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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Rast–Pt 5b: Ironies of Prof. Rast

This post continues from Part 5a reviewing the writings of Prof. Lawrence Rast Jr.  (Table of Contents in Part 1.) This Part 5b points out a number of ironies as I consider the case of Prof. Rast, Ph.D. Vanderbilt University.  (Table of Contents in Part 1.)
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--------------------   Prof. James Barr   ----------------------
Hmmm... Dr. Rast, were you ever under the teaching of Prof. James Barr while you were at Vanderbilt?  You know, the one who fought against the truth of Scripture? ... the one who attacked Martin Luther's Biblical chronology?   You were at Vanderbilt when he was still there... he was a Prof. of Hebrew Bible. Hmmm... Vanderbilt University, the home of Prof. James Barr. Wikipedia says of him
He was also an outspoken critic of conservative evangelicalism, which he attacked in his 1977 book Fundamentalism. In particular he criticized evangelical scholars such as J. I. Packer for affirming the doctrine of scriptural inerrancy, the teaching that the Bible is without error. 
I wonder, Dr. Rast, do you think Barr would have some praise for you since he had "high praise for evangelicals thought by him to deserve to be treated as serious scholars"?  Surely you consider yourself to be a "serious scholar", don't you?  Maybe Vanderbilt University is proud that one of their graduates is now President of a "Missouri Synod" seminary?   Or do you rather consider yourself a follower of Franz Pieper, another President of a Missouri Synod seminary?  Hmmm, tough choice, isn't it?   Maybe the title of "serious scholar" of "American Lutheranism" from Vanderbilt is your preference?  Yes, I think that is your preference.

-----------------   Pieper & "Princetonians"   -------------------
There is irony in that Rast quotes from the "The Presbyterian & Reformed Review" (TP&RR) as the periodical that published Franz Pieper's essay "Luther's Doctrine of Inspiration".  Shouldn't Rast be chastising Franz Pieper for accepting a request from these "Princetonians" and "fundamentalists"..., since these  "Princetonians" and "fundamentalists" trouble his LC-MS with their doctrines?... their (former?) doctrine that the Bible is "inspired" and "inerrant"?  (I wonder if the Princetonians fell away from their "inspired" and "inerrant" doctrines because the LC-MS did?)
I don't recall being aware of this publication in the TP&RR of Franz Pieper's essay before...  a largely "Princetonian" publication with Prof. B.B. Warfield as its primary editor.  I am very glad to have discovered this essay of Pieper on "Luther's Doctrine of Inspiration"!  Prof. Rast is a good "hewer of wood and drawer of water" – his "beat reporting" and cataloging helped me find this!  He is a good librarian.   Although he attempts to praise Pieper, he falls short.  But as long as he continues to make the attempt, I may look in on him in the future for his reference material to see if I have missed anything.  But to learn true theology, true Christian theology, I go to Martin Luther, C.F.W. Walther, and Franz Pieper – my "go to" theologians, not Professor Rast.

------------------  CTQ issue "honoring Walther" ---------------------
Dr. Rast, why were you not in the line-up of essayists honoring Walther in the July/October 2011 issue of Concordia Theological Quarterly?  If your essay "The Doctrine of Justification in American Lutheranism" had been included in that issue, I might have counted it on the positive side and said "3 of 8" honored Walther, instead of "2 of 7". Ah, but I think one of the other essays actually honored Walther more than this essay of yours... it was the essay of Prof. Roland Ziegler who wrote his essay that others might believe and be strengthened in their Christian faith – not to be "fascinating".   Now that was an essay to truly honor Walther.  I submit to you that Prof. Roland Ziegler is working hard to not be deceptive in using the "Lutheran" name, but is avoiding the "miserable fear of man" by bearing "a faithful witness" within today's LC-MS.  Maybe you should wander over to his office and encourage him to write more essays that truly honor Walther, Luther, and Pieper.  Maybe you should also do this instead of listening so much to Prof. David Scaer's "All Theology Is Christology" and writing "Demagoguery" essays.

-----------------  To: Prof. Roland Ziegler  ---------------------
Prof. Roland F. Ziegler, since one of your special interests is on Luther and "the doctrine of justification", I suggest that you begin to instruct your colleague Prof. Lawrence R. Rast Jr. on ... the doctrine of justification.  You should also be turning Scaer away from his "All Theology Is Christology" since you said "justification... is the true subject of theology" (page 5).  Oh, and if you think Rast has it right because he seemed to speak so eloquently in his essays "The Doctrine of Justification in American Lutheranism" and "Francis Pieper", then maybe you should recognize the warning signs:

The concluding Part 5c will continue my final comments on Prof. Lawrence Rast Jr. – in comparisons to other LC-MS church historians.

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