In the last Part 15...

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Synodical Conference–1872, Part 13: Baptism–Ship of Good Hope; Creation?; The Keys

This continues the series of blog posts (Table of Contents is in Part 1) publishing my translation of the published essay from the inaugural meeting of the Synodical Conference in 1872.  This covers pages 61-63 of the original German essay (pages 20-68).  In this section, Thesis 8 is elaborated, and begins an extended quote from Luther's essay on The Keys from 1530.
    What a delight to read of the doctrine of Baptism in the light of the pure Doctrine of Justification.  And read Walther's analogy of a ship that has not overturned but is always there to grab onto if we fall out... to take us to heaven.  Some Christian artist should paint the picture of this analogy – God's ship of good hope that never fails.
    At the end of [SCR 61], Walther uses the analogy of disbelieving creation ("godless") to disbelieving the Absolution...  a clear teaching that all of God's Word is true, as Ken Ham says "from the very first verse!".  But I think the LC-MS needs more unbiased research (à la Edward Englebrecht) to find the truth of the teaching of creation – "you can't be too careful".  They will not discipline a teacher in their midst who publicly denies creation. (see further documentation.)  Now Ken Ham may have a problem with the Lutheran doctrine of Absolution, but what about today's LC-MS... do they even believe the pure teaching of Absolution, let alone believe creation?  But one thing is true with them... they would call themselves "confessional Lutherans" and set themselves up as judges of Luther, Walther and... Franz Pieper, the pure teachers of the Gospel.
Part 13
===============  Synodical Conference–1872  ===============
"Over the Doctrine of Justification."
by C.F.W. Walther
(cont'd from Part 12)
[SCR 61] Now indeed, as concerns the latter, no one is to be allowed to the Sacrament unless he is questioned and confesses that he believes; but whether he tells the truth or pretends I cannot know, because I cannot look into his heart. So I do what God commands me, and am certain that I truly absolve all; whether [LS XXXI/1, 2-4] they enjoy it, I do not know.  [LS paragraph]  It is even not only that a justification is only made possible, but has been acquired and has taken place. [KM paragraph]

As therefore we speak of the nature of the Gospel and the Absolution, so God's Word itself speaks of it, that God gives and bestows, without respect to whether the matter is accepted or not.  We simply adhere [KM 35] to the Word against the adversaries of this doctrine: "If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself", 2 Tim. 2:13; "For what if some did not believe? Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?  God forbid", Rom. 3:3-4. According to the doctrine of our opponents I would have to discard everything I had ever received, as soon as I began to doubt whether I in fact then believed properly.  If I had myself baptized today, but a year hence I developed doubts, whether I had properly believed it, so I would have to be baptized again.  But, thanks be to God, we may with certainty comfort ourselves of this: what God has done to us, He has done to us forever, and does not undo it from His side; we should only believe.  But cursed be the doctrine which makes the worthiness, power, and validity of the Absolution dependent on my faith.  For that is precisely the poor sinner's consolation, that he knows: the dear God does not deceive me when He speaks with me.  If therefore I was not in the right frame of mind before, I shall now comfort myself with this, that God does not repent of His gifts and calling.  So my Baptism is valid even if I fall and reject its grace. It may very well be that I have then fallen out of the ship into the sea of perdition, but the ship, with everything that can take me to heaven, is still there; I must only return to the ship and console myself anew with my Baptism.  Indeed, were it possible that someone could be godless and yet retain his Baptism, then he would certainly get to heaven; but that is simply impossible.  This is a very comforting doctrine for the terrified sinner, because it shows him that the devil has no right and no power over him, if only he does not throw away the Word.
[KM paragraph]
We cannot emphasize enough, what is said in the Augsburg Confession: the Absolution, which is spoken to me, is always God's Word. [see A.C.-Article XXV, Of Confession, paragr. 2-6, also Apology-Article XII (V): Of Repentance, paragrs. 40-41]  The meaning is not that the words are simply taken from the Bible, but: When the pastor absolves you, you can believe that it is God who says to you through the mouth of a poor sinner: as you believe, so it happens for [geschehe, KM- be it done to] you.  So godless would it be if you hear: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" and you would not believe this, even so godless it is when you are absolved and you say: That is not true, that to me forgiveness is here give, for I am a great sinner, [SCR 62] I indeed do not stand in faith, and so forth.  If the doctrine of the opponents were true, then the unbelievers would be right when they say: "Bah, what do we care what the clergyman says?"  Since then it would really be but an empty Word; but now their talk is so terrible for this very reason, because it is God's Absolution which they despise and ridicule.  As gold remains gold even though it is stolen or cast into the mud, so the Absolution remains Absolution, even though it is despised by unbelievers.  Even as prisoners who hear that they are pardoned, and say: But we like it in prison, are nevertheless pardoned, so likewise they are absolved who do not accept the Word and what it brings.  For the great King, God the Lord, has pardoned the world, and has sent forth His servants to bring this message to men.  Therefore Luther writes so gloriously:
Consequently, there must lie hidden in the keys of Christ his blood, death, and resurrection, by which he has opened to us heaven, and thus imparts through the keys to poor sinners what he has wrought through his blood. . . .
Remember that the keys or the forgiveness of sins are not based on our own repentance or worthiness, as they wrongly teach. Such teachings are entirely Pelagian, Turkish (Mohammedan), [KM 36] pagan, Jewish, like those of the Anabaptists, fanatics, and anti-Christian.  On the contrary our repentance and work, our disposition and all we are, should be built on the keys. We are to depend on them with as daring confidence as on God's Word itself. You must never doubt what the keys say and give you, at the risk of losing both body and soul.  It is as certain as if God himself were saying so, which indeed he does. It is his own Word and command. [LS XXXI/1, 3-1] But if you doubt the same you make God a liar. You pervert his order and base his keys on your own repentance and worthiness.  You should, indeed, repent. But to make repentance the basis of the forgiveness of your sins and of corroborating the work of the keys, is to abandon faith and deny Christ. By means of the key, he will forgive your sins, not for your own sake but for his own name's sake, out of pure grace. . . .
Do not allow yourself to be led astray by this Pharisaic babbling by which some deceive themselves, saying, "How can a man forgive sins when he can bestow neither grace nor the Holy Spirit?" Rely on the words of Christ and be assured that God has no other way to forgive sins than through the spoken Word, as he has commanded us.  If you do not look for forgiveness through the Word, you will gape toward heaven in vain for grace, or (as they say), for a sense of inner forgiveness.
But if you speak as the factious spirits and sophists do: "After all, many hear of the binding and loosing of the keys, yet it makes no impression on them and they remain unbound and without being loosed. Hence, there must exist something else beside the Word and the keys.  It is the spirit, the spirit, yes, the spirit that does it! Do you believe he is not bound who does not believe in the key which binds?  Indeed, he shall learn, [SCR 63] in due time, that his unbelief did not make the binding vain, Indeed, he shall learn, [SCR 63] in due time, that his unbelief did not make the binding vain, nor did it fail in its purpose.  Even he who does not believe that he is free and his sins forgiven shall also learn, in due time, how assuredly his sins were forgiven, even though he did not believe it. [LS XXXI/1, 3-1/… end of LS 3-1. Note: all of the balance of Thesis 8 omitted by Lutheran Standard.; see KM 38 where it is resumed again by Lutheran Standard.] St. Paul says in Rom. 3:3: "Their faithlessness nullifies not the faithfulness of God."  We are not talking here either about people's belief or disbelief regarding the efficacy of the keys.  We realize that few believe.  We are speaking of what the keys accomplish and give. He who does not accept what the keys give receives of course nothing.  But this is not the key's fault.  Many do not believe the gospel, but this does not mean that the gospel is not true or effective. A king gives you a castle. If you do not accept it, then it is not the king's fault, nor is he guilty of a lie. But you have deceived yourself and the fault is yours. The king certainly gave it.
Well, you say, here you yourself teach that the key fails.  For the keys do not accomplish their purpose when some do not believe nor accept. Well, friend, if [KM 37] you call this failing, then God fails in all his words and works. For few accept what he constantly speaks and does for all.  This means doing violence to the proper meaning of words. I do not call it a failure or a mistake if I say or do something, and somebody else despises or ignores it. But so they understand, teach, and observe concerning the pope's wrong key: The key itself can err, even though a person would like to accept and rely on it.  For it is a conditionalis clavis, a conditional, a vacillating key which does not direct us to God's Word, but to our own repentance.  It does not say candidly and boldly that you are to believe that I most certainly loose you. But it says that if you are repentant and pious, I loose you, if not, then I fail.  That is the clavis errans, the erring key. It cannot with any assurance say that I know for certain that I have loosed you before God, whether you believe it or not, as St. Peter's key can say.  But it must say something like this, that I loose you on earth, but I really and truly do not know whether you are loosed before God.  For faith has not been taught in connection with the keys, as one clearly sees in the bulls of indulgence wherein repentance and confession and money are required but nothing is ever said of faith.
This is quite evident, for they neither repent of nor punish such deceitful uncertainties, among themselves or in others. They proceed confidently as if such doubting were no sin at all, reasoning thus: It makes no difference whether I have hit the mark; if I have missed the mark, I have missed it.  They display no compunction of conscience or worry on account of such unbelief.  Yet it is an abominable unbelief on the part of both him who binds and looses as well as on the part of him who is being bound and loosed.  For it is God's Word and command that the former speaks and the latter listens. Both are bound, on peril of losing their soul's salvation, to believe this article as truly and firmly as all other articles of faith.  For he who binds and looses without faith, and doubts whether he succeeds in binding and loosing rightly, or thinks [SCR 64] to himself quite unconcernedly,...
= = = = = = continued in Part 14 = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Ah, I remember the teaching of "The Keys" from catechism class, but it seemed so far away and antiquated.  But Walther and Luther rub it in our face and say you cannot forget this, for it is God's heart, that His announcement of the forgiveness of sins is given to you even if you do not believe it.  Thereby is the sinner made absolutely certain that what he grasps by faith is without doubt the hand of God.  No monstrum incertitudinus with Luther... or with Walther.  But what a jolt they give us when they say that if we do not believe this, we "blaspheme and deny Christ".   I don't want to "blaspheme and deny Christ"...
Mark 9:24 – Lord... help thou mine unbelief.
In the next Part 15...