(cont'd from Part 3d)
*** A review by BackToLuther of ***
Franz August Otto Pieper (1852-1931):
“A Connecting Link ...”
by Lawrence R. Rast Jr.
37th Annual Reformation Lectures, (download here==>> LSQ 45:1, pgs 5-31)
Dr. Rast leads this section of his with the following introduction of Pieper's teaching that:
...the old concerns over conversion and election, and their relationship to the justification of the sinner before God, stand front and center.Now this seems to have the sound of Lutheranism to it, but why the phrase "old concerns"? Is it considered by modern theology to be of no concern among them? And what about the phrase "the justification of the sinner before God" and that this stands "front and center"? Isn't that very "Lutheran"? It certainly is – but there is a "fly in the ointment" that will be revealed later (think "fork in the road"). At this point (pages 16-18), Rast provides extensive extracts from the Brief Statement, both the 1897 and 1932 versions, especially paragraph 17. It was certainly good of Prof. Rast to include these extracts – pure Pieper teaching of Christianity! So far, so good. But now Rast follows with this paragraph:
Pieper’s classic treatments of conversion, election, and justiﬁcation have led many to rightly state that this teaching forms the center of his theology. Scaer writes: “In particular, his doctrine of grace (sola gratia), which entails a complete incarnation of God in Christ and a universal atonement (gratia universalis), helps keep the Missouri Synod true to its Lutheran heritage.”In this paragraph, the reader may notice that immediately after extolling Pieper's "classic treatments of conversion, election, and justiﬁcation", Rast brings in a quote from Prof. David P. Scaer. By doing this, Rast would have us listen not only to Franz Pieper but also to Prof. Scaer. Well now, let us see what Prof. Scaer has to say about Pieper. We see that the quote from Scaer is from another essay on "Francis Pieper", the one that Scaer wrote for the "Evangelical" community in the 1993 book Handbook of Evangelical Theologians, pgs 40 - 53. It seems that Prof. Scaer is introducing something new that Rast had not mentioned before... until now:
... his doctrine of grace (sola gratia), which entails a complete incarnation of God in Christ and a universal atonement (gratia universalis),Scaer has added the phrase "complete incarnation of God in Christ" which he later expounds as his teaching that "All Theology Is Christology". This is something new added by Prof. Scaer – Pieper did not mentioned this in his Brief Statement at this point. Now the reader might wonder why I am pointing this out... what could possibly be wrong with extolling the "complete incarnation of God in Christ" at this point?
Indeed, what could be wrong with Scaer's (and Rast's) inclusion of "Christology" at this point? After all, Pieper himself included the Doctrine of Christ many times:
1) In the very same Brief Statement, paragraph 8, he said:
The purpose of this miraculous incarnation of the Son of God was that He might become the Mediator between God and men, both fulfilling the divine Law and suffering and dying in the place of mankind. In this manner God reconciled the whole sinful world unto Himself, Gal. 4:4, 5; 3:13; 2 Cor. 5:18, 19.2) And Pieper expounded this in his Christian Dogmatics, vol 2, page 55 in an introduction to his section on "The Doctrine of Christ":
True, we generally call the doctrine of justification the central article of the Christian doctrine, the articulus stantis et cadentis ecclesiae. But this article is directly based on the doctrine of Christ, on the doctrine of Christ's theanthropic Person and theanthropic work. We are justified by grace, without the deeds of the Law, but that only "through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 3:24), only because Christ paid the ransom for us, Christ, who is nothing less than the Son of God. ... Whoever denies that Christ in His theanthropic Person and His theanthropic work of redemption is the object of saving faith cancels the Christian doctrine of justification and does away with all of Christianity. It is obvious that the doctrine of Christ must be kept absolutely pure.Now just so the reader isn't confused about what Scaer is asserting as the heart of Franz Pieper's teaching, I want to quote Scaer from his essay "Francis Pieper", page 47, footnote 31:
Pieper regarded justification as a subsidiary article of Christology, to which he devoted over three hundred pagesDoes the reader have the picture clear yet? Let us be sure that we are all on the same page:
"Pieper’s classic treatments of conversion, election, and justiﬁcation have led many to rightly state that this teaching forms the center of his theology."
"Pieper regarded justification as a subsidiary article of Christology"
We see now that there is a "fly in the ointment" (Eccl. 10:1) ... but just exactly what is the problem? Since this is getting to be extended, I am splitting this sub-section into 2 parts. In the next Part 3f, I will dig out this "fly" and examine it.