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Sunday, April 27, 2014

LDJ–Part 21 (p 60-62)—Reformed Predestination vs. Justification

     This continues from the previous Part 20 presenting a new translation of C.F.W. Walther's seminal essay in 1859 (see Part 1 for Table of Contents).  In this Part 21, Walther uses Luther's writings to hammer the Reformed teaching of Predestination that overthrows the Doctrine of Justification.  To all those Calvinist preachers, like Charles Spurgeon, A.W. Pink, Jonathan Edwards, etc., not to mention today's Calvinists, Walther says: different Luther’s doctrine of predestination is from that of Calvin
     In the later years of Walther's life (about 1879-1887), he had to fight a raging battle against the other Lutherans in America who erred on the doctrines of Predestination and Election (of Grace).  These cunning opponents even attempted to pin Calvinism on to Walther's teaching... what a joke!  It was largely centered around the Latin phrase intuitu fidei.  (This spilled over into the teaching on Conversion also.) Here we see that already in 1859, in his middle years, Walther was fully versed in these doctrines and was training his Synod.  He could properly defend these doctrines only because he had the proper basis of ... the Lutheran Doctrine of Justification.
     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 21: Pages 60-62 (1880)  = = = = = = = = = = = =
(cont'd from Part 20)
The Lutheran Doctrine of Justification.
[by C.F.W. Walther]
[1880-60]  8. The doctrine of this sublime mystery of predestination must be treated with special wisdom and caution, so that the people, heeding His will as revealed in His Word and in obedience to Him, might, through the certainty of their effective calling, be assured of their eternal election. Thus this doctrine will become the object of praise, reverence, and admiration of God, and of humility, zeal, and overflowing comfort to all who truly obey the Gospel.” (See The Constitution of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America. Philadelphia, 1840, pp. 21—27; [cf.])
As said before, these errors appeared already at Luther’s time even among the Lutherans – errors by reason of which overthrow the doctrine of justification, therefore Luther already earnestly witnessed against them. [W1859-45]
He writes in the year 1536 in a theological opinion: “Human reason composes a disparate will of God, as if God were a tyrant who has several assistants whose conduct pleases him, be it good or bad, and on the other hand he hates the others, regardless of what they do.  So should one not think of God’s will in that way. This passage is eternally true (Ps. 5:4): Thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness or sin.  When he accepts the saints who still have sin in them, yet he yet does not accept them without a large payment.  Christ had to be a sacrifice for whose sake God accepts and spares us, so long as we remain in faith and when we are in faith.”
Shortly before he had written: “On the basis of these and many other testimonies have we always in all churches unanimously taught thus: If a saint knowingly and willingly acts against God’s command, then he is no longer holy and has disavowed the true faith and the Holy Spirit; but if he turns around and repents, then [1880-61] God keeps His gracious oath in which he says, ‘As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live’ [Ezek. 33:11]. Therefore God, for Christ’s sake, accepts this convert, again to ignite in his heart, through the Gospel and the Holy Spirit, true faith. And we are not commanded to ask for a moment if we are elect, but it is enough that we know: Whoever finally remains in his repentance and faith, that is most certainly elect and saved, [Essays1-51] as Christ saith:  Blessed are they who persevere to the end.’” (Erlangen Ed. LV, 165 f.; [Walch W1 X, 2000-2001, paragrs 8-7; StL Ed. 10, 1709-1710, paragrs. 8-7; not in Am. Ed.]  )
Luther also writes in his House Postil, 1544 edition, on the Gospel for Septuagesima Sunday:  “From the last sentence: ‘Many are called, but few are chosen,  [Matt.. 20:16], the meddlesome heads derive various absurd and ungodly thoughts; they think: Whom God hath chosen, he shall be saved without means; but again, whom he has not chosen may do what he will, be as pious and devout as he will, yet it has been so ordered by God that he must fall, and he cannot be saved.  Therefore, let happen what will.  If I’m to be saved, it will happen without my cooperation; if not, whatever I do or carry out is in vain anyway.  Anyone can easily gather by himself what kind of disobedient, secure people grow from such thoughts. …  Some draw for themselves other ideas and interpret the words thus: Many are called, that is, God offers His grace to many; but few are chosen, that is, He permits His grace to be received by only a few, because only a few of them will be saved.  That is an especially godless understanding.  For how can it be possible for someone who thinks and believes nothing else about God not therefore to hate God, whose will alone is at fault that we won’t all be saved?  But if you consider this opinion with that which emerges when you first learn to know the Lord Christ, [1880-62] you will find that they are pure devilish blasphemies.  Therefore this passage has a far different meaning: ‘Many are called,’ etc., because the sermon of the gospel goes forth generally and in public, for whoever only hears and wants to accept it; and that is also why God lets the Gospel be proclaimed so commonly and publicly, so that everyone should hear, believe, and [W1859-46] accept it and be saved.  As hereafter follows in the Gospel: ‘Few are chosen,’ i.e., few hold themselves with the Gospel that God has pleasure in them.” (Walch W1 XIII, 473-476, paragrs. 16-xx; StL Ed. 13, 199-20X, paragrs. 16-XX; not in Klug’s Sermons of Martin Luther: The House Postils; not in Am. Ed., old Series)
Here is another example of how different Luther’s doctrine of predestination is from that of Calvin. Commenting on the Lord’s words in Matt. 11:25, “ I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes,” – Calvin adds by way of explanation: “That few come to faith (and] others remain blinded and hardened—this is accomplished by his free election, because He draws some, whereas He passes the rest by, and he alone makes a distinction among men, whose condition by nature is alike.”  (*)  Luther, on the other hand, writes on the same words:  “Christ here praises the fact that God is right in concealing his mysteries from the wise and prudent, because they want to be above, not under, God.  Not that he concealed it in deed and truth or  by his will, inasmuch as he commands that it be preached publicly under all the Heavens and in all lands; but he has chosen such preaching from which the wise and prudent by nature have a loathing, and that it is hidden from them because of their own fault, since they will not have it.”

[1880-63] (Walch W1 VII, 201, paragr. 35; StL Ed. 7, 133, paragr. 35; not in Am. Ed.)  Furthermore, on the words in Matt. 13:13 and 15,

= = = = = = = = =  cont'd in Part 22  = = = = = = = = =
In the next Part 22, Walther continues this scathing attack on the deadly Reformed errors.

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