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Friday, July 5, 2013

Walther's "A Christian's Duty To Join An Orthodox Local Congregation" w/ download

(Updated October 8, 2013 – see below text in red.)

As I was compiling the listing of the published books of Walther, one of the titles reminded me of a full English translation provided by the late Pastor Kenneth K. Miller († 2011) of the LCR.  This is a monumental translation work (62 pages!) and presents wonderful teaching by C.F.W. Walther in his book titled Von der Pflicht der Christen, sich an eine rechtgläubige Ortsgemeinde gliedlich anzuschliessen.

I have recently been given permission by Anchor Publications, the arm of The Lutheran Churches of the Reformation (LCR), to publish this translation on the web.  They have now indicated that they may consider putting out a printed version for sale in the future.  It was published in their periodical journal The Faithful Word, Volume 35, No 3/4, (Fall/Winter 1998).  Regular followers of this blog will notice that Pastor Kenneth Miller is the same translator as the one for Luther's Biblical Chronology treatise here.

The reader may notice that I translate "Ortsgemeinde" as "local congregation" rather than Miller's "local church".  This is my preference but I would not dispute with Pastor Miller on this. I may study the German words for these at a later time... (see Walther's book below, page 9, 3rd paragraph)

First I am providing a download link to a scanned copy (with OCR'd text embedded) of the essay:
download ==>> Walther-Christians Duty To Join Orthodox Local Congregation.PDF (5 MB)
Note: this download link had been removed because this publication is now available from Anchor Publications as of October, 2013 (Item #516 here).  However, I am keeping the below online version.
I am updating my blog page of Walther's books with this download (and possibly a scanned copy of the original German in the future).

And below I present the OCR'd text of all 62 pages from this scan.  There may be a few minor errors but it has been checked thoroughly.
Bible reference verses have been manually hyper-linked for ease of reference.
Highlighting is mine.  
Original page headers retained – page #s, "The Faithful Word" or "Fall/Winter 1998".

This book is a wonderful Bible study as Walther brings many Bible passages to bear on his subject matter.  Walther proves that the Lutheran Church is the Bible church, not the sects such as Episcopalians, Presbyterians, German Evangelicals, and Dutch Reformed, or whatever.  Walther grabs hold of the spiritual meaning of God's Word and presents it as the teaching for the Church.  I suspect several of the points that Walther makes in this book are also covered in his Americanisch-Lutherische Pastoraltheologie (Pastoral Theology).

This book also gets into true Church History – Augustine, Calov, Irenaeus, Cyprian, Luther, Quenstedt, etc.  But Walther isn't a name-dropper (so we can answer "Jeopardy" questions) but rather he quotes the true spiritual content from these past teachers.

Someone (like Paul McCain) will say now
But what about you, BackToLuther, you hide your name... Aren't you, BackToLuther, despising the local church by not being a member?  Aren't you a hypocrite to be holding up Walther's teaching when he so clearly writes against you in this book?
Dear God! I am not proud of the fact that I'm not a member of a local congregation!!  How I have studied this book by Walther! Why did I cry out last year on a blog post that perhaps there is
No public ministry now? Only fathers in homes? 
And the dear Walther says (page 4):
3. Everyone who wants to be a Christian is obligated to join a Christian congregation of the right confession whenever and wherever he has the opportunity
Walther speaks (pages 60-61) of a Lutheran who, having left a city where all the pastors are heterodox, says
"Oh, if only I could find an orthodox pastor in my neighborhood I would not come to you. I cannot abide a false Lutheran, a United, a Reformed, a Methodist, a Baptist, a Schwenkfelder, or a Swedenborgian. Therefore you must receive me as a guest!"
What does Walther mean when he says "a false Lutheran"?  I tell you they are the ones who are not teaching the Lutheran Doctrine of Justification properly and fully... they are not properly distinguishing the Law and the Gospel.  Franz Pieper says it this way:
All praise of Christ, of grace, and of the means of grace, without the right doctrine of justification, is nothing.

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