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Sunday, November 30, 2014

New CPH book- Walther- Church Fellowship– Part 1

[2019-01-03: added info on H.J.A. Bouman below in red]
My website has some notoriety from the CPH warning letter against me and I have just discovered that Concordia Publishing House is coming out with a new book in about 1 month:
Walther's Works: Church Fellowship
Item #: 531214WEB / 2015 / Hardback / 440 Pages
Estimated 01/05/2015 – Look Inside
I was a bit surprised to see this... what could it be?  Perhaps a collection of essays by Walther on "Church Fellowship"?   Hmmm...  I know what Walther wrote about in his many essays to the Synod and its districts and they certainly included the topic of "Church Fellowship".   But a whole book of essays on just this topic?  And why the picture of a communion cup... are these essays entirely about Holy Communion?

Could it be that CPH is finally getting around to republishing the now defunct 2 volumes of Essays For The Church that I lamented about so publicly on my blog... and was warned by CPH for publishing the digital text?  But it seems not.  The copyright page says (from CPH "Look Inside" PDF):
"Previously published chiefly from Lehre und Wehre and translated from German"
I see, so Paul McCain's claim to me 2-1/2 years ago (2012) remains unfulfilled:
"...we are presently engaged in releasing a new set of Walther's works, pulling together all the previously different formats, shapes, sizes, into a consistent set of books. "Essays for the Church" will be included in this new series."
...  so there is no "Essays for the Church" here... sigh. (More on Publisher Rev. Paul T. McCain here)

But wait, if these essays are from Lehre und Wehre, how is this book different from the existing (Print-On-Demand) 1981 CPH book Selected Writings of C.F.W. Walther - Editorials from "Lehre Und Wehre"?  You know, the one formerly sold with the following dust jacket and flaps (click on images to read them):
       Outside:                                  Inside flaps:
Editorials from "Lehre und Wehre"
by C.F.W. Walther
tr. by Herbert J. A. Bouman

A comparison of the Contents of these 2 books suggests that perhaps the majority of content of Church Fellowship is taken from the above book – perhaps 9 of 16 articles.  That leaves the question of whether one should still purchase both overlapping books if you want all the available English translations of Walther's articles from Lehre und Wehre. How else is one to get the 5 or so translated articles that did not make it into the new book?  — The dear translator Herbert J.A. Bouman said this in his Translator's Preface to the 1981 book (page 9):
He [Walther] was convinced that, far from causing disunity, his battles on behalf of the truth were the only way to true concord... In the opinion of Francis Pieper, his successor as professor, president, and editor, 'with regard to spiritual experience, theological scholarship, logical acuity, and the ability to communicate, Walther was certainly not inferior to most of the old theologians of our church; in my opinion, he was the superior of many of them'.
I hope some credit is given to the dear Bouman in this new book... but there is no evidence of it in the CPH "Look Inside" PDF file.

I am splitting my comments on this new (yet unavailable) book.  I will be covering the edition of the Book of Concord used for references, the endorsements or "Praise" from various theologians, and the Introduction by Prof. Gerhard Bode of Concordia Seminary.  In the next Part 2...
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
2019-01-03: Further research on translator Herbert J.A. Bouman reveals that in 1981, he was no longer a member of the LC-MS but had probably participated in the staged Walkout in 1974. It is striking that the general editor August Suelflow would ask a professed "anti-Missourian" such as Bouman to translate Walther.  So Bouman's comment above should rather be seen as that he was commenting on what Walther and Pieper held to, not what he held to.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Pieper: State of the Church-1921 (worse today); Whither Daniel Preus?

I have stated before that if one wants to understand the true history of the early decades of the last century, both spiritually and politically, then follow the comments of Franz Pieper.  In 1921, Franz Pieper gave a concise picture of the "state of the church", of our modern Christianity... and it was not pretty.  In fact it was ugly.  It still is, and Pieper's assessment is a wake up call to all of Christianity today.

Why have you perhaps not even heard of Pres. Franz Pieper as a towering leader of all Christianity, let alone Lutheranism?  Why did the now famous young German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer not even stop at Concordia Seminary as he travelled through America, through St. Louis, even though he would have surely known of those rather famous (or infamous) German-American Lutherans at St. Louis?  Bonhoeffer called himself "Lutheran", but in May 1931, he went right through St. Louis (page 128-129 in Strange Glory) and bypassed the great Concordia Seminary in the "heartland".  Pieper's obscurity today is further testimony of what he called Christianity's "defenseless defeat" at the hands of modern theology.  You will read more of this in the following short article.

Franz Pieper, the Twentieth Century Luther, on 
"The State of the Church"

Francis Pieper
Pres. Franz Pieper
Concordia Seminary
Is it better for the Christian Church in our time than in the past? We find the pros and cons of this issue discussed in several church papers.  In order to answer this question correctly, you have to know, in the first place, that the Christian church is produced and maintained solely by the Gospel of the forgiveness of sins for the sake of Christ’s satisfactio vicaria or what is the same thing, through the article of justification.  As Luther says: "This article is the head and the cornerstone of which alone produces, nourishes, builds and preserves the Christian Church, and without it, the Church of God cannot exist for one hour" (St. L. ed. XIV, col. 168; not in Am. Ed.)  The Christian church consists just only of people who believe, by the working of the Holy Spirit, that for the sake of Christ's vicarious satisfaction, without any of their own works, they have a gracious God.  All those who somehow push their own achievement and worthiness between themselves and the grace of God exclude themselves eo ipso from the grace of God and thus from the Christian Church and place themselves under the curse of the law.  Secondly, we must know the right answer to the above question in order to know the situation in Christendom for our time.  It stands at present so that not only Rome still curses the Christian doctrine of justification, but also by far the largest part of the so-called Protestant Christianity has abandoned the satisfactio vicaria and the divinity of Christ, also the Christian doctrine of justification and no longer holds the Holy Scripture as the infallible Word of God.  This apostasy from the foundation of the Christian Church was not so common fifty years ago.  Even some of the better sect journals also grant this.  Protestant Christianity in our time is, considered ecclesiastically, in the same situation as present day [1921] Germany in political terms. This country has had their weapons taken from them by the Fourteen Points and now stands defenselessly defeated to face angry enemies.  The present so-called Protestant Christianity has delivered to the devil, the world and the flesh the weapons of the Christian Church, namely the infallible Word of God and the gospel of the crucified Christ for payment for the world.  Thus it likewise stands defenseless against the enemies of the Christian Church.   F[ranz] P[ieper].
- - - - - - - - - -
Justification <—> Infallible Scriptures
The reader will notice how Pieper essentially equates the downfall of the Doctrine of Justification with the fall of the the teaching of the infallible Word of God in Holy Scripture.  But he first highlights Justification as Luther does, then adds the downfall of the doctrine of the infallible Scriptures.

"Fifty Years Ago"
Pieper: "This apostasy from the foundation of the Christian Church was not so common fifty years ago.  Even some of the better sect journals also grant this."
In doing the arithmetic, Pieper is referring to the earlier time from about 1871 – when the Church was not so apostacized from its foundation.  He would have been about 19 or 20 years old in 1871, about the time his family emigrated from Germany to America, but before he had joined the faculty of Concordia Seminary.  He tells us that he could judge spiritual matters even at that young age, that the "Christian Church" was not so defenseless then as it was in 1921.  In the light of his measuring tool, the Doctrine of Justification, how do you suppose it is today in the Christian Church?  President George H. W. Bush heralded "a thousand points of light" in January, 1989, but not President Franz Pieper in 1921.  And there are barely any "points of light" among the external churches of today. (Sorry President Harrison, your WMLT theme is not restoring the Church "here and now".)

Germany after WW I
Pieper uses the image of Germany after World War I, "defenselessly defeated to face angry enemies" by the "Fourteen Points" of President Woodrow Wilson.  But Pieper does not dwell on the specifics of the political situation.  He does not go into the details of "Article 231 of the Versailles Treaty", the so-called "War Guilt Clause".  Also the earlier German Missouri Synod did not dwell on the political situation of the U.S. Civil War as it raged about it.  Rather these truly spiritual men dwelt on the spiritual aspects.  And here Pieper shows us that things are far worse in the spiritual realm... worse than people realize.

"So-called Protestant Christianity"
For "by far the largest part" of external "so-called Protestant Christianity", whether in Germany or America or anywhere in the world, had given up its birthright.  Pieper does not dwell on Germany's plight in the political sense.  He dwells on the far worse situation in the Christian Church.

Daniel Preus
And so it is especially distressing when one reads recent news (Christian News Nov. 17, pgs 1 & 3) of LC-MS V.P. Daniel Preus, who is noted for his essay "LC-MS Holiday from History" of 15 years ago (1999) among "so-called Confessional Lutherans".  He seems now to have joined the "Holiday from History" as he reportedly is a party to the exoneration (rather than warning) of Prof. Jeffery Kloha's teaching of the Bible as a "plastic text".  Daniel Preus may protest my charge, but Prof. Kloha's apostasy from "the infallible Word of God" was long ago evident in his writings defending Hermann Sasse's error, even saying that we (the lay people) should take comfort in Sasse's teaching (rather error) on Scripture!  Where are you, Daniel Preus?... Whither Daniel Preus?  Franz Pieper said the same thing about an ancestor of yours, C.K. Preus, who was the first president of the old Norwegian Synod (see my website).  Pieper tried to communicate with C.K. Preus after Preus did not join with the old ELS as it split away from the Norwegian Synod due to its errors.  And C.K. Preus's distancing himself from Pieper greatly saddened Franz Pieper.

Daniel Preus!  Are we to likewise be saddened over you too?  Do you really believe Luther's article of Justification?

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Black woman in NY: "I knows Job never lied!" (Higher vs. lower criticism)

In 1885, from the church news section in Lehre und Wehre, vol. 31, page 60:

"Higher Criticism" versus "Lower criticism."   In the "Presbyterian", a black woman in New York was recently judicially placed under pledge not to disturb the worship service again.  Their new pastor spoke of Job as if he had not always spoken the truth. This was too much for her faith in the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures. She rose at once in her place and denied very clearly and definitely what the pastor by "higher criticism" had charged of Job.  Even in the courtroom she pressed insistently her disapproval and said: "I knows Job never lied" The "Presbyterian" adds: If the representatives of the new doctrines must have recourse to courts and guarantees to escape the righteous rebuke of her wild imagination, so this is a clear sign of weakness. "Aunt Martha" may not have acted wisely, but the valiant defense of the right faith is a reminder to us all.  We hold with the "lower criticism" in the pews.  F[ranz] P[ieper]

The young professor Pieper (under president Walther of Concordia Seminary) lifted this black woman up onto a pedestal and praised her (along with the Presbyterian magazine's praise) to the heavens.  So much for the liberal theology that espouses "Higher Criticism" of Holy Scripture, the theology of today that would try to "liberate" this woman from her Christian faith.  It is becoming increasing clear that President Matthew C. Harrison in his book At Home in the House of My Fathers, and his theme of "Witness, Mercy, Life Together", are only deceptive covers for a truly liberal theology, a theology that allows room for "Higher Criticism" and Harrison's "here and now" needs.  A recent report in Christian News (Nov. 17, 2014, pg 1) indicates that Harrison has clandestinely exonerated Prof. Jeff Kloha of false teaching in Kloha's "plastic text" essay.  This only stands to reason, since Harrison also essentially exonerates Hermann Sasse in his great error on Holy Scripture.

This account of a black woman standing up for Holy Scripture towers over "Higher Criticism" and is as fresh today, in 2014, as it was in 1885.  Dear God!  Would that I had her faith!... a faith in Thy Word!  How her faith towers over the theology of the "plastic text" in today's "Concordia Seminary".  Franz Pieper says so and so would Walther!

One wonders that today's LC-MS would take this black woman to court just like the "representatives of the new doctrines" in the account above.

I wanted to withhold this story until the upcoming "Black History Month", or the day set aside for MLK Jr. in January, but I could not resist bringing it to the world, "here and now".  For further reading from the old (German) Missouri Synod that spoke like this black woman, read Friedrich Bente's plea in 1923 to his Missouri Synod to stand firm here.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

I prayed to Santa Claus...

... when I was a young boy, probably less than 10 years old.  I wanted to receive a certain gift for Christmas and who else should I pray to?  The myth of Santa Claus coming into the house while we were away at Christmas Eve church services (LC-MS) was told to us by our parents and other church adults... and I certainly believed it!  Stupid me... or was I stupid?  Was it me that was stupid to believe such a false story that all "grown-ups" know is not true?  Or was something else wrong?

My mother eventually found out that I was praying to Santa Claus and sharply admonished me to stop doing this ... I think I felt like a fool... and I don't quite remember how she explained it to me, but I think she gently explained that the story of Santa Claus (coming into the house) was not really true.

That a "devout" LC-MS family such as mine should have promulgated such a worldly story within its household shows how far the lay members of the LC-MS were duped by its leaders and teachers into following the world's ways.

But it certainly was not the old (German) Missouri Synod that was the source of the confusion among its lay members... it was the new (English) Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod.

Practical Importance– Right Division of Law-Gospel –by Franz Pieper (from Australia)

      About 1-1/2 years ago, I promised in a response to a commenter on the subject of "minimizing the Law", to publish another of Franz Pieper's great essays.  This essay was first presented to the Kansas District of the old (German) Missouri Synod in 1892 and has been carefully translated and published in installments by the ELCR of Australia to its members to strengthen their faith.  It carries on the Christian teaching that C.F.W. Walther brought to light again for the Church of Christ in his book The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel. (or Law & Gospel as republished by CPH - on sale now for $30) 

  • Original German essay in Google Books can be found here.  
  • Full German text DOCX file here.

      Liberal theology often states that they are better at teaching practical matters or the "social dimension", and that Christian doctrine is too "transcendent" (e.g. by Reinhold Niebuhr).  But these are false charges, for true Christian teaching is entirely practical and "down to earth".  Pieper demonstrates this beautifully in this essay.

I dedicate this blog post to the original commenter who said:
Re Natural Law: if one minimizes the Law, also by denying natural law, one minimizes the Gospel.
But Franz Pieper shows the perfect use of the Law in all its uses, but especially as it is "rightly divided" (or properly distinguished) from the Gospel. (See 2 Tim. 2:15)  And my commenter may be a bit surprised (as even I was) that Pieper demonstrates the full use of the Law.  Here one learns how our Saviour could say:
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. – Matt. 11:30
I have determined to not allow anyone to teach me about the Law unless they properly distinguish it from the Gospel.  May the people of America, as well as the dear people of Australia, learn from this master theologian, Franz Pieper.  May the lay people and pastors alike now sit at the feet of the President (for over 40 years) of Concordia Seminary–St. Louis — Franz Pieper — and learn pure Christian teaching.  For your "mental health" during the Advent season leading up to Christmas, I now present the practical benefits of Luther's and Walther's teaching.

      This file is largely untouched from that provided to me by the Australian pastor.  He has diligently researched the sources – many of the references to Luther's writings are from the St. Louis Edition... sorry "Weimar Ausgabe" (WA) experts, you will have to use a cross-reference (like my Vogel XRef here) to find these in your Weimar edition. — And the dear pastor has added many instructive footnotes which Google Docs, in the process of importing, conveniently hyperlinked and moved to the end of the document.   If the reader prefers, he may download the original "DOC" file here.  All inline comments by "Ed." or "BLW" are by the Australian pastor.
Highlighting is mine; additional hyperlinks added to some source references.

2018-01-12: direct link to the above Google Doc here.
(Further comments may be added at a later time)

Monday, November 24, 2014

Walther's Textbook, v.3b (Baier-Walther Compendium)

      This continues the series (see Part 1 for Table of Contents) publishing the digital text of "Walther's textbook", the Baier-Walther Compendium Theologiae Positivae.  As always, the printed versions of "Walther's Textbook" are available from Emmanuel Press.
      Part IIIb (pages 337-787) is too large to place on a single blog post and so I am only publishing the chapters on "Law and Gospel",  and the sacraments, omitting those on "Church", "Ministry", civil government, domestic society and marriage.  See "Table of Contents" on previous blog post for further reference.

   Download complete searchable PDF of Volume IIIb ==>> here <<== (14 MB)
   Download complete DOCX file of Volume IIIb ======>> here <<=== (1 MB) (or here)

"Walther's Textbook", Volume IIIb 
(only pgs 337-613; 614-787 omitted here)

There is a lot of theology in "Walther's Textbooks".  Because there are so many languages used in it, I am glad that Franz Pieper wrote his Christliche Dogmatik mostly in German, and that these could then be conveniently translated into my language of English, into his Christian Dogmatics.  But now that Walther's Textbook is much more convenient to access, I plan to make use of it in areas of interest, such as the Lutheran Doctrine of Justification, to see how Walther used the quotes of not only Martin Luther, but also from "Lutheran Orthodoxy" and the Lutheran Confessions.  Now that we have the powerful Google Translate (and others), this work from "Old Missouri" is now usable.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Walther's Textbook, v.3a (Baier-Walther Compendium)

      This continues the series (see Part 1 for Table of Contents) publishing the digital text of "Walther's textbook", the Baier-Walther Compendium Theologiae Positivae.  As always, the printed versions of "Walther's Textbook" are available from Emmanuel Press.  (My works are not taken from their republished books but rather from original books.)
      Part IIIa (pages 1-336) is too large to place on a single blog post – Google Docs could not load this large of a text file.  So I am placing only Chapter V because it contains the all important chapter "De Justificatione" and Walther included quite a selection of quotes from Luther and other "orthodox Lutheran theologians".  It includes the response by Wittenberg and Württemberg theologians to Samuel Huber's error on pages 286-287; Walther explains their weakness here.  I would invite the reader to do a text search in a browser now for the text "justificatione" and "Rechtfertigung" (German for justification) and see how often these terms are used.  Then copy and paste the passages into Google Translate to get the English meaning.
      To aid the reader in navigating the large 2-part Volume III, here is the "Table of Contents" that only appears on the last page of Part IIIb:
           - - - - - - - - Table of Contents, Vol. III - - - - - - - -
         nostrae primo principio                          3
         ac fundamento                                   18
    Sectio I. De persona Christi                         20
    Sectio III. De officio Christi                      100
Cap. III. De fide in Christum                            134
Cap. IV. De regeneratione et conversione                 177
Cap. V. De justificatione                                240
Cap. VI. De renovatione et bonis operibus                299
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Volume IIIb
Cap. VII. De verbo legis et evangelii                    337
Cap. VIII. De sacramentis in genere                      400
Cap. IX. De sacramentis veteris testamenti               421
Cap. X. De baptismo                                      434
Cap. XI. De sacra coena                                  489
Cap. XII. De praedestinatione et reprobatione            531
Cap. XIII. De ecclesia                                   614
Cap. XIV. De ministerio ecclesiastico                    683
Cap. XV. De magistratu politico                          724
conjugali, paterna atque herili               745
           - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
   Download complete searchable PDF of Volume IIIa ==>> here <<== (11 MB)
   Download complete DOCX file of Volume IIIa ======>> here <<=== (1 MB) (or here)

"Walther's Textbook", Volume IIIa (only pgs 240-336)

The last Volume IIIb, pages 337-788 will be published in a later post.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Walther's Textbook, v.2 (Baier-Walther Compendium)

(updated Nov. 24 to add Vol. II  Table of Contents)
      This continues the series (see Part 1 for Table of Contents) publishing the digital text of "Walther's textbook", the Baier-Walther Compendium Theologiae Positivae.  As always, the printed versions of "Walther's Textbook" are available from Emmanuel Press.  (My works are not taken from their republished books but rather from original books.)
     Below is a Table of Contents ("Conspectus") that is also placed just after the title page for quick reference to the major sections.  This can also be found at the last page.
           - - - - - - - -  Table of Contents, Vol. II  - - - - - - - -
                     PARS PRIMA.
Cap. I. De Deo..............................................3
                      de mysterio SS. Trinitatis...........45
Cap. II. De creatione......................................76
Cap. III. De angelis......................................103
Cap. V. De providentia Dei................................160
Cap. VI. De beatitudine aeterna...........................181
Cap. VII. De damnatione aeterna...........................203
Cap. VIII. De morte temporali.............................223
Cap. IX. De resurrectione mortuorum.......................241
                       PARS SECUNDA.
Cap. I. De peccato in genere..............................267
Cap. II. De peccato originis..............................280
Cap. III. De peccatis actualibus..........................308
           ubi etiam de tentatione agitur.................317

      Download searchable PDF of Volume II ==>> here <<== (11 MB)
      Download DOCX file of Volume II ======>> here <<=== (1 MB) (or here)

"Walther's Textbook", Volume II (330 pages)

      Please note that I will be correcting Volume I (see here) because of anomalies I discovered recently in publishing text files in a blog post.  I will provide a notice when the update is finished.
      The last Volume III is much larger and so will be published in 2 separate blog posts: IIIa and IIIb.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Walther's Textbook, Index v.4 (Baier-Walther Compendium)

      This continues the series (see Part 1 for Table of Contents) publishing the digital text of "Walther's textbook", the Baier-Walther Compendium Theologiae Positivae.  As always, the printed versions of "Walther's Textbook" are available from Emmanuel Press.  (My works are not taken from their republished book but rather from an original copy.)
      I am breaking the sequence to publish the Index volume, sometimes referred to as Volume IV.  This volume is not available on Google Books and is somewhat obscure in WorldCat's database. This Index was published 20 years after the first 3 volumes, and 12 years after Walther's passing, by Theodore Buenger.  It shows that "Walther's Textbook" was still revered in its capacity for teaching at Concordia Seminary.  Franz Pieper's subsequent Christian Dogmatics textbooks were still about 20 years away.
Download the complete scanned Index "Volume IV" ==>> here <<== (searchable PDF, 4MB)
(2017-01-17: copy > here <)

What follows is the OCR'd text, except the Scripture references index – pages 106-112.  Use the download above for the entire book to view these pages.

This Index volume IV is a useful resource for extended research in theological subjects.  It is good for additional information beyond (and correction to) the online Christian Cyclopedia.  Here is a sampling of subjects I picked out to peak the reader's interest to make this Index a continuing resource:

Certitudo justificationis ... ,,monstrum incertitudinis superat omnia monstra“ in papatu 291.
Huber, Sam. (see Dr. Jack Kilcrease blog on Huber's error here)
Hunnius, Aegidius (some claim he was against Universal Justification)
Intuitu, intuitu fidei III 554 de intuitu fidei in doctrina electionis vid. praedestinatio (fides)
Justificatio objective considerata
Keplerus, Joh. († 1630), II, 86.
Lutherus, Martinus... de justificatione objective considerata III 134. 271.
Militia spiritualis III, 614.
Pontifex Romanus (Roman Popes)
Praedestinatio (Predestination, Election)
Sponsores baptismales III, 487 s.

Another point of interest is in the appendix – Walther's theological "Axioms" starting at page 113.  Axiom # 28 says (translated from the Latin):
28. Articles of faith in themselves are not contrary to reason, but only above reason.
Above reason.  Oh, if only the inventor of the Internet, Tim Berners-Lee, or the cosmologist Carl Sagan († 1996), or the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, or the "Mythbuster" Adam Savage would only see that their reason cannot comprehend the things of God... and so would get smart, and not be dumb or stupid, and open their eyes to God's Word!

All this begs the question: when will I complete the digital text of the remaining Volume II and Volume III?  Soon...

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Paul Schulz - unsung hero during LC-MS fall

Who was Pastor Paul Schulz?  He was a pastor in Springfield, Illinois at Trinity Church.  He was for a time chairman of the Board of Control of Concordia Theological Seminary before it moved to Fort Wayne, IN (ref. Prairie School of the Prophets, Heintzen, pg 167).  But most importantly he stands out today as a watchman on the walls of Zion, as he pleaded with the LC-MS in June 1938 to not give up its Lutheran teaching, its faithfulness to God's Word.  I ran across the publishing of his essay in the first issue of 1939 in the Concordia Theological Monthly, (vol. 10) pages 25-37.  Because his essay is so striking in its forthright manner, in its calling on the work of Walther (and Pieper), I want to reprint the digital text for all to benefit from this truly Christian man as he stood on the walls so that his dear "Missouri Synod" would not fall away...  but alas, today's (English) LC-MS would not.  But lest we become disheartened, we can still benefit from the words of Pastor Schulz.

Pastor Schulz refers to Walther's book about "The Evangelical Lutheran Church, the True Visible Church of God on Earth".  This subject matter of Walther has been reviewed in recent years by Pastor Clint Poppe for the "Nebraska Lutherans for Confessional Study", a worthy study!  So too is this essay during that critical time when the old (German) Missouri Synod was slowly dissolving into today's new (English) LC-MS.  How was it dissolving?  Let Pastor Paul Schulz's warnings show the way.
Hyperlinks added for reference; highlighting is mine.

It was the unionism that was running rampant within the ranks of the teachers in the LC-MS, and Pastor Schulz saw this clearly and warned sharply against it.  He also showed the way to stay on (or to return to) God's way, by His Word.  —  Pastor Schulz also highlights the importance of a pure Doctrine of Justification in this essay (see pages 33-34).
A sad quote for me is this:
What, then, should be our attitude towards heterodox churches? We cannot fellowship with them. That would be fellowshiping with error and would destroy us as the true visible Church. But we can and should testify to the truth to them as long as they will hear us.   This we have consistently done, and the gratifying fact that some of the other Lutheran churches today occupy a more satisfactory confessional position than formerly is due, as they admit, largely to our testimony.
This statement explains the sad position of almost all of external Lutheranism, indeed also all Christianity today, because the pure testimony of the old (German) Missouri Synod has gone silent.  May the words of Pastor Paul Schulz, one of the faithful "stewards of the mysteries of God" (1 Cor. 4:1), be remembered today in the Lutheran Church, here and now.  Are you listening Concordia Theological Seminary-Fort Wayne?

Moving Frontiers (away from Gospel); Luth. Trivia

In this series of blog posts relating to "Church History", I again pulled out the book I read many years ago when I was searching for the heart of the "Missouri Synod".  It was edited by Carl S. Meyer, and this book is still sold by Concordia Publishing House (see current book cover right), sealing it as a book still purporting to tell today's world about the history of the "Missouri Synod".  But it is a book in which I long ago discovered that most of the writers, including editor Carl S. Meyer, distorted and falsified the real (spiritual) Church history.  To be sure, the book includes some source documents, but then proceeds in many ways to judge the old (German) Missouri Synod.  One example is William J. Danker's statement (on page 294) that Missouri's "mission to the heathen" was "retarded", as if today's LC-MS and its confused Gospel is a better "mission to the heathen".  To go into all the details of where the authors failed and falsified would take too long.  I had to laugh when one of the reviewers on Amazon (V. Johnson) said: "People who enjoy Lutheran Trivia would be interested in reading this book".  "Lutheran Trivia" indeed!... but not so much spiritual history.  But when I pulled this book off the shelf today, my hand-written notes from more than 15 years ago struck me... and so I offer to the reader the (original) cover of my copy of this book:
Moving Frontiers
edited by Carl S. Meyer

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Seckendorf As Church Historian, Spitz thesis (Pt 2)

(modified on 11/10/2014)
In my recent post regarding Veit Ludwig von Seckendorf, I lamented that his major work of the History of Lutheranism has not yet been translated into English.  However further research has yielded some benefit from the work of the LC-MS historian Dr. Lewis W. Spitz.  He wrote some articles for the journal Concordia Theological Monthly, but prior to these he wrote as part of his dissertation at the University of Chicago a treatise on Seckendorf as Church Historian.  Because of its value and also its obscurity for public viewing, I want to publish the OCR'd text of this work:
     L.W. Spitz, "A Critical Evaluation of Veit Ludvig von Seckendorf as a Church Historian" ==>> PDF copy
What follows is the text of an extract from this dissertation:

The lay reader without knowledge of Latin or German will find reading this article difficult.  But it is worth the effort to just go to page 154 and read the highlighted section on "justification", especially where Seckendorf says:
Luther, however, excluded charity from the act of justification.
That statement is the Reformer and Reformation in a nutshell!  I would also invite the reader to do a search on the word "Luther " (with a space after) and read information relating directly to Martin Luther.  This may perhaps stimulate further reading.  I admit that part of my motive for posting this essay on Seckendorf is to perhaps promote interest with some Lutheran scholar in the world who will see Seckendorf's work as having value for Christians today... and translate it into English!  After all, Franz Pieper said this of Luther's polemical writings:
It's all entertaining!
What Christian does not need true entertainment?  —  Spitz wrote other articles on Seckendorf:
1) for the Journal of Religion, 1945 (see here for download copy)
2) for Concordia Theological Monthly in 1945 and 1949 (see here for downloads, alternate here)

Why is Seckendorf so important as a Church Historian?  Because Pastor Hermann Fick noted (here, page 164) how Seckendorf praised Martin Luther's response to the Diet of Regensburg especially for holding firm on
The Lutheran Doctrine of Justification.  

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Correspondence of Walther – Roy Suelflow "disturbed"

Roy Suelflow
Note: April 28, 2015 – added download link to original book scan, see below.
Continuing the theme of "Church History" from the last post, the letters of C.F.W. Walther speak with a pure judgment of the history and defenses of Lutheran theology.  I am hereby re-publishing a book of translated letters of Walther which was not published by Concordia Publishing.  It was self-published by Roy Suelflow in 1980 († 1981).  I want to reproduce the first paragraph of his preface:
“Recently I worked through the letters of C.F.W. Walther (1811-87) as a participant in a major production of Walther essays and papers to be published by Concordia Publishing House.  It disturbed me that many valuable and interesting letters had to be excluded from the projected volume of letters because of space limitations.  It is hoped that this small volume here offered to the public will rescue a few of these letters from continuing obscurity.”
I must agree with the dear Roy Suelflow!... it disturbs me as well.  The "major production" he spoke of produced the 1981 CPH book Selected Letters in the series Selected Writings of C.F.W. Walther (see original dust jacket to the left).  CPH  is now offering this book in the "Print On Demand" format.  And I suspect Concordia Historical Institute has published more translated letters.  But I want to make Roy Suelflow's self-published book available to everyone... as I believe he would want it that way.  What follows is the OCR'd text of his book.  There have been other books that published English translations of Walther's letters here and here.  But for now, the reader will find in the following letters (and Suelflow's helpful Notes) a Christian heart as Walther pours it out, just like the letters of Martin Luther. (Highlighting is mine.)

April 28, 2015: Download PDF scan of original book >>>  here  <<<. (5MB, text searchable)

What are some of the subjects of interest?  One area of theology Walther deals with is Pietism and pietistic tendencies (see letter of January 19, 1846 beginning on page 20).  It is surprising to read Walther's caution against those who would attempt to defend against it without a true knowledge of theology.  I learned much (still learning!) on the subject of Pietism and the persons involved.  Very good Church History here...

Another point of interest is Walther's letter of May 23, 1878 to Th. Ruhland in Germany (see page 79).  It is revealed that Walther's preference for his successor was George Stoeckhardt.  Walther's choice was blocked, and he says
"...the election was conducted and a younger man elected who had studied at our Concordia, and although he came from the Wisconsin Synod, had become a darling of the Missourians. His name is Franz Pieper."
Walther complained... but God had other plans for his dear "Missourians" for He sent them the "Second Walther" against Walther's wishes... God sent the 20th Century Luther to the Missouri Synod.

Seckendorf & Spitz– 2 church historians; Why no English translation? (Part 1)

Many, many books have been written on "Church History", but not many are very good at telling the true story of Church History.  I have quoted Franz Pieper previously on how one is to judge those who should write of Church History (or Historical Theology, and it bears repeating:
It is the function of historical theology not only to give a historically true picture of the events, but also to evaluate these established facts in the light of Scripture.  Historical theology is the divinely taught art of ascertaining from Scripture God's verdict on the historical events and conditions.  That is what makes church history a theological discipline.  When the church historian judges events according to his subjective view or any other extra-Biblical norm, church history is no longer a theological discipline. ...Where things are as they should be, the Church will, therefore, elect only such men as professors of church history as are thoroughly conversant with the Scripture doctrine in all its parts, well informed in dogmatics, in order that the instruction in church history will not confuse but aid Christian understanding.
Veit Ludwig von Seckendorf
So when I come across sources of true Church History, the ones that build my Christian faith, I take note of it.  In the last blog post, Pieper mentioned a quote that Lutheran historian Veit Ludwig von Seckendorf († 1692) recorded in his monumental Commentarius historicus et apologeticus de Lutheranismo published in Latin.  But how could I get more true Lutheran history from this Seckendorf since he is apparently unavailable in English?  Maybe someone has translated his highly regarded work of Lutheran Church History into English?  So I researched this with the powerful tool of the Internet – WorldCat, Google Books, HathiTrust, Bayerishe Staats Bibliothek, etc., and current scholarship on Seckendorf such as by Solveig Strauch.  What I found was that there is no English translation of Seckendorf's work, but there are many who have probably borrowed from it. Lewis Spitz, in 1949 (CTM vol. 20, pgs 446-450), pleaded for the public to be aware of Seckendorf's work because it was becoming rare, probably from 2 World Wars, and it had never been translated into English.  I have wondered that since Lewis Spitz 
  • seemed to regard Seckendorf highly and
  • is so highly regarded as a Reformation scholar, 
...then why didn't he translate Seckendorf into English?  Sigh... another wonderful Christian writer who remains untranslated... like Antonius Margaritha.  I suppose us English speaking Lutherans will have to just content ourselves with the quotes used by others of Seckendorf, for example:
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
So along the way of researching Seckendorf, I ran into a fellow researcher, a scholar, albeit from decades ago.  And he was associated with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.  He was Dr. Lewis William Spitz (1922–1999).

L. W. Spitz
Dr. Lewis William Spitz
LC-MS historian
So I decided to also (once again) read some of the writings of Dr.  Spitz, a highly regarded scholar and historian – of church history and other history.  I have read much from him in the past, and I take note of the following:
  • Lewis Spitz almost never gives credit to either Walther or Pieper for any of his proper judgments of Luther or Church History.  In this respect, Spitz reflects the influence of modern theology in that he can give copious quotes from Kant or Machiavelli or Goethe or Coleridge, etc.  And yet,
  • Lewis Spitz is refreshing in that he did not totally disregard the basics of Lutheran theology: sola Scriptura, sola fide, sola gratia... he does not totally falsify Martin Luther – witness his article "Luther's Sola Scriptura" from CTM vol. 31 (1960) pgs 740-744.
In comparing the Church History taught by today's Prof. Cameron MacKenzie of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, and that of Dr. Lewis W. Spitz, there is a great difference.  And so I say that after one first becomes grounded in the true Christian doctrine from Pieper, Walther, and Luther, then some of the works of Prof. Dr. Lewis William Spitz can have some benefit.

For myself, I prefer to concentrate on the pure Church History as presented by Luther, Walther and Pieper (and Friedrich Bente).  I have set aside Lewis William Spitz because I want the pure historical theology of Luther and it is somewhat watered down by Dr. Spitz.  But it is not watered down by Walther or Pieper.

And would to God there were some true Christian scholar today who would distinguish himself and translate the entire work into English the works of Veit Ludwig von Seckendorf. so that we may read more of the history of Lutheranism and of individuals like John Frederick, the Magnanimous.

To further true Church History, I want to re-publish an obscure book of Walther's letters in my next blog post.