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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Berthold von Schenk – confusion, Part 6

This continues from Part 5 (10 part series, Table of Contents on Part 1) presenting quotes from the autobiography Lively Stones of Pastor Berthold von Schenk. In Part 6 of this series, I continue from page 92 onward.

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 92:  The tragic split of the Ohio Synod and the Missouri Synod happened because of language.
False. It was because the Ohio Synod could not accept the Bible's doctrine of Election of Grace, that salvation was not based "in view of faith".  The editors Fry and Kurz follow the error of the Ohio Synod and yet C. George Fry is one of the authors in a CPH book edited by Robert Preus, Contemporary Look at the Formula of Concord – what a travesty.  The Ohio Synod later openly denied the Doctrine of Justification and called the old (German) Missouri Synod heretical.  Berthold von Schenk spoke like the Ohio Synod after it left the Synodical Conference.  And his follower, C. George Fry, continues to spread false theology and church history today, e.g. his article [in Ohio History Journal] on the Ohio Synod's Matthias Loy.
Pg 92:  How much time and thought has been wasted by insisting on absolute truth in dogmas! Luther fell into that trap in his controversy with Zwingli and split the Reformation. I am referring to the dispute over two words das ist ("this is") and das bedeutet ("this signifies"). Philo­sophically, the two expressions are the same.
Who are you going to believe?  Luther's Small Catechism or the great Berthold von Schenk?
Pg 93:  The creation of the world was spiri­tual, yet I would not deny one sentence of Genesis 1.... Literalistic interpretations finally rob us of the spiritual dimension. ...  We see the mysterion in creation ... This same principle of the natural and spiritual also applies to Bap­tism and the Lord's Supper. One must see beyond words,
"The creation of the world was spiritual" --  in other words, not physical or actual; yet he claims that he "would not deny one sentence of Genesis 1".  Von Schenk "speaks with forked tongue".  Von Schenk gropes in the dark when he "sees beyond words" ... sees beyond God's Word.
Pg 95-96:  The Missouri Synod was the last hope, but what a pity that Walther separated himself from Loehe, one of the few true lights in Lutheranism who believed with Gerhard that the church which is not catholic is not the Church.
Prof. John T. Pless of CTS-FW sounds a lot like von Schenk here – Loehe is a "corrective" to Walther's teaching.
Pg 96:  ... the church which is not catholic is not the Church
This statement is true –  the true church will be the church for all times.  But von Schenk misunderstands what "catholic" means – the church universal with historical continuity.  It is Martin Luther who restored it and linked today's church through all of history when he proclaimed the true Gospel again.  Von Schenk only clouds the meaning of "catholic" by basing it not on the true Gospel but in unionism – unity without agreement in doctrine.
Pg 96:  Walther made an audacious claim when he said, "Die Evangelische Lutherische Kirche (which accepted his twenty-five theses) [ist] die wahre sichtbare Kirche auf Erden." (The Evangelical Lutheran Church is the true visible Church on Earth).  At least the Bible does not make this claim.
Berthold von Schenk - the great friend of the Bible!
Pg 96:  Walther neglected the true marks of the Church and substituted creedalism, moralism, and ritualism
Rather he restored them by bringing again the true doctrine of Justification!
Pg 96:  The marks of the Church are: ... 3) the preaching of the Gospel that God was in Christ reconciling the world with Himself;
Who taught von Schenk this doctrine?  How is it that he can slip in the Gospel among all his false teachings?  DO NOT believe his statement here because he, the great Berthold von Schenk said it, but rather because God said it – 2 Cor. 5:19 —> To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
Pg 96 - 97:  The church I knew as a child had done this very thing by making so-called "pure doctrine," or creedalism, a mark of the "true church." 162 The effort at purity of doctrine deteriorated into a Lehrgerechtigkeit far more serious than works-righteousness. For when one gets down to brass tacks, what right do we have to separate faith from works? The distinction between Law and Gospel is clear, but is purity of doctrine faith?163
Do you believe 2+2=5?  No?  Why not? It's not true you say?  You're a "stuck-in-the-mud" Lutheran, a "creedalist" who is concerned only about "pure doctrine", "reine Lehre"!  We must not warn those who believe 2+2=5 but we must be concerned with "catholicity", "ecumenism", "unity in love"!
Footnote 163 by editors Fry and Kurz:  In a personal letter to the Concordia Historical Institute (December 16, 1972), von Schenk wrote in further clarification: "I am not opposed to efforts of purity of doctrine. The chief objective of Synod is to regain our catholicity.  This was Luther's objective.... This was my main objective in promoting the liturgical renewal."
"I am not opposed to efforts of purity of doctrine." – Why did von Schenk say this?  Was there still a spark of life from the old (German) Missouri Synod ("Mother Missouri") that would not completely go out?
Von Schenk makes "catholicity" = unionism. Then this is precisely where von Schenk and all modern theology totally misunderstands Luther... and Walther and Pieper.
Pg 97:  The condition qua non of purity in our peculiar theology is far more dangerous than anything in Masonry.
Masonry, or Freemasonry, is anti-Christian by teaching salvation by works.  But to Berthold von Schenk, this does not seem to matter...  pure doctrine is "more dangerous" than Masonry! This is utter confusion of Law and Gospel!
Pg 97 - 98:  Concerning moralism, no one can deny that the fathers of the Missouri Synod were strongly influenced by Pietism; Walther's booklet Tanz and Theater ("Dance and Theater") is an example....   I recall a fine young girl, full of life and vitality, a faithful church worker, Sunday school teacher, and so forth; she was always ready to serve and attended church services every Sunday, but she loved to dance. The pietistic Dr. Walther had forbidden dancing and theater, so the pastor, to be orthodox, had to do what this pope in sheep's clothing had commanded. This young lady came to register for the Holy Communion, and the pastor asked if she had given up dancing. With tears in her eyes she told him, "No, I have not." He then refused her permission to make her Communion the following Sunday.
It is to be expected that von Schenk, who is confused on the Doctrine of Justification, should call Walther "pietistic" and a "pope in sheep's clothing".
Pg 98 - 99:  Walther was as much an anti­-Holy Spirit as was the Council of Trent .... Waltherian theology took Synod out of history, as did the Council of Trent the Roman Church...  history is concerned not solely with the past but also with a vision of the future. The Council of Vatican II recognized this and at least tacitly confessed it.
Now we come to the "here and now" that President Matthew Harrison speaks of.  Vatican II was (and is) recognized by modern theology as having a "vision of the future".
Pg 102:  Missouri ... has something which to this day I can't define. ... it has little deity

What "deity" is von Schenk speaking of? Who is this "deity" that old Missouri taught from 2 Cor. 5:19: "that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them"? Haven't you read the Bible, von Schenk?
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Von Schenk's tirade is in full swing now, but we still aren't at the bottom of this canyon yet.  Next is Part 7.

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