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Sunday, March 10, 2013

CTS-FW fork in the road – Christology... Not Justification?

I begin this blog with 2 quotes: (1) a quote from Franz Pieper, and (2) a quote from Prof. David P. Scaer promoting the centrality of "Christology" for all Christian theology.
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. 

– Franz Pieper, essay on C.F.W. Walther as Theologian.

Asserting that all theology is Christology does not remove justification as the central doctrine. On the contrary, Christology is the content of justification and completely informs it: Christology is what the Gospel is all about. Therefore, Christology is what the Bible is all about. 
David P. Scaer,
"All Theology Is Christology" – How Does Every Passage of Scripture Reveal Christ?
in Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals (2002 or 2003?), 
reposted by "Suzee" on The Wittenberg Trail
The two quotes are strikingly different.  Franz Pieper holds up specifically the Doctrine of Justification as the central teaching of all Christianity.  But although Prof. Scaer seemingly attempts to uphold this, yet he immediately creates a "fork in the road" – and so holds out Christology as the real central doctrine of the Bible. 

Which do you believe?  Is Scaer upholding "Justification" or "Christology" as the central article of faith, the article that all other teachings must serve?

Now those who side with Prof. David P. Scaer might protest loudly and say that it is not an "either-or" situation... that Scaer is not downplaying the Doctrine of Justification, but rather upholding it for he says "Christology is the content of Justification" and "Christology informs Justification".  Yes, elsewhere Scaer points out how even Franz Pieper highlighted Christology in his Christian Dogmatics books, chiefly against the false teachings of the Reformed.  Indeed, Pieper devoted over 300 pages to Christology – the union of the divine and human natures in Christ.

But Scaer's assertion that
"all theology is Christology does not remove justification as the central doctrine"
did not hold true for me as God was bringing me back to my old faith.

No!  There was a doctrine that still had to come to me before I could remove all uncertainty of my salvation.  It was the
Doctrine of Justification(i.e. the Gospel)

Specifically, it was the doctrine that
(1) Justification was Universal, and
(2) Justification was Objective (outside of me, before my faith)
In other words Universal, Objective Justification (or UOJ).  These were the central doctrines taught by Franz Pieper.  When God showed me the true doctrine of Justification, I had to admit to God (by faith) –  "No, God, I can't justify myself because You have already done it for all the world, including Judas... including me."  And it is rather the Doctrine of Justification that informs the Doctrine of Christology, not the other way around.  Stay off CTS-FW's "fork in the road" — stay on the true Doctrine of Justification and then you can marvel at the true teachings of Christology that Pieper beautifully brings out.  Then you can marvel at all Christian teachings such as Baptism and The Lord's Supper, Election, etc.

What caused today's (English) LC-MS to get off the track of orthodoxy?  Unionism.  This was dramatically noted by its sister synods in the old Synodical Conference (see my timeline).  But what was the primary doctrine at issue in the change of the old (German) Missouri Synod into today's (English) LC-MS?  Why is today's (English) LC-MS so tongue-tied on the Doctrine of Justification?  Is it because of Fort Wayne's aberration – their "fork in the road", their substitution of "Christology" for Justification as the central article of all Christianity?  Only partially, because...
... because long before,
... it was because the prominent Prof. Theodore Graebner of St. Louis Concordia Seminary could say in 1939 that Walther and Pieper were all wrong on Justification... and not be disciplined.  So much for the "centrality" of Justification in today's (English) LC-MS.  Rather the reader should listen to the Lutheran Confessions and see which doctrine is the real central doctrine of all Christianity and the Bible.  I want to borrow from my blog post "The Lukewarm Lutheran Report" to present the following:

Now read what real confessional Lutherans start with – the Lutheran Doctrine of Justification
( hereTriglotta pg 121, Concordia, the Lutheran Confessions, page 82 – Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article IV (II),
Of Justification:
But since in this controversy the chief topic of Christian doctrine is treated, which, understood aright, illumines and amplifies the honor of Christ [which is of especial service for the clear, correct understanding of the entire Holy Scriptures, and alone shows the way to the unspeakable treasure and right knowledge of Christ, and alone opens the door to the entire Bible], and brings necessary and most abundant consolation to devout consciences,



All teaching in the Church must serve this article – 
Justification. – Franz Pieper

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