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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.
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 17 – Election, Wide or Narrow

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