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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

LDJ–Part 24 (p 69-71)—Teachers have lost it (proper distinction); comfort for dying days

     This continues from the previous Part 23 presenting a new translation of C.F.W. Walther's seminal essay in 1859 (see Part 1 for Table of Contents).  In this Part 24, Walther finishes his quote from Johann Gerhard against the Reformed and Calvinism and then begins his own analysis of the sorry state of affairs even within the Lutheran Church.  Now Walther is speaking directly to us in our "modern" world...  here is how he begins his "Part II":
How is it that the consciousness that the Evangelical Lutheran Church alone is entrusted with the pure doctrine of justification is often faded away even within this our church?
The short answer to this question is: Because most of the teachers of the same have themselves lost this gem.
How damning is that?  When the teachers have lost it, then all the "catechization" that President Lawrence Rast of CTS-FW promotes as the answer to the problems in the LC-MS is for nothing...  Read on for more on Walther's analysis of (and solutions for) today's problem in the Lutheran Church.
     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 24: Pages 69-71 (1880)  = = = = = = = = = = = =
(cont'd from Part 23)
The Lutheran Doctrine of Justification.
[by C.F.W. Walther]
But from this they have removed and outlawed the sacramental union of the body and blood [1880-69] of Christ long ago and only kept a figurative presence, i.e., only lets remain the presence of a far, far absent body of Christ.  
Or to the goodness of Christ the Mediator?  But they hold so sure that same is present for us only according to His divine nature (which is a consuming fire), but that the human nature of Christ, according to which He is our Brother, is as far distant from us as the [W1859-50] highest heaven is from the lowest earth.  
Or to the feeling of faith?  But the feeling of faith often disappears in our hearts, especially in time of temptation.  The distressed one will therefore conclude: I don’t feel faith, so I do not have faith, therefore God doesn’t want that I have faith, so I am  in the number of the reprobate.
Or to the hallmarks of faith?  But what hallmarks are cited by the opponents as signs of faith can also be pointed out in those who have fallen from the grace of God; but, now, according to the assumption of the opponents, the latter have never had the true faith;  so no one can be sure that he has the true faith of the elect.  [Essays1-54]
Or to the office of the Word and the Sacraments?  But the distressed one will answer from Beza: He offends against God which holds that God either to men by whose mouth God speaks, or to the outward Word of God itself, or the sacramental signs even the slightest part of this His divine truth for the renewal of people and for their preservation ascribes to eternal life in Christ.   If we want, hence, that the purity of the heavenly doctrine and the basis of our faith remain unscathed, we may absolutely not allow dreaming of religious co-mingling, or disguise these heresies as unimportant, but must defend the truth with all our power.” (Loci theologici, Locus de bonis operibus. Epist. dedicator.)  [Endnote Q]
How is it that the consciousness that the Evangelical Lutheran Church alone is entrusted with the pure doctrine of justification is often faded away even within this our church?
The short answer to this question is: Because most of the teachers of the same have themselves lost this gem.
1. A portion of them still pay homage namely to the vulgar rationalism and the Pelagian so-called supernaturalism.  [Endnote R]
2. Another part preaches a modified Christianity with many principles of modern philosophy and, in consequence of that, newly warmed over with all sorts of rehashed old heresies.  [Endnote S]
3. A third part has drunk from the cup of delirium with the spirit of unionism of our time and, intoxicated by it, this part considers purity of doctrine unimportant and sets true Christianity [1] in a love that is not zealous for the truth, even indifferent to it, and [2] in external common works for the extension of the kingdom of God and for remedying also certain carnal distresses of our time.  [Endnote T]
4. A fourth part seeks salvation in fanatical excitement of feelings through all sorts of new measures in contempt of God’s means of grace.  [Endnote U]
5. A fifth part consists of those who have indeed recognized the ungodly nature of unionism (der Union), but now, in opposition to the Reformed, instead of on the pure doctrine of justification, lays the main stress on outward ecclesiasticism, on the visibility of the true church, on its ceremonies, orders, and constitution, on the office of the ministry as [W1859-51] a special level generated by ordination [1880-71] and its privileged intermediation of grace, on the effect of the sacraments ex opere operato (i.e., by the mere use apart from faith), and so forth. And in part, besides all this, they either are themselves given to various favorite errors that have become fashionable in our time among the so-called “faithful,” e.g., chiliasm, the hades doctrine [see LuW 1871 Oct., Nov. Dec.; pgs 289 ff.], etc., or at least want particularly these heresies to be tolerated in the church as relating to open questions [see LuW April 1868 pgs 100 ff.], and not infrequently in a driven way try to create and preserve (treiberisch) a legalistic godliness. [Endnote V]
What measures should be taken to wake up that lost consciousness again?
Should that consciousness come to life again in our church, so it is necessary:

1. On the part of the servants of the church, that they before all study diligently, next to God’s Word and especially the epistles of Paul, the precious Confessions of our church with humble and heartfelt desire for knowledge of the pure evangelical truth; and, among all our fathers in instruction, to choose Luther, in order to learn from him, with fervent invocation for the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, the true preaching of the righteousness that is valid before God and, what is most dearly connected thereto, the proper distinction between Law and Gospel; and then, that they, the pastors, proving all faithfulness in this better knowledge thus attained by God’s grace, untiringly compel the pure doctrine of justification as the basic and chief doctrine, imprint it in their hearers, and conform all their sermons, catechism instruction, private teaching, exhortations, punishments, consolations, counseling, in short, their whole care of souls and congregational leadership to the pure doctrine of justification [1880-72] as the root, the central point, and the crown of all doctrine. *)  [Endnote W] [W1859-52]
= = = = = = = = =  cont'd in Part 25  = = = = = = = = =

What measures does Walther recommend to wake up a slumbering Lutheran Church:
  1. Study the Confessions; 
  2. choose Luther above all teachers of our Church to follow; and 
  3. thereby learn the proper distinction between Law and Gospel.  And then apply it to all the souls under their care.  
Good advice for:
  • Norma Muench at CPH – now you can read the whole essay that I recommended to you before.
  • President Lawrence Rast at CTS-FW – here is the better answer from Walther to the problems of your LC-MS than your simple "catechization" answer.
  • Harold Senkbeil of – to replace your useless and harmful psychology based pastoral training.
  • Prof. (emeritus) Robert Kolb – do you still think psychology and sociology can stand up to the pure teaching of the Lutheran Doctrine of Justification? (lecture video at 16:14 - 16:36 mark)
  • President Matthew Harrison – here is the answer to your great need for "here and now" teaching.
  • Pastor Klemet Preus (son of Robt. Preus) – in your dying days, don't these measures that Walther recommends for the Lutheran Church confirm what you seem to say in your writings?  ...where Walther says "that the pure doctrine of justification is the root, the central point, and the crown of all doctrine"?... that there is indeed no reason to doubt John 3:16?  Don't they comfort you in your dying days?
Yes indeed! It is good advice... for me! ... for all eternity!  In the next Part 25...

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