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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Berthold von Schenk – confusion, Part 3

This continues from Part 2 (10 part series, Table of Contents on Part 1) where I presented two warnings against Pastor Berthold von Schenk. In Part 3 of this series I begin presenting quotes from his autobiography Lively Stones beginning from page 32.

In this series, I use the following notations:
  • highlight the questionable portions in yellow
  • the portions with some merit in green
  • and my comments in red text
-------   Quotes from Lively Stones by Berthold von Schenk, comments by BackToLuther   -------
Pg 32: the sermons of Spurgeon were recommended at the seminary
Who would recommend the sermons of Spurgeon, who denied God's universal will of grace... I could believe it was Theodore Graebner... certainly not George Mezger or Franz Pieper
Pg 36: Fritz knew how to handle me, he said, "You know what is wrong with you? You have a swelled head. You think you are too good for this poor congregation instead of seeing it as a challenge." He believed that Pine Lawn was a failure because it had never been properly served. Fritz, who later became President of the Western District and then the first Dean of the Seminary, was right, and I am greatly indebted to him. I accepted the call and told him that I would show him up for being wrong in judgment.
Prof. J.H.C. Fritz at least had the sense to see von Schenk had a swelled head... and von Schenk at least admitted it.  But did von Schenk control it in his ministry?
Pg 47: Back in the twenties, I needed a new vestment. Up until that time every pastor wore Talar and Bäffchen (a black gown with white preaching bands at the neck). I just got the idea, "Why not purchase a cassock and surplice with stoles?" I did this on Ash Wednesday, and I recall distinctly that I appeared in all my glory something like Solomon. The restoration of ceremonial shocked the church, but I considered such things as ritual and ceremony simply to be God's good table manners. Some welcomed the introduction of ceremonies, Gregorian music, and so forth, and most of my fellow-pastors thought that this was the emphasis. ...  It should have been obvi­ous to me that liturgical theology could not really be accepted by a true Missourian, for if we had been successful in promoting the Liturgical Movement, it would have destroyed Waltherianism. It was a rude awak­ening for them when The Presence appeared. 
Actually von Schenk's "glory" in cassock and surplice with stoles... along with his book The Presence did not destroy Waltherianism – it was rather the confusion by Theodore Graebner and the LC-MS of the Doctrine of Justification.  As bad as Von Schenk is, he is just a bit player in the fall of Missouri.
Pg 47: The seminary faculty which was requested to give a Gutachten of the liturgical revival considered the whole business as an adiaphoron.
Adiaphoron means things indifferent.  But von Schenk began a war to make an adiaphoron into something more important that it actually is...  it became mandatory for him.  
Pg 49 - 50:  I resigned as the prior of the St. James Society because I felt that the movement was taking a direction with too much emphasis on externals, ritual, and ceremonial. I realized that under the new lead­ership the St. James Society was going the way of previous liturgical movements in Germany, the Anglican Church, and other renewal movements.
Ah, but von Schenk's grand awakening of "liturgical renewal" was from the beginning a departure from true Christian teaching, because he did not have the true teaching on Justification, and so his teaching on this will always lead one astray.  "Liturgical renewal" without the true teaching of Justification is not a renewal, but a falling away!
Pgs 53 - 54:  To be involved in the struggle for true ecumenicity, and thus to be the Church, that should be the aim of every denomination.
This is a direct charge against old Missouri that it wasn't ecumenical, was not interested in "catholicity" or the universal church.  But it is a false charge because it implies unity can come from false doctrine.  Rather a truely ecumenical approach is to find agreement in the true doctrines of the Bible... something von Schenk was woefully deficient.
Pgs 53 - 54:  I was never interested in promoting Romanism or Catholicism but catholicity.
But von Schenk's "catholicity" was a fraud based on allowing false doctrine.  True unity is only in the Spirit, the Spirit of truth. John 14:1, 1 John 4:6.  And so inspite of his claim, von Schenk did promote Romanism.
Pg 61:  I did seek to gain a general, wider education. ... For eleven years I took in three lectures a week at the Jew­ish Theological Seminary.
Von Schenk confirms his pitiable state... sitting at the feet of Jewish teachers... who are lost without a Messiah.  And he proposes to teach us Christians???
Pg 65:  The Kingdom Plan brought about a great revival. We conducted some five meetings very much in the revival manner. The meetings I conducted emphasized the introduction of Holy Communion at ev­ery official service of the congregation...
Revival meetings - revival of what?  Does von Schenk  mean that the teaching that God is already reconciled to the whole world isn't enough for modern man?  Does he mean that the teaching that only God's grace can save us should be supplemented with something we must do for our salvation?
Pg 76-77:  Thankfully I had a parish in which I preached only in English. I learned to know some outstanding British preachers, especially Alexander McLaren [English Baptist]  and the great American-English preacher, John Henry Jowett. [English Congregationalist] From the twenties until the end of the thirties, there were some outstanding American preachers. Harry Emerson Fosdick was my favorite preacher in later years; in my estimation he still bats in the same league with the great princes of the pulpit. His sermons were my models for a number of years, and I owe more to this great preacher than to anyone else.
In Franz Pieper's Christian Dogmatics, vol. 1, pg 129, footnote 181 is the following on Harry Emerson Fosdick:
We quote from The Fundamentals, Vol. II, No. 1: "Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick, ... preached his now famous sermon here in New York on the question, `Shall the Fundamentalists Win?' in which he repudiated the inspiration of the Scriptures, the virgin birth, the vicarious atonement, and the second coming of our Lord..."
Berthold von Schenk held a false teacher as his "favorite preacher in later years".  And yet see the next quote... Walther?!... mixed in with Fosdick?
Pg 76:  I preached the ser­mons from Seiss' Lectures on the Gospels, as well as from Walther's Gnadenjahr ("Year of Grace"), and from Ziethe's Sermons of the Gos­pels, ...
This is one of the more striking statements by von Schenk... that he actually preached sermons from Walther... sermons with Walther's "museum theology"!... sermons which always presented the true gospel.  But we see that whenever von Schenk used anything from the old true Missouri, he always mixed it with heterodox teaching, or false teaching.
More to follow in Part 4.

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