Search This Blog

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

LDJ–1859/1880-Part 9 (pages 24-26)—the Law's proper role; nasty names

This continues from the previous Part 8 presenting a new translation of C.F.W. Walther's seminal essay in 1859 (see Part 1 for Table of Contents).  In this Part 9, Walther included among Luther's sayings these 2:

1) "... the proper role of the Law" – What is Luther's "proper role of the Law"?  Its role is proper when it is properly distinguished... which Walther expounded in his book The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel.

2) "Nasty names" – Luther did not mind being called these by the sectarians.  But how many "religious" people today call Luther an "anti-semite"? ...or other names?  But Luther would not care, for he always countered the factious spirits with "Hear ye Him!" (Matt. 17:5).

Note: the original 1880 book is now officially on Google Books --> here.
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.
= = = = = = = = = = = =  Part 9: Pages 24-26 (1880)  = = = = = = = = = = = =
(cont'd from Part 8)
The Lutheran Doctrine of Justification.
[by C.F.W. Walther]
[1880-24] ... which, as I have great concern, after our time [this doctrine] will again become obscured and even fully suppressed. Because also now while I’m still alive and diligently teaching why both Law and Gospel, are to serve particular uses, each serving its special purpose—even now there are nevertheless very few who, while confessing the Gospel and giving it due honor, really understand the proper role of the Law. What do you think will happen when I have laid my head down [and die]?” (Walch W1 VIII, 2257-2258, paragr. 456; StL Ed. 9, col. 413-414 , paragr. 456 ; [cf. Am. Ed. 26, 312])
Further writes Luther in the year 1530 on John 17:21:  “I say it to my soul, I have seen and experienced so much, with but few exceptions, where both preachers and writers who want to be and should be the best (with few exceptions) however know nothing of this point; and if on occasion they do get close to the truth, it is still as something they’ve seen or heard in a dream. They can all adeptly scold the pope, monks, and priests, but the right reason, so that one must overthrow the papacy and all kinds of false doctrine,  they truly know little of.  That is why I also have to so diligently admonish that indeed a passage like this, and the whole chapter, be studied so carefully;  because I know of no other place where this central point of all Christian doctrine is so richly summarized and taught in such powerful words, namely that in Christ we have everything what we should have, and nothing in ourselves [W1859-24] nor in some other man. The words are simple-minded and silly; [Essays1-38] that is why the clever spirits rush about them and despise them like drunkards, as though they had understood them from childhood on up, and meanwhile with writing and preaching fill the world with their dreams and own thoughts.” (Walch W1 VIII, 788-789, paragrs. 211-212; StL Ed. 8, col.833-834, paragrs. 211-212; not in Am. Ed. )  [1880-25]  
On John 6:57 the dear man writes:  “I handle this article not in vain so diligently, for I fear that this doctrine will not remain.  Unfortunately there are many among us already who despise and make light of this article.  So fights the pope and the bishops hard against it.  And there will again come preachers who will preach and teach this article drowsily and lazily: so will it happen soon and will come one error after another.  For even now, under the dominion of our prince, there is arising such a contempt of the Gospel, such ingratitude and forgetfulness, that my heart is about to break. I would never have dreamed that people would so soon forget and ignore the misery and the wretchedness which afflicted us in the papacy. We are living smugly  as though we have always had such freedom. No one wants any longer to support churches, seminaries, and schools. If preachers could be made to die of hunger, people would gladly do it; they persecute the preachers, and if they could, they would prefer to banish them from the land as well.  But it has gone this way for the Gospel before and will be so in the future. The children of Israel were so grievously plagued in Egypt that their infants were drowned and they were totally suppressed; but when the Exodus came, and they were freed from the Egyptians, all was soon forgotten. The only thing they remembered were the onions and fleshpots. Such things are still happening today; we think only of what serves peace and pleasures. Well then, that will bring every type of trouble!  Hard times will oppress the poor, pestilence will choke the rich, yes, also blood will be shed, many tyrants and sectarian spirits will arise, the Word of God will again fall.  But as for me, I shall continue to study and teach this article as long as I [1880-26] live; it shall be persistently stressed in my sermons, for I know full well what blessings this article produces wherever it is taught, and what damages is caused where it is not.” (Walch W1 VII, 2129-2130, paragrs 387-388; StL Ed. 7, 2363-2364, paragrs 387-388 [cf. Am. Ed. 23, 152])
So speaks Luther finally in his last sermon, (*)  preached at Wittenberg:  “So far you have heard the true and genuine Word; now be on your guard against your own ideas and intelligence. The devil will light the light of reason and rob you of your faith; as it happened to the Anabaptists and Sacramental Enthusiasts and now there are even more founders of heresies.  I was confronted by more than 30 factious spirits who presumed to teach me, but I refuted all their arguments with this passage of Matt. 17:5: ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear ye Him!’  And with this passage have I been able to defend myself up to now through God’s grace.  Otherwise I would have had to accept thirty different kinds of faith.  The heretics are always looking for schemes to put us on the defensive, [W1859-25] to get us to retreat, to make us give in; but with God’s help we will not do it. They say:  ‘You are proud simpletons!’ I’ll be glad to put up with all kinds of nasty names, but I will not depart so much as a finger’s breadth from the mouth of Him who says: ‘Listen to Him!’ I see before my eyes that if God does not provide for us faithful preachers and church-servants, so will the devil through sectarian leaders tear our church to pieces, and he will never cease until he has accomplished it. That is simply what he has in mind. If he can’t do it through the pope or the emperor, then will he do it through those who still are in accord with us in doctrine.” (Walch W1 XII, 1534—35, paragrs. 13-14; StL Ed. 12, paragrs. 13-14; [cf. Am. Ed. 51, 377 f.])
As an appendix, M. Stephanus Tucher adds to this last sermon of Luther at Wittenberg: “Dr. M. Luther, of sacred memory, had often before many other believers and also to Dr. Augustin
*) From Steph. Tucher (in Magdeburg) heard and wrote about, as he testifies “in Christ”.
[1880-27] Schurff said these words: ‘After my death none of these theologians will remain constant.’” (Ibid., 1538; StL Ed. 12, 1177 [not in Am. Ed.])

= = = = = cont'd in next Part 10 = = = = = = = 
Dear God!  How Luther speaks to our modern world, a world that has lost its way and now we think we can judge Luther.  But the reality is that Luther judges us!  In the next Part 10, I want to bring a graphic from the old (German) Missouri that shows Walther's heart as he brought Martin Luther to our modern world...

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments only accepted when directly related to the post.