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Friday, October 31, 2014

On Church Unity: John Frederick, the Magnanimous (and F. Pieper)

From Lehre und Wehre, vol. 75 (1929), pg 205:

On the proper basis for [church] union Elector John Frederick of Saxony expressed himself in a writing from May 28, 1541 concerning the Colloquium of  Regensburg (1541) [or Diet of Regensburg] in the following way:
John Frederick the Magnanimous
"As we live, so shall by bestowal of the Almighty the words not occur to compare the religions by us, our people, but that they want to put forth this, and thereby remain: whoever wants to compare, then compare himself with God and his Word and accept the same and its doctrine, as we and others of this party have done.  Whoever wants to evade this with patchwork can go their way." (Seckendorf, Comm. De Lutheranismo III, 361.)
The pious and truly Lutheran elector has in these words described for the Church of all times the proper basis for church union.  Church unity comes into being always only this way, that those who have deviated from the Word of God return to it and so "compare themselves with God and His Word".   — Franz Pieper
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = 

Franz Pieper carried the weight of the pure Gospel in meetings with other American Lutherans several times in the 20th century.  And sadly, these other American Lutherans would not come back to God's Word in the matters of Justification, Conversion, Inspiration and Inerrancy.  And I believe that Franz Pieper could see the weakness even within his own dear Missouri Synod on these matters and so he had to constantly delineate the proper basis for Church unity, as he did in the document that bears the stamp of his authorship:

If Pieper was blind to this weakness among his brethren, then why else would he have admonished them to study his theses in his "Last Words" to his Missouri Synod?  Just as John Frederick was resolute for the Gospel and God's Word at the Diet of Regensburg, so Franz Pieper was resolute.  And the Brief Statement of 1932 stands, in spite of today's LC-MS doubts and disputations.
Pieper references a source for his information on Elector John Frederick – Seckendorf's Commentary... .  I want to expand on this highly regarded work for the history of Lutheranism in my next blog post.

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