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Saturday, November 16, 2013

Triglotta– Sasse/Ziegler: Ministry & Church (5e)

This continues from Part 5d, (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 5e reviews the 3rd of 3 areas where Ziegler is concerned with "the present situation" in his LC-MS - Church and Ministry.

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 5d  - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
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)

4) The Confessions in the LCMS (pg 163-164)

Now Ziegler brings up his third area of concern for today's LCMS – office of ministry:
A third area of theological debate where Missouri's confessional stand is challenged today is the question of the office of the ministry. The ongoing saga of the Wichita amendment to Augsburg Confession XIV shows a church that is, to say the least, deeply confused about the doctrine of the call.49  What makes a pastor a pastor? Obviously not the
49 At the Synodical convention in Wichita 1989, ... (see original essay)
Page 164
call or appointment to preach the word and administer the sacrament, because then there would be no layministers and licensed deacons in Missouri. The distinction between the priesthood of all believers and the divinely established ministry is blurred, and the traditional polity of the Missouri Synod is not to blame for that. The problem, again, lies in a general lack of formation through the Confessions. In this confessional vacuum, egalitarian ideas rooted in American evangelicalism stream in. Another variety of the destruction of the ministry is a mixing of the two kingdoms, so that suddenly democracy becomes a theological value.

This paragraph concerns me as Ziegler states "... the traditional polity of the Missouri Synod is not to blame for that".  "Traditional polity"?  Is Ziegler implying the old Missouri's polity is not apostolic but rather "traditional" (man's doing) and "democratic", maybe "American"?  I'm afraid it is so for he later states that "suddenly democracy becomes a theological value".  How sad!
Where Sasse worried that the Brief Statement would overshadow the Confessions,...

How horrible! ... that Hermann Sasse is "worried" that the Brief Statement would overshadow the Confessions!  How terrible this worry of Sasse paints the Brief Statement!  Yet he can author the Bethel Confession and the Australian Theses on Scripture and Inspiration and not worry that they "would overshadow the Confessions"!  Now I know why today's LC-MS does not teach the Brief Statement in any meaningful way because of Sasse's great worry that it "overshadows the Confessions"! ... nor does the LC-MS teach the Lutheran Confessions in any meaningful way!  Oh yes, the LC-MS has the Brief Statement on their website, but I hardly recall that it was ever used in my confirmation class to show how other American Lutherans were in error on the Doctrine of Inspiration.  But now the LC-MS is off the hook to teach the infallibility and inspiration of Holy Scripture because it might "overshadow the Confessions"!  What rot!

today the issue is, what governs the theological debate of the LCMS: CTCR documents and Handbook regulations or Scripture and Confessions?
I can hardly sympathize with Prof. Ziegler here since he wants to cut off the Brief Statement and still attempt to defend the Scripture and Confessions against "CTCR documents and Handbook regulations".  Dear God, the LC-MS is getting what it deserves and how horrible it is!... to drown in the doctrines of man mixed with God's doctrines!  But Prof. Ziegler, the Bible is Inspired, the Bible is Inerrant!... even if Sasse questioned and vacillated on  it ("human limitations") and says we should back down when "confronted with problems in the fields of science and historical research which were unknown to our fathers." [page 1 here]  Surely the Lutheran Confessions need to be updated because of the modern "fields of science and historical research"!  But the believer has absolutely no assurance, no certainty, no basis for his faith unless he can rest in the absolute truth of God's Word!  A faith with any other basis is like "chaff which the wind driveth away" [Psalm 1:4], "sinking sand".
Certainly, such an opposition might seem to be a caricature and misleading. And, although I sadly miss in our church calendar December 10, the anniversary of the burning of the canon law by Luther in front of the Elster gate in Wittenberg, I by no means want to condemn all and any form of church law. In this world we must have it. Nevertheless, when theological issues are no longer decided by Scripture and its correct exposition, the Confessions, but by other documents, however good and orthodox they might be in themselves, then the question of the reality of confessional subscription must be posed.
After re-reading this last sentence, it occurred to me that Prof. Ziegler may be including the Brief Statement with those "other documents", the "CTCR documents and Handbook regulations"... is this true, Prof. Ziegler?  Surely not!  Surely you can see that the spirit of the Brief Statement is not the same... surely you can see that, far from leading the sheep astray, the Brief Statement rather leads the people back to the Lutheran Confessions.  Surely you can see in Pieper's introduction to the Concordia Triglotta the confessional and scriptural heart that generated the great defense against errors of the other American Lutherans outside the Synodical Conference, the great defense called the "Brief Statement of 1932".  Surely you see that those erring in doctrine are not quoting the Brief Statement for their errors but rather fighting against it?  Surely you won't lean so dependently on the worries of Hermann Sasse, will you?  Maybe you will see that it was the spirit of Sasse that is carrying the day for the "CTCR documents and Handbook regulations" that you now protest against.   You should see this since you desire faithfulness to Scripture, a Scripture that is inspired and inerrant.

There is always the danger that a church becomes a self-referential system; unfortunately, Christ would then be outside of this system.
- - - - - - - - - Continued in Part 5f - - - - - - - - - - 

Then next Part 5f will cover Ziegler's "Conclusion".

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