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Saturday, March 15, 2014

LDJ–1859/1880-Part 2 (Section A- pages 3-5)

This blog continues from my previous posts of Introduction (see Part 1 for Table of Contents).  Below begins my (BackToLuther) translation of this seminal essay/book by C.F.W. Walther from the German language to English.
To avoid any confusion, the continuing reference to pagination is to the 1880 reprint book of the original 1859 essay:
Underlining follows Walther's emphasis in original.
Hypertext links have been copiously added for reference to original sources and on several subjects.
Highlighting is mine.
March 15, 2014 - Soli Deo Gloria!
= = = = = = = = = = = =  Section A: Pages 3-5 (1880)  = = = = = = = = = = = =
[1880-3], [W1859-11], [Essays1-31]
The Lutheran Doctrine of Justification,
[by C.F.W. Walther]
a presentation over the following points:
1. That the pure doctrine of justification was entrusted alone to the Evangelical Lutheran Church.
2. How did it come about that this consciousness to a great extent has faded even within the Evangelical Lutheran Church?
3. What are the measures to be taken to bring back this diminished consciousness?
That the pure doctrine of justification was entrusted alone to the Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Motto: Jer. 9:24

§ 1
That the doctrine of the justification is the most important doctrine of the whole divine revelation, this is the common confession of our church in its symbols as well as in the private writings of its pure faithful teachers.
So it is called among other things in Article  IV of the Apology of the Augsburg Confession – Of Justification:  “But since in this controversy the chief topic of Christian doctrine is treated, which, understood aright, illumines and amplifies the honor of Christ [which is of especial service for the clear, correct understanding of the entire Holy [1880-4] Scriptures, and alone shows the way to the unspeakable treasure and right knowledge of Christ, and alone opens the door to the entire Bible], and brings necessary and most abundant consolation to devout consciences, we ask His Imperial Majesty to hear us with forbearance in regard to matters of such importance..” [Article VI, 2 - from the German text - Triglotta, p. 120-121; Tappert, p. 107]
So it is also said in the Smalcald Articles of the doctrine of the justification: “Of this article nothing can be yielded or surrendered [nor can anything be granted or permitted contrary to the same], even though heaven and earth, and whatever will not abide, should sink to ruin. For there is none other name under heaven, given among men whereby we must be saved, says Peter, Acts 4:12. And  [W1859-12] with His stripes we are healed, Is. 53:5. And upon this article all things depend which we teach and practice in opposition to the Pope, the devil, and the [whole] world. Therefore, we must be sure concerning this doctrine, and not doubt; for otherwise all is lost, and the Pope and devil and all things gain the victory and suit over us.” (Part II, Art. I, paragr. 5, Triglotta pgs 460-463; Tappert, p. 292; Walther’s emphasis)
So Luther further writes initially in his private writings, namely in a letter to Johannes Brenz:  “Such a gift of God, so special in you before others, is particularly dear to me and I honor you that you emphasize the doctrine of the righteousness of faith so faithfully and uprightly in all your books. Because this point is the centerpiece and cornerstone, through which alone God bears the Church, strengthens, builds, maintains and protects it and without which the church of God could not exist one hour; you yourself well know, dear Brenz, that you are one with me and for this cause such an article so powerfully advances. Because no one can uprightly teach something in the church or properly resist a foe, that this article or (as St. Paul [1880-5] calls in 2 Tim. 4: 3) the sound  pure doctrine has not rightly grasped or, as Paul says, doesn't hold fast on this doctrine." (“Over Johannes Brenz Exposition of the Prophet Amos”, Walch W1 XIV 191-192., StL Ed. 14, col.168, not in Am. Ed.)
Furthermore Luther writes hereof on Genesis 21:17:  “This is the chief article of our faith; and if you either do away with it, as the Jews do, or corrupt it, as the papists do, the church cannot exist. Nor can God keep His glory, which consists in this, that He is [gracious and] compassionate and wants to forgive sins and to save for the sake of His Son.”  (Walch W1 I, 2163, paragr. 212; StL Ed. 1, col. 1441, # 212 ; Am. Ed. 4, 60])
Luther writes again on Isa. 53:4 [11]:  “As long as the Church confessed this article, it remained in the faith; and the faith has at times been bright, at other times dimmer. He says himself in Matt. 28:20: ‘I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world’; without this article the church does not stand. Indeeed, Mohammed has devastated the church, and the pope has obscured the doctrine of faith, but where this article has remained, there God has preserved His church.” (Walch W1 VI, col. 1156, paragr. 200; StL Ed. 6, col. 721, paragr. 200;  Am. Ed. vols. 16-17 are not the same but followed a  later/earlier(?) Weimar Edition version)
Furthermore, in his “Warning to His Dear German People” Luther says: “This doctrine, I say, they [the papists] will not tolerate under any circumstances. We are able to forego it just as little; for if this doctrine [Essays1-32] vanishes, the church vanishes. Then no error can any longer be resisted, because the Holy Spirit will not and cannot dwell with us apart from this doctrine. For he is to glorify Christ to us [John 16:14]. The world has often gone to wrack and ruin over this doctrine by deluge, tempest, flood, war, and other plagues. On account of this doctrine Abel and all the saints were slain; on account of this, too, all Christians must die. Yet it has remained, and it must remain, and the world must continue to perish on account of it. Thus the world must also submit to it now and be overthrown on account of it. No matter how the world rages and rants, it must let this [1880-6] doctrine stand, and it must fall into the depths of hell on account of it! Amen.”  (Walch W1 XVI, col. 2015, paragr. 94 ; StL Ed. 16, col. 1664, paragr. 94;  Am. Ed. 47, 54) [W1859-13]

= = = = = cont'd in next Section B = = = = = = = 
As I research the source materials that Walther used, I find at times that the American Edition of Luther's Works attempted to be more "scholarly" than the lowly St. Louis Edition of the old (German) Missouri Synod.  A classic example of this is Luther's lectures on the book of Isaiah – see above section on Isaiah 53:11.  Jaroslav Pelikan (the editor) almost gleefully thumbed his nose at the original published version ("edition of scholia") and instead used a later version from a more recently discovered manuscript ("Lauterbach manuscript" - see "Introduction to Volume 16", pg x) calling it "the version closest to Luther himself"... a preposterous statement!  Jaroslav Pelikan and virtually all of those associated with the American Edition (editors, general editors, associate editors, translators) knew almost nothing spiritually of Luther.

So if you want to know more of Luther, you will listen to Walther, and discard the comments of Jaroslav Pelikan and all the other editors of the American Edition.  The next Section B continues with page 6 of the 1880 book...

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