Mueller makes a striking statement in this installment saying:
[Pieper] was not unconscious that criticism could be leveled at his presentation inside and outside the Synod.Was Mueller already aware in 1934 of the impending disastrous fall of the old Missouri Synod from inside the Synod? Perhaps he already knew that his colleague Theodore Graebner was like a pot ready to boil over from his unionistic tendencies. And what was Mueller thinking when he said "outside the Synod"? Did he mean German theologians, or other American Lutheran theologians, or could he have meant also other members of the Synodical Conference? I wonder that he meant all three, and I will address another member of the Synodical Conference later.
After laying the foundation of the doctrine as Pieper taught it in a 1916 district essay, straight from John 3:16, Romans 5:18, and Isaiah 53:5, Prof. Mueller proceeds to present what Pieper taught in his magnum opus, Christliche Dogmatik or the translated version Christian Dogmatics.
in Christ's Work of Reconciliation.
The names of several German theologians are mentioned above: Luthardt, Ihmels, etc. In the above section, Pieper reprimands Ludwig Ihmels for his vacillation on the "changeover in God". But when we compare this to Erwin Lueker's Christian Cyclopedia, it says Ihmels "inclined towards orthodox Lutheranism". So we see that Franz Pieper is the better spiritual judge than even the LC-MS Christian Cyclopedia. Pieper was intimately aware of virtually all of the well-known "German theologians" and "German theology". One comes face to face with dozens of these men in Pieper's Dogmatics. In today's America, we have heard very little about them, but they have had an enormous impact in shaping today's "modern theology"... they are in many ways largely responsible for it, responsible for attacking Christian doctrine in subtle and not so subtle ways. ... all the while they are considered to be "scholars". —
Some may challenge my translation of "God's change of heart". It could also be translated "change of mind" or "change of attitude" or "change of disposition", or "change of mood", etc. But in the above text, Pieper specifically used the word heart: "...God by himself in his heart". So we see here that Pieper meant that he was speaking about God's heart... Pieper was bringing to us God's heart. (Now do we feel like we may pray to Him? Now do we feel like "singing with grace in our hearts to the Lord"? Col. 3:16 Now can we taste Him and see that He is good? Psalm 34:8) —
In performing his assigned task, it was the translator’s constant aim to render Dr. Pieper’s unique and at times somewhat ponderous German in clear, idiomatic English, without departing in any way, however, from the sense of the original.Although I applaud Mueller's idiomatic English translation, yet I would disagree with his assessment of Pieper's "somewhat ponderous German" phrasing. Why? Because Pieper was at all times intent on making his message absolutely clear, and so he is somewhat repetitive, like Luther was with his tautologies. So rather than being "ponderous", Pieper is refreshing in his earnest way of spelling out Christian doctrine so that no one misunderstands what Christian doctrine actually is. That is why I chose to provide my own translation above from Pieper's German Christliche Dogmatik rather than use the translation from Christian Dogmatics verbatim. If one is interested, compare my translation with that of Mueller/Engelder/Albrecht. One gets the sense that Pieper's original German is even more forceful in its proclamation of the absolutely crystal clear Gospel! ... kind of like Luther's German.
In the next Part 4...