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Friday, December 12, 2014

Stoeckhardt on Missouri-3: "Confessional Lutheran"; substantive changes in Roman Church?

This continues from the Introduction publishing the English translation of one of George Stoeckhardt's major convention essays, The Missouri Synod (Table of Contents in Part 1).  In this part 3, the misuse of the label "Confessional Lutheran" is highlighted.  George Stoeckhardt knew well this misuse as he recounts in numerous places in his Missouri Synod essay the errors of the modern theology of the German State Church from which he came out of.  But what strikes me is that these modernists would call themselves "Confessional Lutherans".  Franz Pieper also spoke about those who would call themselves "Confessional" in Germany in 1930:
Confessional Lutheran theologians are just that in their theology.  Knowledge is encouraged to the extent that they have recognized the doctrine of the Lutheran Confessions as scriptural and are able to teach effectively.
These so-called "Confessional Lutheran theologians" in Germany, some of whom likely taught Dietrich Bonhoeffer, were just using that "Confessional Lutheran" label to appear more authentic, but were in reality using it under false pretenses.  —  Here are 2 passages comparing Stoeckhardt and today's LC-MS:

In our day a theology is come in to the fore which is struggling for credibility, which directly calls itself Confessional-Lutheran, but which seeks to make Lutheran belief plausible to reason and to placate the spirit of the age.
Without question, congregations and denominations of the twenty-first century are different from those of the sixteenth century when the Reformation was so needed. The ecumenical movement during the twentieth century increased dialogue among Christians worldwide. Vatican II (1962–65) brought substantive changes to Roman Catholic practice and attitudes, which is evident when you visit their services.

Now the Editor(s) of The Lutheran Difference would certainly call himself a "Confessional Lutheran".  But when he says that Vatican II "brought substantive changes" to the Roman Church, he thereby is directly targeted by Stoeckhardt's warning against modern theology, that it seeks to "placate the spirit of the age", for modern theology does not use the forceful language of the Confessions or the old (German) Missouri Synod.  He may cry foul all he wants, but today's LC-MS continually points to "Vatican II" as proof of "substantive changes", all the while he would claim to be a "Confessional Lutheran".  But Stoeckhardt saw through this weakening of Christian doctrine first hand in the German State Church, where differences were blurred.

NO! -- There were no "substantive changes" from Vatican II and today's CPH editors could learn from the Romanists themselves for even they say themselves (per Wikipedia):
As Dei Verbum reads, "Therefore, following in the footsteps of the Council of Trent and of the First Vatican Council, this present council wishes to set forth authentic doctrine on divine revelation and how it is handed on…”, Vatican II did not deny previous councils' correctness.
It does not matter what the CPH editors and writers say about "The Lutheran Difference" after the Editor says "Vatican II brought substantive changes"... the damage is already done.  Perhaps the CPH editors and writers need a lesson on what "substantive" actually means.  Here is what Google popped up when I asked for a definition:

  1. 1.
    having a firm basis in reality and therefore important, meaningful, or considerable.
    "there is no substantive evidence for the efficacy of these drugs"
  2. 2.
    having a separate and independent existence.

Of course Google's definition isn't concerned with spiritual matters.  We have to go Back To Luther to get the spiritual meaning:

      3.  having a firm basis, an objective existence in the truth of the Gospel, "by grace, not by works"

Now that we have established the proper meaning of the word "substantive", does the reader believe that Vatican II, with its continued anathema against the truth of the Gospel, brought substantive changes to the Roman Church?  –  Did you see that "wink" in their eye as they attempt to explain the "Lutheran Difference" vs. the Pope's Church, the Church of the Antichrist?  ... the Antichrist that George Stoeckhardt plainly speaks of in his essay?

Could it be the CPH book "The Lutheran Difference" lacks substance and is not actually Confessional Lutheranism when it mixes false teaching with truth?  And that Lutherans should rather look to George Stoeckhardt for truly Confessional Lutheran teaching?

In the next Part 4...

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