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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Synodical Conference–1872, Part 9:The Lutheran Difference! Objective, A King's Pardon; Zwingli's error

This continues the series of blog posts (Table of Contents is in Part 1) publishing my translation of the published essay from the inaugural meeting of the Synodical Conference in 1872.  This covers pages 49-51 from the original German essay.
    So many to choose from, but here is one quote:
"But grace is, yes, something outside of us, not in us..." (== objective, extra nos)
    There is clear teaching on SCR page 51 on Zwingli's error... not just over the "Real Presence", but over the "real power".  God does not say "Believe it or not".  No, He shoves His pardon (by the means of grace) "in our face!".  He stretches out His hand all the day long... Romans 10:21.
    Unfortunately, I can find no one in today's LC-MS who teaches, confesses and defends the Doctrine of Justification as it is purely taught in this essay.  And especially have I not found this teaching from President Matthew Harrison who presumes to be our interpreter of all things "Walther".  It is this doctrine which exposes his own "problem" (a favorite word of Hermann Sasse).  There is no real "problem" for true Christians.
    No, I do not publish this essay to refute only those who openly blaspheme against it's teaching, this essay cries out against those church bodies who formerly made up the true Synodical Conference, those who say among themselves "We teach justification", or "We teach objective justification", but do not teach and defend it like their fathers in the faith who taught as per this founding essay in 1872.  Any who teach it this way are the only truly "confessional Lutherans", and they are very few and far between.  Are you listening, Prof. Roland Ziegler?
    Pssst... want to know what the Gospel is?  It's taught here in this essay... and in no other way – Acts 4:12.
Part 9
===============  Synodical Conference–1872  ===============
"Over the Doctrine of Justification."
by C.F.W. Walther
(cont'd from Part 8)
[SCR 49] It is particularly emphasized that the promise of God is not an empty sound, but a ministration / presentation / communication / proffer / administration (Darreichung) of the benefits, so that God really also brings in the means of grace that which He has promised in the Gospel,  and likewise is it with the Sacraments. Thereby we distinguish ourselves from all who do not believe that there are means of grace, through which God really offers, presents, and gives us what Christ has acquired for us by His suffering and death.

When someone, in fear over his sins, asks the enthusiasts  (Schwaermer): What shall I do to be saved, that I receive grace and certainty of God's grace, that my sins are forgiven?  The enthusiasts reply: Pray, pray; fall on your knees and wrestle with God until He first gives it into the heart.  And when they then feel as if God had given it to them in their hearts, then they jump up and shout: Glory, now I have grace! Now far be it from us to deny that the Spirit of grace also makes Himself noticeable in the heart of the sinner, if man does not wantonly close himself to His workings; but it is a fearful mistake if one holds this feeling, which stirs in the enthusiasts through their praying and wrestling, to be that grace itself.  In the best case (because very often this feeling is still effected by entirely different causes, not by the Holy Spirit) it is an effect [emphasis added] of grace by the Holy Ghost that the enthusiasts call grace.  But grace is, yes, something outside of us [objective, BTL], not in us, just as righteousness is something outside of us.

[KM paragraph]
Therefore when a poor sinner comes to a Lutheran pastor and says: Where then am I to find grace? I have now realized that I am a poor lost and [KM 25] condemned sinner, that I therefore cannot stand before the righteous God! So answers the Lutheran pastor: Comfort yourself with God’s grace. But this grace is in the Gospel and in the holy Sacraments. Believe that what God has told you there, and comfort yourself with the grace which is thereby given you. Comfort yourself with your Baptism and that grace was already given to you in it. Use the Absolution, go to the Holy Supper, because there it is that God offers, communicates, gives, and seals to you grace and forgiveness of all your sins. But this is just what the fanatics deny. They know indeed of a grace, but they do not know where to find this grace; so they want on their knees to pray for it.  It would be terrible indeed to say anything against prayer; for we know that God has commanded it, and promised that He would hear us; but likewise dreadful it to think that prayer is a means of grace. After all, only he can pray surely who already [LS XXX/24, 186-3] has grace. To invoke God for grace I can indeed and ought to do in prayer;  but to convey, give, bring grace, this prayer cannot do. But herein all the sects err. They all say of the Word of God that it has a witnessing and perhaps also an causing power, but they deny the imparting power of it.  But one must distinguish between the vis et virtus operativa et collativa, [SCR 50] the effective and the imparting power.
Johann Benedict Carpzov [† 1657, the Elder] writes: "The Augsburg Confession here in the 5th Article treats of the Word and the Sacraments in so far as they are efficacious means and active in the manner of physical operation (physischer Wirkung), inasmuch as the question in this place is: Whence comes faith? and whether Word and Sacraments effect it? For beyond this manner of working there applies to the Word and the Sacraments still another, which is of a moral sort, and consists in the giving, imparting or offering, communicating and sealing of the justifying benefit. For one may not confuse that which Word and Sacraments do in so far as they produce, nourish, or awaken faith, with that which the Word does in so far as it first of all contributes (concurrit) to justification. For while in the first case Word and Sacrament act as tools which not only effect (effectiva) the supernatural powers towards believing, but also excite (excitativa) the spiritual movements of faith, in the second case, that is in justification, they are tools which only give, communicate, and seal the justifying benefit, which is Christ's obedience. In short, Word and Sacrament are considered in a twofold manner: 1) as effective and kindling (effectiva et excitativa) tools, in so far as they effect (bewirken-produce) faith; 2) as giving, imparting, and sealing (dativa, collativa, et obsignativa) tools, so far as they first of all contribute to justification" (Isagog. in libros symbol. Lips. 1675, p. 251: Google Books).
The sects think that the Word does not have this giving and conveying power. Therefore they do not believe that the means of grace are the hand of God, through which everything which we need for the salvation of our souls is bestowed to us. But whoever does not believe this, does not at all believe that there are means of grace.  He who wants to speak of means of grace, must believe grace to be acquired already, which grace one obtains through such means, through which God distributes it as with His hand: for if means exist by which grace is conveyed, then this can be the case only because grace already exists. But after we have considered and adopted the fifth thesis, it is to be assumed that we are all convinced of this: righteousness has already been  acquired, grace is already there, and now we may confidently go and say: Word and Sacrament are the hand of God, [KM 26] through which there is offered to us what Christ has acquired and brought us from the grave. When therefore we speak of the power and effectiveness of the means of grace, the meaning is this: that Word and Sacrament are not a mere notice and proclamation, nor a mere power generating faith, but a giving, imparting, and sealing of the goods themselves which they notify and proclaim. Rom. 1:16 calls the Gospel a power of God unto salvation. So not only a testimony of salvation, not only a direction how to obtain righteousness, [SCR 51] but an imparting of the same is here ascribed to the Gospel.
[KM paragraph]
It is to be strictly distinguished then between the effecting and the communicating power; for the Word of God is a Word of the Spirit, which produces divine and heavenly effects in us, works in us repentance, faith, and sanctification, but it does not bring us only the message that all the benefits of grace are there and intended for us, but it brings us also the goods themselves. It is not like a message accidentally heard behind the bars of a prison, but the sort which an authorized ambassador of the King brings with his sealed letter of pardon.  [LS paragraph]  
Such an authorized agent is every believing Christian now after Christ's death and resurrection, after God has sent the message of pardon out into all the world.  If people don't believe him, he takes the Bible and says: Here it stands, only take it out: God so loved the world, or: God was in Christ, etc. So when a preacher comes before his people and proclaims: God was in Christ, etc., so this is nothing other than when the authorized agent steps before the condemned criminal and says: Do not worry, you shall not be killed; I declare herewith to you in the name of [LS XXX/24, 187-1] His Majesty the King: you are pardoned.  And when the preacher points to the Word of God and the Sacraments, then if the criminal would not believe him he acts as would the authorized agent: he then points to the sealed letter of pardon and says: there it stands, read it yourself.  So the preacher says to the anxious and apprehensive one: Here, read God's letter of grace, sealed with the blood of Christ and attested by the Holy Ghost, and believe it, so it will be confirmed by the same spirit in your heart. [KM paragraph]
So then one should distinguish between the power of the means of grace according to which they can work faith and everything which must happen in a man in order that he remain a child of God, and the power and effect by which they also really impart and transmit that which the words openly say. The former power is conceded by most of those who still want to be Christians.  Zwingli of course did not concede it; he said that God needed no wagon, and that anything to do with the sensible has no power in the realm of the spiritual.  However, far from it that all who are in the Reformed Church, should believe this; so it is rather a fact that all simple-minded people in the sects believe Christ's words, which say: My words are Spirit and are Life, and do not explain them to mean: My words convey the message about the spirit and life.  But they all deny that the Word has power to impart that of which it speaks. They mean that the doctrine of conversion would thereby be overturned. [Note: see Brief Statement – Conversion]  Now everyone must of course be converted if he wants to go to heaven, but it is not through conversion that he gets to heaven and comes into possession of the benefits of grace, but thereby that God gives them to him. Of course he does not get them if he does not take them, but his taking does not make the goods, but God's grace and the redemption of Jesus Christ. [SCR 52] These are therefore present and valid even without man's acceptance, ...
= = = = = = continued in Part 10 = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Note to Prof. Roland Ziegler: Pieper's Brief Statement clearly defends the true Lutheran doctrine of Conversion.  So why is it that you disparage the Brief Statement of 1932?
The next Part 10...

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