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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Pastor Joel Baseley's correction

I have received a comment from Pastor Joel Baseley of Mark V Publications.  He wanted to correct an error I made on my recent posting about his translation work of Der Lutheraner.  You may read his comment in its entirety on that blog post.  I started a short reply to him but it grew too large for just the comments section and so I am devoting an entire blog post to it:
Pastor Baseley:

You are quite correct in admonishing my error of identifying Walther as the subject of Prof. John T. Pless' praise on your Customer Quotes section of your website.  I will change the name from Walther to Luther and make a note of the error.

But if you should afterward continue to question my admonishment against Prof. Pless because you are "not personally acquainted with Pless' regard or lack thereof for Walther", then you should read more of my blog that clearly shows this "lack thereof".  Prof. Pless' praise of Wm. Loehe is misplaced... you should especially know this as a translator and authority on Walther.  Loehe's errors are not unknown – on the Sacraments and Ministry (Pieper, Christian Dogmatics III, pg 407, 445-449)  Or do you think it is possible to properly praise Luther (his clarity?) while at the same time holding to Loehe's errors, Loehe as a corrective to Walther?  (Pless is your head of the "Commission on Doctrinal Review" in the LC-MS according to page xiv of the 2013 Convention Workbook.) 
You know that in the very first issue of volume 4 (1847) of Der Lutheraner, Walther placed emphasis on his polemics – his defense of doctrine against error.  But although you correct my error, your polemics (from within today's LC-MS) for the truth are limited.  Yes, you defend the sacrament of Holy Communion and perhaps some other practices.  But you seem to stop there.  Do you agree that it was necessary for Walther to publicly defend against the manifold errors in America and Germany?  Do you agree that Walther had to defend against Loehe's errors on the Ministry ("Kirche und Amt - Neue Aphorismen") and against his error on the Sacraments?
I will tell you a story Pastor Baseley.  When I was coming back to my Christian faith, I started reading the 12 volumes of  R.C.H. Lenski's Commentary on the New Testatment, you know, Prof. Lenski of the Ohio Synod... and I couldn't get enough of him!  I devoured his many volumes.  But when I read his warnings against the old (German) Missouri Synod's teaching of Universal, Objective Justification, I threw all of his volumes into the trash!  Imagine that!  12 volumes of a Lutheran teacher... in the trash!  That was a lot of money that I threw away.  "A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump." Galatians 5:9

Your translation work of Luther and Walther astounds me and I recommend that all my readers make use of your resources on them... as I do of those published by CPH (with some warnings) and others (e.g. Australia).  But it takes more than translation to understand them.  I suggest that you read about the heart of Walther – his Doctrine of Justification.  You will easily find it on my blog.  Then as you continue your translation work of Walther, you will have a better understanding of Walther, The American Luther.  May you continue to sit at the feet of Luther and Walther.  I will be sitting there also (Here I Sit!) but included among my teachers will be The Twentieth Century Luther, The Second Walther – Franz Pieper.

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