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Friday, June 27, 2014

LDJ–Pt 25 (p72-74)—Antinomianism; Reformation Age... again? Essay ends, Endnotes begin

     This continues from the previous Part 24 presenting a new translation of C.F.W. Walther's seminal essay in 1859 (see Part 1 for Table of Contents).  In this Part 25, Walther finishes the main portion of his essay with a bang (read on).  And he says this at the end of a footnote, quite a fortuitous statement:
But since it is not the essayist’s [Walther] issue to show how justification is to be rightly preached, he breaks off this matter, leaving the solution of this important task to one more experienced and to another time.
==>> Dear Prof. Walther, there was no one more experienced than you and it was you who later taught us The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel. [text here]
     Then begins the Endnotes section and I will hyperlink each endnote to its original section.  Endnotes [A] and [B] are in this section.  These Endnotes are pure Walther even though they are presented in a format of a "discussion".  Wherever Walther was in attendance at any convention of the old (German) Missouri Synod, or at any ecumenical discussions (e.g. Pastoral Conferences), you can be absolutely certain the essay and discussions that ensued were trustworthy whether they were presented by Walther or another person.  Why?  Because Walther would never let bad theology or unclear statements be published without correction.
     Contained in this section is a footnote where Walther answers the so-called Antinomians, or those who would do away with the preaching of the Law.  Walther's caution against Antinomians trumps all of today's theologians who purport to defend against this error.  Why?  Because Walther (and Luther) taught the pure sweet Gospel properly distinguished from the Law... and so when Walther preached the Law, it was presented for its true spiritual purpose - it killeth. (2 Cor. 3:6)
    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 25: Pages 72-74 (1880)  = = = = = = = = = = = =
(cont'd from Part 24)
The Lutheran Doctrine of Justification.
[by C.F.W. Walther]
the pure doctrine of justification [1880-72] as the root, the central point, and the crown of all doctrine. (*) [Endnote W] [W1859-52]
2. On the part of the listeners, however, it will be necessary above all that they be introduced to this pure pasture of the sweet Gospel, which alone makes one willing and cheerful for good works, also in particular that they be established in Luther’s writings and have awakened within them the joy of reading the same, the understanding of them
*) Hereby, we finally notice,  it is in no way meant that also the Law should not and must not be preached in all its sharpness, rather the pure doctrine of justification puts such preaching ahead, without which preaching of the Law it can not be pure at all.  The justification preached in the fullness of its comfort is in no way the saltless sweetish Herrnhutish [see Moravian Church] playing with comforting features of the Gospel. In fact, even the constant prominence of comforting [truths] is not the essence of pure, uncurtailed preaching of the doctrine of justification.  Not every preacher can, given the differing natures of the congregations, give consolation to the same extent as Luther did in his early writings.  He speaks of this himself as follows: “Therefore the antinomians (Law strikers) justly deserve to have everyone hostile towards them as they would try to remain and defend with our example; even though it is manifest why we taught about God’s  [Essays1-55] grace in the beginning as we did.  The cursed pope had fully suppressed poor consciences with his man-made traditions, had taken away all true means, help, and comfort with which poor, fearful hearts might have been saved from despair: what, then, should we have done at that time other than again to raise up the oppressed and burdened hearts and hold out true consolation?  But we also know well that one must speak differently to those who are flush, tender and fat.  At that time we were all cast out and exceedingly miserable.  The water in the bottle was gone, that is, there was no comfort available. We were lying there dying, just like Ishmael under the shrub.  Therefore we needed such teachers who presented the grace of God to us and taught us how we might be refreshed. But the antinomians would have it that one must begin the doctrine of repentance simply with grace; but I myself did not proceed in this manner.  For I well knew that Ishmael was first driven out and despondent before he was comforted by an angel.  Therefore I followed that example and comforted no one except only those who first felt remorse and sorrow for their sin and had despaired of themselves, whom the Law had frightened, whom Leviathan had crushed and totally stunned.” (On Gen. 21:15-16, [Walch vol. 1, cols 2144-2145, paragrs. 174-176; StL Ed. vol 1, cols. 1428-1429, paragrs 2144-2145; cf. Am. Ed. vol. 4, 50 f.])  But since it is not the essayist’s issue to show how justification is to be rightly preached, he breaks off this matter, leaving the solution of this important task to one more experienced and to another time.

[1880-73] be conveyed and developed, be shown, without exception, the essential distinction and advantage between them and all other human devotional tracts, and pointed to the proper use of the treasures contained therein of luminous knowledge and deep Christian experience.
The essayist does not doubt that if this happens, not only would soon return to its members the faded consciousness that the Evangelical Lutheran Church alone has been entrusted with the pure doctrine of Justification, but with the return thereof by the repossession of this most precious doctrinal jewel, the blessing would be renewed like the age of the Reformation which was so rich, comparable only with that of the apostles.
There were in-depth discussions, whose summary is included in the following on the reading of each point.  Everyone will readily see that the Synod did not only let Luther, etc., speak, but that the presenter’s own heart has played a part.  The well-disposed reader will want to remember that in such a completely open conference the comments on this or that point in the essay often anticipated what really belonged to one of the following points.  Still it will be dear to many and they will be served toward better understanding by the fact that we have shown through back and forth  looking references with roman letters, the points of the essay referred to by the relevant comments.
[A] It is mostly a matter of tradition to praise the article of justification by faith alone as the main doctrine: but very few fully appreciate the wealth of wonderful testimonies of our fathers on this point and the incomparable confession contained therein; yes, for the most part they do not understand what justifying [1880-74] faith is, and often take the word faith for the whole Christian religion, as everyone imagines it in his own way.  If the sects read these testimonies, so they agree well with the praise of faith, but they take their devotion, their feelings, and their activity to be faith, while Luther by it understands nothing else than the sole vision towards God’s promises and seizing and appropriating them, despite the fact that the heart sees nothing but sin and wrath, death and damnation, but he understands the faith of the sects as a dream and foam faith.  We ourselves are far from understanding the pertinent testimonies in their full power, so that we have continued to study on it, how Luther drew forth this article of justification from the well of God’s Word, where he will then become so new to us again every day, as if we never heard him before. [W1859-53]
[B] One often does not know why Luther calls the article of justifying faith difficult, which nevertheless seems so easy to many; but such one does not understand Luther.  For many it may, through God’s grace, not be so difficult to have a good sermon on justification: but Luther speaks here about the whole nature and way of treating the work of Christ in such a way that not only every other doctrine is influenced by the doctrine of justification, but that it appears as its necessary component.  That is hard — so hard that no fanatical spirit, no one who does not have the Holy Spirit can somehow do it.  Incidentally to note, we can and should learn from this to judge Luther differently than it usually happens today, since in many cases what is called his weakness is just his strength. — Luther wants to know all other doctrines drawn from the depths of the doctrine of justification; whatever does not flow from it is for him a shameful denial of Christ.  If we compel the doctrine of justifying faith in this way, it will [1880-75] become evident that the sects (Methodists, followers of [Jacob] Albright [Albrechtsleute, see Evangelical Association], etc.)...
= = = = = = = = =  cont'd in Part 26  = = = = = = = = =

So many quotes to take from this section. The editor of this essay's publication injected this comment as he spoke for his Missouri Synod about the essayist Walther:
Everyone will readily see that the Synod did not only let Luther, etc., speak, but that the presenter’s own heart has played a part.
This statement shows that the old (German) Missouri Synod knew that the essayist Walther who stood before them had a heart like that of Martin Luther himself.  Yes, even the glorious splendor of the age of the Reformation was returning before their very eyes and ears.  No wonder President Wyneken was so thrilled at Walther's essay as he extolled it in his speech before the 1860 Synod convention (see here). — Later on Walther said this:
...we can and should learn ... to judge Luther differently than it usually happens today, since in many cases what is called his weakness is just his strength.
Are you listening, editors at CPH and editors Mayes and Brown of the American Edition of Luther's Works?
In the next Part 26...

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