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Monday, April 22, 2013

Luther to Richard John Neuhaus: Pope still Antichrist

(Amended April 23, 2013)
The world (and the Devil) is doing its damnedest to try to convince us the Pope in Rome is not the Anti-Christ.  And some of the most distressing rhetoric is coming from the LC-MS (with the notable exception of Prof. Roland Ziegler).  It seems one can hardly read any theology of today without hearing of Richard John Neuhaus (†2009).  He would be another run-of-the-mill modern theologian except he converted from an LC-MS Lutheran to Roman Catholicism.  He was even honored to give honor (or is it the other way around?) to Prof. David P. Scaer of Concordia Theological Seminar–Fort Wayne in the book All Theology is Christology.

But wait, that's not all!  Neuhaus joined with the famous "Evangelical" Chuck Colson (†2012), creator of Prison Fellowship, to utilize his amazing notoriety to attempt to show Lutherans they have been all wrong in holding out against the Roman Church... and the Reformed church.  Then after the passing of Neuhaus, Colson became the mouthpiece for Neuhaus and told Christianity Today that
... Pope Benedict on November 19 [2008] ... gave a homily on justification...; the Pope, the head of the church, concluded his homily by saying Luther was right, so long as you don't exclude charity, that is love, and the works that flow from love.
Hmmm, the Pope said that "Luther was right" on justification.  Could it be that Pope Benedict had officially bridged the gap between the Papal Church and the Lutheran Church?  Certainly Richard John Neuhaus (and Chuck Colson) was shouting this message at Lutherans.  Neuhaus said the following in his essay Luther, Newman, and the Punctiliar Church in the above mentioned book for Prof. Scaer (page 158):
I believe that the fundamental difference, at least with respect to Lutheranism, is not over the Gospel nor over the doctrine of justification but over the historical reality of the Church.... Put differently, I believe that nothing in Luther's understanding of justification, the sacraments, and the external means of grace required separation from the Catholic Church
Not so fast says Luther... in his letter to Elector John Frederick dated June 29, 1541.  Luther advised the staunchly Lutheran elector how things stood between the (true) Evangelicals/Protestants and the Papal Church in the concluding Diet of Regensburg.  What did Luther tell the elector?  I will translate a portion of Luther's letter taken from St. Louis Edition, vol. 17, pages 684 - 686, paragraphs 6 and 7:
...  where they would be serious and their theologians would honor God and confess that they have not taught thus up to now like they want to be seen with pleasure.  For in their piles of books that are available they will convince thereby that their theology in the Article of Justification [articulo justificationis] is that "favor of grace" [gratier gratiae] is two things: "Grace freely given" [Gratia gratis data] and "grace making acceptable" [gratia gratum faciens].  They would have  "free grace" [Gratiam gratis datam] called "all other gifts"; also they would call "infused faith" [fidem infusam] to be what we now call "justifying faith" [fidem justificantem] (and they learned to speak so from us), but by "grace making acceptable" [gratiam gratum facientem], that is "justification" [justificationem], they mean charity [charitatem]. They cannot deny this.  Where they do not revoke this article (which is so obvious), but creep behind with "effective faith" [fidem efficacem], with "charity" [charitatem] and "free will" [liberum arbitrium] they want to dress it up, it is certain that they handle it with vain lies .... Therefore the best is, ... let the Augsburg Confession [Confessio] remain. 
What did Pope Benedict say?  He said:
 " long as you don't exclude charity"
Unfortunately Chuck Colson became entrapped in the spell of Father Richard John Neuhaus.  His statement above of Pope Benedict that claimed the Pope had indeed changed shows his ignorance of the truth because the Pope himself showed that he had not changed since the days of Luther. The papal church will always exhibit the Devil who masquerades as an angel of light:
2 Cor. 11:14 – And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
This is personally sad for me since I spent some time with Prison Fellowship when my faith was re-kindled and growing.  I separated from this organization as I grew in Christian doctrine from the writings of Walther and Pieper... and Luther.  I could not in good conscience remain under the directions of a heterodox organization.  Although Colson appeared to proclaim the pure Gospel in his early days of conversion, yet his later developments showed a serious weakness.

But it is intolerable that Concordia Theological Seminary – Fort Wayne is also entrapped... and even honors this one who had fallen.  I can tell you that Prof. Roland Ziegler is not popular in today's LC-MS for saying  the following:
If the gospel of free grace is still condemned by Rome, then the papacy is what it was before [the antichrist].
All Lutherans should pause with this counsel from Luther and realize that the so-called "head of the church", the Pope (and the world) has it wrong... and Luther is still right.

And "Father" Richard John Neuhaus from the new (English) LC-MS was sadly mistaken.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Luther – here and now – Justification above all! (Part 5 of 5)

This continues from Part 4 (Table of Contents – Part 1) where I expanded on one of the highlights found in Pastor Hermann Fick's Life and Deeds of Dr. Martin Luther book – The Article of Justification at the Diet of Regensburg.  As Pastor Fick relates, this is an extremely important series of events in the life of Luther and the Lutheran Church.  It has application for today!... here and now!! (that's right, President Harrison)
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Today's sorely troubled Lutheran Church has gotten away from its birthright, the Article of Justification.  And so even those conservative Lutherans who have separated from the LC-MS, who do not hold the center of the reason for separation to be the Doctrine of Justification, are also losing sight of the reason for the Reformation.  For example, when the WELS says the LC-MS is correct in its Doctrine of Justification because of its 1983 CTCR and yet attempts to find fault in other doctrines, it then creates an inconsistency because all errors in Christian doctrine flow from aberrations in the Doctrine of Justification.

Martin Luther, in the writing below, shows today's Church this point.  He said that he would be willing to suffer the poison of the errors of Rome in the Ten Articles, i.e. Rome's errors on:
What?  Luther would have allowed the above practices in the Churches?  How is this possible?  It seems blasphemous!

Ah, but Luther knew... he knew the over-arching power of the Gospel purely preached, the Article of Justification.  Luther knew that the poison of the Ten Articles was not so powerful when faced with the Gospel of free Grace!... the Grace of God in Christ Jesus.  Luther knew that any ambiguities in the agreed article on Justification would be swept away if only the pure Gospel were allowed to stand.  Read Paragraph 9 of Luther's letter again in Part 4.  Mind you, this was not the early Luther who was still weak in identifying the Anti-Christ, but the latter Luther, who had grown in faith to see all the abominations introduced by the Papacy.  Luther knew the power of the pure Gospel!

And so readers can ignore all of modern theology's judgments on the Diet of Regensburg by the likes of Alistair McGrath, or Peter Matheson, or Bruce L. McCormack, or Daphne Hampson, or David Wright, or Brian Lugioyo, or Suzanne Hequet, or Athina Lexutt, or any of a host of so called scholar/theologians.  None of these understand the true Doctrine of Justification like Martin Luther.  As C.F.W. Walther put it:
The Doctrine of the Lutheran Church Alone Gives All Glory to God, 
an Irrefutable Proof that Its Doctrine Alone is True

And Pastor Hermann Fick is a true pastor of the Lutheran Church and judges rightly that Luther had the true judgment over all the opposition from the Romanists or the Reformed.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
The book Gasparo Contarini by Elisabeth G. Gleason has a chapter "Illusion and Reality: Regensburg, 1541".  In her sub-heading "The Chimera of Concord" (page 223), the instruction that the pope's adviser Granvelle gave to the papal legate Cardinal Contarini before the Diet of Regensburg is summarized:
Granvelle warned him that unless a solution were found at the diet, the Catholic religion would be ruined, since the license introduced by the Protestants attracted people to their teaching everywhere, even in Italy.
The "license" that Granvelle referred to is the pure Gospel – no conditions.  It was this "license" that Martin Luther uncovered again in the Reformation in the Doctrine of Justification, or the power of the Gospel unto salvation.  God says it this way:
Isaiah 55:1 – ...he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.  
Romans 1:16 – For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth
And Martin Luther carried this doctrine to his grave, relying entirely on God's grace to hang on to the free gift of life and salvation.

Pastor Hermann Fick would surely be charged by today's modern church historians with being too simplistic.  But all true Christians in simple faith can put their trust with the dear Fick in his book Life and Deeds of Dr. Martin Luther who pointed our modern Lutheran Church to the way to avoid being so sorely troubled.  He said
If the princes and theologians had taken this answer of Luther as their model in the negotiations respecting the Interim, which was, shortly after Luther's death, fabricated from that of Regensburg, the Lutheran Church would not have been so sorely troubled.
Who would deny that the Lutheran Church is sorely troubled today?  Therefore, today's Lutherans, go...
Back To Luther!

Luther – Regensburg – Justification (Part 4 of 5)

This continues from Part 3 in the series (Table of Contents – Part 1) started on Pastor Hermann Fick's Life and Deeds of Dr. Martin Luther book and the Article of Justification at the Diet of Regensburg.  As Fick relates, this is an extremely important series of events in the life of Luther and the Lutheran Church.  It has application for today!
And so I present the balance (from Part 2) of Luther's letter to the embassy of princes sent from Regensburg to attempt to get Luther to make agreement:

Dr. Martin Luther's Answer 
to the Princes John and George von Anhalt 
on Previous Advertisement.
June 12, 1541 (St. L. v. 17, pgs 678-682)
Translated by BackToLuther w/ Google Translate, Microsoft Translator, PROMT
(continued from Part 2)

   4.  Thus I have for myself in the article of Justification the defect that the teaching of Free Will [liberum arbitrium] is injected into it, and the saying is introduced to St. Paul in Galatians 5:6 : Faith by love is effective [Fides by dilectionem efficax est] which is yet so that nothing rhymes. Since St. Paul speaks not: Faith in love justifies [Fides by charitatem justificat] but they (as I must provide) think that because their opinion is wrong, that thus he speaks: Faith is active through love, or is effective [Fides per charitatem operatur, vel efficaxest].
   5.  Thirdly: Because now my most gracious and merciful lords of Brandenburg through E.F.G. [?] desire from me that I would give counsel yet with such a measure taken with the Ten Articles to ensure that the diet would not come off without fruit: such would I do willingly from the heart when the matters were formed so that I could give my recommendation.  But I have also not seen all of the Ten Articles like the theologians of the other side should have provided the lower placed ones.  But as they posed those of ours, these have I seen, these I'm pleased with, and are the truth.
   6.  So where his Imperial Majesty cannot bring that side to a right serious settlement, that is working in vain with them; [col. 681] for so that we accept from both sides alike the first Four Articles so provided, so we remain in the Ten Articles unsettled.  So are under the Ten Articles such which strive publicly and clearly against the First Commandment, that one therein can neither dispute nor suffer anything else.
   7.  I can also not allow that some cause is present which would like to excuse the toleration against God, meanwhile no weakness of the authorities exists yet of that half that attends to the office of the Church and Ministry but on the other side exists pure deliberate tyranny.  They would also never be strong and want to remain in perpetual tolerance and defend those articles as right.  However, we want those articles condemned (as I afterwards said E.F.G.), while they know their mistake and still deem right to defend for the sake of their mistake.  These also would abuse such tolerance so that they want to keep their people (if it likely well reported the right doctrine and announced pieces realize for an error with right basis in Scripture, and would strongly) in such Articles constantly held caught and connected.
   8.  Even though we act with their weak who have not heard God's Word and have the Sacrament in only one form; for example, those which regard from weakness that they would have to tell in confession all their sin, for a while could probably carry patience until they would become also strong.  And those who would not be able to become strong, the first Four Articles would be then also preached to them surely and clearly on the other side, and particularly the article on Justification.
   9.  However where his Imperial Majesty would announce and provide that the first Four Articles are preached absolutely purely and clearly, and should be held as Christianthat would take the poison from the Ten Articles, and teachers and listeners would soon by the everyday practice in such doctrine, and from day to day become stronger, and thereby the Ten Articles must fall from themselves as has also happened with us.  Then in such a case one should not throw away the weak, as [page 682] impure children, as St. Paul says in Romans 14:1 : Support the weak in faith. [Infirmum in fide suscipite.]  Since children can be quite impure, but the bath must be pure and remain so, and not become dirty by ten leprous articles;  just as Christ suffers the apostles in many places, the condemnable made whitewashed, where they were not fixed on him and would allow daily to have to clean and teach them.
   10.  But when the four articles should not purely go out and be taught, also no such preachers are placed wherein the other side carried these four articles in their sermon: so with them the tolerance would become a perpetual hardness, as I have touched upon before, and also their people who were still weak will never be strong.  Then, as St. Paul says (Romans 10:14-15): How shall they hear without a preacher, and how shall they preach, except they be sent etc. [Quomodo audient sine praedicante, quomodo vero praedicabunt, nisi mittantur etc.] Therefore also no Christian settlement can be made between us.
   11.  But if the four articles were admitted to be preached purely, so could his Imperial Majesty in the pronouncement on the Ten Articles make perhaps a comfortable appendix, namely:
Although Your majesty was not able to bring settlement, at the same time it would be hoped that the first Four Articles would be preached purely and approved by the other side, that the settlement of the Ten Articles  from the clear account of the Four Articles, and the same application through the preaching would also soon settle themselves.
But where the Four Articles are not admitted to be preached purely on the other side, so it would be made public that they do not want to have an upright settlement: That can have no place of tolerance.
   12.  That I humbly want to have indicated by my gracious lords [E.F.G.?] on their attachment in writing. This is my concern.
   13.  But after the discussion also shall have begun that what is settled by the Six, to all sides should be brought, thus I do not know how to separate myself from the ranks of this side thereby, also do not want to have myself separated.  For my gracious lords [E.F.G.?] I am quite willing and ready. Dated June 12, 1541.
------   End of letter  ---------------------------------------

How is this subject matter important for today? ... as President Matthew Harrison likes to say "here and now"?  I will cover this in my next Part 5.

Luther's counsel – 4 against 10 –Justification (Part 3 of 5)

This continues from Part 2 (Table of Contents – Part 1) where I expanded on one of the highlights found in Pastor Hermann Fick's Life and Deeds of Dr. Martin Luther book – The Article of Justification at the Diet of Regensburg.  As Pastor Hermann Fick relates, this is an extremely important series of events in the life of Luther and the Lutheran Church.  It has application for today!

What were the "first four articles" and the "other ten articles" that Luther speaks of in his letter?
The first Four Articles dealt with:
  1. Man Before the Fall;  2. Free Will;  3. Cause of Sin;  4. Original Sin;  (and included 5th–Justification)
Lutherans who have been taught from Luther's Small Catechism and the Lutheran Confessions will understand these "Four Articles".  (Have you?)

The last Ten Articles are covered in an English translation of 23 "Articles of the Colloquy of Regensburg" from Melanchthon's documentation produced by Prof. Suzanne Hequet (Concordia University-St. Paul, LC-MS).  She transcribed and translated these in her book The 1541 Colloquy at Regensburg: In Pursuit of Church Unity, pages 78 - 155.  Here are the titles of the last 18 articles that are summed up in Luther's understanding of the Ten Articles:
The church and its signs and authority · The mark of the Word · Penance after having lapsed · Authority of the Church in discerning and interpreting Scripture · The Sacraments · Sacrament of Ordination · Sacrament of Baptism · Sacrament of Confirmation · Sacrament of Eucharist  (Transsubstantiation· Sacrament of Penance or absolution · Sacrament of Marriage · Sacrament of Unction · The bond of love, which is a third mark of the church · Ecclesiastical hierarchical order, and in clear authority having to be established · Certain dogmas which have been confirmed, having been made clear by the authority of the Church · The use and administration of the sacraments, and certain kinds of ceremonies · Discipline in the Church · Discipline of the people.
It was the Four Articles that were supposedly agreed on, but especially the 5th article on justification that Luther said were sufficiently foundational to neutralize the poison in the balance of 10 articles (or 18 articles) that dealt with lesser matters.  There are many scholars today who want to argue about Article 5 on Justification. Some even go so far as to say that the agreement on Article 5 of the Diet of Regensburg gave the "Lutherans" reason enough to agree to the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification with Rome.  But Luther did not argue so much about any ambiguities of Article 5, but rather the power of the pure Gospel over all error!

I believe that Luther knew the essentials of what was going on at Regensburg even if he was not fully informed on the details happening there. He knew the Article of Justification (the Fifth Article) had been discussed.  And he apparently grouped Article 5 on Justification with the first Four Articles.  Some history on this Diet is presented in the following histories of Luther (free, in English):
  • The Life of Martin Luther, vol. 2, Henry Worsley, 1856,  pgs 330-336 (extensive, almost Lutheran!)
  • Martin Luther, The Man and His Work, A.C. McGiffert, 1911, pgs 357-360 (decent review)
  • Life of Luther, Julius Köstlin, 1883, pgs 514-516 (sympathizes with moderates)
  • Martin Luther, the Hero of the Reformation, Henry Jacobs, 1898, pgs 338-340 (only fair)
  • Martin Luther : his life and his labor..., Wm. Dallmann, 1917, pg 247 (low spiritual content)
  • Martin Bucer, Hastings Eells, 1931, pgs 288-301 (Not free; raves over Bucer, Amazon)
Most of these histories are unsatisfactory for Lutherans.  For a current Reformed view of the Diet of Regensburg, one can read Dr. R. Scott Clark's synopsis here [2017-12-14 updated link] on the Internet.  He shows where the Reformed are not true Protestants, because the Reformed ask the question:
...but neither he [Luther] nor Melanchthon had found a stable place in their theology for their doctrine of sanctification.
True Reformed teachers essentially are what I would call "Bucer-ists and Calvinists" who, while speaking of a "Law-Gospel dichotomy",  constantly go back to the Law.  (Sounds curiously like Prof. David P. Scaer of CTS-FW and his "Law-Gospel paradigm".)  The Reformed fancy themselves as "Protestants" and "Evangelicals", when the reality is that only true Lutherans can claim these labels.  The Reformed separated themselves from true Protestants/Evangelicals by taking a step back to Rome.

Getting a true spiritual account of the doctrines involved at the Diet of Regensburg (1541) is difficult with today's modern scholar/theologians or on the Internet... except now from Pastor Fick's wonderful summation of the essentials with Luther.  And so I will present the balance of Luther's written response to the princes regarding the theological matters at the Diet of Regensburg in the next Part 4.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Life and Deeds of Luther: Regensburg–Justification (Pt 2 of 5)

[2017-12-15: updated broken link to St. L. edition in red, added cross refs]
This continues from Part 1 where I introduced Pastor Hermann Fick's Life and Deeds of Dr. Martin Luther.  Pastor Fick was a faithful steward of the history of Luther's life... unlike most other modern church historians.  As I went through this book again, I came across a portion that stood out among the many events that strengthen the Christian faith.  It was the account of Luther's response to the Diet of Regensburg and the Regensburg Interim, on pages 163 – 165.  Pastor Fick brought out...

Luther's use of the Doctrine of Justification 

... and so I am reproducing this section here.  It is in his "Chapter XXIX. – The Last Years Of Luther's Life", pgs 163-165:
...until the approaching Diet at Regensburg in the year 1541. There the Papists presented a document, generally called the Regensburg Interim, which was intended to serve as a basis for consultation and also, if possible, for union. But Luther clearly proved, his advice having been asked upon the matter, that the purpose of the opponents, especially in regard to the article of Justification, was nothing else than to put a new piece of cloth upon
- 164 -
an old garment, whereby the rent would merely be made worse. Matt. ix, 16. A number of foreign princes however, resolved, with the knowledge of the emperor, to send a respectable embassy to Luther, in the hope that he might still be prevailed upon to form an agreement. This resolution was carried into effect, and to the oral address of the ambassadors Luther immediately gave an oral answer, which he subsequently reduced to writing and the import of which was that if the first four articles, especially that concerning Justification, should in all respects be preached purely and be received as Christian, the poison of the other ten would be neutralized, and the clear teachings of these articles and their application by means of correct preaching would soon lead to an agreement in regard to the last ten. Seckendorf, in his excellent History of Lutheranism, praises the answer of Luther in this transaction, which is one of the most important in the Reformation, both for the modesty of its style and the firmness which it evinced. For as Luther before could not be intimidated by the menaces of Cajetan at Augsburg and of the emperor at Worms, neither could he now be lured to a sinful compliance by the flatteries of such an imposing embassy. But the opponents took no notice of this answer, and again referred the whole matter to a general Council. If the princes and theologians had taken this answer of Luther as their model in the negotiations respecting the Interim, which
- 165 -
was, shortly after Luther's death, fabricated from that of Regensburg, the Lutheran Church would not have been so sorely troubled.
This account so impressed me that I had to reacquaint myself with the details of the Diet of Regensburg and Luther's part in it.  What were the "Four Articles" and the "Ten Articles" that Luther spoke about?  Unfortunately, there are very few letters of Luther translated into English during that time (April - June, 1541) pertaining to Regensburg – see my Letters of Luther document for reference.  Even the New Series - Luther's Works CPH publication of Luther's letters will not have any of these letters translated (see page 36 of their Prospectus).

So I decided to search for the "writing" that Luther gave to the "respectable embassy" from the Diet that wanted to coerce him into agreeing with the Papists.  I discovered that this is letter #2798 in the St. Louis Edition, vol. 17, columns 678 - 682 (see also here; #3629 in WA- not online).  It is dated June 12, 1541.  Because Pastor Fick called this writing "one of the most important in the Reformation", I am publishing it in this series of blog posts as a tribute not only to Martin Luther, but also to the memory of Pastor Hermann Fick and Veit Ludwig von Seckendorff,  both excellent Lutheran historians who understood the spiritual essence of church history.

This translation is not professional quality but I feel that if the reader has a question on Luther's meaning at a certain place, it will be answered in another place.

Dr. Martin Luther's Answer 
to the Princes John and George von Anhalt 
on Previous Advertisement.
June 12, 1541 (St. L. v. 17, pgs 678-682)
Translated by BackToLuther w/ Google Translate, Microsoft Translator, PROMT

   1. Grace and peace. Serene Highness, highborn Princes, gracious lords! As of yesterday I heard from my gracious lords [E.F.G.] the pronouncements of my gracious and merciful lords, Joachim, Elector 2c, and George, Margrave of Brandenburg, cousins etc, and verbally given my speedy reply in haste: so I have to further concerns amassed written form, that I retain so much of, and send for gracious lords [E.F.G.], what they wanted, so the same herewith in writing:
   2.  In the first place, that I gladly and with joy heard that His Imperial Majesty [Charles], our most gracious Lord, so welcomes me, both with the comparative religion, and peace in the Kingdom. May the LORD God reign in his Imperial Majesty's heart to his praise and honor and welfare of the kingdom, Amen.  So I also know [col 679] to boast before God and my conscience, that I also am highly inclined to both such parts and direct my earnest and poor prayer daily; there can also be no doubt that this party of Princes and States are similarly minded, as the same are not in word but in deed to prove plenty as they are afflicted much, endure much and suffer at last arson, and yet sit still and not avenge themselves.
   3.  Secondly, that the four articles should be settled, I heard also gladly; but I have not seen any of formulas, without the one on justification, only what I hear happens.  But I told your gracious lords yesterday that it is impossible for us to stand with that side, and also stands not in the power of the imperial majesty.  For though his Imperial Majesty is again supremely and graciously serious and good concerning me, yet at least that side is not serious about God and in agreement for the truth; but well might his Imperial Majesty want to turn up his nose.  Since if they were serious, so they would not allow the other ten articles to be unsettled – as they well know and understand that all ten articles are powerfully and in sound inference [bona consequentia] condemned compared with the first four articles, particularly from the article of Justification. But they have reserved out all these ten articles, where they so violently argue and condemn against compared to the other four articles; well I can understand that that side is not serious, that they want to leave the same articles their right understanding.
-----  to be continued in Part 3  ----------------

Luther speaks about the "Ten Articles" and the first "Four Articles" along with the article of Justification.  What were these articles about?  In the next Part 3, I will give some details of these and then publish (in Part 4) the balance of this pivotal letter of Luther... a writing that sets the Article of Justification, the diamond of Christian doctrine, on its pedestal.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Life and Deeds of Dr. Martin Luther – Hermann Fick (download), Part 1 of 5

[2018-02-19: added, updated, and fixed broken links, added more information, see dated material.] 
[9/1/2013 - Table of Contents replaced with complete book in framed text form below]

There are many books on the life of Martin Luther.  But one book that came from the old (German) Missouri Synod that perhaps has not received wide circulation was written by Pastor Hermann Fick about 1869 in German.  It was later published in English in 1878:
Life and Deeds of Dr. Martin Luther, by Rev. Hermann Fick
What sets this book apart from the others?  It is by a pastor of the old (German) Missouri Synod... not from today's modern theologians.  Pastor Fick was a frequent contributor to the journals of old Missouri alongside the articles of C.F.W. Walther, and Fick was one of Walther's dear friends.  It was the old (German) Missouri Synod (and Synodical Conference) which again brought Luther to our modern world for they understood the spiritual message that Luther brought – by grace through faith... not works.  There are other books from the Missouri Synod, notably from W.H.T. Dau who published his books on Luther: At the Tribunal of Caesar, The Great Renunciation, The Leipzig Debate in 1519, and Luther Examined and Reexamined.  But Dau, who succeeded A.L. Graebner in 1904, was not as true to the spiritual Luther as the fathers of the old (German) Missouri Synod.

Another important feature of this book is that it was translated into English by Prof. Matthias Loy of the old Ohio Synod.  This is the same Matthias Loy of the Ohio Synod, formerly in fellowship with the old Missouri Synod, who later became an opponent of the Missouri Synod... and the true Doctrine of Election of Grace.

[2018-02-19: The original German book that this was translated from Lutherbuch, oder Leben und Taten des theuren Mannes Gottes, Doctor Martin Luthers., available here (1892 23rd edition) in Google Books or here (1906 last edition) in HathiTrust.]

I have prepared a separate text file for ease of downloading and searching. As I did this, I was spiritually refreshed for the Life of Luther truly strengthens one's faith.
Here are download links (fixed links 2018-02-19):
2018-02-19: the former viewer of the DOCX file has been replaced by a fully HTML webpage based version of this book with a hyperlinked Table of Contents for ease of navigation:

This may be directly accessed  >> HERE  <<.

And here is a sampling of notes and quotations:
  • Saying mass ... the greatest sin of his life...denied the only perfect sacrifice, pg 39
  • "The just shall live by faith", pg 54
  • ...all who return from Rome bring a papistic conscience ... that is an epicurean faith, pg 61
  • for he pointed out the difference between the Law and the Gospel, pg 66
  • Thus the glorious light of the Gospel arose again through Martin Luther... , pg 67
  • Duke George– "...such a sermon, the tendency ... to render people presumptuous", pg 69
  • Luther – ".. To have a treasure and to acquire a treasure are two different things.", pg 90
  • "...Christian Church must undoubtedly have a head, but this head is Christ, not the pope", pg 96
  • "...what John Huss once was in Bohemia, that you, Martin, are in Saxony", pg 97
  • Luther ... ejected from the Romish Church, ... confessed the pure doctrine of God's word, pg 99
  • ...faithful witness of Jesus Christ must appear before the mighty of the earth, pg 104
  • I cannot and will not recant ... Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise; God help me! Amen, pg 110
  • the instrumentality of Luther the happy sound of the Gospel ... into every land. pg 116
  • Peasant's War: "injustice of the government does not justify ... rebellion.", pg 121
  • ... Zwinglians ... separated ... and organized a Church ...called the Reformed, pg 128
  • Against Zwingli – "but God's word ... more precious than all the world's friendship", pg 133
  • Even the emperor ... moved by this glorious Confession [at Augsburg], pg 136
  • Luther: "...our duty is simply to believe and to confess.", pg 147
  • Duke George of Brandenburg – "Rather than deny my God... have my head severed.", pg 135
  • "... the opposite party not in earnest... not of faith, justification", pg 153
  • Melanchthon ... caused Luther much sorrow in the last years of his life, pg 155
  • Luther holds fast against errors of Reformed - pg 158
  • Against Antinomians – pg 159
  • Diet at Regensburg (article of Justification), pg 163-164
  • ...earnest admonition to preach against usury, pg 165
  • ... refutation of the Koran, pg 168
In Part 2, I will highlight one particular point from this book... (Justification).
Since this will stretch out to 5 Parts, below is a hyperlinked index:
         Table of Contents
Part 1 – this Introduction – Pastor Hermann Fick's book on Luther's life.
Part 2 – Fick's summary of Luther on Regensburg (Justification); first 3 paragraphs Luther's letter
Part 3 – summary of the first "Four Articles" and last "Ten Articles" mentioned by Luther
Part 4 – balance of Luther's letter to princes on doctrine – pure Gospel preaching destroys error
Part 5 – application of Luther's counsel for today – preach pure Article of Justification

Monday, April 1, 2013

The birth certificate of today's LC-MS.

I have identified in several previous posts (e.g. "Graebner Synod" here) the primary statement that showed that the LC-MS was NOT the old (German) Missouri Synod, but rather had become the new (English) LC-MS. (Search my blog with the phrase "hiding a denial of objective justification").
Prof. Theo. Graebner

The quote is from Prof. Theodore Graebner in his article "Lutheran Union – A Plea for Sanity and Charity" in the December 1939 issue of the magazine American Lutheran, pages 7 - 9.

Now I have obtained a copy of that article and want to rub it in the nose of today's LC-MS.  Here is a copy of this 3-page article with the offending quote highlighted:
"Lutheran Union – A Plea for Sanity and Charity", by Theodore Graebner, American Lutheran, Dec. 1939.
A PDF scan file with perhaps a better view of this article is available with this download:
I caught my breath when I read the highlighted statement of Graebner:
One of the statements in the A.L.C. declaration has been criticized as hiding a denial of objective justification – when this doctrine is accepted by the American Lutheran Church (because it has accepted our Brief Statement) and when both Ohio and Iowa Synods for generations past have taught correctly this same doctrine.  As long ago as 1872 and as recently as 1938 the public doctrine in the areas here placed under suspicion has been the plain doctrine of Scripture as we teach it ourselves.
I could hardly believe that he would say such a thing.  How could Theodore Graebner, who worked so closely with Franz Pieper, so completely undermine the core teaching that Walther and Pieper had uncovered again from the Lutheran Reformation – the Gospel?  The reader can compare this statement with my recent 10-part series "Walther as Theologian – Justification".  And it was especially the 1872 essay written by Walther on Justification [SCR1872S.PDF] that clearly distinguished the Synodical Conference from the Ohio and Iowa synods.

When I found this article, I made a copy of it and wrote the following in the margin above the highlighted text:
Pay dirt!! ... black is still black and white is still white!... the Missouri Synod should have disciplined him immediately!
Why was I so vehement in my remarks?  It is because I had the definitive evidence in "black and white" – that the LC-MS had changed in its core teaching, in spite of its claims that it had not.  And though my writing might indicate that I was happy to find this quote, yet the reality was that I was horrified...  that the sweet message of the Gospel that Walther had so wonderfully brought to light, the "luminous rays of the Gospel" that he had gathered... were being snuffed out.  But at least I knew why today's LC-MS is so tongue-tied on the Doctrine of Justification.

God have mercy on us!  We are a stiff-necked and stubborn generation!  Lord – send teachers as Walther and Pieper to again teach as they did, from 1872 until the day they died...  The American Luther and The Twentieth Century Luther.

This article by Theodore Graebner is the charter, the Magna Carta, the constitution, the manifesto, the...

... birth certificate of today's heterodox LC-MS – December, 1939.