Search This Blog

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Luther's Doctrine of Inspiration – Pieper (for Reformed!) Part 1 Intro

I am interrupting my series of reviews of Prof. Lawrence Rast Jr. to publish a significant and important essay by Franz Pieper that Dr. Rast referenced in his "Connecting Link..." article – page 15, footnotes 16 & 17 – see previous post Part 3b.  Pieper's original essay can be extracted from Google Books pages 249-266 of The Presbyterian and Reformed Review, Volume 4, 1893. I will abbreviate the name of this periodical as TP&RR.

Dr. Rast introduces us to Pieper's essay thus:
In an article that appeared in English translation in the Presbyterian and Reformed Review, titled “Luther’s Doctrine of the Inspiration,”...
I took Rast's statement at face value for awhile and attempted to find the German original.  I searched the publications of the old German Missouri and found that Pieper had written a similar essay for Lehre und Wehre in 1885 (vol. 31, pgs 329 - 333: "Zu Luthers Lehre von der Inspiration"), but it is a shorter article. Pieper also continued this theme in his foreword ("Vorwort") to Lehre und Wehre at the beginning of 1886, pages 8 - 12 (Google Books).  And Pieper wrote a longer essay entitled "Luther and the Inspiration of Holy Scripture" in his book Christliche Dogmatik, vol. 1, pgs 334-360 (Christian Dogmatics, vol. 1, pgs 276-298)... but this book was written in 1924, many years after 1893.

==>> Then it hit me... this was not an "English translation" as Rast had said, but remarkably it appears that it may be the first and only article that Franz Pieper wrote in English for a Reformed publication. Pieper clearly stated the following on the first page:
...being called upon to set forth in this REVIEW, from Luther's writings, Luther's doctrine of inspiration
This was not an "English translation", but rather Franz Pieper wrote it in English, not German.  And it was not for the Lutheran Witness, the English publication for the old Missouri, but for a Reformed publication in English.  — Pieper wrote this essay in English!  Why did he not write more in English instead of German since he knew English so well?  This question has already been addressed in a previous post here, where Pieper gave his own answers.

So why would Franz Pieper, the Twentieth Century Luther, write in English for a Reformed publication?  He answers this in his own words:
...being called upon to set forth in this REVIEW
It took me awhile to realize that the the word "REVIEW" is in all caps -- Pieper was telling us that he wrote this essay not as a review, but for this REVIEW, the The Presbyterian and Reformed REVIEW.  But not only that, Franz Pieper wrote this essay because he was
...being called upon
So Franz Pieper, the foremost Lutheran teacher in the world in 1893 (the Twentieth Century Luther), was asked by the The Presbyterian and Reformed Review , the foremost Calvinist publication in America, to write on "Luther's Doctrine of Inspiration"!  Remarkable!  In all my readings of Pieper, I had never seen where he wrote for a Reformed publication... and in English!  Pieper is the "Twentieth Century Luther"...  he is the strongest defender against the errors of Calvinism since C.F.W. Walther, and here he was asked by Calvinists to write an article for them.  This is a major event in true Church History!

The first name in the list of 22 editors' names for TP&RR was Benjamin B. Warfield.  Franz Pieper recorded in his Christian Dogmatics, vol 1, pgs 271-272, footnote # 83, [PNG image] the trials that Benjamin B. Warfield suffered for his strong stand on Inspiration and Inerrancy:
Because of this stand [on inspiration and absolute infallibility of Scripture] he had to endure opposition and derision from many in his own church body; in these trials he found much comfort in the fact that "an entire Lutheran Synod" unanimously subscribed to the doctrine of the inspiration of Scripture. [i.e. the old (German) Missouri Synod
In return for Pieper's encouragement, I suspect that it was Prof. Warfield who called on Franz Pieper, the president of Concordia Seminary (of that "Lutheran Synod"), to write the essay "Luther's Doctrine of Inspiration" for his own periodical, the REVIEW (TP&RR).
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

Prof. David Scaer also wrote for a Reformed publication, like Pieper, when in 1993 he wrote his article "Francis Pieper" for the book Handbook of Evangelical Theologians (Baker Book House).  But there is a difference between Scaer and Pieper, for Pieper brought the true Martin Luther to our times.  But Prof. Scaer mixed in misleading theology (see here and here) when attempting to introduce Franz Pieper to today's Reformed world of theology.  More will be brought out on this later.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

Many of the references to Luther's writings in Pieper's essay are to the Erlangen Edition instead of the St. Louis Edition because it was still in progress in 1893.  This presents a good incentive for the reader to purchase Pieper's Christian Dogmatics books (if not already done) because the chapter "Luther and the Inspiration of Holy Scripture" has nearly all of Luther's writings referenced to the newer St. Louis Edition, and it is even more extensive.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The LC-MS published the book What Luther Says by Ewald Plass in 1959.  Although it can be quite useful for the general public, at times Plass mixed poor theology with Luther's theology.  But Franz Pieper never does this, and in fact Pieper understood Martin Luther so well that he is to be considered The Twentieth Century Luther.  No modern theologian since Pieper comes as close to Martin Luther... most do not come close at all.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
But now on to the actual essay itself, in the concluding Part 2.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments only accepted when directly related to the post.