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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Rast–Pt 5a: "Demagoguery"- Loose ends (Merely?)

This post continues from Part 4g reviewing the writings of Prof. Lawrence Rast Jr.  (Table of Contents in Part 1.)  Part 5 will provide further comments on a number of subjects as I close the case of Prof. Rast.  This Part 5a ties up some loose ends on Rast's "Demagoguery... " essay discussed in Parts 1 & 2.
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Hmmm, Dr. Rast – did you know that August Suelflow also wrote an essay on this subject called "Walther and Church Polity" for CTM, 1961, pgs 632-640? (download PDF for your reference; OCR'd DOC file here)   Of course you do.... but why didn't you quote him?  He also spoke on the same subject as your "Demagoguery... " essay, but he did not once mention "democracy" in his essay, certainly not "demagoguery".  Perhaps you are tacitly saying that you disagree with Suelflow on Walther's teaching of "church polity" or "church government"?  Or maybe you could apply your theological scholarship and "historical context" to find agreement between Suelflow and you?  (I suggest the reader downoad Suelflow's essay to get better information, for example on Sihler whom Rast mentions in his essay.  Indeed, August Suelflow is a witness for Walther and against Dr. Lawrence A. Rast, Jr.)

But you, Dr. Rast, have confirmed Profs. David P. Scaer and John T. Pless in their errors by your "Demagoguery or Democracy?" essay (Scaer–"Rast, Vehse, and Walther" article [Logia, Holy Trinity 2000, pgs 47-50], and Pless–Book Review of Authority Vested).  Oh! You even received the "Award of Merit" for this essay from Concordia Historical Institute in 2000!  Such an honor!  The poor pastor Jack Cascione, who was mild in his initial defense against the errors of the CTS-FW faculty, must now cry out loudly against the manifest errors of not only CTS-FW, but all the LC-MS now.  And he is broadsided by your essay and its preposterous attempt to falsify (interpret? "historical context"?) Walther's (and Pieper's) teaching on the importance of the right doctrines of Church and Ministry, of an apostolic congregation.  Dear God!... a "misinterpretation of the nature of polity" (pg 267)? ... so you, Prof. Rast, are the great "interpreter of Walther"?   Wow, we had better listen to you...  instead of Walther, because Walther needs an interpreter... like you!   Maybe CPH should stop printing more volumes of Walther's sermons and other works because these "misinterpretations of Walther" are hurting the Church!... right, Dr. Rast?
Rast says (pages 267-268):
Synod is merely "advisory," having no say whatsoever in the affairs of its radically independent local congregations. 
"merely advisory"?  Merely advisory?  What do you mean, Prof. Rast?  Walther showed the world the beauty of the synod being "advisory" in relation to its congregations – its power was based solely on the Word of God!... and you say that power is "merely advisory"?... that the power of the synod is merely the Word of God?  Hasn't Dr. Rast just shown the world how little he thinks of the power of the Word of God in his LC-MS?  (The Sheep had better start judging their shepherds if they covet their souls salvation...) 

Were you, Dr. Rast, maybe trying to atone for the travesty of your 1999 CTQ "Demagoguery..." essay with your 2004 essay for the ELS Reformation Lectures on Franz Pieper? You said there on page 26:
"So is Pieper relevant anymore? My answer, obviously, is a hearty yes."
Relevant for what, Dr. Rast?  Relevant for some things... except maybe Church Government?  Let us compare statements on Walther's Church Polity between Rast and Pieper:
Walther clearly believed that, while the doctrine of church and ministry was clearly settled in the Scripture and Confessions, polity was an adiaphoron. (Footnote # 36)
The so-called constitutive power, that is, the ordering of all things which are not ordered through God’s Word (adiaphora) belongs to the congregation itself, not to the pastor...  The local congregation possesses the supreme jurisdiction in its own sphere.
Now Prof. Rast may say that I'm "comparing apples and oranges".  My answer is that he has setup "Carl Vehse" as a "straw man" for his argument and is confusing the issue.  Franz Pieper never confuses the issue and so I say to all Christian readers --> listen to Prof. Franz Pieper (and Walther), not Prof. Lawrence Rast.
One will note the difference – that Pieper says the "adiaphora" or "things indifferent" (e.g. how often to have Holy Communion, etc.) are under the power of the congregation (i.e. adult male voting members), not the pastor.  Prof. Rast does not seem to want to say the same thing, and then has the audacity to claim "Walther clearly believed that..." — I do not claim to fully understand all matters of "Church Government" or "Church Polity".  But I know that Luther, Walther and Pieper stay with the Scriptural teaching and do not lead astray in these matters of "congregations", "clergy", "synods" and "adiaphora".  I will take Pieper's "interpretation" in his essay on Walther's teaching of Church Government.  Maybe you, Dr. Rast, think that Pieper misinterpreted Walther?  But with Pieper, you would realize that you should set aside your readings of Walter Forster (Zion on the Mississippi), Carl S. Mundinger (Government in the Missouri Synod), even Walter Baepler (Century of Grace) and W.G. Polack (The Building of a Great Church), and all the host of other sources you referenced for your "Demagoguery..." essay and just sit at the feet of Walther and Pieper.  I looked up "Democracy" in Pieper's Christian Dogmatics, Vol. 3, pg 417 (PNG image), just for the learning experience...  nothing there about church government, only civil government.  

No, Thomas Jefferson (father of American Democracy, "I am an Epicurean") was not the father of the old (German) Missouri Synod. (Ha, ha, ha, ha! – Psalm 37:13)
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The next Part 5b will touch on a number of ironies as I further consider the theology and church history of Prof. Rast.

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