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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

LDJ–Part 17 (pages 48-50)—"IF he believes"?

     This continues from the previous Part 16 presenting a new translation of C.F.W. Walther's seminal essay in 1859 (see Part 1 for Table of Contents).  In this Part 17, Walther continues his many quotes from Luther on how essential (and difficult) it is to maintain a distinction between Law and Gospel.
     Whoever teaches using Luther, even if he calls himself a Lutheran preacher, but does not teach like Walther uses Luther to properly distinguish between the Law and the Gospel, is a false teacher.
     In general, I would say the translations of Luther in the "American Edition" of Luther's Works are adequate.  But as I compared a particular portion of Luther's Commentary on Galatians, I could not swallow this translation in the American Edition (Am. Ed. vol 26, pg 143):
Jaroslav Pelikan translation:
But the work of Christ, properly speaking, is this: to embrace the one whom the Law has made a sinner and pronounced guilty, and to absolve him from his sins if he believes the Gospel.

BTL translation:
But this is rather Christ’s own particular ministry, that He most kindly and graciously embraces the one whom the Law has made a sinner and unjust, and absolves him of his sins and sets him free through the Gospel, when and so he believes it.

Do you see the difference?  Pelikan's translation leaves open the erroneous teaching that you must believe the Gospel to make it true.  I want to repeat a quote of Walther to respond to this (from here):
Only those who cannot distinguish sharply between condition and means can conceive such a thought.
But there is an Objective Justification, before our faith, and so it is not our faith that makes the Gospel true, it is already true without and before our faith... it is outside of us... extra nos.  Jaroslav Pelikan renounced Lutheranism in his later years.  Could it be that he had already done this much earlier in his life?  (How was it that Jaroslav Pelikan was one of the General Editors for the American Edition of Luther's Works?)
     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 17: Pages 48-50 (1880)  = = = = = = = = = = = =
(cont'd from Part 16)
The Lutheran Doctrine of Justification.
[by C.F.W. Walther]
[1880-48] ... divine goods, and eternal life.  The worldly saints, the pope, and the factious spirits cannot do that. For though several speak about Christ and lead us to the Word that says that He is the Son of God, has redeemed us, etc., however they never learn and experience how He must be received, used, sought, found, and held, and how one must apprehend the Father in and through Him; meanwhile they travel in the clouds and go according to their own ideas.  Notice this in several factious spirits among us, though they learned from us to talk about Christ and faith, how seldom do they compel this doctrine, yes, how coldly and clumsily they talk about it when they should stress this chief doctrine, and how they rustle and flutter over such texts, regarding it as a minor art that now everyone for a long time could well do.  In short, they are full of other thoughts so that, even though they occasionally hit on something [right], they themselves don’t understand anything about it and quickly abandon it for their dreams.  However a true pastor compels this article most of all, yes, without ceasing, since all that pertains to knowledge of God and to our salvation relies on it, as you see everywhere in the evangelist John and epistles of St. Paul.  For here is it true the saying for both sides, that one says: [W1859-38]Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh’ [Matt. 12:34].” (Walch W1 VIII, 740-41, paragrs. 125-126; StL Ed. 8, 798, paragrs. 125-126; not in Am. Ed.)
On Gal. 3:19 Luther writes: “I will now say nothing about the Anabaptists, the Neo-Arians, and the Enthusiast spirits, who blaspheme and dishonor the holy sacrament of the body and blood of our dear Lord Jesus Christ, all of them together as a mob, understand and know the particular function and purpose of the Law just as little as do the papists themselves, despite their many disclaimers. For they long ago fallen from the pure doctrine of the Gospel to the doctrine of the Law; therefore they also do not teach Christ.  They are so good, that they with great [1880-49] cry boast, and may dearly swear, that they only teach and with their doctrine seek and intend nothing but God’s glory, the salvation of the brethren, and that God’s Word be spread and maintained pure and unadulterated; but if you carefully examines by the light and foundation, you find that they falsify and twist God’s Word into an erroneous misunderstanding, so that it is forced to tell and mean for them what they imagine and what  [Essays1-47] they please.  Therefore they teach under the name of Christ their own dreams, under the name of the Gospel mere laws and ceremonies; so therefore they are and remain what they have always been from the beginning, namely: monks, works-saints, teachers of the Law and of ceremonies, only that they invent new names for their ways as well as different or new works.” (Walch W1 VIII, 2258, paragr. 457; StL Ed. 9, 414, paragr. 457; [cf. Am. Ed. 26, 312])
Similarly Luther wrote on John 6:53:  “All other doctrines (even when they use the words we do) are nevertheless about nothing but good works;  if one sees the schismatic spirits in the light of day, they teach only about good works, like the factious spirits in our midst, they do not understand that life, grace, and salvation come to us without our works, only that we believe.” (Walch W1 VII, 2107-2108, paragr. 347; StL Ed. 7, 2347, paragr. 347; [cf. Am. Ed. 23, 137])
On Matt. 5:16:  “The true teaching and confessing of Christ is not possible without faith.  As St. Paul says in 1 Cor. 12:3, ‘No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.’  For no false Christian nor schismatic spirit can understand this doctrine.  How much less will he rightly  preach and confess it, even if he takes up and repeats the words but still does not hold to them nor keep them pure; always preaches in such a way that one can tell he does not have it straight, and smears on it his drivel by which he steals the glory from Christ and attributes it to himself. Therefore only this, that the most certain work of a genuine Christian is to so praise and preach Christ [1880-50] that the people learn how they are nothing and Christ is everything.” (Walch W1 VII, 623, paragr. 149-150; StL Ed. 7, 420, paragr. 149-150; [cf. Am. Ed. 21, 66])
On Gal. 2:17:  “Therefore can it also be never otherwise; all papists, Anabaptists, together with all others who know nothing about or do not rightly understand the righteousness of Christ, make Christ into a Moses and Law and make Moses and the Law into a Christ.  For this is what they teach: Faith in Christ does indeed justify, but, for all that, not without performance of the commandments of God.  It is true, the commandments of God must be fulfilled, as indeed it [W1859-39] is written in Matt. 19:17: ‘...if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.’ But they have no idea how this fulfillment comes about.  For they think it happens simply by our works.  But with that Christ is immediately denied and faith destroyed, because it ascribes to God’s commandments, or the Law, what belongs to Christ alone. … But this is rather Christ’s own particular ministry, that He graciously embraces in the most friendly way the one whom the Law has made a sinner and unjust, and declares him free and absolved of his sins through the Gospel, when and so he believes it.  ‘For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth’, Rom. 10:4. He is ‘the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world’, John 1:29.  But the papists and Enthusiasts turn this upside down and cannot do otherwise, because they do not understand the doctrine of how and whereby a person must become righteous.  Therefore this is the foundation of  the chief article of their teaching, though they try to cover it up with flowery words, namely, that they see Christ for Moses and preach Him as such, and in turn Moses for Christ, etc., and mock us for teaching faith so actively and diligently, and they say, Ha-ha! Faith, faith! -- wait awhile until you come toward heaven by faith; you must, truly! go higher and further; you must fulfill the law of [1880-51] God, as it is written in Luke 10:28:
= = = = = cont'd in next Part 18 = = = = = = =
In the next Part 18...

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