Search This Blog

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Stoeckhardt: Missouri Synod (Pt 1): True Ev.-Luth. Church

George Stoeckhardt
† 1913
I have blogged in the past about another well-known professor from the old (German) Missouri Synod – George Stoeckhardt.  In one of them, I responded to a report of his "nervous breakdown", a report that even now seems suspect because it came from sources not commonly available, the common ones such as 80 Eventful Years; Reminiscences of Ludwig Ernest Fuerbringer, etc., (by L. Fuerbringer) and other sources inside and outside of the Missouri Synod, those who knew him best.  It was not mentioned by those who covered Stoeckhardt's life after he passed away.  Even now, I wonder about the motives of Prof. Joel Pless of Wisconsin Lutheran College who felt compelled to present this "exposé".

Stoeckhardt is close to being in my masthead, for he taught, preached, and defended the pure Gospel, the Gospel that C.F.W. Walther uncovered again in America and set on the pedestal.  Stoeckhardt wrote many essays and conference reports for the old Missouri, but I am going to highlight one in particular, partly because it testifies to a fact that almost no one today acknowledges – that it was C.F.W. Walther, not F.A. Schmidt, who wrote the report delivered at the inaugural meeting of the Synodical Conference in 1872 – the essay title I abbreviate as SCR 1872.  This testimony was included in a sub-section regarding the Doctrine of Justification as taught by old Missouri, and I want to highlight this in the next post.

So to refute the image of Prof. Stoeckhardt, where he "escaped one evening from the [Missouri Baptist] sanitarium and after a chase of several blocks was apprehended by members of the St. Louis police force and returned"... to refute this, I want to present the true George Stoeckhardt, the dear theologian who fled his native Germany because of its modern theology in the German State Church and came to America, where the Ev.-Lutheran Church was flourishing under... C.F.W. Walther.  I would add that Stoeckhardt also bowed to Walther's successor, Franz Pieper.  This is shown by the following report of Fuerbringer:
At first he preached rather lengthy sermons, but when Dr. Pieper, his neighbor and friend and regular visitor in his church, told him, “Stoeckhardt, du predigst zu lang,” he at once took it to heart and limited himself to so and so many pages of manuscript. — 80 Eventful Years, page 112.
Stoeckhardt also, to his credit, corrected his earlier tendency for synergism as he came under the influence of the Missourians Walther and Pieper.

Essays and Papers
by G. Stoeckhardt
Stoeckhardt was the author of much theological material, both in periodicals and in books.  But I have selected perhaps his best "dogmatics" work, an essay delivered to successive years of the "Central District" – first in Cleveland, Ohio in 1894, then in Indianapolis, Indiana, 1895.  And the translator of much of Stoeckhardt's works, Erwin W. Koehlinger, included these in his Essays and Papers collection and it was published by CTS-Seminary Press in the 1980s.  I have learned that this book is still available from Concordia Theological Seminary bookstore by calling them since it is "Print-on-Demand" and not online. This book has several other district convention essays and is well worth the modest price of ~ $20.
"The Lutheran Difference"
Reformation Anniversary Edition

As I reread this essay again after 15 years, I found it to be a worthy example of pure old (German) Missouri Synod teachingalready translated into English! It is much more valuable for Christian teaching than most of what is sold today by CPH and CTS-FW, like the new "500th Anniversary Reformation Edition" of their book The Lutheran Difference. where the Editor (Engelbrecht?) says
Vatican II (1962–65) brought substantive changes to Roman Catholic practice and attitudes... (Preface, xvi)
Note to CPH and today's LC-MS: how could Vatican II bring "substantive changes" when it did not repeal the anathema of the Council of Trent on all Christianity? —  I was especially refreshed by Stoeckhardt's essay since it is also a timely weapon in refuting today's "here and now" LC-MS that is intent on mixing false teachings with truth – see Stoeckhardt's section below on the Antichrist.
Koehlinger's translation does not have the emphasized words in the original German text.  However I have highlighted certain passages and will use them in the upcoming blog posts to refute current erring teachers. Hypertext links added for ease of navigation.  (View full text in separate window here)

                  Table of Contents
Part 1 – Intro, full text window (this post)
Part 2 – Justification and Synodical Conference 1872 (vs. Marquart, Schuetze)
Part 3 – "Confessional Lutheranism"; substantive changes?  (vs. The Lutheran Difference book)
Part 4 – Sun, moon, stars (cosmology)... in the Bible (vs. Hermann Sasse)
Part 5a – Means of Grace: Which is the primary one? (vs. Berthold von Schenk)
Part 5b – Means of Grace: What is Absolution? (Baseley's attack on Walther)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments only accepted when directly related to the post.