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Sunday, July 13, 2014

LDJ–Pt 32(p 93-96)—Final installment

     This continues from the previous Part 31, and concludes this presentation of a new translation of C.F.W. Walther's seminal essay in 1859 (see Part 1 for Table of Contents).  This Part 32 finishes Endnote [T], addresses [U], [V], and [W], and then ends with Walther's final remarks.  Because this final installment of Walther's essay is somewhat lengthier, I will conclude this series in the final Part 33 with quotes from this section and my comments.
     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 32: Pages 93-96 (1880)  = = = = = = = = = = = =
(concluding from Part 31)
The Lutheran Doctrine of Justification.
[by C.F.W. Walther]
After our flesh we also would indeed [1880-93] prefer the people’s approval, rather than have their displeasure, but we fear the wrath of our God, whose possession the Word is.  That is why we strive not only to make known to all men the true gentleness, but also fight in obedience to the divine command for the faith which was once delivered to the saints, while Satan by the Union wants to make the Word of God uncertain, so that poor despairing sinners are without consolation, and [Essays1-62] others may cover their spiritual poverty with miserable works.
[U]  The General Synod here in America has excluded itself from the title of Lutheranism by taking in Methodism.  It is itself “United” because it recognizes as legitimate members people with Reformed doctrine, which, as has been shown sufficiently, cannot stand with the doctrine of justification [see account of Dagon in 1 Samuel 5:2-5]; and portrayed itself also as such in a letter sent to Germany about 14 years ago; this synod is more dangerous than those who always know themselves as “united,” in that it ensnares many with the Lutheran name.  Many of their members indeed would still yet be pure Lutherans: but that is just the most dreadful abomination, when these now raise no serious witness in their Synod out of wretched fear of man.
[V] It is apparent that by the doctrine of the visible church outside of which there is no salvation (as many now put the Lutheran Church to be such) and by the pretense that the validity of absolution depends on the [W1859-64] ordination of the minster, etc. the truth cannot stand that faith alone brings salvation, that indeed the mere reading of Scripture can bring one to faith and therefore can lead to salvation, without regard to which church fellowship a person belongs to, or if he is a member of any church body. — But further, if a mere use of the sacraments has a salutary effect in man, then faith, which is conditional throughout Scripture for the salutary effect of the sacraments, is nothing. Whoever teaches that, certainly is no Lutheran.  Chiliasm — namely [1880-94] the so-called subtle kind, since the coarse sensual kind does not come into consideration here — argues all the more against justification in that it expects, so does not yet have, not a kingdom in the flesh but a spiritual one of Christ, as we in fact have a spiritual kingdom through faith, that we already so possess forgiveness of sins, righteousness, peace, the seal of the Holy Spirit, sonship of God, and all spiritual goods that we know nothing more to wish for. — Finally, the hades doctrine, according to which the dying come to an intermediate place until Judgment Day, and that is basically the old doctrine of purgatory, can not exist with the doctrine of doctrine of faith, because it accepts a conversion after death – which would thus be a conversion without faith – where faith  is only possible here on earth.
[W] In his pursuits to try to awaken that lost awareness, the pastor must first make it his main task to learn to rightly divide Law and Gospel.  For this purpose, in addition to studying the Holy Scriptures and our dear confessions, the writings of Luther and especially their use in preparing for the sermon can not be recommended enough.  No one since Luther can make the heart of a poor sinner so certain of God’s grace, as also no one can so expose the detriment of one’s own heart as he.  While others usually know only how to make one anxious, Luther lets no sermon leave a truly poor sinner uncertain whether he could be saved. The pastor who works to follow after him will soon experience that for himself when he himself otherwise has a broken heart.  Luther draws the soul out of all misery and puts it on the solid rock foundation of the Word.  He who felt himself most deeply the misery of human affliction, understands how to lovingly comfort, understands God’s work in us, and to always praise only this afresh.  Whoever therefore would learn how to preach, preach according to Luther, on whom God poured out the highest gifts than on anyone since [1880-95] the prophets and apostles, and he has equipped His instrument to bring the world the pure Gospel again and to fatally chop the root of the 1,000-year-old oak of the papacy.  Just don’t let yourself be deterred by the fact that it will be especially difficult in the beginning to work after him, nor the fact that you may not immediately gain a taste for him, because you will certainly experience that he is so highly praised not without good reason.  We do not believe in Luther, do not make him our God, are not baptized in him; but where he brings us the Word of God, there we want to hear him, and we experience ever longer, ever more that he lights thousands of candles for us.  Therefore the whole of Europe once sat at his feet; hence also it yet now comes that an iron monument of him is being built at Worms  [W1859-65] in which we admittedly take no part, but rather we prefer to place a monument to him in our hearts by accepting his doctrine.
What further relates to the art of making the doctrine of justification the central point of all our work in the office of the ministry, so will it want to always keep us as its students.  There is many a pastor who well knows how to preach admirably of justification, whose work in the rest of his pastoral duties is of a legalistic nature.  It is this doctrine that should so dominate the whole attitude of the pastor that it makes him not only mild toward each poor sinner and afraid to use any other means to raise him up; but that it also gives him weapons to expel Satan from all those with whom he meets, as was the case with Luther, because all our hope to work something comes from this doctrine.  If it does not come with us there, then the fault lies with us if the work of renewal in our congregations does not proceed.  This is not, however, to say that we should teach and act so as to get favor from the unconverted and [1880-96] conceal the Law.  Law and Gospel must go necessarily hand in hand.  Then should we so preach the Law over against secure and obvious worldlings as if there were no Gospel, that it clearly announces only the anger of God over sin and brings them no consolation, nothing but the judgment of the curse and damnation.  But as soon as they realize that God is serious with His Law, then they hear the Gospel, which gives no other counsel than: “Believe on the Lord Christ!” and not to first do this or that in order to be called a child of God.  Thus and always that all our work be  [Essays1-63] steeped in the doctrine of justification, it is especially necessary that our own heart become truly firm therein, and it becomes this first only under temptation, which is why a preacher who flees the cross and seeks good days will never rightly compel this doctrine.
The so-called awakened which come into our congregations are as a rule not satisfied when we preach the Gospel so sweet and comforting to poor sinners.   However, this should not mislead us.  When they think that we thereby make people lazy and sluggish for good works, so this is certainly only because they have not yet fully recognized their own misery of sin, because otherwise they would know that the certainty of the forgiveness of all sins, and this alone, makes the love of Christ burst forth in us and henceforth makes it impossible for us to live in the works of the flesh and without truly good works.
= = = = = = = = = = =  End of the LDJ essay  = = = = = = = = = = =

I have already commented on Walther's remark above about the "iron monument" or statue of Luther in Worms, Germany.  In the final Part 33, I bring my other concluding remarks on the above installment, for Walther spoke a "mouthful" ...

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