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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Stoeckhardt on Missouri-5a: Means of Grace (vs. von Schenk)

This continues from Part 4, highlighting a major convention essay (translated to English) by George Stoeckhardt: The Missouri Synod (Table of Contents in Part 1).  In this part 5a, I highlight a somewhat striking statement of Stoeckhardt on page 326 under the sub-section "Church Practice" and contrast it with a past LC-MS pastor held in high regard by some in today's LC-MS:
G. Stoeckhardt:
The foremost means of grace, we can say, the true means of grace is the Word. The Sacrament is simply confirmation of the Word or is the visible Word.
Berthold von Schenk,
Lively Stone, p. 89-90:
I never doubted the dogma of the authority of Scripture, but this dead concept and absolutism has no life or mystery in it. The Missouri Synod theology of inspiration has been tragic. To accept the St. Louis definition of the Bible robs me of the Bible, its mysticism, its possibilities, and great uses. The Bible has great mystery and adventure, even as the Sacraments of the Church are the Mystical Body of Christ which put life into theology. ...
The contrast between Stoeckhardt's statement and that of Berthold von Schenk is quite breathtaking!  To call, as von Schenk does, those Christian theologians (e.g. old Missouri) who taught the authority of Scripture as teaching a "dead concept and absolutism"... oh, horror of horrors!  One can hardly believe what came out of the mouth of many of the LC-MS men once they departed from the pure Gospel after Pieper's death.  I can only say that based on Stoeckhardt's statement above, the Sacraments do not put life into theology until the Word gives life to the Sacraments... there is NO life in the Sacraments without the Word, they rather become a "dead concept" or ex opere operato.  Ah, but it was the old Missouri Synod that gave life to the Sacraments, for it was the Bible church.

Stoeckhardt's crystal clear statement refutes all "Lutheran" teachers who imply in their discussion of Lutheran differences that the main difference lies in the doctrine of the Lord's Supper or Holy Communion.  But Stoeckhardt sets the foundation for any and all differences chiefly in ... the Word.  And today's LC-MS should sit at Stoeckhardt's feet, not Berthold von Schenk or those who hold von Schenk up as a "good read".

In the next part 5b, I call out a distressing statement made by an LC-MS pastor I previously had hopes for...

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