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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

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)

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