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Monday, April 21, 2014

LDJ–Part 19 (p 54-56)—Feelings-Devil's foot; psychotherapy

     This continues from the previous Part 18 presenting a new translation of C.F.W. Walther's seminal essay in 1859 (see Part 1 for Table of Contents).  In this Part 19, Walther finishes his quotations from Luther on our feelings over against faith... and our feelings lose the contest.  He then begins a section against the heart of Reformed teaching that destroys the Doctrine of Justification.  Here I must extract a portion from the quotation from Luther:
We must here also close the eyes and follow our guide, the divine Word, and say: I will let myself be wrapped in swaddling cloths, have a cloak cover my head and let myself be led so that I believe and do not see; and on this I will live and die. We will not feel it in any other way, even if we would tear ourselves to pieces over it.
I remember well the psychotherapists who constantly worked on me to extract my feelings.  This was also the constant question in group therapy – "How do you feel about that?"... about that situation, that event, that person, etc.  Now Luther also had something to say about our feelings, but it was entirely the opposite of modern psychotherapy and psychology.  Make no mistake... modern psychotherapy's intention was to improve my mental health, but it was entirely powerless to do so, for the power is outside us.  Do you want to improve your mental health?  Then study Walther's essay and his quotations from ... Martin Luther.  Now I have the only true "mental health" that there is in this world!  All other benefits of today's modern psychology and psychiatry are empty husks.  Hmmm... maybe they are just Enthusiasts in worldly disguise?

     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 19: Pages 54-56 (1880)  = = = = = = = = = = = =
(cont'd from Part 18)
The Lutheran Doctrine of Justification.
[by C.F.W. Walther]
[1880-54] But against all that our reason suggests or wants to measure and investigate, yes, against everything that the senses feel and grasp, we must learn to hold to the Word....  Though I feel sin oppressing me sorely and my conscience smiting me so that I cannot ignore these, yet faith must counterattack and hold fast to the Word on both these points.  For if you want to judge according to what you see and feel, and if you are confronted with God’s Word you want to counter with your feeling and say: You are indeed telling me much, however my heart tells me something much different; and if you felt what I feel, then you too would say something else etc.: thus you have then not God’s Word in your heart, but it is subdued and extinguished by your own ideas, reason, and contemplation. …   Therefore these two must remain: that we are lords over the devil and death and yet at the same time lie beneath his feet: one must be believed, the other is felt....  So you say: What then do you preach and believe, since you yourself confess that one neither feels nor perceives, so your preaching must indeed then be nothing and clearly a dream?  For should there be something, so must indeed the experience also show something there!  Answer: This is what I say, that contrary to our experience,  what is humanly unbelievable is simply to be believed beforehand, and we must feel what we do not feel; so that in the very thing in which the devil, with respect to feeling, is my lord, he must be my servant, and when I am lying prostrate and the whole world lies on top of me, then I am on top. How so? If that is to be true, [you say,] then experience must follow and be felt! Yes, that is right!  but this is how it is: Feeling must follow, but faith must be previously there without and above feelings.” (Walch W1 VIII, 1166-1169, paragrs. 27-29, 32-33; StL Ed. 8, xxxx-xxxx, paragrs. 27-29, 32-33; [cf. Am. Ed. 28, 69, 70, 71])
On John 3:11: “In all Christendom we have nothing higher nor greater than the Word. . . . What happens [1880-55] to us is like a person who has dizziness in the head; should that person climb up a high tower or cross a bridge over deep waters flowing underneath, he must be blinded, led blindfolded, or have his head covered with a cloak, and led or carried across; otherwise he will fall from the tower and break his neck or he will fall into the water and drown.  Thus too we, if we would be saved, also follow our leader; for then we are sure.  We must here also close the eyes and follow our guide, the divine Word, and say: I will let myself be wrapped in swaddling cloths, have a cloak cover my head and let myself be led so that I [Essays1-49] believe and do not see; and on this I will live and die. We will [W1859-42] not feel it in any other way, even if we would tear ourselves to pieces over it.” (Erlangen Ed. XLVI (46), 296-97; StL Ed. 7, pgs 1882-1883;  [cf. Am. Ed. 22, 304, 305])  [Endnote O]
In regard to doctrine of Zwingli and the Zwinglians on the Person of Christ, Luther writes in 1528 in his Great Confession: “He (Zwingli) calls it alloeosis when something is said about the divine nature of Christ that belongs to his human nature, or vice versa; in Luke 24:26: ‘Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?’  Here he flutters around this, that ‘Christ’ is to be taken for his human nature. Beware, beware, I say, of this alloeosis, it is the devil’s mask; for in the final analysis it will finally construct a kind of Christ for whom I would not want to be a Christian, namely a Christ who is and does no more in his passion and his life than any other ordinary saint.  For if I believe that only the human nature suffered for me, then Christ would be a poor Savior for me; so he himself would need a Savior. In short, it is unspeakable what the devil attempts to do with this alloeosis.” (Walch W1 XX, 1180, paragr. 122; StL Ed. 20, 943, paragr. 122; [cf. Am. Ed. 37, 209-210])  Further below it says: “Especially little Zwingli is henceforth not worth answering anymore, unless he disavows [1880-56] his blasphemous alloeosis. For, as the proverb says: ‘An open lie is worth no reply.’ So also is anyone who denies a recognized article of faith to be avoided as a recognized heretic.  Now, Zwingli denies not only this highest, most necessary article, ‘The Son of God died for us,’ but he blasphemes it besides and says, ‘That is the most horrible heresy that there ever was.’  His conceit and the damned alloeosis leads him to divide the person of Christ and leaves us no other Christ than a mere human being, who is said to have died for us and saved us.  What Christian heart can hear or tolerate that?  For the whole Christian faith and the salvation of the whole world is thereby destroyed and condemned.  For whoever is saved only by human nature is certainly not yet saved and will never be saved.” (*) (Walch W1 XX, 1206-1207, paragr. 177; StL Ed. 20, 964, paragr. 177; [cf. Am. Ed. 37, 230-231]) [W1859-43]
*) What Zwingli with his alloeosis asserted, is not only his teaching, but that of all the so-called Protestant fellowships outside of the Lutheran Church. They all claim, when Scripture says, that the Lord of Glory was crucified [1 Cor. 2:8], so this is called so far as: ‘The human nature of the Lord of Glory was crucified.’  Thereto Gerhard says: “If the mere human nature suffered, then it follows that the Person did not suffer for us, because the mere human nature is not the Person. If the Person did not suffer for us, then also the Son of God did not suffer for us, because God’s Son is the Person.”  But to the Son of God is suffering and death attributed [Calvin proceeds], “not as if He had undergone some kind of change or suffering in the divine nature itself, but  (1) personally, in so far the assumed flesh (human nature), which endured the pains and torments, assumed into the person of God’s Son, constitute one person with it; (2) by way of appropriating [the human nature] (zueignungsweise); (3) in that the Son of God supports the suffering human nature and, by His divine and infinite power, made the suffering precious before God and enough for the sins of the whole world.” (Exeg. IV, 195-197; [see CPH book On Christ - Theological Commonplaces – probable English translation])  Calvin goes so far that he wrote:  “I admit that were Christ opposed simply, and by himself, to the justice of God, there could be no room for merit, because there cannot be found in man a worth which could make God a debtor …  Therefore when we treat of the merit of Christ, we do not place the beginning in him, but we ascend to the ordination of God as  [cont’d on 1880-57 footnote]

= = = = = = = = =  cont'd in Part 20  = = = = = = = = =
In the above quote from Martin Luther on John 3:11, there was a nearby passage that Walther did not include, but I want to.  From the American Edition (vol. 22, pg 305), it reads like this, except the poem which is my translation:
Many have fretted and yearned to know where we will abide and lodge after death, just what our goal will be. Many great men lost their minds because they could not find out where one goes when departing this life. Hence the proverb:
     I live, and do not know how long,
     I shall die, and know not when,
     I go, and know not whither,
     It is a wonder that I'm happy.
It is true that a non-Christian can know nothing at all about this. But a Christian must look at the matter in a different light. He has a reliable and superior Leader; he follows his Leader and Guide, Christ, who tells him what to do, saying: “Listen to what we say; we know whereof we speak. Our words are the truth, Trust Me. Surrender yourself to My safekeeping. Place yourself in My coat, which I have wrapped around your head. I will carry you safely across. If you do this, you will not be led astray. —  Martin Luther
Yes indeed, Dr. Luther, many today in our modern world still continue to "fret and yearn" about where "we will abide and lodge after death".  The world does not want to place itself in the hands of the Good Shepherd.  The world does not want to listen to you, Dr. Luther, when you so beautifully paraphrase the words of the Saviour of the World.  We see this today in the current popularity of the book and movie Heaven is for Real.  But a Christian does not need this book or any like it that lead them astray for they already have the Word of God which points the Way... the Bible.  Rather the world should listen to the better message of The Open Heaven, the one that Dr. Franz Pieper delivered in 1929 to his dear Missouri Synod.

In the next Part 20...

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