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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Walther as Theologian–Justification (by F. Pieper) - Part 2

This post continues a 10-part series from Part 1 (see Preface for Table of Contents) which presents the actual text of Wallace McLaughlin's English translation of the essay C.F.W. Walther as Theologian by Franz Pieper.  This is done to honor the two commenters on Concordia Seminary's own web post publishing a different translation.
This portion can be downloaded here.
  • Pieper's text is indented in dark blue text.
  • I will add commentary at certain points in green text.
  • All underlinings are from the original.
  • Highlighting of Pieper's text is mine!
C.F.W. Walther as Theologian 
Justification – Importance (First part)
By Franz Pieper 
(Translated by  Wallace McLaughlin from  “Lehre und Wehre”, January, 1890, pp. 10-14: Justification- General),
(Continued from Part 1)
---------------  Pieper  --------------------------------
      The doctrine of justification is for Walther that whereby the Christian religion distinguishes itself from all other so-called religions; it is the distinctive characteristic of the Christian religion.  When we are speaking of justification, he says, we are speaking of the Christian religion, for the doctrine of the Christian religion is none other than the revelation of God as to how a person is justified before God and saved through the redemption which has been accomplished by Christ Jesus.  All other religions show other ways which are supposed to lead to heaven (namely, the way of works), while the Christian religion alone shows a different way to heaven through its doctrine concerning justification, and this is something unheard of and undreamed of for the whole world, thoughts which were hidden in the heart of God before the foundation of the world.  And in another place: This doctrine is the heavenly sun of the Christian religion, whereby it distinguishes itself from all other religions as the light from the darkness. (Evangelienpostille, p. 278.) [English translation here]  
---------------- Comments -----------------------------
The point that Pieper makes here is also emphasized in his Christian Dogmatics book (volume 1, page 15).   In a previous blog, I revealed Pieper's great "error" in mis-identifying a quote of a British scholar as that of Max Mueller, where it was actually Monier-Williams.  But the "error" was no real error because the quote he gave is one of Pieper's great quotes.  See my blog post "Pieper's error".
 ---------------  Pieper  --------------------------------
Hence he who attacks our doctrine of justification attacks our entire doctrine, the entire Bible, the entire Christian religion
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I believe this rules out Berthold von Schenk as a reliable Christian writer.  Now you know why I had to run to this essay to wash off the filth written by von Schenk.  (Thanks Prof. David P. Scaer)
 ---------------  Pieper  --------------------------------
Where this doctrine is falsified, there another way of salvation, and thus another religion, is taught.  To contend for the doctrine of justification, and for the Bible and the Christian religion, is one and the same thing.  Without the doctrine of justification the entire Christian doctrine is like a watch which lacks the mainspring.  All other doctrines lose their significance when the doctrine of justification is not right.  When the cornerstone falls the entire building caves in.  So also the whole structure of Christianity collapses where the doctrine of justification falls away; the Church is then transformed into a mere correctional institution.  And so far as the understanding of Scripture is concerned, theologians who do not stand right on the doctrine of justification, in spite of all their occupation with Scripture and all their citations of Scripture, take their position not in Scripture, but before its fast closed door.  For without the doctrine of justification the Bible becomes for a person a mere book of morals with all sorts of strange supplementary teachings.
---------------- Comments -----------------------------
Dear reader... sit at the feet of the giants of the old (German) Missouri Synod.  Put aside all other writers of the Christian religion except these for awhile and bask in "the luminous rays of the Gospel".
---------------  Pieper  --------------------------------
     Therefore the doctrine of justification is “the foremost chief article of the Christian faith”.  “As long as any one has gotten no farther than to think that the doctrine of justification is also an important article he has not yet seen the light”.  All praise of Christ, of grace, and of the means of grace, without the right doctrine of justification, is nothing.  All teaching in the Church must serve this article.  Not as though one should or could urge only this article.  All revealed doctrines must be taught with the greatest care.  But even when one is treating of hell the goal must be to show the hearers the deliverance from hell.
---------------- Comments -----------------------------
Nothing?  Nothing!  There is a lot of "nothingness" being expounded today, or as Luther might say "epicurean outrage".  Not so with the old (German) Missouri Synod and the old Synodical Conference.  Set a bookmark to this blog post – I am.  I have used this quote in many other blog posts:  
  • here (Berthold von Schenk who was "amused to tears"), 
  • here (CTS-FW detractors),
  • here (Marquart), 
  • here (no Public Ministry), 
  • here (Paul McCain), 
  • here (ELCA pastor).
I have used this quote to separate the goats from the sheep, (Matt. 25:32-33), a corrupt tree from a good tree, (Matt. 7:18).  There is a "First Premise", a "pivotal point" in Christianity – it is this doctrine.  All my CTS-FW detractors can say anything they want about me, but if they bring not this doctrine, I cannot bid them godspeed. (2 John 1: 10-11)  Ah, but to the
... to these, and all who defend Universal, Objective Justification, I bid godspeed for they either bring the Gospel or have confessed to a true faith.
---------------  Pieper  --------------------------------
       The knowledge of the doctrine of justification is unconditionally necessary for the salvation of the individual.  Christians are people who are in possession of the knowledge of the article of justification, i.e., people who believe that God forgives their sins by grace for Christ’s sake.  This knowledge, this faith, makes a man a Christian.  “Upon this article”, declares Walther, “rests all salvation, and therefore it is unconditionally necessary for every Christian.  It would be of no profit if one should have an exact knowledge of all other articles, e.g., those concerning the Holy Trinity, the Person of Christ, etc., if he did not know and believe this article”. ‘Synodical Conference Report, p. 21.) [see SCR1872S.PDF, 1872, pg 163, column 1]

       This article is rightly called the article with which the Church stands and falls. 
---------------- Comments -----------------------------
    "... the article with which the Church stands and falls."  Some want to debate whether Luther said these exact words regarding Justification.  Let them debate, for Walther settles the matter here.  It is this article of the Doctrine of Justification that this whole blog is dedicated to – Christianity.

Token Lutherans

    There is an article entitled "The Doctrine of Justification: The Article on which the Church Stands and Falls" on a so-called "Evangelical" (non-Lutheran) website called  The article was authored by a "J.A.O. Preus" but the link to his bio reveals no information ...  rather odd.  Why?  Could it be that this "J.A.O. Preus" is J.A.O. Preus III, the former Dean of the Faculty at Concordia Seminary, the son of J.A.O. Preus II, former president of the LC-MS? — The article apparently appeared in the March/April 2002 issue of their magazine.  The website was instituted by Michael Horton, a theologian of the "Reformed Christian" sect and editor of radio broadcast.  Could it be these "Reformed Christians" don't want to look too "Lutheran" but want to appear "Christian" by having a token Lutheran?  And what about their other token Lutheran, Dr. Rod Rosenbladt, professor of theology at Concordia University in Irvine, California?
==>> I say these token Lutherans are confusing the "article with which the Church stands and falls"! Unfortunately there is no short supply of "token" Lutheran theologians.  It has happened before in Church History... it is happening again.
---------------  Pieper  --------------------------------
“For what is the Church?  It is the totality of believing Christians. 
---------------- Comments -----------------------------
Updated Sept. 10, 2013:
This might be a good time for the reader to take a break to order Walther's The Church & The Office of the Ministry, the worthy new translation by President Matthew Harrison from CPH (if not already done).
With the poor reviews that have been received, I am removing my recommendation for Harrison's new translation for it appears that he has falsified Walther's meaning.  Better to order the older translation of J.T. Mueller – Church and Ministry.  Berthold von Schenk falsified Walther's doctrine of the Church -- do not be confused by false prophets. (see page 107 here).
---------------  Pieper  --------------------------------
Therefore the Church is where Christ rules and reigns in grace; but He rules inwardly in a man in such a way that He offers and conveys grace to him.  Now where He has conquered a heart there is His Kingdom.  Hence where there are regenerate living Christians there is His Church.  But no man becomes a true regenerate Christian without this doctrine of justification.  Every other doctrine can indeed make great Pharisees, but no Christians.  One becomes a Christian only in this way that through the Holy Ghost it is revealed in his heart that he is truly redeemed by Christ, has forgiveness of sins, a reconciled heavenly Father, righteousness which avails before God, and may therefore lay himself down with confidence even upon his deathbed.” (L.c. p. 24, 25.) [SCR1872S.PDF 1872: pg 164, column 1] And in another place: “When Luther says that without the article of justification the Church could not endure for an hour, that is no exaggeration.  For the Church is not an external institution, but the assembly of the believers.  Hence where there are no believers there is also no Church”.
The next Part 3 continues this same installment describing the importance of the Doctrine of Justification for the teaching of the Church and the Office of the Ministry.

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