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Friday, April 25, 2014

LDJ–Part 20 (pages 57-59)—God's death

     This continues from the previous Part 19 presenting a new translation of C.F.W. Walther's seminal essay in 1859 (see Part 1 for Table of Contents).  In this Part 20, Walther brings out Luther's teaching of Christology, especially against the Reformed errors.  Lutherans would do well to follow Walther's underlining to refresh their training.  This is one of the more familiar teachings among Lutherans, but what is the basis for it?...  Hint: see the title of Walther's essay.  Get the basis wrong (LDJ), and "Christology" falls apart...
     With these quotes of Luther that Walther extracted and stringed together, I find myself renewed in the use and reuse of the phrase
Back To Luther!
     Hey, Concordia Publishing House, it seems this LDJ essay by Walther is the greatest sales tool you have to sell your American Edition of Luther's Works, even though I caution against those who produced it (editors and translators), and published it (you).  It seems like I have had to pull out a majority of the volumes of the (old) 54-volume set to keep up with Walther's references to Luther's writings.
==>> Note to potential buyers and readers of the American Edition- old or New Series: Nevermind the useless (and damaging) spirituality of the editors and "scholars" of Luther (Jaroslav Pelikan, etc.) in the "American Edition"... just listen to Luther.
     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 20: Pages 57-59 (1880)  = = = = = = = = = = = =
(cont'd from Part 19)
The Lutheran Doctrine of Justification.
[by C.F.W. Walther]
[1880-57] [W1859-43]
In his writing On the Councils and the Churches Luther says with regard to the same subject: “Oh, Lord God, with such a blessed, comforting article should one in true faith, without contradiction or doubt, always be happy, sing, praise, and thank God the Father for [His] inexpressible mercy in allowing His dear Son to become a human being like us, and [our] Brother. Yet the accursed devil brings on such apathy, through proud, ambitious, [and] desperate people, that our precious and blessed joy is impeded and spoiled. May God have pity.  For we Christians must know this: where God is not also in the scale and tips the balance, we on our side will sink to the bottom.  So this is what I mean: where it should not say: God died for us, but only a man, then we are lost; but if God’s death and God deceased lies in the scale, then He sinks and we rise like a light empty balance scale.  He can also ascend on high again or leap out of His scale.  But He could not enter the scale without becoming a man like us, so that it could be said: God’s dying, God’s martyrdom, God’s blood, and God’s death.   For, by His nature, God cannot die; but now that God and man are united in one person, it is correctly called God’s death’ when that man dies who with God is one thing or one person....  I have indeed also had before me Nestorians, who fought very stubbornly against me that the divine nature of Christ could not suffer, and as a trademark symbol, Zwingli also wrote against me on this passage: Verbum caro factum est (The Word was made flesh, John 1:14), and simply would not have that “was made” [or “became”] should apply to “Word.” [or Verbum (the Word) be called factum (made)]
[cont’d from 1880-56 footnote] first cause is [to be].” (Cf. Instit. II, 17, 1; Institutes of the Christian Religion, CCEL)  Luther, however, says on John 3:  “For the sake of the high majesty of his person, his sleep and his fasting for a moment, or for hours, is better than all the works and fastings of all the saints on earth.”

[1880-58] but wanted it to read “The flesh was made word,” (Verbum caro facta est) [Flesh (i.e., man) became the Word (i.e., God)]. Reason: God could not become anything. But at that time I did not know that this was the arrogance of Nestorius.” (Walch W1 XVI, 2728, 2730, paragrs. 169, 171; StL Ed. 16, 2231-2232, paragrs. 169, 171; [cf. Am. Ed. 41, 103-105])  [Endnote P]
To be sure it was first through Calvin [Essays1-50] these doctrines were admitted by part of the Reformed: that God unconditionally determined one part of mankind for salvation, the others to damnation; that God has a twofold dissimilar will, the secret and the revealed, the latter opposed by the former; that Christ died only for the elect and that He calls only these earnestly, that is, with the intent of making them believers and saved; that a believing, chosen person cannot lose the faith – but not only had Zwingli already taught this, even among the Lutherans those errors, at least in part, showed up as a result of  misunderstood sayings of Luther.  (*)
For evidence that the Calvinist-Reformed really cherish these teachings, may it suffice here the third chapter of the Presbyterian confession of faith, “Concerning the Eternal Counsel of God.” It reads as follows:  “1. From all eternity, according to the exceedingly wise and holy counsel of His own will, God has freely and unalterably ordained everything that  [W1859-44] happens; yet in such a way that neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence done to the free will of [His] creatures, nor is the freedom or contingency of second causes removed, but rather established.  2. Although God knows what may or can happen under all given circumstances, He has not predetermined anything because
*) So taught, for example, a pastor at Kahla that the elect remain righteous and keep the Holy Spirit, even if they fall into manifest sins.  Luther wrote of him: “He has been warned against this with chastening words, and we hope he will think better of it.” (Erlangen Ed. LV, 166)

[1880-59] He foresaw it as lying in the future or as something that would happen under such circumstances.  3. According to the counsel of God, for the revelation of His glory, some human beings and angels are predestined to eternal life and others foreordained to eternal death.  4. These angels and human beings who are thus predestined and foreordained are in particular (in regard to their person) and unalterably predestined; and their number is so certain and limited that it can neither be increased nor decreased.  5. Those people who are predestined to [eternal] life, God chose for everlasting glory before the foundation of the world was laid, according to His eternal and unalterable purpose, according to the hidden counsel and pleasure of His will, out of His free grace and love, without any preconsideration of faith or of good works or of continuance in them or of any other thing in the creature, such as stipulations and causes that [might] move Him to do this; and all this to the praise of His glorious grace.  6. Just as God has predestined the elect to glory, so He has, according to an eternal and completely free purpose of His will, foreordained all [necessary] means to this end. Therefore those who—fallen in Adam— have been elected are redeemed by Christ, are truly called to faith in Christ by His Spirit at the proper time, are justified, receive the adoption of sons, [and] are sanctified and preserved by His might through faith to salvation. Nor is anyone else redeemed by Christ, effectively called, made righteous, received into sonship, sanctified, and saved, but only the elect.   7. It pleased God according to the unsearchable counsel of His will, by virtue of which He grants and denies grace as He pleases, to pass by the remainder of mankind, to the praise of His sovereign might over His creatures, and to ordain them to dishonor and wrath because of their sins, [1880-60] to the praise of His glorious righteousness.

= = = = = = = = =  cont'd in Part 21  = = = = = = = = =
In the next Part 21...

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