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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Walther as Theologian–Justification (by F. Pieper) - Part 3

This post continues a 10-part series (see Preface for Table of Contents) from Part 2 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 essay)
By Franz Pieper 
(Translated by  Wallace McLaughlin from  “Lehre und Wehre”, January, 1890, pp. 10-14: Justification- General),
(Continued from Part 2)
---------------  Pieper  --------------------------------
     If therefore, the Church is to be built and preserved it is necessary before all else that the doctrine of justification be preached.  Through the preaching of this doctrine the Reformation of the Church was brought about, while all means which had previously been tried for the renovation of the Church had failed.  Also in other lands and at other times it has been this doctrine which has renewed the Church. (Synodical Conf. Report, p. 25-27) [SCR1872S.PDF, pg 164 -170]
---------------- Comments -----------------------------
Note to President Matthew Harrison: listen to Walther here.  You want to preserve your church body of which you say that it is not a "sect" and is "orthodox"... here is your very simple answer to all your problems, here and now.  You may have translated Walther's The Church and The Office of The Ministry and other essays of Walther (and Pieper), yet you should go back to sitting at Walther's feet and get this doctrine right first.  All the others will follow when this is kept pure.
 ---------------  Pieper  --------------------------------
 And if we in our time wish to build the Church it must take placed through the preaching of the doctrine of justification.  Not “eloquent” and “popular” preachers, nor yet “reverend clergymen”; but pastors who preach the doctrine of justification build up the congregations.  (L.c., p. 27f.) [SCR1872S.PDF, pg 170] The knowledge and preaching of this doctrine outweighs many a shortcoming in external education and endowment.  If the Church had only the choice between externally inadequately educated preachers, who, however, live in the article of justification and preach it, and externally highly cultivated preachers, who, however, do not understand the article of justification and therefore also do not preach it, it would necessarily choose the former without any hesitation.
---------------- Comments -----------------------------
Some might try to accuse Walther and Pieper of despising scholarship and "scientific" theology.  Let them.  The true scholars will preach the pure Gospel - the Doctrine of Justification - rightly distinguished from the Law.  All other scholars, "Doctors of Theology" who do not understand the article of Justification, are false teachers – not true scholars.  Yes, the dear Ashery confession from Amish country far exceeds the ignoramuses who think they know theology when they do not understand Justification.
---------------  Pieper  --------------------------------
  “As supremely important as this doctrine is”, says Walther, “yet it can be preached in its fullness and power, in its clarity and rich comfort, also by less gifted men…..even the weakest , if he has only grasped the doctrine that the grace of God in Christ Jesus has appeared to all men and is apprehended by faith, can preach to the people in such a way that they become assured of their salvation; and that outweighs all wisdom and gifts and treasures of the world.  Such preachers will never be lacking in preaching material.  They will always know how to preach of what God by grace has done for us, and that will give them ever new joy.  What is learning, all of it, necessary as it is in its place, compared with the wisdom of God, which is proclaimed when even only the one passage: “God so loved the world”, etc., is proclaimed?  Over this the poor sinners rejoice, over this all the holy angels wonder, at this should the whole world fall on its knees and shout Glory and Hallelujah.  If our ministerial candidates preach this, what a reformation they can begin also in this land; as indeed a small beginning has also already been made in this direction.  For this makes really live congregations, not such as make a great noise about their life and their accomplishments, but such as, living in this doctrine, offer willingly to God in the beauty of holiness.  In fine: let us learn from Luther that we can initiate no reformation here if we do not firmly believe this doctrine, with divine assurance proclaim, maintain, and hold it fast”.
 ---------------- Comments -----------------------------
What a breath of fresh (spiritual) air to listen to Walther after wading through the filth of Berthold von Schenk who sneered (see page 76-77 here) at the faithful pastors of the old (German) Missouri Synod, who may have even struggled yet at least had the article of Justification right.  Von Schenk mixed Walther with Fosdick and Peale... and was all mixed up!  
Dear God!  Give me a less educated, less popular, less cultivated, less gifted, weak preacher –– if only he preaches and teaches the pure Doctrine of Justification!
Dear reader -- if your pastor does not preach and teach this article correctly, you cannot sit there and take it, even from the most educated, eloquent, cultivated, captivating preacher.  
The next Part 4 continues this same installment focuses on the relation to the Office of the Ministry.

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