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Sunday, August 4, 2013

Lawrence Rast - Part 2b: "Collecting Autographs" (Scripture)

This post continues from Part 2a in a series (Table of Contents in Part 1) reviewing several essays of Prof. Lawrence A. Rast Jr., president of Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, IN (CTS-FW).  This Part 2b concludes my review of Rast's essay "Collecting Autographs...".

-----------------------  cont'd from Part 2a  --------------------------

Dr. Rast, you apparently, "on the basis of logical deduction", are cutting down the teachings of Theodore Engelder and Paul E. Kretzmann (PEK).  I too would advise setting aside readings of Theodore Engelder and PEK, but for entirely different reasons than you suggest.  I praise Engelder and PEK for wanting to defend the Doctrine of Inspiration, even if they began to allow some statements that are weak, but not because they are, as you argue, "Princetonian" or "Fundamentalist".  

1) -->> I praise Theodore Engelder for his major work of bringing the English translation of the greatest books on Christian doctrine ever, Franz Pieper's Christian Dogmatics.  I praise Engelder because I believe he was the one who left the room when joint prayer was being offered in meetings between the old ALC and the LC-MS.  I praise Engelder for his book Scripture Cannot Be Broken because I recall that, even with it's weaker defense than Walther/Pieper's defenses, it aided my early return to the Christian faith.
Even so, I caution against Engelder because Prof. Eugene Klug said the following about him:
“...Engelder as a significant expert and influential teacher on the proper use and understanding of these two terms [objective/subjective justification], also cautions about possible misuse of them in theological discussion.”
Here I could see that Engelder may have begun to weaken as he cautioned for the wrong reason against possible "misuse" of "objective justification" – because the only "misuse" of Objective Justification is to not use it (not preach the pure, unconditional Gospel).

2) -->> I praise Paul E. Kretzmann (PEK) for his fortitude amidst the horrendous liberalizing forces within the new (English) LC-MS, especially among his own relatives and colleagues!  I loved to hear 2 anecdotal accounts about him, one I've posted before, and the other from an essay by Curtis Jahn on (footnote #1, page 1):
A.T. Kretzmann tells the interesting story that while he was a seminary student at St. Louis (1927-1931) it was the custom of his uncle, Prof. P. E. Kretzmann to invite all his Kretzmann relatives who were students to his house for Wednesday evening suppers.  Usually A. T. would find himself as the only guest at his uncle's table. The reason for that, A. T. says, is because his cousins (O.P., A.R., Karl) were theologically liberal and did not appreciate the theological fare which their uncle had to offer. The professor they liked to spend time with was W. G. Polack because he had the same liberal leanings.
And Curtis Jahn's essay also records that all the liberal leaning LC-MS people in the above account, PEK's nephews and Professor W.G. Polack, were signers of "A Statement of the 44", a travesty in church history.  In the end, PEK separated from the LC-MS.

Even so, I caution against Paul E. Kretzmann because he is weak in his writings on the doctrine of Universal, Objective Justification.  I had to search his writings long and hard to find anything on UOJ... but when I found it, I was relieved.  I wondered if all his higher education (U. of Chicago??) weakened his love for the true Gospel message (LDJ) which Franz Pieper taught so forcefully.
Dr. Rast, in my readings of Franz Pieper's comments in the "Church News" section of Lehre und Wehre (Kirchlich-Zeitgeschichtliches), he praised the Princetonians and Fundamentalists where their pronouncements spoke of upholding Biblical truths – the Inspiration/Inerrancy of the Bible – especially in the face of the attacks of liberal church movements against the Bible.  And, although you seem to praise Pieper in your essay, yet you do not praise Princetonians or Fundamentalists at all... no praise whatsoever.  And so I think Pieper would not praise you... and Pieper would wonder – just what are you defending if you are not defending the truths of the Bible against all attacks? 

Dr. Rast, maybe your doctrine of Scripture is a doctrine "à la Sasse"?... you know, Hermann Sasse, the teacher who said he was "connected with Loehe and Iowa, now the American Lutheran Church [now ELCA]"?... you know, the Iowa Synod, of whom Walther said 
" appears impossible to convince the Iowans even with the most compelling evidences from God's Word."
Dr. Rast, do you not rather "strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel"?  (Matt. 23:24)  
·         Do you not "swallow a camel" when your LC-MS allows women suffrage in congregations?
·         Do you not swallow a camel when you call Walther's teaching on the Church to be "American democracy" instead of "apostolic"?  
·         Do you not swallow a camel when your LC-MS will not suspend a professor who continually, openly professes evolution?
·         Do you not swallow a camel when your CTS-FW does not expel a professor who attacked the teaching of Objective Justification? ("He that is not with me is against me" – Matt. 12:30)
  • Do you not swallow a camel when you allow this essay of yours to stand in the same book alongside another essay – the essay of Richard John Neuhaus, a "convert" to Roman Catholicism from the LC-MS?
Indeed, Dr. Rast, if you do not turn more to the "Princetonian/Fundamentalist" teaching (the Bible is Inspired and Inerrant) that Franz Pieper praised, then you cannot be truly Lutheran.  Your praise of Pieper and his phraseology seems more like "sheep's clothing"...

I ask you, dear reader: which of these titles would you say builds your Christian faith:

Scripture Cannot Be Broken  by Th. Engelder 
The Foundations Must Stand! by P.E. Kretzmann
Collecting Autographs by Lawrence A. Rast Jr.

Dear God! I thank Thee that Thy Word, the Holy Scriptures, CANNOT be broken, even by those who feign to be its defenders!  Amen!
I am glad to finish this Part 2 because Rast's essay stood in the way of my commenting on James Swan and his Beggars All Reformation blog which defends Luther from a Reformed standpoint.  Now I can properly address Mr. Swan without Prof. Lawrence Rast standing in my way. Prof. Rast does not properly speak for Lutheranism or Luther (or Walther or Pieper) and so he cannot properly encourage and admonish James Swan.
In the next Part 3a, I will review another another writing by Rast... on Franz Pieper.

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