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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Walther as Theologian–Justification (by F. Pieper) - Part 6

This post continues a 10-part series (see Preface for Table of Contents) from Part 5 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 – Universal, Objective (Second essay)
By Franz Pieper 
(Translated by  Wallace McLaughlin from  “Lehre und Wehre”, February, 1890, pp. 42-50: Justification- Universal),
(Continued from Part 5)
---------------  Pieper  --------------------------------
The fanatics usually think of the matter as though Christ has brought to pass that which the Scripture calls atonement, so that God can now receive a man into heaven merely for the sake of his conversion.  They do not believe that through Christ all without exception has taken place which had to take place in order that God may save us and give us eternal life.  Something, they suppose, must yet remain for man to do, and this something is conversion.  But Scripture teaches that Christ has done all and has already obtained reconciliation with God, righteousness, etc., that it is already there and is distributed in the holy Christian Church through the Gospel,  Now no one has anything further to do than to take salvation.  That is what we wish to say when we speak of a complete redemption.  Not that man already has something and God supplies the rest; also not that God has done something and man must add that which is lacking; but that God has already done everything entirely alone. (L.c., p.34.) 
 [SCR1872S.PDF, 1872,  pg 178, col. 1]
            This doctrine – as Walther urges again and again – is the characteristic doctrine of Christianity, that whereby the Christian doctrine is distinguished from heathenism
----------------- Comments -----------------------------
Walther (and Pieper) and Luther speak as one.  And they speak for all Christianity!
----------------  Pieper  ----------------------------------
He who denies this doctrine denies all of Christianity.  “That man could procure grace or the forgiveness of sins for himself”, says Walther, “is what the heathen believed; but that the forgiveness of sins, gained by Another, is already at hand, is a truth of which the heathen knew nothing”.  And in another place: “While all religions, except the Christian, have showed man how he must himself do that thereby he is rescued and saved, the Christian religion, on the other hand, teaches not only how men may yet be eternally saved, but how they have already been saved.  According to the teaching of the Christian religion man is already redeemedis already freed from sin and all ill, and God is already reconciled to him.  The Christian religion says to man: You need not redeem yourself and reconcile God.  Christ has already done all for you.  Nothing is left for you but to believe this, that is, to receive it.  It is just this which distinguishes the Christian religion from all other religions.  The Jew says: If you want to be righteous you must keep the Law of Moses; the Turk says: If you want to be saved you must conduct yourself in accordance with the Koran; the Papists say: If you want to get to heaven you must do good works, be sorry for your sins and make satisfaction for them yourself, and if you want to be perfect enter the cloister; and all the sects which pervert Christianity without exception lay something upon man which he must do in order to become righteous before God and be saved.  The Lutheran Church, ...
---------------- Comments -----------------------------
"The Lutheran Church", that is the Lutheran Church from above...
----------------  Pieper  ----------------------------------
... on the other hand, says to man in accordance with God’s Word: It is all done already: you are already redeemed, you have already been made righteous before God, you have already been saved; hence you have nothing to do in order to redeem yourself, and you do not have to reconcile God and earn your salvation.  You shall only believe that Christ, the Son of God, has already done all this for you, and through this faith you become partaker of it and are saved.” (L.c., p.34.) [SCR1872S.PDF, 1872,  pg 178, col. 1]

            That grace, righteousness, salvation reconciliation, etc., are already at hand before faith, as Walther further explains, is already demanded by the very concept “faith”, and he who denies the former must also deny that we are righteous and saved through faith.  If I am to be saved, says Walther, by believing that I am redeemed, reconciled to God, and my sins forgiven, then all this must already be on hand in advance.  As surely as God’s Word promises us that we shall be righteous, reconciled to God, and saved through faith, so surely must all these things be present before my faith, and waiting only for me to receive them. 
---------------- Comments -----------------------------
Luke 14: 16-17 – A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: ...Come; for all things are now ready.
----------------  Pieper  ----------------------------------
That a man should be justified by faith alone is possible only because that which is necessary to salvation is already at hand and accomplished, so that on my part only acceptance is necessary.  But this acceptance is just what Scripture calls believing.  Since God takes into heaven all who believe, righteousness and atonement must already be present and have taken place.--- All who will not admit that reconciliation and righteousness are already complete before faith do not regard faith as a mere hand which accepts that which has been gained by Christ, but as a work through which man cooperates toward his redemption and righteousness, as a condition which man fulfills and for the sake of which God receives man into heaven.
---------------- Comments -----------------------------
It seems the whole world puts a gate (i.e. a condition) in front of what God has already prepared for us... eternal life.  And those who fairly scream that we must have faith to make our salvation complete are at the front of the line.

The next Part 7 continues this essay:  Why is the Gospel the "Good News"?  What is the real Easter message?

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