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Saturday, October 5, 2013

Triglotta– Sasse (and Ziegler) confusion (Pt 5a): old Missouri's detractors

This continues from Part 4e reviewing the newly available book Concordia Triglotta from CPH. (See Table of Contents here)  This Part 5a begins a review of an essay from Prof. Roland Ziegler (of CTS-FW) published in CTQ of April 2002 on the newest English translation (Kolb-Wengert) of the Lutheran Confessions (or the "Book of Concord").

The old (German) Missouri Synod had many detractors through its years of faithful teaching.  The list is almost too long to enumerate but one of its detractors came from the period after the birth of the new English LC-MS, an LCMS which slowly, inexorably stripped out its old core teaching – Universal, Objective Justification (i.e. the Gospel).  The report of this detractor comes from a distressing source – Prof. Roland Ziegler, a professor that I found (in an earlier blog) praiseworthy in his honoring of C.F.W. Walther.  And not only that, his criticism concerns the Missouri Synod in relation to the Lutheran Confessions...  could this be true?

I had earlier recommended Ziegler's essay where (on pages 147-151) he helpfully pointed out problems with the unionistic Kolb-Wengert edition of the Book of Concord.  However Ziegler also distressingly quotes Hermann Sasse (à la Sasse?) to judge (and criticize) the "LCMS", sometimes known as the "Missouri Synod"... but which Missouri Synod is being judged?  The old (German) Missouri Synod or the new English LC-MS?

So I am compelled to address the last section (last 5 pages, pages 160-165) in Ziegler's 2002 essay.  In the following review I use the following terms:
  • "LCMS", "LC-MS", "Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod", "new English LC-MS" == today's English LC-MS, definitely not the old (German) Missouri Synod
  • "old Missouri", "old (German) Missouri Synod", sometimes "Missouri Synod" == old (German) Missouri Synod
  • "Missouri Synod" == may refer to either the old (German) Missouri Synod or today's English LC-MS depending on the context
The following is my review comprising comments in red font interspersed with the full original text in black font.  In the beginning, I placed my comments in line with the text in square brackets [], but later I broke into the essay's text with ellipses (...) and line breaks to insert longer comments, again in red text.  All of Ziegler's original essay text (pgs 160-165) is in black font, and justified left and right.  Much of it includes my highlighting in yellow or blue of significant wording.  The blue highlighting indicates the wording that especially offended me, and caused a lot of "red ink".  I have retained page numbering and footnotes so readers can follow Ziegler's original essay as I make comments.
==>> Many hyperlinks have been added for reference and should be helpful for anyone (like me) who is not familiar with some of the things mentioned.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  Part 5a - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
The New Translation of the Book of Concord:
Closing the barn door after...
Roland F. Ziegler
(CTQ, April 2002, pages 145-165 - reviewed pages 160-165)
1) Introduction; 2) The Text of the Book of Concord - (pgs 145-151)
These sections are informative, and in several ways defend the Lutheran Book of Concord against deceptive practices by modern attempts to take away the foundational text.  I found out that the "Göttingen edition" from Germany in 1930 was a travesty against the true Book of Concord (page 149).  (Reference info.)
3) The Relevance and Authority of the Book of Concord
in the latest Ecumenical Dialogues - (pgs 151-160)
This section is also informative and helpful in pointing out the importance of the Book of Concord.  Ziegler even mentions Franz Pieper (page 155) as correctly rejecting a "Reformed calumny" concerning the Lord's Supper.
Now Ziegler gets close to home with a commentary on his own LCMS:
Page 160
4) The Confessions in the LCMS
This summary may not be surprising to many. The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod was not a part of A Common Calling, although she participated in the foregoing Lutheran-Reformed dialogues. [Oh? Why did the LCMS participate in such a dialogue with the old ELCA and Reformed?  Does the LCMS consider it to be their duty to participate at every religious dialogue?  Yes... No?  Is there no reason to "dialogue" with today's ELCA?]  Dissenting statements and abstentions in votes showed the increasing cleave between the Lutheran Church in America, the American Lutheran Church, and the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches on the one hand, and the LCMS on the other. Nevertheless, in the first round of

Page 161
dialogue, whose results were published in Marburg Revisited, LCMS participants Martin Franzmann and Herbert Bouman did not object to the following statement: "As a result of our studies and discussions we see no insuperable obstacles to pulpit and altar fellowship and, therefore, we recommend to our parent bodies that they encourage their constituent churches to enter into discussions looking forward to intercommunion and the fuller recognition of one's another ministry."45 [That is interesting, Prof. Ziegler.  Two high ranking representatives of the LCMS agreed to fellowship with the the forerunners of the ELCA.  Isn't that essentially what today's LC-MS is... a church body of one spirit with the ELCA?  No?]
The resolution passed at the last convention of the LCMS, which declares that she no longer regards the ELCA to be an orthodox church demonstrates the growing chasm between the two largest Lutheran bodies in the United States. [OK, so you say the LCMS is not of one spirit with the ELCA, don't you Prof. Ziegler?]   A characteristic feature of orthodoxy is to teach the faith once delivered to the saints, as it is taught and confessed by the church, which includes the Book of Concord. [Very good, Prof. Ziegler]  But what about the LCMS?  [So how is Ziegler going to judge the mess that today's LCMS is in?]  Do we have the right to be self-congratulatory? To ask the question is, of course, to negate it. By saying that I do not want to deprecate in any way all the faithful Christians, congregations, and pastors who sincerely uphold the confessions in the LCMS. The LCMS has been a beacon of Lutheran orthodoxy, [Oh??  Is that right?  But you just gave evidence above that 2 professors (Franzmann & Bouman) of the LCMS were of one spirit with the forerunners of the ELCA... how can you make this statement –"a beacon of Lutheran orthodoxy" in light of this?]  and it is the largest church left in which heresy has not been declared to be official doctrine or expression of a healthy pluralism[This sentence is difficult to fathom... what does it mean "or expression of a healthy pluralism"?  And who does Ziegler credit that no "heresy" has been declared as "official doctrine"?  And what does Ziegler say about a prominent St. Louis professor (Theodore Graebner) in 1939 saying that the Missouri Synod doctrine of Justification was no different than the forerunners of the ELCA?  Will Ziegler lean on the fact that Graebner's statement was not "official doctrine"?]  But, coming from somebody from the outside, these remarks might be allowed. [Certainly! I would love to hear Ziegler's comments "from the outside" (Germany), especially with his good essay presenting Walther's theology for his Bi-centennial celebration.]  There are also problems in the LCMS, and they did not originate in the sixties nor were they caused by the baby boomers.
So... just who is Ziegler going to consult as his source to find fault in the LCMS?
Hermann Sasse ...
Oh no... Hermann Sasse?!  Hermann Sasse is to be Ziegler's reference to judge the LCMS??  I see now who I am going to have to contend with – an LCMS "à la Sasse".
- - - - - - - - - continued in Part 5b - - - - - -