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Monday, March 4, 2013

Walther as Theologian–Justification (by F. Pieper) - Part 10

This post continues from Part 9 and concludes this 10-part series presentation (see Preface for Table of Contents) of Pieper's essay.  It 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 9)
----------------  Pieper  ----------------------------------
            Walther here examines an objection.  The objection asks how this argument concerning complete forgiveness, universal justification, the Gospel as an absolution of the whole world of sinners, harmonizes with those Scripture passages which speak of God’s wrath upon the world lying in wickedness, in particular upon the unbelievers.  Walther answers by means of the distinction between Law and Gospel
----------------- Comments -----------------------------
In a past work life, I had to do sales work.  One aspect of sales training was to be able to answer objections by a prospective customer –  the customer has been told the benefits of what you are selling but he has raised in his mind some aspects detrimental to what you are selling.  One website calls these "roadblocks, not dead ends".  So a good salesperson is able to overcome these objections and get the customer to decide for your product or service.  Although the analogy to Walther's teaching here is not exactly the same, for it is impossible for anyone to "decide for Christ" (John 15:16), yet all the Prophets and Apostles worked to overcome our objections to the Gospel.  So how will Walther handle this most pressing objection that we raise in our mind as we read about God's wrath in the Bible?  Indeed, how did Walther establish 
----------------  Pieper  ----------------------------------
In so far as God views the world in Christ “pure love, pure favor, pure grace” toward the world is in His heart.  In so far as He contemplates the world outside of Christ as lying in wickedness, and particularly as rejecting the Gospel, it lies under His wrath.  Although there is indeed no real contradiction here, since grace and wrath are predicated of God’s relation to the world in different respects, yet “an unutterable and unfathomable mystery” is to be acknowledged here.  Since Scripture teaches both facts we let them stand side by side.  “It is the Lutheran way that when we find in God’s Word two things which we are not able to harmonize we let both stand and believe both as they read.” (Synodical Conference, 1st Report, pp. 31 f, 36 f.) [SCR1872S.PDF, 1872: pg 177, col. 3; pg 178, col. 2-3]                    ---Franz Pieper 
– Translated by W.H.M.
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As one reads many of Walther's sermons, you find that his preaching of the Law kills you... spiritually.  There is no hint of Antinomianism or avoidance of preaching the Law.  All listeners will hear that they are indeed sinners worthy of nothing but damnation.  Ah, but Walther is an "able minister of the new testament":
2 Cor. 3:6 – Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
It is the pure Gospel message that sets C.F.W. Walther apart.  His sermons are filled with the Spirit, the spirit that "giveth life".  Would to God all Lutheran pastors of today would become "able ministers of the new testament" and learn from Walther!
1 Cor. 15:57 – But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

God did bless America!  He sent C.F.W. Walther... and Franz Pieper!

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