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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Our Only Stay – The Lutheran Doctrine of Justification (LDJ) 4 of 4

This post continues from Part 3 (on G. Stoeckhardt) about true Mental/Spiritual Health. (Table on Contents – Part 1)
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But even without going to Concordia Historical Institute, even without scouring old reports, old journals, scholarly research on what actually happened to Friedrich Wyneken or George Stoeckhardt after their "breakdowns"... even without these I know a priori with Job:
For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth – Job 19:25
and so I know that Job needed no more than his faith for his notorious trials.  Why do you suppose the Holy Spirit gave us the account of Job?  So that we would believe God at His Word.  I know the "patience of Job" (James 5:11) came from believing God at His Word, and so I know "the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy". (James 5:11)

So when you believe that God is already reconciled to the whole world even before our faith, you can then "Taste and see that the Lord is good" – Psalm 34:8  You can then (with Job) "know that your redeemer liveth".

Today's LC-MS thinks it has LDJ right and so it wants to go on from this to teaching about "Natural Law" and the "Third Use of the Law", and "Antinomianism" (here).  Could it be that it rather should be going back?...  back... Back To Luther? ... Back to Walther?... Back to Pieper?  Back to teaching and defending the true Gospel?  Even the error of "Antinomianism" cannot be corrected without the right Doctrine of Justification.  The Law cannot be spiritually taught unless the pure Gospel is preserved.  That is why Pastor Jeremiah Gumm of the WELS has such a difficult time with Walther's "extremely harsh, blunt Law preaching" which is nevertheless a spiritually pure use of the Law.  Why?  Because Pastor Gumm is struggling with the pure Gospel... a message that is far too good to be true for man's thinking. (1 Cor. 2:9)

==>> Prof. Charles P. Arand – maybe you should (politely) ask CPH to allow you to publish not only your foreword but also the full English translation (by Everette Meier) of Walther's Die lutherische Lehre von der Rechtfertigung, ... you know, pages 30 - 63 of Essays for the Church, Vol. 1, 1857 - 1879 ... you know, from the book of Walther's great essays that is no longer available.  And when you have done that, I recommend that you personally deliver a copy of it to Pastor Todd Peperkorn who has openly admitted to having trials and struggles.  You will tell Pastor Peperkorn that the Doxology counseling program with "insights of contemporary Christian psychology" for struggling pastors is nothing compared to the pure Lutheran Doctrine of Justification (LDJ).  President Wyneken recommends that you do this for he said that LDJ was his only stay.

Maybe some readers think I am joking... or that I should not speak of "living, individual authors" – but they are sadly mistaken, for I speak of matters of spiritual life and death.  Dear God! ... you are a witness to my tears!
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
–– 2 Corinthians 12:9

Stoeckhardt's strength-The Lutheran Doctrine of Justification (LDJ) 3 of 4

This post continues from Part 2 (on Friedrich Wyneken) about true Mental/Spiritual Health. (Table on Contents – Part 1)
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     Friedrich Wyneken is not the only noted old Missouri Synod man to have suffered trials.  Some have pointed (page 11) to a similar incident in the life of Prof. George Stoeckhardt of Concordia Seminary where it was reported that he too had a "nervous disorder".  Stoeckhardt was another old Missouri leader and teacher who taught the beautiful Lutheran Doctrine of Justification – LDJ (search "Stoe" here for reference to him).  But because of a so-called "nervous disorder" after the death of his wife, Stoeckhardt was committed to the "Missouri Baptist Sanitarium in St. Louis for treatment of this disorder". According to the report (pg 10-11):
Shortly before their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary Stoeckhardt’s wife Anna died. ... Stoeckhardt dealt with his loss by immersing himself into his work to the point that he began to suffer from nervous exhaustion. In the spring of 1900 he was forced to take a leave of absence from his teaching duties at Concordia because of a nervous disorder. In the fall of that year Stoeckhardt’s concerned friends and relatives had the venerable professor committed to the Missouri Baptist Sanitarium in St. Louis for treatment of this disorder. In October of 1900, after a number of weeks at this institution, the still delirious Stoeckhardt escaped one evening from the sanitarium and after a chase of several blocks was apprehended by members of the St. Louis police force and returned. One St. Louis newspaper which covered the event sympathetically concluded: “About a year ago Mrs. Stoeckhardt died and the professor grieved over her death so intensely and applied himself so studiously to his work that his present mental affection is not entirely unexpected.”  Stoeckhardt eventually recovered from his nervous disorder. This appears to be at least partially due to the care of a woman eighteen years his junior, Mary Kohne of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania whom Stoeckhardt married in the fall of 1901. The recovered Stoeckhardt now began the final portion of his academic career. He resumed his teaching at Concordia Seminary...
Now this account presents quite a jolt to Christians in general.  Here was a great teacher of the old (German) Missouri Synod, a teacher who learned well from Walther because he left his native Germany and joined Walther in teaching a Universal (or General) Justification, a pure Gospel message.  But here it is reported that he
  • had a "nervous disorder" 
  • was "committed to the Missouri Baptist Sanitarium in St. Louis"
  • "escaped one evening from the sanitarium and after a chase of several blocks was apprehended by members of the St. Louis police force and returned"
  • "appears" to have recovered "due to the care of a woman" whom he subsequently married
Is one now to think that the LDJ, that is The Lutheran Doctrine of Justification (i.e. the Gospel), is not sufficient for our deepest needs?, when we cry out in deepest distress, in anguish of soul, when the world says "You need to see a psychiatrist/psychologist/therapist" or that "You need to check into a mental hospital"?  What is a Christian to think?

I am left with the following information:
  1. Stoeckhardt recovered and resumed teaching at Concordia Seminary
  2. Prof. Franz Pieper was his colleague before and after his recovery
  3. Pieper made extensive use of Stoeckhardt's works in his Christian Dogmatics books (Vol IV, pg 992)
Could it be that the above account of Stoeckhardt's "nervous disorder" is missing some details on the cause of Stoeckhardt's recovery?  I believe so.  I believe that Franz Pieper was not a disinterested party in Stoeckhardt's distress, but rather looked to find every opportunity to get the pure message of God's grace to Stoeckhardt.  Oh, the comfort of the younger woman (Mary Kohne) who also became his second wife should not be discounted.  Who would deny the joys and comfort from a marriage?
Dr. George Stoeckhardt

But the ultimate comfort that restored Stoeckhardt was not this, but rather he came back to the pure Lutheran Doctrine of Justification that he learned from Walther, he came back through the comforting communications with his dear colleagues, especially Franz Pieper who was an even greater teacher of the pure Gospel than he was.  I believe this to be so.  And because of this I will continue to hold up Prof. George Stoeckhardt, a wonderful teacher of the Lutheran Doctrine of Justification, before and after his "nervous disorder".  Stoeckhardt is noted by many today for his "exegesis" of Holy Scripture with his many Bible commentaries.  But they should realize his real strength was ultimately from LDJ.
(Picture updated July 9, 2013)

[2017-07-15: see also Stoeckhardt's 1888 Lehre und Wehre essay "General Justification" translated by Otto F. Stahlke and published in 1978 CTQ here.]

In the last Part 4, I draw this subject of "Mental Health" and LDJ to a close, the Christian's only hope.

Wyneken's strength – The Lutheran Doctrine of Justification (LDJ) 2 of 4

(Corrected text July 8, 2013)
This post continues from Part 1 (Table on Contents also in Part 1) which highlighted the first major work of Walther uncovering again the pure Gospel that Luther had restored – The Lutheran Doctrine of Justification.

And so I want to again highlight the testimony of Friedrich Wyneken, the Missouri Synod founder/father who, far from following Loehe's errors in doctrine, rather found his strength for his trials and struggles (Anfechtungen) in the Lutheran Doctrine of Justification that C.F.W. Walther again brought to our modern world – the heart of the Reformation.  I want to repeat again (from Matthew Harrison's book At Home in the House Of My Fathers, pg 410-411) what Wyneken said to the 1860 Missouri Synod:

I especially regard the past year [1859] as an outstanding and richly blessed year for this reason: because the article of justification was quite properly brought into the arena of our synodical circles.

This exceedingly important, foremost article of all the Christian doctrines, which also above all else serves to clarify the correct understanding of the entire Holy Scriptures, alone shows the way to the indescribable treasure and the true knowledge of Christ. Also, it alone opens the door to the entire Bible. Without this article, also no conscience can have a true, solid, certain comfort, or know the riches of Christ’s grace [Book of Concord, Apology IV 2–3, German].

And what was it that Friedrich Wyneken personally wrote in a letter in 1863 to Walther, the spiritual father of the old (German) Missouri Synod (Harrison, page 425):
Friedrich Wyneken





"I have found in this doctrine [justification] 
my only stay in the midst of my difficulties."


And so the dear Wyneken, through his trials and struggles, brings testimony against those who would lift up Wilhelm Loehe's teaching in today's LC-MS.  It wasn't Loehe's teaching that brought Wyneken ultimate comfort, it was Walther, The American Luther.

I do not put Wyneken in my masthead and I think he would not want me to, even though he was one of the early founders of the old (German) Missouri Synod.  Why?  Because he saw that there was a greater teacher who pointed him to the real comfort – Christ, the Saviour of the world who paid the full price for all our sins.  It was C.F.W Walther — who was only following Martin Luther and his advice to the Diet of Regensburg of 1541.
     Matthew Harrison reports (on page 423) that Wyneken had a subsequent "complete breakdown" in 1866, 3 years after the above letter to Walther.  Could it be that Harrison and Peperkorn say they have trumped me here?  Could they be thinking that I, BackToLuther, am wrong to say that the Lutheran Doctrine of Justification (LDJ) is enough for one troubled with "depression"?  Could they be thinking: 
"See there, you old 'stuck-in-the-mud' BackToLuther – history proves you wrong because Wyneken needed more that this "LDJ" doctrine, he needed what modern man has developed for "depression"... he needed the tools of modern psychology and psychiatry.  See, we can even judge Martin Luther with these new tools of modern man."
Am I wrong in my suspicion, Matthew Harrison and Todd Peperkorn?  Am I wrong to suspect that you (and most of today's world) think the ultimate source of comfort is not from the LDJ?

     But Wyneken is my role model, no matter what happened to him in 1866 when he had his so-called "complete breakdown".  I suspect Concordia Historical Institute could tell us the outcome of Wyneken's "complete breakdown".  Wyneken is my role model, not as some (e.g. Harrison, Peperkorn) would point to his trials and struggles, his "depression", his "complete breakdown". but one who found his only stay against his trials in
The Lutheran Doctrine of Justification.
The next post Part 3 in this series is about another noted figure from the old Missouri Synod (George Stoeckhardt): Stoeckhardt's strength – The Lutheran Doctrine of Justification.

Mental Health – The Lutheran Doctrine of Justification (LDJ) 1 of 4

[2016-09-18: Updated w/ link to new Google Books copy]
In a recent blog, I brought out the testimony of President Friedrich Wyneken of the old (German) Missouri Synod (1860) on Walther's teaching of the Lutheran Doctrine of Justification for his life and his Synod.  Wyneken specifically mentions Walther's 1859 essay to the Western District as the heart of the Missouri Synod.  I have previously published references to this document here, here, and here.... also a download for a scanned copy of the original 1859 publication in the convention proceedings was given here (PDF-5MB).

But Franz Pieper's essays on C.F.W. Walther as Theologian (and the English translations of J.T. Mueller and Wallace McLaughlin) referenced pages from a subsequent special re-publication of Walther's essay in 1880 by the Lutherische Concordia-Verlag (the old German CPH) –

(The Lutheran Doctrine of Justification—LDJ)
(download PDF file => here, 5MB; Google Books here [3/27/2014])

It was referred to as "LDJ" in Mueller's translation (ConcordiaTheology.org; search my blog for "LDJ").  Because This "LDJ" book is now available on Google Books as of 2013 (also here). I recently obtained a copy so it could be available via the above download link.  I have added it to my listing of Walther's books even though he is not officially listed as the author.

Prof. Charles P. Arand of Concordia Seminary-St. Louis (according to August Suelflow) wrote a foreword to the English translation of Walther's essay in the CPH book Essays for the Church, Volume 1 – 1857-1879., pgs 30-63.  On page 30, he wrote in part:
    The Lutheran Church has traditionally referred to the article of justification as the article by which the church stands and/or falls. In this way it has highlighted the importance and centrality of justification for Christian faith and life. Not only are all articles of faith organically connected in some way to justification, so that a misunderstanding in one article of faith leads to a distortion of the article of justification, but the doctrine of justification itself lies at the very heart and core of every other article of faith. For Walther, this meant that if you err in any article of faith, you must first err in justification. Conversely, if you err in the article of justification, it will lead to error in those articles that treat of the Incarnation, the humanity of Christ, the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, to mention a few. On account of its centrality, Walther further contends, no other doctrine has created such opposition from the forces of Satan as this article does. In brief, this is the sum and substance of Walther’s extended essay “That the Evangelical Lutheran Church Alone Has Been Entrusted with the Pure Doctrine of Justification.”
(I wonder, Prof. Arand, are you maybe a little upset, like I am, that these large books of English translations of Walther's essays with your forewords are no longer available from CPH ... even during the year of celebration for Walther?  What do you think?)

And what did C.F.W. Walther himself say in this LDJ essay?  Well I am barred by CPH from reproducing their entire copyrighted English translation.  But I will bring a few quotes (CPH pages 62-63) from Walther's concluding remarks:
     So far as the art of making the doctrine of justification the focus of all our pastoral work is concerned, it will no doubt want to claim us as its students forever. There are many pastors who indeed know how to preach marvelously about justification, but the rest of their pastoral work is a legalistic procedure. This doctrine should so dominate a pastor’s whole mind-set that it not only makes him gentle toward every poor sinner and discourages him from using any other means to hearten him, but also gives him the weapons to drive out Satan from everyone he meets, as was the case with Luther, since all our hope for accomplishing anything stems from this doctrine. If we do not succeed in this, then it is our fault if the work of renewal does not go forward in our congregations....
    The so-called “awakened” Christians who come into our congregations are usually not satisfied when we preach the Gospel so sweetly and comfortingly to poor sinners. But that should not lead us astray. If they think that we thereby make people lazy and slow to good works, it is certainly because they have not yet fully realized their own sinful wretchedness, for otherwise they would know that the assurance of the forgiveness of all sins, and it alone, makes the love of Christ burn brightly in us and [makes it] impossible for us to go on living in the works of the flesh and without [doing] truly good works.
Want to be mentally and spiritually healthy?  Listen to Walther, who said:
Therefore whoever wants to learn how to preach properly, let him preach Luther, on whom God bestowed higher gifts than on anyone since the prophets and apostles...
This subject is turning into something larger and so I will continue it in Part 2: Wyneken's strength – The Lutheran Doctrine of Justification (LDJ).
Part 1 - Walther's essay, a comfort for our distress, our "mental health"
Part 2 - Friedrich Wyneken - his strength through trials and struggles
Part 3 - Prof. G. Stoeckhardt and his "nervous disorder"
Part 4 - Our Rock, our Redeemer (Job):  LDJ – Our Stay

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

I'm sorry... but don't you believe? (The Lutheran Difference), Part 2

This post continues from Part 1, a short multi-part series providing comments concerning prominent writers and theologians for Concordia Publishing House and the LC-MS.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I'm sorry you feel constrained by non-Lutheran scholarly sources to use life-like illustrations in your book The Story Bible - 99 Stories of God's Love... as you said in the Preface, page 6:
Appearance matters greatly to children.  Researchers have found that children judge whether persons and events in visuals are real by how they appear (Maureen Crago, Prelude to Literacy [Southern Illinois University, 1983], 167; Inez Ramsey, "An Investigation of Children's Verbal Responses to Selected Art Styles," Journal of Education Research [1989]: 83: 47,51).  If a person or event appears unreal in a picture—such as a cartoon—children are likely to conclude that the person or event is unreal.
Maybe it would have been OK to use cartoonish illustrations in your book if these scholarly researchers had not made their discovery?  —  Could it be your own synod is guilty of the cartoonish notions of the Bible? – Is evolution really a myth?  Is the Earth really the primary planet in the Universe?  Is it really true that only the Earth contains life forms?  Is it really true that the Higgs boson, the so-called "God particle", gives us no real idea of God when compared to God's Word, the Bible?  Hmmm... how can parents teach their children God's Word when there is no serious defense in your publishings against these prominent anti-biblical teachings in our modern society?... when your synod allows false teachers of evolution to run rampant within your synod?  Are you still trying to figure out how to approach these "ticklish" matters as you stare up into the sky in the picture of you on The Wittenberg Trail?
––> Don't you believe that the Bible is true in all its teachings?


I'm sorry you feel constrained to mention that you "have preached from [C.F.W.] Walther’s pulpit, have used the same chalice that he did".  I'm sorry that you feel you must call C.F.W. Walther by the familiar name "Ferdinand", a name rarely used, if ever, in almost all publishings on him.  Are you not sure that you "have offered the same saving Gospel that he did", that you must call him by a familiar name?  Since you rarely, if ever, use the terms "Objective Justification" and "Universal Justification" in your writings, ...
––> don't you believe what Walther taught on these?


I'm sorry you "don't understand falling from faith", especially the Lutheran faith of Steve Jobs in your blog on Steve Jobs' death...  You  apparently admitted this in your blog on Jobs' life which indicated that he fell away from his early LC-MS Lutheran faith ("dabbled in Buddhism and was a vegetarian").  I fell away too.  Could it be that Jobs, like me, fell away in part because of uncertainty on the true Doctrine of Justification as taught in the LC-MS?  Could it be that perhaps all those famous people in the "Lutheran Song" that you mention also became "nominal Christians" because they too had not heard what the true Gospel actually is, what the proper distinction between Law and Gospel is, in their "Lutheran" church... Could it be that this uncertainty in our modern world is largely due to the fall of the LC-MS on this very doctrine... and the resultant unionism?


I'm sorry you (the "Oxford don") felt compelled to leave teaching at a Lutheran university to teach at a non-Lutheran one (one started by Free Will Baptists), ostensibly a "liberal arts" college.  I'm sorry you felt compelled to get your PhD degree from Oxford University after writing The Lutheran Difference: Law and Gospel... Did Oxford assist you in making the proper distinction between Law and Gospel?  Did Oxford teach you that there is a justification before faith as C.F.W. Walther taught? ... an Objective Justification, a Universal Justification?   Did Oxford teach you that there is no Church, no Ministry, no "Church History", no proper teaching on "The Holy Spirit" or "Sanctification" without the right Doctrine of Justification?  Did Oxford teach you that only the Lutheran Church gives all glory to God in its teaching – irrefutable proof that it alone is the true visible church of God on earth?  Does Hillsdale College allow you to teach this?  No?  Then how is it that you alone are the author of the most chapters (3) in The Lutheran Difference?  How is it that you can speak of the Lutheran difference?  I'm sorry, but ...
––> Don't you believe there is a difference?


I'm sorry you.....  Oh, I've already covered you in an earlier blog. (I may add to this commentary at a later date)

- - - - - - - - - - - - -
I could go on and on about being sorry for today's new breed of LC-MS writers, writers for "today's" Lutherans... those writers who purport to speak about "The Lutheran Difference" but leave a true Lutheran in confusion and... doubt?  There are other writers published by today's CPH that I could speak about.  Concordia Publishing House casts about the whole world to find writers by offering fame and fortune... but this is tiring for my faith.  ... Oh, there is one more writer I must comment on...

Dr. Lawrence Rast Jr. – I'm sorry... but... oh, this will be longer for I have a lot to be sorry about for you and so it will take a separate later blog post of its own.
- - - - - - - - - - - - -

Should not all these writers and theologians, this "new breed", be approaching their subject with the same heart as the child's father who cried out to our Lord with tears in Mark 9:24 –
Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
 Isn't the testimony of this father of the child the same as the Psalmist when he says about his faith:
Psalms 51:11 – Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
Let no one think that I, BackToLuther, consider these comments as just riding on my "hobby horse", rather it is a matter of spiritual life and death.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

I'm sorry... but don't you believe? (The Lutheran Difference), Part 1

This post begins a short multi-part series providing comments concerning prominent writers and theologians for Concordia Publishing House and the LC-MS.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
I'm sorry that you went through a suicidal time in your life... so did I.  I remember you... you were the one (in the 1990s) who gave me some details on the history of the OLC and other events in the downfall of the LC-MS.  Could it be your synod caused you to doubt that God is already reconciled to youThat is what Walther taught as the basis for all his teachings, including "Church and Ministry".  Could it be there were valid reasons for those of the Orthodox Lutheran Conference (OLC) to separate themselves from your LC-MS?  Could it be that Walther's counsel to President Friedrich Wyneken (your role model, page 1) was Walther's wonderful teaching on the Doctrine of Justification... and that this teaching was the real basis of Wyneken's strength through his trials and struggles [Anfechtungen]? ... And so could it be that neither Wyneken or you or I had any reason to doubt God's grace, especially since God gave us the receipt of His pardon on Easter morning?  ––  I can tell you it was a dark road indeed for me, not so much when I was feeling suicidal, but rather before that, when I figured God couldn't smile on me anymore, for I had left Him long before this.  But God did not forget me and showed me by Walther's teaching that He should, instead of being tucked away in my back pocket in the training of my youth, be my Savior from sin, death and the power of the Devil.  Only then did my thoughts of suicide, my schizophrenia, my paranoia, my feelings of "depression" go away.  But then I no longer needed the medicines (lithium?), the group therapies, the spiritually empty clinical psychologists and psychiatrists.  They were just empty husks and never helped me spiritually... they rather showed me how empty the world's counsel is.  And so telling anyone that I was suicidal won't help anyone spiritually, except that it was only the pure Gospel that brought me back, by the Word of His Grace – the Lutheran Doctrine of Justification.  Wyneken (your role model) is my witness to the truth of this – read his letter to Walther in Harrison's book At Home in the House of My Fathers, page 425:
I have found in this doctrine [of Justification] my only stay in the midst of my difficulties.
Also on pages 410-411 is recorded the following from President Wyneken to the old (German) Missouri Synod in 1860 as he gloried in the heart of the Lutheran Confessions:

I especially regard the past year as an outstanding and richly blessed year for this reason: because the article of justification was quite properly brought into the arena of our synodical circles.

This exceedingly important, foremost article of all the Christian doctrines, which also above all else serves to clarify the correct understanding of the entire Holy Scriptures, alone shows the way to the indescribable treasure and the true knowledge of Christ. Also, it alone opens the door to the entire Bible. Without this article, also no conscience can have a true, solid, certain comfort, or know the riches of Christ’s grace [Book of Concord, Apology IV 2–3, German].

––> Don't you, Todd Peperkornbelieve that because Christ died for the sins of the whole world, that He did it all on the cross, that God is reconciled to the whole world even before our faith, ... that God is reconciled to you also?

The next post Part 2 continues my commentary especially on those writers for the book The Lutheran Difference.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Walther as Theologian – Part 18:Election, Assurance of Faith

Continued from Part 17.  Table of Contents will be in Part 1 when all installments are finished.

This is the concluding installment of Franz Pieper's series "C.F.W. Walther als Theolog".

Highlighting and text in green are my additions.  Underlining is in original.
Hyperlinks within this document should be opened in a new tab (or window).


The world seems to have borrowed the Christian teaching on the Assurance of Faith with its "power of positive thinking".  Even though the world at large does not believe the Gospel, yet it wants to borrow the notion that a person should "think positive" to be successful... think positive and your dreams will come true...   But in spiritual matters, God does not tell us to "think positive" about Him but rather believe Him at His Word – "For God so loved the world..." (John 3:16) and "that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them" (2 Cor. 5:19), etc.

What are today's Lutherans to do when reputed LC-MS Lutheran theologians like Robert Kolb, Charles P. ArandEugene Klug (†2003), David P. Scaer, etc. utilize Reformed book publishers like BakerEerdmans, etc?  Do these Lutheran theologians not know that Reformed publishers teach falsely on the Doctrine of Election, and also on the Doctrine of Justification?  ... that they cause Christians to lose their Assurance of Faith?...  Or are these Lutheran theologians not serious about Christian doctrine?  How is it that Prof. David P. Scaer can say
The doctrine of election is a divisive doctrine among conservative evangelical Christians. ... more than any other doctrine [it] is responsible for the manifold divisions in Lutheranism in America that last to this day.  This splintered division remains, though the causes for it have changed.
Does Prof. Scaer think the Doctrine of Election is taught correctly in the ELCA?  Does he think it is noteworthy that "Reformed Protestants", who all grievously err on this doctrine, are divided over it?   Could it be that Scaer teaches like Erasmus when Luther says of him:
“It is true that he uses refined words, like ‘the dear, holy Christ,’ ‘the saving Word’, ‘the holy sacraments’, but in reality he considers them to be very cold matters.
… Carefully and intentionally he says everything in a tone of doubthis words are ambiguous and he can interpret them as is expedient to him.
… Erasmus of Rotterdam looks upon the Christian religion and doctrine as if they were a comedy or a tragedy, in which all the events described therein never actually happened or really took place, but were fabricated with the sole purpose of instructing the people in a good external conduct and life and preparing them for worthy obedience and discipline.” (WA,TR 2, 2420; TR 1, 699, 797; TR 2, 2170)
Dear God!  What are Lutherans today to do when faced with these modern Lutherans who speak like Erasmus?
==>> Turn to C.F.W. Walther, where the Doctrine of Election of Grace is not a cold matter or spoken of with a tone of doubt or with ambiguous words or (as he says) with "theological hairsplitting".  Walther brings us instead the Assurance of Faith!

C.F.W. Walther, The American Luther!  Amen!

Walther as Theologian – Part 17:Election–Wide or Narrow

Continued from Part 16.  Table of Contents will be in Part 1 when all installments are finished.
As Walther is quoted in this last installment, the Doctrine of Election is
...one of the most mysterious doctrines of His Word
Walther's German term for this doctrine is
Gnaden (grace) – wahl (election) ==>> Election of Grace
If I were to learn nothing else about this doctrine, I will hold to this term – the true doctrine of Election is that it is an Election of Grace!
Highlighting and text in green are my additions.  Underlining is in original.
Hyperlinks within this document should be opened in a new tab (or window).

(Further comments may be added at a later time.)

The next post is Part 18 – Election, Assurance of Faith.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Walther as Theologian – Part 16:Election and Faith

(This post has added comments from July 15 .)
Continued from Part 15.  Table of Contents will be in Part 1 when all installments are finished.
     The opponents of the old (German) Missouri Synod attempted to draw attention away from their own errors by trying to label Missouri's doctrine as limiting God's grace in the Doctrine of Election.  They considered that they were clever in calling Missouri's teaching "Calvinistic".  Walther takes this opportunity to give the Church a tour of the proper teaching through the ages and how the teaching of Election and Faith began to be confused after the days of Martin Chemnitz and his Formula of Concord.  Some might consider this installment a little too involved for the average layman.  But Walther makes it perfectly clear that all the opponents were in reality limiting God's grace, and so we layman should pay attention so that no one takes away our salvation in Christ Jesus and causes us to doubt and despair.
     One name that Walther calls out is that of Aegidius Hunnius, a Lutheran theologian who began to introduce the error of "intuitu fidei" or "in view of faith".  Even the Wikipedia article on Hunnius is in error by saying
...he established the orthodox Lutheran doctrine of predestination ... considering faith as the instrumental cause of election.
Walther shows that the teaching of Hunnius is in error and that it was not taught by Luther or other true teachers of the Church.  In fact, the Formula of Concord expressly teaches that the election of grace is the cause of our faith.  To the followers of the teaching of Aegidius Hunnius, Pastors Paul Rydecki and James Heiser, Hunnius could not fully refute the error of Samuel Huber (see Part 15).  Walther refutes them both where they strayed from Christian teaching.  But see also page 271 of The Proper Distinction of Law and Gospel, (or search "Hunnius" here) where Walther states:
If John Gerhard and Egidius Hunnius were to rise from the dead and see that our adversaries in the present controversy on predestination appeal to them as their authorities, they would be amazed; for it can be plainly shown that they have rejected and abominated the doctrine of our adversaries.
Rt. Rev. James D. Heiser, (M.Div., S.T.M., Bishop of the ELDoNA) is an imposter when he calls his publishings "Repristination Press" for he would rather "repristinate" the errors introduced by "Lutheran orthodoxy" since the days of Luther and Chemnitz.  Rather it is C.F.W. Walther who is the proper "repristination theologian" for he praises where "Lutheran orthodoxy" or "Lutheran scholastics" taught rightly and corrects them where they began to attribute something in man for his salvation and so would limit God's grace.  Let no one think this is a small matter:
Election of Grace is particular!

God's grace is universal!
Highlighting and text in green are my additions.  Underlining is in original.
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(Further comments may be added at a later time.)

The next post is Part 17 – Election, Wide or Narrow

Monday, June 17, 2013

Walther as Theologian – Part 15:Election of Grace

Continued from Part 14.  Table of Contents will be in Part 1 when all installments are finished.
The Doctrine of Election can be a minefield for a Christian.  Pieper especially highlighted Walther's own comment on this:
Walther calls the road which leads between the errors regarding the doctrine of election “narrow indeed”.
So what is a Christian to do when confronted with a doctrine of the Bible that has caused so many to stumble or fall in their faith, especially Calvinists and modern theology in general?  Turn to the teachers of the Church who taught the pure Gospel, the right Doctrine of Justification: Luther, Walther, and Pieper (also Martin Chemnitz).  Below you will get the teaching that avoids the looming errors and, not only that, your faith will be strengthened by the Doctrine of Election of Grace.  Avoid all the smart alecks who think they can tackle this doctrine on their own – especially most of those writers in today's LC-MS.
Highlighting and text in green are my additions.  Underlining is in original.
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If the reader has not already done so, please purchase the recent publication The Formula of Concord – Core and Highlights; The Doctrine of Election in Questions and Answers from Lutheran News, Inc. (2012).  (See my original post of August, 2012)  The second portion, pages 121 – 159, especially brings out Walther's teaching in a very easy to follow question–answer format.
(Further quotes and comments may be added at a later date).

The next post is Part 16Election and Faith.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Walther as Theologian – Part 14:Conversion

Continued from Part 13.  Table of Contents will be in Part 1 when all installments are finished.

I must apologize on this installment of Prof. McLaughlin's translation because I am missing the last page 154 of the pages 148-154.  To fill in the missing portion, I have attempted a rough translation, mostly by using Google Translate.  But Google Translate (with a little help) does a creditable job of bringing the meaning of the original German text of Pieper and Walther.
Highlighting is my own.  Underlining is in original.
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(Quotes and comments may be added at a later date).

The next post is Part 15 – Election of Grace.

Walther as Theologian – Part 13:Conversion and Election I & II

Continued from Part 12.  Table of Contents will be in Part 1 when all installments are finished.

Because Walther and Pieper quote from theologians of past centuries, it can be a bit difficult to follow these essays in certain places.  But God has provided the resources of today's Internet to put much of the resource material at our fingertips.  The added hyperlinks will give direct or indirect access to most of the German theologians and Latin terms here mentioned.
Highlighting is my own.  Underlining is in original.
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     A second installment below is being combined with the above as Pieper continued on the subject of "Conversion and Election".  It hammers home the "insoluble mystery" of the question that comes up in everyone's mind: "Why one and not another?".  With our modern mind, this unsolvable mystery does not sit well for we think that we are masters of knowledge and can figure out every mystery.  But it is not so with this mystery.
     This second installment begins the explanation of and defense against the teaching of intuitu fidei or "in view of faith" – the center of the great controversy in American Lutheranism.  And it was C.F.W. Walther who personally rescued the Church from this pernicious, perennial error.


    Prof. Franz Pieper carried Walther's defense against the error of intuitu fidei until the day he died in 1931.  Franz Pieper could ferret out all opponents who had "a certain degree of outward conformity to the Lutheran way of speaking" but who did not hold to the true Lutheran teaching of an insoluble mystery.  There are a lot of those today among our modern theologians.  Does anyone think that this error has been settled in American Lutheranism today?  Think again for today's ELCA teaches the same as their ancestors from the old Ohio Synod and Iowa Synod. Then learn from the master theologians Walther and Pieper on the true Christian teaching.  And let no one say this is a minor matter – it is a matter is spiritual life and death.
(Further quotes and comments may be added at a later time)

The next post is Part 14Conversion.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Walther as Theologian – Part 12:Justification-Faith

Continued from Part 11.  Table of Contents will be in Part 1 when all installments are finished.

On the "Jeopardy" television quiz game show of a few nights ago, there was a category on the "Reformation".  One of the questions was on what the Reformation taught: "Not works but ______" ==>> "Faith".  So it seems the whole world knows this.  But does the whole world, including Alex Trebek, believe the Gospel?  Hmmm... that is another matter, a weighty matter that Walther (and Pieper) take on directly.  It is a matter of spiritual life and death.

And how does Walther speak of Mohammed, Mormons, and Moses?  It has to do with what we believe... faith.  We can believe as Lucretius who is thought of as introducing our modern world by his "On the Nature of Things" that there are no gods and in "atomism"... or you can believe that there is a God who
so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. – John 3:16
Indeed, there are no better writers of true faith today, in our "modern" world, than... C.F.W. Walther and Franz Pieper.
Highlighting is my own.  Underlining is in original.
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Walther spoke as Luther on the Doctrine of Faith.  All those Christian theologians/scholars who pretend to be friends of the teaching of Faith but are either disparaging or doubting or not defending Universal, Objective Justification (UOJ), are in reality fighting against Faith.  When my faith was being put through a severe trial by Larry Darby, I had to retreat to Luther, Walther, and Pieper to find my real home.  The dear Walther was there to literally pound the Kingdom of Heaven in to my lap.

But these 3 teachers of the Church were only bringing God's heart to us who in reality pleads that we believe His Word, the Word of His Grace:
2 Corinthians 5:18-20 – ...God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.  Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.  
Through the trials of faith that Larry Darby (and today's LC-MS) brought me, God gave me a faith that I, BackToLuther, do not deserve.  This faith had to blurt out in a letter to Professor Sheldon Twenge of the LCR, and repeat to Pastor Rolf Preus, the following confession:
God did NOT say like Ripley:  “Believe or NOT”!  NO!  He said:  Believe it!  I earnestly desire your salvation!  I sent my beloved Son to take your punishment!  I gave you the receipt by raising Him from the dead!  I am reconciled!  BE YE RECONCILED TO ME!  BELIEVE IT!
God wants us to live and not die!  –
"... the just shall live by faith."  Romans 1:17
It is a matter of spiritual life and death.  Dear God!  I do believe, help thou mine unbelief! (Mark 9:24)

The next post is Part 13 – "Conversion & Election".

Walther as Theologian – Part 11:Justification- Means of Grace

Continued from Part 10.  Table of Contents will be in Part 1 when all installments are finished.

A somewhat surprising aspect of this treatise on the "Means of Grace", a common phrase among Lutherans, is Walther's strong defense of Objective Justification... and its distinction from Subjective Justification.  You see there are no Christian doctrines that have their basis apart from the Doctrine of Justification.  Lutherans who attempt to defend the teaching on the "Means of Grace" against the Reformed (and erring "Lutherans") apart from Justification are losing their spiritual heritage of the Reformation.

Even for me, reviewing these essays causes my Christian faith to leap for joy...  at what God has already done for us... and gives us free gratis.  I am so happy to have these online now so that I can review them regularly and be grounded in pure Christian teaching.  May the rest of the world, a world already redeemed by Christ, join me and believe the Word.

Highlighting is my own.  Underlining is in original.
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The next post is Part 12 – "Justification–Faith".

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Walther as Theologian – Part 10: Justification (Heart of the Reformation & Synodical Conference)

Continued from Part 9.  Table of Contents will be in Part 1 when all installments are finished.
These 2 installments were originally posted earlier this year on my blog with copious comments interspersed.  And so I refer to those posts for my comments, except these...
  1. To all the LC-MS writers today at Concordia Publishing House, Concordia Historical Institute, President Harrison, etc who write about the "Saxon immigrants" of the Old Missouri —  How is it that you pass over or miss the subject of this installment, Walther's Doctrine of Justification?
  2. To all the various Lutheran synods who say their primary difference from other Lutheran synods is their Doctrine of Church and Ministry, I say with Pieper:
"But ... we must above all else discuss his [Walther's] position on the doctrine of justification."
And so to that end, to assist all Lutherans in the whole world, I present this installment, that all Lutherans in the whole world may get back to the heart of the Reformation... and get that right first!

Highlighting is my own.  Underlining is in original.
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One quote from the above installment:
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.
     I am combining in this post with the next installment, which begins Pieper's 3-part sub-section on the fundamental aspects of a true Doctrine of Justification: (1) Universality, (2) Means of Grace, and (3) Faith.  I call this installment "Justification–Universal".
     Many of Pieper's references are quotes from synodical essays that are not available yet on Google Books.  So my hyperlinks for these (for now) are links to scanned images of the pages or groups of pages mentioned... except one – see below.


Because of the importance of one particular reference, I am including the entire German text of the First Report of the Synodical Conference 1872 – all 49 pages.  This will make it easier to cross-check the references in the above installments to the original text.  Original pagination has been preserved so the page numbers that Pieper refers to correspond to this text presentation.
First Report of the Synodical Conference 1872
Written by C.F.W. Walther.


If there any Lutheran groups who have separated themselves from the original members of the Synodical Conference and who still primarily and publicly proclaim and defend the true Doctrine of Justification (i.e. UOJ), I am interested to know more about them.

The next post Part 11 is the 2nd sub-heading of "Justification" in Pieper's arrangement: Justification–Means of Grace. (Part 12 will be the third and last: "Justification–Faith".)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Walther as Theologian – Part 9:Church and State

Continued from Part 8.  Table of Contents will be in Part 1.

In America, "the land of the sects" as Pieper call it, there is much confusion on the Christian teaching on this subject.  We see today much talk of how the Church should serve the State as with "faith based initiatives", etc.  But Christians need to know what the Bible actually teaches.  And the installment below serves this purpose perfectly.  How I love to sit at the feet of Walther... and Pieper.  I have highlighted a few portions of these installments as I read these again... pure Christian teaching!

Highlighting is my own.  Underlining is in original.
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Footnote # 1 gives what Pieper calls a "weighty utterance" of Walther.  The following striking statement is part of it:
When the government, for instance, licenses sinful amusements, divorces on invalid grounds, the conducting of saloons, a Christian can make no use of this allowance.  The government must allow such things because of the ‘hardness of heart’ of its subjects in order to prevent rebellion, murder, and manslaughter.
I wanted to think that it was wrong where state governments are sanctioning gambling operations.  But I can see now that the "hardness of our hearts" is so strong that even the allowance of gambling can prevent rebellion — people would probably riot if the allowance of gambling was taken away now.  One wonders that the allowance of homosexual "marriages" will be next throughout our land.  Abortions, unrestricted "morning-after pills", Lord, have mercy on us!  Ah, but the world thinks as the Pharisees by rationalizing that God commanded it to be so...

America, do you realize that God bestowed a great blessing through you that the Lutheran Church should be completely independent of the State?

The next Part 10 begins Pieper's summation of Walther's Doctrine of Justification.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Walther as Theologian – Part 8:Church Government

Continued from Part 7.  Table of Contents in Part 1.

Now we come to Pieper's portion on Walther's teaching on the Church Government.  Dear God!... this is wonderful teaching... from The American Luther!  How strengthening this reading is for my Christian faith!

TO:  Concordia Publishing House
I have the best publication, not you, that was ever written about C.F.W. Walther.  It was written by his successor, Prof. Franz Pieper, the Twentieth Century Luther, in the pages of Lehre und Wehre!  All readers should read this writing first about C.F.W. Walther, not any of your LC-MS writers/editors since the day Pieper died...
(I will comment later on today's CPH editors who glibly think they know Walther... and Lutheranism.)
Highlighting is my own.  Underlining is in original.
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The reader will note in the last paragraph above that the "Editor", possibly Prof. McLaughlin, forcefully distinguished the "Old Missouri" from today's LC-MS saying:
...she has definitely and violently departed as of this date. [~1949 – 1954]
Some would want to call me a "separatist" (or worse) because I am not a member of any congregation, let alone a synod.  I am not proud of this fact, rather I seek that "Old Missouri Synod" from above, as Walther describes it:
"our communion will be a comfortable refuge"
... a refuge in God's Word, the Word of His Grace.

The next post is Part 9 – Church and State.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Walther as Theologian – Part 7:The Ministry–I & II

Continued from Part 6.  Table of Contents in Part 1.

Now we come to Pieper's portion on Walther's teaching on the Public Ministry, or the "pastoral office".

Highlighting is my own.  Underlining is in original.
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At this point, Prof. McLaughlin broke this article in Lehre und Wehre into a separate month issue of the Orthodox Lutheran Theologian.  So below is what I either call "Part 10" of the OLT or Part 7b of the LuW series.  I have given it the title "The Ministry II".



There is much to learn from Walther on not only the Ministry, but also the layman's role in the Church.  I have been refreshed as I read each portion.  One particular point in this installment refutes the error of Pastor Wilhelm Loehe, a favorite teacher for many in today's LC-MS, especially Prof. John T. Pless.  There are other writers today who point out the errors of today's LC-MS in regards to its practice of denying laymen the right to judge and speak on matters of doctrine.  The pages of the newspaper Christian News often report of them (search "pro-Loehe" on his site).  And Pastor Jack Cascione is an ardent writer on this topic and seems to have a good understanding of Walther's teaching, largely because he defends Universal, Objective Justification.

The next post will be Part 8 – Church Government.