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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.

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