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Friday, April 18, 2014

LDJ–Part 18 (p 51-53)—James Swan; Geo. Harrison; by His Word

     This continues from the previous Part 17 presenting a new translation of C.F.W. Walther's seminal essay in 1859 (see Part 1 for Table of Contents).  In this Part 18, Walther continues quoting Luther on the preaching faith.
     Note to James Swan of the BeggarsAllReformation blog who attempts to defend Martin Luther from a Reformed viewpoint:  Learn from this Luther, the Martin Luther presented by C.F.W. Walther (The American Luther) and you will learn how to truly defend Luther... against not only the Romanists, but also the sects.  Which of the following do you subscribe to now...  who are those you highly regard among the sects?:
Walter Martin († 1989), Donald Grey Barnhouse († 1989), R.C. SproulJ.I. PackerJames Montgomery Boice († 2000), Carl F. H. Henry († 2003), D. James KennedyNorman GeislerHenry M. Morris († 2006), John F. MacArthurKen HamJames Dobson, and others from the signers of the "Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy", and The International Council on Biblical Inerrancy (ICBI).  I scoured your Christian Book Distributors (CBD) catalogs and your Christian book stores.  I listened to your Christian Radio.  ... 
But not even the Lutherans who seemed to have joined with the Reformed, such as John Warwick Montgomery or Robert Preus († 1995), are the ones I turn to for pure Christian teaching.  Oh, I do not deny that many of these assisted me on my road back to Christianity... I listened and read from most of the above authors and speakers – voraciously!  But now I don't even have to go all the way BackToLuther, for there are teachers who point to Luther perfectly  – Franz Pieper and C.F.W. Walther, the 20th Century Luther and The American Luther.
     But dear reader, even if James Swan does not follow Luther, that does not mean one can ignore Luther's message of properly distinguishing between the Law and Gospel... it is a matter of spiritual life and death.
     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 18: Pages 51-53 (1880)  = = = = = = = = = = = =
(cont'd from Part 17)
The Lutheran Doctrine of Justification.
[by C.F.W. Walther]
[1880-51]   “This do, and thou shalt live.”  You must suffer much, shed your blood, give up your house, property including wife and children, and follow the example of Christ; with your preaching of faith, you only make that the people become secure, lazy, and sleepy.  So they [papists and Enthusiasts] fall from Christ to Moses and become pure Mosaists, teachers of the Law and its works, and so lead the people from Baptism, faith, and the promises of Christ to the Law and works, thus turning Law into grace and grace into Law. …  So far as the words are concerned they make the distinction well, as I have said; but in fact they confuse them and make a right cake out of it. For they do not concede that faith alone, without works, can justify; but if this were true, Christ is of no use to me.  For even though I have true faith, I cannot yet, according to their definition, be justified by it, unless I also have love at the same time.  So Christ does not make righteous, even if He is apprehended by faith, nor does grace help in any way, so also can faith without love not be true (or, as the Anabaptists say, without cross, suffering, and shedding of blood); but if love is present together with works and suffering, then faith is genuine and it justifies.   With this doctrine the godless, crazy Enthusiasts and factious spirits are presently again obscuring the grace and blessings of Christ, robbing Him of His proper glory, so that He not alone justifies, and making Him nothing more than an agent of sin; therefore they have also learned from us nothing more than only to slander our words, and understand the matter of which they want to speak not one iota. They indeed want to be respected and regarded as if they taught the Gospel and faith in Christ purely and clearly, [W1859-40] just as [1880-52]  we do, but in fact they are mere teachers of the Law in all articles, just as the false apostles were. …  Therefore among them all there is not even one who rightly and thoroughly understands what the difference is between Law and grace, no matter how learned and wise they fancy themselves. For experience proves that when they should use and apply [these] matters properly, they have no proper foundational understanding of them.” (Walch W1 VIII, 1852-1857, paragrs. 234-240; StL Ed. 9, 195-198, paragrs. 234-240; [cf. Am. Ed. 26, 143, 144, 145])  [Endnote N]
In the Church Postil’s Gospel for the 14th Sunday after Trinity we read:  [Essays1-48]  “The second characteristic of faith is that it does not desire to know, nor first to be assured whether [a person] is worthy of grace and will be heard, like the doubters do, who grasp after God and tempt Him. Just as a blind man gropes for the wall, so these people also grope for God and would like first to feel and surely have Him, so that He does not escape from them.” (Walch W1 XI, 2122, paragr. 10; StL Ed. 11, 1577, paragr. 10; Lenker’s Church Postils, vol. 5, pg 66; not in Am. Ed. )
In the same book of sermons, on the Gospel for the first Sunday after Epiphany:  “God will not suffer  that we should rely on something else or with the heart cling to something that is not Christ in His Word, no matter how holy or filled with the Spirit it might be. Faith has no other foundation on which it can stand. .....   We must seek Christ in the things of the Father, i.e., we must cling simply and alone to the Word of the Gospel, which directs us Christians in the right way and gives us correct knowledge. And be sure to learn in this and all spiritual trials when you want real comfort for others or for yourself, to say with Christ: Why is it that you run hither and thither and so torment yourself with anxious and sorrowful thoughts, as if God were no longer willing to be gracious to you and as if no Christ could be found? And why do you refuse to be at peace unless you find Him by [1880-53] your own effors and feel holy and without sin; that does nothing; it is all lost effort and work.  Do you not know that Christ refuses to be or be found anywhere except in that which is his Father's?  Not in that which you or all other men are or have.  It is not the fault of Christ and his grace, he indeed is not nor does he remain lost, he may always be found.  But the fault is yours, because you do not seek Him rightly where He is to be sought, since you judge according to your own feeling and think you can apprehend Him with your thoughts. You must come to this point, that neither [in] your works and control nor [in] any [other] human being’s, but that of God is, namely, His Word, there you shall meet, hear, and see Him, and that there is neither wrath nor displeasure there, as you fear and dread, but pure grace and sincere love for you....  But it becomes heavy before (the heart) can attain and grasp this: it must first encounter and experience that everything is lost and Christ is sought in vain, and finally no counsel is to be had, unless you submit yourself, apart from yourself and all human comfort, to the Word alone.” (Walch W1 XI, 623-625, paragrs. 28, 30-31; StL Ed. 11, 453-455, paragrs. 28, 30-31; Lenker’s Church Postils, v. 2, pgs 43, 44, 45; not in Am. Ed.)
On 1 Cor. 15:2:  “So this has happened to all heretics in this exalted article on Christ. As well it is also still happening to our Schismatics over Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, for they do not simply believe the Word but speculate and brood with their reason, which cannot but say  [W1859-41] this: Bread is bread, water is water; how can bread be the body of Christ or water be a washing of souls?  Because they can and will not remain in the Word, still give themselves captive to it, but want to give their cleverness a voice for their understanding and mastery etc.  And because it sees that [this doctrine] is so directly counter to understanding and all senses and feeling, and also contrary to experience, so it abandons this doctrine and even denies it, or, when it cannot get around it, it distorts and fluffs God’s Word with glosses, so that it must agree with reason and [so that] faith is displaced, having to yield and submit to reason. [1880-54] But against all that reason ...

= = = = = = = = =  cont'd in Part 19  = = = = = = = = =
A rather famous popular song, My Sweet Lord, was written by George Harrison of the Beatles that speaks to the point that Luther makes of the followers of fanatics and enthusiasts... of those who seek God apart from the Way (John 14:6) that He has given.  I remember the words of Harrison's song quite well and thinking how I (back then) agreed with the plea of George Harrison, that I wanted to "see" and "know" the Lord.  It seems that Steve Jobs followed the same path.  But Luther says:
...these people also grope for God and would like first to feel and surely have Him, so that He does not escape from them.
Luther had already countered the false teachers, the enthusiasts, earlier when he said:
The second characteristic of faith is that it does not desire to know, nor first to be assured whether [a person] is worthy of grace and will be heard, like the doubters do...
There are some credible reports that George Harrison went back to the Way ("traditional Christianity"), the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6)... especially when it was mentioned that he "quoted scripture".  What did Luther remind us about how to find God?  By
His Word, there you shall meet, hear, and see Him, and that there is neither wrath nor displeasure there...
Maybe someone will want to deny that George Harrison returned to Christianity with all the evidence from his earlier life espousing Eastern religions.   Well then, I can show you a noted LC-MS seminary professor from Fort Wayne, Indiana who publicly wrote that "salvation by grace is not unknown in Hinduism".

In the next Part 19...

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