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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

New CPH book- Church Fellowship-4: Praise? (Consensus religion)

This continues from Part 2 reviewing the information on the new upcoming addition to CPH's Walther's Works series – Church Fellowship.

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The endorsements all purport to praise CPH (and Walther).

Prof. (emeritus) Robert Kolb, in his endorsement for CPH's Walther's Works, admits that "scholars in the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries have largely neglected him [Walther]".  But could it be that he [Kolb] is in large part the reason for this?  Indeed he is, who, along with the noted Dr. Lewis Spitz, virtually wiped the fathers of the old (German) Missouri Synod from even their own discussions.  Yes indeed, Robert Kolb is high on the list of those responsible for the attempted burial of Walther – he had no qualms in a syncretistic joining with an ELCA theologian in producing a new translation of the Book of Concord.  At least Lewis Spitz seemed less antagonistic to old Missouri.  Why had Kolb not spear-headed the translation work of Walther's works?  And Kolb would now be our judge to tell us that (maybe) Walther should not have been neglected!?

Rev. Martin Noland (PhD) has the audacity to highlight Walther's writing against "doctrinal development", when Noland  himself would get his highest doctrine from a Jewish philosopher.  Martin Noland seems to stop at nothing to get his name in print within today's LC-MS.  He will seemingly praise Walther, then turn around to justify an essay that calls the Bible a "plastic text".  Dear reader, after reading Walther's writings in this book, do you think Walther would not sharply warn Rev. Noland of his duplicity in doctrinal matters?
...

I am tired...  tired of calling out writers of today's LC-MS who purport to praise Walther, all the while only passing him by.  Some want to pass him by to speak of other "orthodox Lutheran dogmaticians".  Others want to pass him by to attempt to understand (or "research") Martin Luther or Martin Chemnitz.  But all these in reality want to be the judge of these: Luther, Chemnitz, Walther.  But there is only one who could best judge these... another "neglected" theologian:
Franz Pieper.  
Pieper's endorsement of Walther would be the best for CPH, but Pieper doesn't count in today's modern theology.
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Yes, these endorsements all purport to praise CPH (and Walther).  But...

But where is Pres. Matthew Harrison's endorsement of this book... or was he too busy promoting his books on Hermann Sasse for the needs of "here and now"?

Where is Prof. Jeffery Kloha's endorsement?  Oh, it must have been overlooked as he makes himself appear as the greatest defender of Holy Scripture (the "plastic text") since... Martin Chemnitz or... Martin Luther?

What about Rev. Travis Scholl's endorsement?  (He has a degree from Yale) Oh, I guess he was must have gotten lost in his Labyrinth that day? — Or maybe he was tied up studying the pronouncements of Pope Francis, just like he "constructively received ... Pope Benedict's encyclical, Caritas in Veritate". (pg 344, Concordia Journal Fall 2009) — Or maybe he is still scratching his head, trying to figure out just exactly what was meant by the 2 commenters (Jeff Wild, Timothy Hershey) on his ConcordiaTheology.org website publishing the essay on Walther's Doctrine of Justification by Franz Pieper.

Where is an endorsement by District President David Benke?  Was he stuck in a meeting with other D.P.s and could not take the time?  Or did he demur because he disagreed with Walther's teaching of "Church Fellowship"?  Wait a second, wasn't one of Walther's articles on "syncretism", an older word for unionism?  Isn't that what D.P. David Benke was exhibiting when he prayed with "Jews, Turks, and papists"?  No?  Maybe I should read Walther's essays again because I don't quite "get it" (wink)?

Why not pull out one of the many praises of Walther that Hermann Sasse heaped on Walther and his old Missouri Synod, especially on his doctrine of the infallible, inerrant, inspired Bible?  Or maybe one of Bonhoeffer's praises for the faithful German Lutherans in St. Louis, America?

Here's a suggestion for CPH Managing Editor Benjamin T.G. Mayes: how about an endorsement from Pastor Joel Baseley of Mark V Publications... you know, the pastor who single-handedly translated and published several of Walther's sermon books all by himself in a very short time?  Oh, I see, he is a business competitor, right?  And after all, you have a business to run, don't you? — Or maybe you did not want to interrupt his continuing translation of Volume 4 of Der Lutheraner?

Where are the endorsements from Harvard, Oxford, Yale, Boston, Cambridge, Vanderbilt, Princeton, U. of Chicago, etc....  without these, this book has no "scholarly" standing...  and a high "scholarly" standing is very important to us Lutherans you know...  at least that's what other collections of endorsements by and for CPH tell us.

Honestly, the ironies of today's LC-MS make my head spin!  I was going to write another lengthy blog post responding to all the official "Praisers" for this volume and Walther's Works: Noland, Harmelink, Manteufel, Egger, Brug, Kolb, Schmelder.  But I will spend no more time than to ask all these theologians this:
  • Why do none of you even mention the heart of Walther's teaching?
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LC-MS == "Consensus Religion" in America (Unitarian insight)
I have a witness to the fact that today's LC-MS is not the model church body exhibiting Walther's teaching on "Church Fellowship".  In her book Religion in America, 4th edition (2000), Unitarian Universalist Association minister, Julia Corbett-Hemeyer describes "consensus religion" (page 46):
"Consensus religion reflects the religious sensibilities of the majority of people in our culture."
I suspect that this textbook is widely used in academia to teach young students about "religion in America".  It's hard to believe the high price this book commands, even in used condition!  (I wonder that CPH is envious of the price it commands. But I bought an old copy at Goodwill for $1) — What then does Ms. (Rev.!) Corbett-Hemeyer say about the LC-MS in year 2000, the year before D.P. David Benke participated in the famous meeting of “A Prayer For America,” at Yankee Stadium in the wake of the 9/11/2001 attacks?
"The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the largest Lutheran body, is firmly within the sphere of consensus religion.  As the religious consensus in the United States has become more conservative, religious groups that would have been outside the consensus a decade or two ago are now within it. The Missouri Synod Lutheran Church is one of two major evangelical and conservative Protestant groups in the United States that is now a part of the broad consensus, along with the Southern Baptist Convention. Neither completely fits the description of consensus Protestant churches. For example, both have remained outside the National Council of Churches. However, their size and the increased conservatism of the consensus warrants their inclusion here." (page 58)
Could it be the Unitarians know today's LC-MS better than the LC-MS does? ... that today's new (English) LC-MS is firmly heterodox (or syncretistic and unionistic)... a "consensus religion" in America?
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The reader may now surmise that I recommend that they overlook all that is said about Walther by the endorsers, editors, and translators, Introduction writers, ... by today's LC-MS.  Just read Walther, for even those who are considered better in today's LC-MS can barely speak of (or actually reject) the heart of Walther — Universal, Objective Justification (UOJ), i.e. the Gospel.
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There is another book on the horizon from CPH that holds some interest – a full translation of Walther's Pastoral Theology in 2016.  I look forward to reading this volume after its release in 2016, but I do not look forward to reading the comments and "praise" from today's "consensus religion" LC-MS and CPH.

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