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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Concordia Triglotta in 1921 (Graebner vs. Pieper) Part 2

In the last post, I advertised the "re-introduction" of the old Concordia Triglotta book by Concordia Publishing (CPH). (See Table of Contents here)   However, since that time, I was reminded again of a short essay that President Franz Pieper wrote to introduce the original publication.  And to publicize the "re-introduction", I want translate what Pieper said back in its beginning.  An extra motive I have to do this is to counteract any additions that CPH (e.g. Paul McCain, Charles Schaum, Benjamin T. Mayes, Edward Engelbrecht, John T. Pless, David Scaer, Matthew Harrison, etc.) want to add to this marvelous book.
There were actually 2 introductory articles published in 1921:
  1. "Concordia Triglotta" in the periodical Theological Monthly, October, 1921 issue, pages 289 - 297, by Prof. Theodore Graebner.
  2. "Concordia Triglotta" in the periodical Lehre und Wehre, October, 1921 issue, pages 297 - 301, by Prof. Franz Pieper.
Since the article in Theological Monthly is already in English, the English speaking reader can immediately understand it.  But there is a difference between the spiritual understanding of the 2 authors.  Prof. Theodore Graebner said himself that already in 1921 and earlier he was beginning to harbor false doctrines surrounding the continued separation of the Missouri Synod with other American Lutheran synods – Ohio, Iowa, Norwegian synods – later to be the ALC, then the ELCA.  And so these words of Graebner in 1921 announcing this glorious book should sound so ominous now (page 289):
...we hold it to be, that the Lutheran Church is even now entering upon a new era of growth and development, greater than any of the past. Who, then, standing at the threshold of a new day for Lutheranism, shall say what this book, containing the history of its great trials and the memorials of its triumphs, the platform upon which it invites the Church Visible to unite for future labor and conquest, — what this Concordia Triglotta means to the Church of the coming years?
I say "ominous" because of what this same professor announced 18 years later in December 1939 (8 years after Pieper's death) – a statement that revealed not only a profound misunderstanding of the differences with the opposing American Lutheran synods (Ohio, Iowa, and Norwegian - later ALC and ELCA), but of the Doctrine of Justification itself and so also the Lutheran Book of Concord.  And so what Graebner attempted to herald in 1921, "a new day for Lutheranism", turned out to be a day of horror in December 1939...  the day of the birth of a lukewarm Lutheran church.

Before Pieper's essay appeared in October, 1921, he had in the month before (September L.u.W.) given a brief announcement in the "Literature" section, on page 276.  Translated it reads:

Concordia Triglotta. The symbolical books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, German-Latin-English, as a memorial of the four hundred year jubilee of the Reformation, anno Domini 1917, published by decision of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio and other states.  Price: $ 10.00.
Just before the end of this issue, a copy of this monumental work comes to us, which presents in three languages ​​(Latin, German and English) the Lutheran confessional writings to the Church.  We have earlier expressed ourselves publicly that very special thanks of the Synod are due the editors, professors Bente and Dau, if they would by God's grace complete their work which required difficult and great theological ability.  We repeat it here.  Of course later in "Lehre und Wehre" we will bring a more detailed discussion of this superb work.      F. P.

As I read this brief announcement by Pieper, I wondered that the original idea for this project came from Prof. Pieper himself.

In the next Part 3, further information is given concerning the unionistic English language editions published since 1921.  Then later, I will present my translation of Pieper's "more detailed discussion of this superb work" – the Concordia Triglotta.

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