37th Annual Reformation Lectures, (download here==>> LSQ 45:1, pgs 5-31)
I wonder... Dr. Rast – did Prof. David Scaer give you some tidbits of info to include in this essay of yours... you know, since he also wrote about Pieper in his 1993 essay “Francis Pieper” for the Reformed book Handbook of Evangelical Theologians by Baker Book House?
This essay is different than the essays of Part 1 and Part 2 that were delivered to followers of Prof. David Scaer and the audience of Concordia Theological Quarterly (CTQ) – it was delivered to the lecture series sponsored by the Evangelical Lutheran Synod – the ELS. This synod continues to be separated from the LC-MS – Rast’s synod. (Hmmm... why did they separate anyway?) Did Prof. Rast feel safer delivering this essay on Pieper to an ELS sponsored event than the other audiences? — Prof. Rast was also President of Concordia Historical Institute in 2004 and so he perhaps commanded respect from the ELS, a former member of the Synodical Conference. But does he deserve their respect?
But let us move on to the actual essay...
On page 6, Rast says:
Rast does not elaborate on this comment of “different emphases” between the work of Walther and Pieper. What was it that Pieper “differed markedly” from Walther? Ah, but Rast calms us down and says:
Oh well, I guess we will have to assume Rast meant well with his phrases “different emphases” and “differed markedly” ... surely he would not try to drive a wedge between these two, would he? But let us proceed further...
Rast quotes from Pieper’s 1897 essay “Church Government” (pgs 6-7), a doctrine for which Rast is at sharp odds with Pieper and Walther. In Pieper’s essay, he speaks of a peace in the Missouri church, a peace brought about by a “church government [guided] solely by the Word of God”. But Rast’s 1999 essay “Demogoguery...” would claim the old Missouri was guided by their environment – American democracy. But let us proceed...
On page 7, Rast gives a stunning quote from Pieper reproduced in part below:
How Dr. Rast could keep a straight face while giving this quote from Pieper to this audience is truly amazing! Surely there were some snickers in the audience when he spoke these words?! Ah, but Dr. Rast has an answer for those who might use this against today's LC-MS for he says in footnote # 3:
On page 8, Rast gives another similar quote from Pieper and then makes this statement:
That is a good description of the old (German) Missouri Synod. But Dr. Rast... you could have injected the words “we have been” at this point to claim the same status, but you did not. You remain the “reporter on the beat”... just reporting how it was “in the old days”. Could it be that you are admitting today’s LC-MS is not “singularly blessed by God”? Could it be that you want to give your LC-MS license to not “practice” church/congregational polity like the old (German) Missouri Synod?
But Dr. Rast, didn’t the old Missouri practice its warnings against modern dance?... and not allowing lodge members to have communion... not allowing women suffrage in congregations? Maybe while you were “beat reporting”, you could have also mentioned these? But Dr. Rast, because the old (German) Missouri Synod practiced an apostolic form for its congregations, maybe its doctrine was not quite right since you say it was determined by “historical context” (American democracy) rather than the Bible’s teaching? But let us proceed...
On page 9, Rast attempts to defend Pieper against various attacks on his teaching:
I have already spoken in Part 2 on Rast’s attempts to discredit “fundamentalism” while not praising its teaching on the Bible’s Inspiration and Inerrancy. Pieper would not mind being called “fundamentalistic” if the charge came from those who attacked the Bible!
Continuing (page 9) his seeming defense of Pieper, Rast makes perhaps his grandest statement for the whole essay:
On first reading, I was thrilled at this. I wrote in the margin: “good paragraph” and “Dear God, Dr. Rast, you sound so wonderful here! I hope you are making it your own!”. I was stunned when he wrote:
--------------------------- continued on Part 3b --------------
My review of this essay continues in Part 3b where Dr. Rast covers Pieper's biography and his literary legacy...