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Monday, April 7, 2014

LDJ–1859/1880-Part 14 (pages 39-41)—Means of God's Grace

[May 12, 2015 -- Note: see below amendment in red text]
This continues from the previous Part 13 presenting a new translation of C.F.W. Walther's seminal essay in 1859 (see Part 1 for Table of Contents).  In this Part 14, Walther continues his quotes from Luther using the basis of the Doctrine of Justification to defend the Means of God's Grace against those who attack them.
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 14: Pages 39-41 (1880)  = = = = = = = = = = = =
(cont'd from Part 13)
The Lutheran Doctrine of Justification.
[by C.F.W. Walther]
[1880-39] … if someone does not preach to me the Word of God and hand to me the sacraments? I must have the means; for ‘faith cometh by hearing, and hearing comes by the oral word’ (Rom. 10:17).  “To sum it all up: No sect can arise without running head-on into the First Commandment and taking offense at Jesus Christ; all heretics are lumped together in this one doctrine. Therefore let us remain by this article: ‘Thou shalt have no other gods.’; and keep diligent attention to this purpose and scope.  For if we lose sight of it, then all the gates and doors are unlocked to every kind of factious spirit.  God would never have His worship without external means in the world. In the Old Testament He gave the Jews a way thereby which one should find Him; there was the specific place of the Tabernacle, the altar, the candlestick, the Levites, and God did not let Himself be found except through these external means and ways. He always provided for them an external means by which they were to find Him; He did not let them wander around in error, without direction and external means.  But just as our Enthusiasts now run around, deserting this way provided by God for us in the New Testament, so also the Jews deserted this same way and looked for other ways. God cannot be our God without providing us with something external by which we can find Him, such as the spoken Word and the two sacraments. If I do not lay hold of God through external things, how can I then find Him?  Therefore all heretics have been against the First Commandment and in the process have stressed all sorts  of man’s works and have cut out the promise and grace of God inherent in it, yes, they deny God himself, discard the benefits and usage so that one may not come to grace.” (Walch W1 III, 2502-2504, paragrs. 74-86; StL Ed. 3,  1691-1694, paragrs. 74-86; not in Am. Ed. vol. 9)
Further writes Luther in his exposition of Psalm 117:  [1880-40]  “Therefore in Scripture Christ is called a cornerstone on which everything must be built and based, if it is to stand in the sight of God. But Whatever is not founded and built on Him, but without Him, will be destroyed and cannot endure. And what [W1859-33] is the primary error of the sects and great “saints” except this, that they have forsaken this cornerstone and slipped back into works again? From them they cannot escape, but must continue and also turn Baptism and the Sacrament (which are God’s Word and command) into nothing more than man’s works.  “Example: The Anabaptists say that Baptism has no value unless a person is godly prior to being baptized. They refuse to become godly through and from Baptism, but through their piety make Baptism holy and good.  As I see it, that is rejecting this cornerstone, wanting to be saved not by the grace of Christ offered in Baptism but by themselves first becoming holy, with Baptism giving nothing, creating nothing, bringing nothing, but we ourselves bringing and giving everything to Baptism beforehand, so that Baptism is nothing but an unnecessary sign by which one is supposed to be able to recognize such pious folk; so Baptism can not be such a permanent sign or mark by which one might recognize someone, for it is done once, after which you can see it no more. Also that is what the Enthusiasts do with their Sacrament that must not make one pious, nor give grace, but is merely a sign pointing out how pious, and holy they are without such a sacrament.” (Walch W1 V, 1701-1702;  [cf. Am. Ed. 14, 38 f.;  see Der Lutheraner, vol. 3- Dec. 1846, pgs 50-51, Joel Baseley translation here; also see Der Lutheraner, Vol. 6-March 1950, pg 116, col. 2 –Walther’s article on Absolution using this writing of Luther])
So Luther further writes in his House Postil, on the Gospel for the 19th Sunday after Trinity:  “as our dear Lord Jesus addresses the paralytic man and forgives him his sins, the [Essays1-44] scribes began thinking to themselves, ‘Christ blasphemes God that he can forgive sins!’ This is an important point, which we must duly note.  For one notes about Enthusiasts and sectarians that [1880-41] they all err by failing to understand in what way forgiveness of sin comes about.  If you ask the pope and all his doctors, they will not be able to tell you what it is that absolution accomplishes. For the whole papal system rests on this teaching: Grace is infused into people through a mystical working, and whoever wants to have it must be sorry, be contrite, and make satisfaction.  But if you ask, What is it that absolution and the keys do?, they say that it is an external ordinance that is kept by the church. So, forgiveness of sins is not grounded upon the Word and faith, where it ought to be, but upon contrition, confession, and making satisfaction. But that teaching is [a lie] from beginning to end, a lie by which the people are misled and directed to the wrong way.  Also the Anabaptists say the same thing: What can baptism do for the forgiveness of sins?  After all, it is just a handful of water! The Spirit has to do it, If we are to be truly free from sin; water can’t possibly do it. In other words, they pull forgiveness of sins away from the Word. And they are not satisfied to leave it at this, that (as the pious peasants here say) such power has been given to men.  The Enthusiasts and Sacramentarians say the same thing, that in the Sacrament there is only bread and wine, and therefore one cannot find forgiveness of sins there; the Spirit must give it, ‘the flesh [of Christ] is no use’ [John 6:63].  In short: No fanatical spirit, no priest or monk, was able to discern that forgiveness of sins is a power given to people, as stated in this Gospel.  Therefore learn from this that you can [W1859-34] speak of the matter in this way:  I know very well and confess that God alone can forgive sins; but I must also know and discern the manner, or the means my sins are forgiven. The Scriptures teach every one of us Christians, that if I want forgiveness of sins, I need not go into a corner somewhere and say: My God, forgive me my sin, and then, as it were,  [1880-42] wait for an angel from heaven to come down and say to me: ...

= = = = = cont'd in next Part 15 = = = = = = = 
Note to Pastor Joel Baseley of Mark V Publications:
You will notice in this section that Walther quoted from Luther's commentary on Psalm 117 (also in Part 3 and Part 4).  This quote was also used by Walther in earlier years in his Der Lutheraner magazine, in December 1846 (volume 3), which you have already translated...  and in volume 6 (1850) which quotes this essay of Luther among many others from Luther, Chemnitz, Gerhard, etc.  I have just now taken much time to again review your translations to be sure that I was not missing anything, that perhaps you had already translated this seminal essay of Walther, his 1859 essay to the Western District.  I did not find that you had, but I again marvel at the volume of translation work you have done of Walther... several complete sermon books!  It is wonderful that you have brought so many of Walther's sermons to us readers in the English language!  I must tell you that I have received several correspondences expressing interest in a more complete translation of Walther's Pastoraltheologie. ... perhaps you could consider this project.  I hear that CPH is not likely to publish any translation of this book.  (Also his Licht des Lebens -- "Light of Life") — [NOTE:  But now see CPH plans to publish Christian Tiews' translation of Pastoraltheolgie in 2016]
==>> But did you catch Walther's heart when he quoted Luther in 1846 and 1850?  Did you see how he was using the Lutheran Doctrine of Justification for all his teaching even then?... and was building up to even greater expositions of it in his later years?... like this LDJ essay in 1859 and his SCR essay in 1872 to the first Synodical Conference meeting?...
I don't see that you acknowledged the fact that the ELS had already translated a selection of Walther's sermons 30 years before you did (1978), these from the same sermon books you translated.  They published these in their book The Word Of His Grace: Occasional and Festival Sermons (Amazon here).  If I get time, I plan to publish a list of these sermons with a cross reference between their page numbers and your online translated pages in Google Books.  Just before Easter this year, I will be publishing a link to one of Walther's sermons in your translations... perhaps his greatest sermon ever and one that the ELS published.  Can you guess which one?
In the next Part 15...

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