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).
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) –
It was referred to as "LDJ" in Mueller's translation (ConcordiaTheology.org; search my blog for "LDJ").
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:
Want to be mentally and spiritually healthy? Listen to Walther, who said: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.
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