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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Triglotta– Sasse/Ziegler: Conclusion (Part 5f) - "something lacking"?

This continues from Part 5e, (Table of Contents here) 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").  Part 5f reviews Ziegler's "Conclusion" section.

The original essay's text is in black text.
Highlighting in yellow or blue is of significant wording by Ziegler.
My comments are in red font. Many hyperlinks added throughout.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  cont'd from Part 5e  - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
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)

5) Conclusion (pg 164-165)
The new translation of the Book of Concord is a good occasion for a renewed and thorough study of this book to which we all pledged our allegiance. The Annual Symposium on the Lutheran Confessions, over the twenty-five years of its existence, continues to do its share to stimulate and foster the study and application of the Confessions in the life of the church today. I want to mention, at least, the book by George Kraus, late professor of this seminary, The Pastor at Prayer, which, to my knowledge, is the only devotional book that includes a schedule for the reading of the Lutheran confessions.50
Yes indeed, Prof. Ziegler, the study of the Lutheran Confessions is called for by all Lutherans... just as Franz Pieper encouraged us to do.  Indeed, I have obtained a copy of the devotional book you mention above, and I see that Prof. George Kraus included a 6-page reading schedule at the end of his 240-page book.  I may use his 65-week schedule to actually read through the Book of Concord using the English translation from the Concordia Triglotta ... or from McCain's new modern English version, which also includes a 52-week reading schedule (page xxxiv ff.).  — But Prof. Ziegler, shouldn't you have mentioned that Bente's Historical Introduction would also be a good way to get helpful background and prepare for a study of the Lutheran Book of Concord?
A critical look at our ecclesial
50 George Kraus, The Pastor at Prayer (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1983). It was reprinted by Concordia Theological Seminary Press and is available from the Concordia Theological Seminary Bookstore. Henry E. Jacobs did something similar in arranging readings from the Book of Concord for Sundays and festivals according to the church year (Jacobs, editor, The Book of Concord, vol. 2. [Philadelphia: G. W. Frederick, 1893], 423-425).
Page 165
environment must not lead us into despair or into self-righteousness, if we remember the words spoken to Peter after his confession: The gates of Hell shall not prevail.
Sasse saw something lacking in Missouri's orthodoxy:
The great rediscovery of the Confession of the church which was the most joyous experience of the German Lutherans in the years between the two world wars was not shared by our American brethren in the faith.

Sasse's claim of "the great rediscovery of the Confession" by "German Lutherans in the years between the two world wars" is quite misleading.  And how could Ziegler swallow Sasse's statement when Ziegler even pointed out in his own essay (page 149 above) how the German 1930 Göttingen edition of the "Book of Concord" was flawed?  How could the constant stream of false doctrines from German Lutheran theologians (on election, unionism, inspiration, fellowship, etc.) lead to this "great rediscovery"?  What "great rediscovery" in Germany??  Could Sasse be referring to himself, or something called the "Confessing Church" in Germany, or his "Bethel Confession" which deliberately ignored the inspired and infallible nature of Holy Scripture?  Did Sasse mention the rare German pastor, Pastor Ernst Herrmann, who in 1931 cried out "Back To Luther!"?  And what about "the most joyous experience ... in the years between the two world wars"?  Wasn't the erring "1930 Göttingen edition" between World War I and World War II?  This was during the period that Franz Pieper was a keen observer of all things theological in the world, particularly in Germany and America.  I do not recall reading anything in Lehre und Wehre about this "great rediscovery", this "joyous experience" among Lutherans in Germany, except perhaps Pastor Ernst Herrmann.  No one else in the world would have been more joyous than Franz Pieper if Sasse's claim had any truth in it.  Rather I read of a constant stream of erroneous teachings from Germany that had to be combated by the (American) writers in Lehre und Wehre, especially by Pieper, Bente, Stoeckhardt, etc.  So how is it that the "American brethren in the faith", especially until Pieper and Bente died in 1931, supposed to share this "joyous experience", this "great rediscovery" in Germany? 
Now Ziegler continues his quote from Sasse:

For this reason even where, as is the case in Missouri, the unshakable authority of the Confession is held in complete earnest, there is nevertheless lacking in the affirmation of the Confession the great joy which should accompany genuine confessional loyalty. To confess, εξομολογhsetαι, confiteri always includes praise to God. Therefore Luther rightly counted the "Te Deum laudamus, te Dominum confitemur..." among the Confessions.
Are we mistaken if we miss this joy with our brethren in the Missouri Synod when they speak of the Confession? Are we mistaken in believing that their understanding of the doctrine is wholly orthodox, but only in the sense of correct doctrine, while real orthodoxy includes a joyous praise to God? In the case of the old Missouri of Walther it is still plainly noticeable that here even as in the classical time of Orthodoxy dogma and liturgy belong together – how greatly St. Louis formerly influenced liturgy in America!  If it were still so today would not then orthodox Lutheranism in particular have something of importance to say to the liturgical movement in America?51
I have read and re-read this statement by Sasse... is he praising Walther's "old Missouri" or chastising it?  If he is praising it, it appears he is chastising the "old Missouri" of Franz Pieper who carried Walther's teaching until the day he died!  It seems he is confusing the new English LC-MS with the "old Missouri", but they are not the same!  And so the "liturgical movement in America" fueled by Berthold von Schenk, A. C. Piepkorn and others was largely at war with the "old Missouri".  If Sasse is praising Walther's "old Missouri" and the "classical time of Orthodoxy", then it is a hollow praise indeed for he negates it on their Doctrine of the Inspiration of Scripture.
I wish Prof. Ziegler had omitted the above inflammatory quote from Hermann Sasse –– read it and weep, you people of today's LC-MS!  Here is your "à la Sasse"!  It is a great deception that Sasse perpetrates against especially the old (German) Missouri Synod of Franz Pieper.  His seeming praise of Walther is largely a false praise.  Ziegler and Sasse are confused on the history of the Missouri Synod, confusing the new English LCMS for the old (German) Missouri Synod.  Sasse is hardly targeting his attack against the new (English) LCMS, he is targeting especially his attack against the old Missouri, the old Missouri that clinged to this "extra-confessional" document called the Brief Statement which defends the absolute inspiration and inerrancy of the Holy Scriptures, that defends the doctrines of Conversion and Election against erring American Lutherans (heretics?)!  No, no! we are to have a "most joyous experience", a "great joy" when German Lutheran theologians destroy the veracity of Holy Scripture!  Madness!  It will not do that Sasse says "the unshakable authority of the Confession is held in complete earnest" in his "Missouri", for he totally negates this statement when he says this "Missouri" is "lacking... genuine confessional loyalty".  Sasse is making his charge against the old Missouri!  How he hated the Brief Statement, just like the opponents of the old Missouri Synod!  Lunacy!
Let me repeat... Sasse's charge is ludicrous against the old Missouri and the Brief Statement!  ... and so is today's LC-MS as it follows "à la Sasse"!  I must protest in the loudest possible way – Sasse was blind to the true joy, a joy from "real orthodoxy", exhibited at the unveiling of the ConcordiaTriglotta in 1921!  All other English translations of the Lutheran Confessions, both before and after the Concordia Triglotta, are now effectively for the trash, except McCain's edition which largely follows the Triglotta!  Let the reader judge who are the real confessional Lutherans...  it is the old (German) Missouri Synod and the Synodical Conference!
Orthodoxy is both: the right doctrine and the right praise of God. The Confessions' aim is to lead us so that we may join into the confession of the church catholic and thereby praise God with our confession and learn to praise Him properly in worship, first and foremost by receiving Christ's gift. All polemics have just this goal: To fight the deadly cacophony of heterodoxy in Christianity, so that there might be the harmonious preaching of the gospel among us.
Indeed, Prof. Ziegler, how true that statement is!  And it is for that goal that I dedicate this blog.
51 Sasse, "Confession and Scripture," 207-208.

- - - - - - - - - - - - -  end of Ziegler's essay - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

In the next Part 5g, I will begin my appeal to Prof. Ziegler.  I would not be doing this except he found Walther's theology of benefit to him elsewhere...  he shows signs of life.

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