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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Triglotta– Ziegler/Sasse: A Dedication (Part 5h)

This continues from Part 5g, (Table of Contents here) and concludes my 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 5h offers a dedication to Prof. Ziegler as I finish this series on the venerable Concordia Triglotta – The Book of Concord.

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May Prof. Ziegler forget the detractions of Hermann Sasse against the old (German) Missouri Synod and realize that Franz Pieper carried Walther's teaching until the day he died in 1931.  And any strength that the LCMS has today is in large part due to Franz Pieper and what vestiges may remain of old Missouri in Ziegler's new English LCMS – the "Graebner Synod".  Indeed, Prof. Ziegler, what vestiges of true Lutheranism that still remain in Germany, in the "Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church", is almost exclusively due to Walther, Pieper and Pieper's Brief Statement, for they are the ones who carried Lutheranism to our modern world!  They are the ones who point us back to the heart of the Lutheran Confessions, Lutheranism, Martin Luther, and the Holy Scriptures.  

And the Concordia Triglotta is a testimony to them.

Prof. Ziegler – I am dedicating my next series of blog posts for your edification – the founding essay of the Synodical Conference on the Doctrine of Justification.

This is not a small matter... Sasse's reticence regarding the doctrine of Scripture is at odds with Martin Luther, let alone the old Missouri Synod or "Lutheran Orthodoxy", and is at odds with Christian teaching.  Sasse has set himself up as the judge and protector of the Lutheran Confessions – against old Missouri.  And Sasse's points of attack against the Brief Statement are precisely where he erred or was weak – Scripture, Justification, and the Church.  I will not take the time here (perhaps in another blog series) to delve into his weakness on the Doctrine of Justification... but the teaching of the Brief Statement exposes his weakness.

But in spite of Prof. Jeffrey Kloha's claim, Sasse's writings on the sacraments and the church have not been helpful for my Christian faith...  they rather leave me wondering: "So what?"  So what? ... about his teaching on the Sacraments and the Church if Scripture isn't held up as Walther and Pieper teach, yea, Martin Luther and the Confessions?  You could talk to me all day long about the "Real Presence" and about "Church and Ministry", but I would have to say "So what?"  So what do I care when I'm not sure if I'm going to heaven or hell?  Only when I heard of the already existing Justification, the Objective Justification and the Universal Justification, did I become absolutely certain.  If I'm not right, then you had better start also correcting the comment (by Jeff Wild) on ConcordiaTheology.org on Walther's Doctrine of Justification that he (Jeff Wild) overstated his case when he said:

"For me this is the clearest description of the doctrine of justification that I have ever read."

Surely you will have to correct this comment by Jeff Wild to say that there was a better theologian, one who knew the Lutheran Confessions better than Walther and Pieper since this superior theologian chastised the Missouri Synod for its "elevation" of the Brief Statement –– the better theologian was Hermann Sasse!

Again, Prof. Ziegler – I am dedicating my next series of blog posts for your edification – the founding essay of the Synodical Conference.  I would like for you and all my readers to know just where Hermann Sasse was weak at best – the Doctrine of Justification.  And if you should scoff at this document and cling to Hermann Sasse as the better judge, then I will really have to worry about you for you will appear to be no different than the opponents of Pieper's Missouri Synod when Pieper's Last Words were:

I fear that some of our adversaries and earlier opponents themselves confess these Theses [Brief Statement] and yet with the heterodox they promote a mixed belief.

Are you also an opponent of the old Missouri that Pieper speaks of here?  — Prof. Ziegler, I tell you that Sasse was right!... at least when he said this, (Scripture and the Church, page 88):

"Luther does not know of errors in the Scripture."

With this statement, at least this much can be said of Hermann Sasse – that he did not directly deny that Luther fully held the doctrine of Inspiration, as other German theologians did deny – see Pieper's essay "Luther's Doctrine of Inspiration".

And if, Prof. Ziegler, you should get "Sasse" with me and continue to use him to criticize old Missouri, then I will have to get "Sasse" with you and quote all the "wonderful praise" that Sasse heaps on the old Missouri Synod.  Nein! Nein!, No! No! – it is those who were "uncomfortable" with Sasse's doctrinal error on Scripture, particularly Prof. Eugene Klug, who cried out against Sasse's errors (see this article in Concordia Journal July 1985) – they are the ones to be held up.

This blog is renewed in its efforts to neutralize the effects not only of Theodore Graebner's great error, but also the continued effects of his error through Hermann Sasse and now his followers.  I may even on occasion refer to today's LC-MS as the "Sasse" LC-MS!  ... even devote another series of blog posts to further evaluate the theology of Hermann Sasse.  But although I may be defending against Hermann Sasse, the real enemy is the great error, which is at the center of the life and death of the Missouri Synod, which caused the birth of today's LC-MS — the denial of the Doctrine of Universal, Objective Justification.

Prof. Ziegler — I am dedicating the following translation to you – for your edification, and so that you can continue to honor C.F.W. Walther, and also honor the Synodical Conference ... and Franz Pieper.  I beg you to not become a danger to those faithful congregations you mentioned earlier in your essay by using your extensive knowledge of "church history" and today's religious scene to further bring into question old Missouri's faithfulness to the Lutheran Confessions.  You must learn to properly distinguish – "Distinguendum Est" – between the old Missouri and the new English LC-MS.

Now for an antidote to Hermann Sasse (and Theodore Graebner) – I present an online English translation of the founding document of the Synodical Conference.  From 1872, I present the "Theses Over the Doctrine of Justification" authored by none other than C.F.W. Walther. See the next blog post...

Triglotta– Sasse/Ziegler: An Appeal (Part 5g); Perhaps Not!

This continues from Part 5f, (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 5g concludes my review with an appeal to Prof. Ziegler...

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How this review of Ziegler's detractions of the old Missouri pains me, for he had wonderfully defended the Lutheran Confessions in the first part of his essay against the onslaughts by the ELCA.  I could even overlook his statement that "very likely this new translation [Kolb-Wengert] will become the standard for coming decades" (page 145).  But I cannot overlook his use of Hermann Sasse's charges against the old Missouri, because the point of Sasse's charges are at the heart of the old Missouri (and the Lutheran Confessions!) – the Doctrine of Justification and the veracity of Holy Scripture!

Prof. Ziegler, may I suggest a way out of your dilemma, your "great challenges"?  Follow Luther's advice at the 1541 Diet of Regensburg – concentrate on the pure Doctrine of Justification.  Set aside your study of Hermann Sasse for awhile and study Walther's (and Pieper's) Doctrine of Justification – Objective and Universal!  Then, as Luther says, all the poisons will be neutralized.

And, Prof. Ziegler, when you have done that, then I have a project for you.  My detracters of last December claimed (as students of your CTS-FW) that there was a difference between Luther and the Formula of Concord on the teaching of original sin... and so would drive a wedge between them, and so claim for themselves great "Christian" scholarship.  Surely you did not teach this to them, so my project for you is to use true Christian scholarship (like you did in the first part of this essay and when you honored Walther) by showing them that they are wrong in substance, and give specific details.  Then I suggest that you find out who among your colleagues is teaching this false notion (MacKenzie?) and correct him.

Prof. Ziegler – I have partially read your source book by Prof. Jeffrey KlohaScripture and the Church : Selected Essays of Hermann Sasse.  I read it just to get the full impact of not only what Sasse taught, retracted, did not retract, "modified", and "clarified", but also the writings of those who follow him in today's LC-MS. These "Sasse theologians" know that Sasse admitted that he never espoused the "Missouri Synod" doctrine of Inspiration and Inerrancy, that of "Pieper" or the Brief Statement.  Perhaps you judge Kloha's work the same as Prof. Ronald Feuerhahn does in his Introduction (Scripture and the Churchpage vi):
Many have been intrigued, puzzled or disturbed by this part of Sasse's corpus; I judge Pastor Kloha's treatment of the topic not only the most thorough to date, but likely to remain the definitive historical study.

However I judge it differently...  and I do it by faith.  And most of today's LC-MS (à la Sasse) would call me a "little historian"... to borrow the phrase from C.S. Meyer.  Indeed the whole lot of LC-MS theologians Kloha, Feuerhahn, Nagel, Harrison, Pless, Rast, Scaer and even Robert Preus (Ibid., page 338) can all shout "But Sasse retracted!"... however it remains their problem that Sasse himself eventually said that

"... we [do not] believe it [Holy Scripture] to be free from the deficiencies and limitations of truly human writings" (Ibid., pg 396)

And

"... we [Lutherans] have... no reason to preserve the form of this doctrine as we find it in the Orthodox Fathers, and as it has developed in all churches of Christendom at the conclusion of the sixteenth and in the seventeenth century." (Ibid., pgs 395-396)

And the following is from Sasse in 1950 for which I could find no retraction:

But only with apprehension can one read the continuation, in which Walther warns against the so-called divine-human-ness (Gottmenschlichkeit) of Scripture and then continues thus: "... If I believe this, that the Bible also contains errors, then it is no longer a touchstone for me, but it really needs such a touchstone for itself."  If this statement means that Luther can be granted recognition only insofar as he is in agreement with Quenstedt [an "Orthodox Father"] on the doctrine of inspiration and inerrancy; if his statements concerning the levis error [slight error] were already a deviation from the pure doctrine, then the end of the Lutheran church would have arrived. (Ibid., pgs 155-156)

No, "the end of the Lutheran church" has not arrived because of Walther's teaching.  Rather Sasse's confusion on the "slight error" in Scripture statement by Martin Luther shows that he did not understand Luther (where Walther did) and Sasse rather takes a position against Luther that is similar to those of the opponents like those from the Roman Church.  Let the reader compare Walther's statement above to Sasse's argument against him.  Walther's statement bears repeating again here:
"... If I believe this, that the Bible also contains errors, then it is no longer a touchstone for me, but it really needs such a touchstone for itself." – C.F.W. Walther, 1886.
Sasse's so-called later teachings on Holy Scripture are unconvincing (at best), even with Prof. Jeffrey Kloha's heroic attempt to exonerate Sasse in his extensive book Scripture and the Church.  And Kloha concludes his own essay in this book, "Hermann Sasse Confesses the Doctrine De Scriptura Sacra", with an equivocating appeal that
"Perhaps his [Sasse's] writings on Scripture may now be [found helpful to many and] so treated." (Ibid., pg 423)

Since Kloha equivocates, I will choose the apparent choice that Kloha leaves for the reader: 
Perhaps not.
Rather Sasse's erring teaching should fall on deaf ears when compared to Walther, Pieper, Lutheran Orthodoxy, Luther... and especially the Scripture itself.  The Christian dare not sweep away the words of the Saviour as Sasse does::
The Scripture cannot be broken. John 10:35
And I read also that Prof. Eugene Klug judged Sasse's writing "Luther and the Word of God" (for the 450th anniversary for the Reformation) differently when he said (Ibid., page 410):
"How come?"– why a book [in 1967] sponsored by The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod is tilted in critical judgment of past theological giants of the church.

All of the LC-MS theologians who now praise Hermann Sasse are doing him a dishonor — that's right, they are dishonoring him when they overlook his weaknesses (e.g. on Scripture) as they exclusively praise him.  Even Harrison's tribute to the "House of My Fathers" which appears to honor Walther, Pieper, and others now appears to be rather a look at the old Missouri through the critical eyes of Hermann Sasse.  They do not use the same judgment when they judge Hermann Sasse.  They do not judge Sasse by the light of Walther, Pieper, Lutheran Orthodoxy, Luther... or the Holy Scripture itself.
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In the last post, Part 5h, of this "Concordia Triglotta" series, I prepare a dedication of the next series of posts for the edification of Prof. Roland Ziegler, a German native.  And although the German language is native to him, yet he has perhaps inadvertently overlooked where the real strength of the Missouri Synod (and the Synodical Conference) came from – The Lutheran Doctrine of Justification.

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
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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.
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51 Sasse, "Confession and Scripture," 207-208.

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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.

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
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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".

Triglotta–Sasse/Ziegler: Worship & Fellowship (5d)

This continues from Part 5c, (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 5d reviews the first 2 of 3 areas where Ziegler is concerned with "the present situation" in his LC-MS.

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 5c  - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
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 162)
  
  Reading this assessment [by Hermann Sasse] of Missouri after more than fifty years, one cannot miss the parallels to the present situation.
"Fifty years" – when I do the math on this, I realize that again, Prof. Ziegler is using only Hermann Sasse's judgments of the LCMS for his own.  If he had said "60 years", I might have thought he took into account the faithful editors of The Confessional Lutheran who called themselves the Confessional Lutheran Publicity Bureau, but apparently he does not.  This leaves me to worry about Prof. Ziegler...
Now Ziegler brings up the first of 3 points within today's LCMS – worship forms.
The discussion on worship is, if anything, much more heated than in 1951.  Those who favor a diversity in worship and "new" forms of worship (that are rather modern forms of camp revivals) invoke AC VII and FC X.  However, they adopt a proof-texting method that avoids the theological issue – do these forms really serve the pure preaching and proper administration of the sacraments or do they carry a theology in themselves that is alien to Lutheran theology?

"alien to Lutheran theology" is a bit weak... Ziegler should make a stronger case here and say "alien to Christian theology", for Lutheran theology is Christian theology... Pieper's books were titled Christian Dogmatics, not Lutheran Dogmatics.  Indeed, Prof. Ziegler seems himself to be struggling here against those in his own synod who "favor a diversity in worship and 'new' forms of worship".  Could it be that his adherence to Sasse's weaknesses on the Doctrine of Inspiration (and Justification) are at the root of his own struggle?
Now Ziegler brings up his 2nd of 3 points – church fellowship.
The question of church fellowship has troubled Missouri Synod since the middle part of the twentieth century.
Church fellowship seriously troubled the old Missouri Synod long before this... but Pieper's guiding hand kept it from harm until he died in 1931... he kept it in God's Word and in the pure doctrine of Justification.  Graebner could not have gone public with his 1939 pronouncement while Pieper lived.
The present controversy
----------------------------
Page 163
highlights the perpetual struggle to find an adequate understanding of what the condemnations in our confessions mean, and that these condemnations are not a sad sign of the lack of Christian love of the people in the fourth, fifth, or sixteenth centuries. Such condemnations are a characteristic feature of the church of all times, because a church that no longer condemns false teachings and has communion in sacred things with heretics, is thereby betraying her Lord.

This is a wonderfully strong statement! ... did he really say "heretics"?  He called those other American Lutheran synods "heretics"...  or did he mean just the Reformed?  After reading Sasse's teaching of "church fellowship", it seems Ziegler has distanced himself from Sasse in this area...

The spirit of our time and others, which is permeated by a totally relativistic mindset, is inherently inimical to confessional Christianity in any form.

"... in any form?"  Are you also defending the Heidelberg Catechism?  ... not just the Lutheran Confessions, but also the Reformed confession?  That is a bit odd... you just earlier pointed out the deceptive nature of the so-called agreements between Lutherans and Reformed... you seemed to even call them "heretics".

To uphold the Confessions not only on paper, but to allow them to form the life of the church means, for example, to practice closed communion.

Ziegler gives an example of "confessional life" to be closed communion.  Although this is a good example, yet did not Ziegler know that the old (German) Missouri Synod had its life in the Confessions and Scripture?... not just in closed communion, but also, for example, the Doctrine of Election (Formula of Concord XI), the Third Use of the Law, and the Doctrine of Justification.  Did Hermann Sasse teach properly on these doctrines?  Someone show me where Hermann Sasse properly taught the Doctrine of Justification – Objective and Universal!  Or will Ziegler claim the Lutheran Confessions do not teach this?

One of the great challenges is to teach this practice today in congregations, so that they understand that this is not expression of a loveless, judgmental, and/or sectarian mindset (the LCMS as a kind of very exclusive country club), but an integral part of the institution of Christ, and that open communion is not a sign of love, but rather of doctrinal and pastoral indifference.

Prof. Ziegler, do you not know that this teaching task is not just a "great challenge", it is impossible without the right Doctrine of Justification?  But with the right Doctrine of Justification, the "great challenge", the great burden, now becomes God's work through His Word.  Ah, but when the people hear that John 3:16 is actually true, that 2 Cor. 5:19 is not just wishful thinking but actually true, then Christians will gasp at the thought of communing with those who do not teach or follow these verses properly!... then "closed communion" appears to the Christians to be the God pleasing way.

Sasse once remarked that every church that gave up closed communion consequently lost the doctrine of the real presence. That is only logical, because, after all, it is up to you, what you think, and to which church you belong. It does not matter in the end, because what is important is your personal relationship to Jesus, abstracted from any ecclesiological context, void of doctrinal content.

This remark of Sasse is weak because "the real presence" is given up when God's Word, the foundation of the sacrament, is given up.  And so churches that "gave up closed communion" first gave up God's Word... something the old (German) Missouri Synod did not do.
- - - - - - - - - Continued in Part 5e - - - - - - - - - -

In the next Part 5e, Ziegler covers "Church and Ministry", or rather "Ministry and Church".  Unfortunately he continues to stumble badly as he brings in the notion that "democracy" influenced the Church Government of the old (German) Missouri Synod.  Did he get this notion from Sasse or his colleagues in Fort Wayne?  I wish he had maintained the theological strength he showed from the first part of this essay and in his essay celebrating Walther...

Triglotta– Sasse/Ziegler, "Statementarians" (5c); The Confessional Lutheran

This continues from Part 5b, part of a series concerning the newly available book Concordia Triglotta from CPH. (See Table of Contents here)  And Part 5c continues 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 title of Ziegler's essay was "The New Translation of the Book of Concord: Locking the Barn Door After...".

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 5b  - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
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 162)

Sasse sees another area of conspicuous absence of the Confessions in the debate between the Statementarians ...
What?  Ziegler just above mentioned the Brief Statement and now he speaks of the "Statementarians"... does he mean the adherents of the Brief Statement?  Oh no, Ziegler assumes all his readers are quite familiar with another faction in the LCMS who published "A Statement (of the 44)"... these are the "Statementarians" that Ziegler is referring to.  But Prof. Ziegler, you are so careful in delineating the false doctrines of the Reformed against the Lutherans earlier in your essay, but now you so casually bring up the "Statementarians"... as if they are the old Missouri...  maybe even followers of the "Brief Statement"?  Surely you know it was quite the opposite, for the "Statementarians" were the "contrarians" and clandestinely fought against the Brief Statement because it fought against the false doctrines of the other Lutherans in America... and Germany.
and those represented by the Confessional Lutheran. In A Statement ...
"A Statement" of the 44, by the Statementarians, not the Brief Statement!
there is no reference to the Confessions, instead of that there is mentioned "the great Lutheran principle of the inerrancy, certainty, and all sufficiency of Holy Writ" ...
How horrible!... to appeal to the Lutheran principle of the inerrancy, certainty and all sufficiency of "Holy Writ"!  Isn't it terrible that even the erring Statementarians should (weakly) appeal to this?!
and a general appeal to every article of the "historic Lutheran position."47 The great deficiency Sasse sees in A Statement is that the question of church fellowship is not discussed as a dogmatic issue:
By moving the whole problem into the area of ethics and pastoral theological casuistry (how does the individual pastor, or the individual Christian, or the individual congregation act in a given case on the basis of Scripture?), the "ecumenical" Missourians overlook the fact that the problem is dogmatic and theological, and therefore cannot be solved with the means of pastoral care alone.48
There The Confessional Lutheran was right, when they saw that a supposed ethical reform had become a dogmatic one. The problem is on both sides that in a time of crisis and change, when traditional concepts are challenged, there is no further and new examination, which leads either to a new proof or a revision, but there is either an agenda shaped by politics (pan-Lutheran union), or ethics (less judgmental and more loving), or a mere repetition of traditional statements, without being able to show their confessional and biblical foundation.

I have read and re-read the above section many times but I still cannot quite figure out what Ziegler and Sasse are trying to say here.  Sasse may have some correct points against "A Statement" of the 44, but it is quite muddled.  The praise of the faithful defenders of Lutheran doctrine among those publishing The Confessional Lutheran seems legitimate, but then they also are described as having a problem... a problem in offering "a mere repetition of traditional statements [Brief Statement?], without being able to show their confessional and biblical foundation."  I believe that Sasse is clearly taking aim at the Brief Statement.  How he chafes at the old Missouri's defense of the Doctrine of Inspiration!  But this begs the question for Prof. Roland Ziegler... is he too taking aim at the Brief Statement and its strong stand on the doctrines of the inerrancy and infallibility of "Holy Writ"?  What about it, Prof. Ziegler?
- - - - - - - - - Continued in Part 5d - - - - - - - - - -

Indeed, Prof. Ziegler, are you "on the fence" between Sasse's "human side" of Scripture ... or Walther's divinely inspired, absolutely errorless Bible?  Or do you think you can stand on that tightrope?
The next Part 5d will cover Ziegler's "present situation".

Triglotta– Sasse/Ziegler criticize "Missouri" (5b)... Brief Statement over Confessions?

This continues from Part 5a, part of a series concerning the newly available book Concordia Triglotta from CPH. (See Table of Contents here)  And Part 5b continues 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 title of Ziegler's essay was "The New Translation of the Book of Concord: Locking the Barn Door After...".  Although this essay has value in pointing out the deficiencies of the unionistic Kolb-Wengert edition, it detracts from this message (on pages 160-165) when it begins to criticize the old Missouri Synod.  And so Prof. Ziegler has forced me to study the writings of Hermann Sasse and the defenses of Sasse by today's (English) LC-MS.  What I found was a not-so-veiled attack on the teachings of the old Missouri.   How so?  Read on...

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 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)

4) The Confessions in the LCMS (pg 161)
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".
observed in 1951 in his article "Confession and Scripture in the Missouri Synod": "The Lutheran Confessions no longer play the role in the life and in the theological thinking of the Missouri Synod, ...
I see...  Prof. Ziegler is holding up Hermann Sasse as a great champion of the Lutheran Confessions.  But 1951 is 30 years after the Concordia Triglotta was first published.  It is 20 years after Franz Pieper died.  Indeed it was 12 years after Prof. Theo. Graebner declared there was no difference between the LC-MS and other American Lutheran churches in the Doctrine of Justification, and thus the new (English) LCMS was born!
in fact, of all of American Lutheranism by far which they played during the 19th century."46 
This is a misrepresentation of the facts, especially by Sasse who ignored the great work and celebration surrounding the Concordia Triglotta in 1921 – in the Twentieth Century!  Sasse would not see this because his own doctrine of Scripture was seriously flawed.
Sasse criticizes a mindset that takes the confessions for granted, ...
That "mindset that takes the confessions for granted" came from the new English LCMS!... NOT the old (German) Missouri Synod before the death of Franz Pieper!
that no longer seeks to demonstrate their biblical foundation, that no longer applies the Confessions to the current theological questions, but rather produces new theological documents, like the Brief Statement, ...
This charge is absolutely false!  It is a slap at the old Missouri's tenacious teaching of the absolutely inerrant, infallible Holy Scriptures, a doctrine in which Sasse erred in 1951, the time of this writing 1951. (see Sasse's Bethel Confession)  Only later did Sasse supposedly "remove" and "clarify" his stand against the absolutely inerrant, infallible Bible... yet he judges the old Missouri Synod, with its Brief Statement which "takes the confessions for granted".
which then – for all practical purposes – take the place of the Confessions.

I can scarcely catch my breath when I read this outrageous statement by Sasse... and Ziegler has the audacity to repeat it!  Is this what you really believe, Prof. Ziegler, that Pieper's Brief Statement was meant to take the place of the Lutheran Confessions?  If so, are you also weak on the Doctrine of the inerrancy and inspiration of the Holy Scriptures?
He points to the strange lack of confessional reflection in liturgical matters,...
It was Friedrich Bente who said (which Pieper repeats) of the Lutheran Church that it was "not her beautiful liturgical forms... but the precious truths confessed by her symbols in perfect agreement with the Holy Scriptures constitute the true beauty and rich treasures of our Church, as well as the never-failing source of her vitality and power."  So if this charge by Sasse (and Ziegler for its repetition) is to stick, then it sticks only to his LCMS, the new English LCMS that Prof. Theo. Graebner spearheaded, definitely not to the old (German) Missouri Synod.
so that, for example, in the case of the debate on the introduction of an
----------------------------
45 Empie and McCord, Marburg Revisited, 191.
46 Hermann Sasse, "Confession and Scripture in the Missouri-Synod" in Herman Sasse, Scripture and the Church: Selected Essays, edited by Jeffrey J. Kloha and Ronald R. Feuerhahn (Saint Louis: Concordia Seminary, 1995), 205.
Page 162

Sasse's charge clearly should be aimed at the very ones who hold him up today – Profs. David Scaer and other champions of the "Liturgical Movement" in the LCMS (the followers of Arthur Carl Piepkorn and  Berthold von Schenk).  What irony comes from Prof. Ziegler's repetition of Sasse's charge on this point.
- - - - - - - - - Continued in Part 5c - - - - - - - - - -

There is no way that I would have now spent many weeks to study the writings of Hermann Sasse... except Prof. Ziegler and President Matthew Harrison make the attempt to mix Sasse's teaching with those of Walther and Pieper...  but they are like oil and water.  The next Part 5c continues Ziegler's breath-taking judgment of old Missouri...