Search This Blog

Friday, March 28, 2014

LDJ–1859/1880-Part 10 (pages 27-29)—Monster of uncertainty; Foundation outside ourselves

This continues from the previous Part 9 presenting a new translation of C.F.W. Walther's seminal essay in 1859 (see Part 1 for Table of Contents).  In this Part 10, Walther finishes his section § 4 and begins section § 5 on the great error of the papal church. —  This LDJ essay was first delivered in 1859 and was printed not only in the Proceedings of the Western District of 1859, but also in a series of articles in the Der Lutheraner magazine, beginning in August of that year (Vol. 16), which had the following heading for each issue:
Der Lutheraner, September 1859
edited by C.F.W. Walther
Rev. 14:6-7




God's Word and 
Luther's Doctrine Pure 
Shall To Eternity Endure



Note: the 1880 reprint book is now officially on Google Books --> here.
Underlining follows Walther's emphasis in original.
Hypertext links have been copiously added for reference to original sources and on several subjects.
Highlighting is mine.
= = = = = = = = = = = =  Part 10: Pages 27-29 (1880)  = = = = = = = = = = = =
(cont'd from Part 9)
The Lutheran Doctrine of Justification.
[by C.F.W. Walther]

These prophetic words of Luther had gone deep into the heart of [Martin] Chemnitz. He thus writes:  “We must devote far more effort to retaining the genuine meaning and apostolic purity of the doctrine of justification, to handing it on to our posterity, and to preventing its being torn away from us or being adul­terated by sophistic trickery or fraud. With the aid of God we can prevail more easily because we "have inherited the labors of others," John 4:38, For it was a labor far greater than those of Hercules to rescue the true light from the unspeakably dense darkness and the putrid filth and cesspools of the Antichrist and to restore the apostolic purity to the fountains of Israel.  Nor could it have been done if the Holy Spirit had not led the way in kindling the light of the Word. Therefore it would be shameful and ungodly cowardice on our part if these teachings, which as a result of such great labor and the marvelous blessing of God have in this article been handed down and shown to us from the foundations of the prophets and apostles, were to be lost to us because of negligence in learning and cold formality in teaching, or that we would allow even a grain of it to be taken from us in controversy.  Nor must we think that with this great light we need not fear the shadows. For we have this treasure not in iron or brass vessels but in earthen ones, 2 Cor. 4:7, and the road on which we walk has many stumbling blocks where we may easily fall in our weakness. I am often horrified that Luther with some kind of foreboding often repeated this statement in his commentaries on Galatians and Genesis:  [Essays1-38]After my death this doctrine will again be brought into obscurity.’" (Loc. theol. II, 201.; 1615 edition, pg 216;  Loci Theologici, 1989 edition, J.A.O. Preus translation - Locus [XIII] Justification, Introductory Remarks,  [see page 443 w/ highlighted section]) [Endnote D] [1880-28]
§ 5
The papal church not only falsifies the article of justification, but also condemns and curses the same.
So it is called, e.g., in the chief symbol of the papists, in the Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent, in the sixth session:  “Justification .. . is not only a remission of sins but also the sanctification and renewal of the inward man through the voluntary [W1859-26] reception of the grace and the gifts. .. . The single formal cause is the justice of God, not that by which He Himself is just, but that by which He makes us just, that, namely, with which we being endowed by Him, are ‘renewed in the spirit of the mind,’ and not only are we reputed but we are truly called and are just, receiving justice within us, each one according to his own measure, which the Holy Ghost distributes to everyone as He wills, and according to each one’s disposition and cooperation. For though no one can be just except he to whom the merits of the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ are communicated, yet this takes place in that justification of the sinner, when by the merit of the most holy passion, ‘the charity of God is poured forth’ by the Holy Ghost in the hearts of those who are justified and inheres in them; whence man through Jesus Christ, in whom He is ingrafted, receives in that justification, together with the remission of sins, all these infused at the same time, namely, faith, hope and charity. For faith, unless hope and charity be added to it, neither unites man perfectly with Christ nor makes him a living member of His body....  For as no pious [1880-29] person ought to doubt the mercy of God, the merit of Christ and the virtue and efficacy of the sacraments, so each one, when he considers himself and his own weakness and indisposition, may have fear and apprehension concerning his own grace, since no one can know with the certainty of faith, which cannot be subject to error, that he has obtained the grace of God.” (Translation from Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent, by H. J. Schroeder, B. Herder Book Co., 1941, pp. 33-35 with Walther’s emphases) (*) [W1859-27]  
––––––––––––
*) Luther writes concerning this teaching of the papacy:  “Even if everything else in the papacy were proper and good, as it however is not, yet the fact that they teach the people to doubt (Latin: “monster of uncertainty”) God’s grace and will would be such a tremendously injurious error that it is unspeakable. ... Therefore we should thank God to all eternity that we have been freed from that heresy of doubt [in Latin “monster of uncertainty”] and that we can indeed know and confess that, as St. Paul says, ‘The Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered’ [Rom. 8:26]. And this is our firm foundation. The Gospel calls us not to look to our good works or perfection, but to look to God, who makes the promise; again, to Christ, who completed and brought to light what had been promised long ago. Against this the pope tells us not to look to God who makes the promise, nor to Christ, who is our Mediator and High Priest, but to our works and merits; there cannot otherwise follow than one is made uncertain whether God is truly gracious, and finally to despair.  For [then] the matter is based on our own good works, merits, and righteousness, etc. But if it is based on God’s promise and Christ, the true and immovable Rock, then is one certain of the matter and confident and joyful in the Holy Spirit, for it rests on God, who is true and can neither lie nor deceive. Because so He says, ‘Behold, I give my own Son into death, that by His blood he might have redeemed thee from sins and death.’; there I cannot in this matter be uncertain, unless I were totally to deny God. This is the basis by which we know for sure and can prove that our theology or teaching is correct and certain, namely, that it does not let us rest on our own actions for a foundation nor to build on it but rather leads us away from our own [works] and sets us on another fortress foundation (Grundveste), which is outside ourselves, so that we do not rely on our own powers, conscience, feelings, person, or work, but on what is outside of us, that is, on God’s promise and truth, on Christ, who sits at the right hand of God and is our Righteousness, which the devil cannot knock down or take from us.  The pope and his mob know and understand nothing of this. That is why he denies and blasphemes so horribly with his mob, gives us the notion that no one can know, not even those who are pious and wise, whether he be in a state of grace or of disgrace with God.” (On Gal. 4:6, Walch W1 VIII, 2419-2420, paragrs 101-103; StL Ed. 9, , paragrs. 101-103 ; Weimar Ed. 40I, 588-589 – “Monster of uncertainty” phrase here- monstro incertitudinis;  [cf. Am. Ed. 26, 386-387]) [Endnote E] [1880-30]
––––––––––––––
[W1859-27][1880-30] [Continuing Walther’s quotation from the Canons and Decrees:]
“But no one, however much justified, should consider himself exempt from the observance of the commandments;
= = = = = cont'd in next Part 11 = = = = = = = 
Above we hear the Second Martin, that is Martin Chemnitz, speak with a true Lutheran heart as he expressed his horror at Luther's prediction of the downfall of the (Lutheran) Doctrine of Justification.  Our modern world is presenting that same spiritually horrible situation.  Ah, but today's world (and the devil) are hard at work telling us that things aren't so bad...  it's OK to relax a bit on the truth of the Gospel... for the sake of "peace and unity"... for the sake of "love and charity"... isn't it?

In the next Part 11...

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

LDJ–1859/1880-Part 9 (pages 24-26)—the Law's proper role; nasty names

This continues from the previous Part 8 presenting a new translation of C.F.W. Walther's seminal essay in 1859 (see Part 1 for Table of Contents).  In this Part 9, Walther included among Luther's sayings these 2:

1) "... the proper role of the Law" – What is Luther's "proper role of the Law"?  Its role is proper when it is properly distinguished... which Walther expounded in his book The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel.

2) "Nasty names" – Luther did not mind being called these by the sectarians.  But how many "religious" people today call Luther an "anti-semite"? ...or other names?  But Luther would not care, for he always countered the factious spirits with "Hear ye Him!" (Matt. 17:5).

Note: the original 1880 book is now officially on Google Books --> here.
Underlining follows Walther's emphasis in original.
Hypertext links have been copiously added for reference to original sources and on several subjects.
Highlighting is mine.
= = = = = = = = = = = =  Part 9: Pages 24-26 (1880)  = = = = = = = = = = = =
(cont'd from Part 8)
The Lutheran Doctrine of Justification.
[by C.F.W. Walther]
[1880-24] ... which, as I have great concern, after our time [this doctrine] will again become obscured and even fully suppressed. Because also now while I’m still alive and diligently teaching why both Law and Gospel, are to serve particular uses, each serving its special purpose—even now there are nevertheless very few who, while confessing the Gospel and giving it due honor, really understand the proper role of the Law. What do you think will happen when I have laid my head down [and die]?” (Walch W1 VIII, 2257-2258, paragr. 456; StL Ed. 9, col. 413-414 , paragr. 456 ; [cf. Am. Ed. 26, 312])
Further writes Luther in the year 1530 on John 17:21:  “I say it to my soul, I have seen and experienced so much, with but few exceptions, where both preachers and writers who want to be and should be the best (with few exceptions) however know nothing of this point; and if on occasion they do get close to the truth, it is still as something they’ve seen or heard in a dream. They can all adeptly scold the pope, monks, and priests, but the right reason, so that one must overthrow the papacy and all kinds of false doctrine,  they truly know little of.  That is why I also have to so diligently admonish that indeed a passage like this, and the whole chapter, be studied so carefully;  because I know of no other place where this central point of all Christian doctrine is so richly summarized and taught in such powerful words, namely that in Christ we have everything what we should have, and nothing in ourselves [W1859-24] nor in some other man. The words are simple-minded and silly; [Essays1-38] that is why the clever spirits rush about them and despise them like drunkards, as though they had understood them from childhood on up, and meanwhile with writing and preaching fill the world with their dreams and own thoughts.” (Walch W1 VIII, 788-789, paragrs. 211-212; StL Ed. 8, col.833-834, paragrs. 211-212; not in Am. Ed. )  [1880-25]  
On John 6:57 the dear man writes:  “I handle this article not in vain so diligently, for I fear that this doctrine will not remain.  Unfortunately there are many among us already who despise and make light of this article.  So fights the pope and the bishops hard against it.  And there will again come preachers who will preach and teach this article drowsily and lazily: so will it happen soon and will come one error after another.  For even now, under the dominion of our prince, there is arising such a contempt of the Gospel, such ingratitude and forgetfulness, that my heart is about to break. I would never have dreamed that people would so soon forget and ignore the misery and the wretchedness which afflicted us in the papacy. We are living smugly  as though we have always had such freedom. No one wants any longer to support churches, seminaries, and schools. If preachers could be made to die of hunger, people would gladly do it; they persecute the preachers, and if they could, they would prefer to banish them from the land as well.  But it has gone this way for the Gospel before and will be so in the future. The children of Israel were so grievously plagued in Egypt that their infants were drowned and they were totally suppressed; but when the Exodus came, and they were freed from the Egyptians, all was soon forgotten. The only thing they remembered were the onions and fleshpots. Such things are still happening today; we think only of what serves peace and pleasures. Well then, that will bring every type of trouble!  Hard times will oppress the poor, pestilence will choke the rich, yes, also blood will be shed, many tyrants and sectarian spirits will arise, the Word of God will again fall.  But as for me, I shall continue to study and teach this article as long as I [1880-26] live; it shall be persistently stressed in my sermons, for I know full well what blessings this article produces wherever it is taught, and what damages is caused where it is not.” (Walch W1 VII, 2129-2130, paragrs 387-388; StL Ed. 7, 2363-2364, paragrs 387-388 [cf. Am. Ed. 23, 152])
So speaks Luther finally in his last sermon, (*)  preached at Wittenberg:  “So far you have heard the true and genuine Word; now be on your guard against your own ideas and intelligence. The devil will light the light of reason and rob you of your faith; as it happened to the Anabaptists and Sacramental Enthusiasts and now there are even more founders of heresies.  I was confronted by more than 30 factious spirits who presumed to teach me, but I refuted all their arguments with this passage of Matt. 17:5: ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear ye Him!’  And with this passage have I been able to defend myself up to now through God’s grace.  Otherwise I would have had to accept thirty different kinds of faith.  The heretics are always looking for schemes to put us on the defensive, [W1859-25] to get us to retreat, to make us give in; but with God’s help we will not do it. They say:  ‘You are proud simpletons!’ I’ll be glad to put up with all kinds of nasty names, but I will not depart so much as a finger’s breadth from the mouth of Him who says: ‘Listen to Him!’ I see before my eyes that if God does not provide for us faithful preachers and church-servants, so will the devil through sectarian leaders tear our church to pieces, and he will never cease until he has accomplished it. That is simply what he has in mind. If he can’t do it through the pope or the emperor, then will he do it through those who still are in accord with us in doctrine.” (Walch W1 XII, 1534—35, paragrs. 13-14; StL Ed. 12, paragrs. 13-14; [cf. Am. Ed. 51, 377 f.])
As an appendix, M. Stephanus Tucher adds to this last sermon of Luther at Wittenberg: “Dr. M. Luther, of sacred memory, had often before many other believers and also to Dr. Augustin
________________
*) From Steph. Tucher (in Magdeburg) heard and wrote about, as he testifies “in Christ”.
––––––––––––––––
[1880-27] Schurff said these words: ‘After my death none of these theologians will remain constant.’” (Ibid., 1538; StL Ed. 12, 1177 [not in Am. Ed.])

= = = = = cont'd in next Part 10 = = = = = = = 
Dear God!  How Luther speaks to our modern world, a world that has lost its way and now we think we can judge Luther.  But the reality is that Luther judges us!  In the next Part 10, I want to bring a graphic from the old (German) Missouri that shows Walther's heart as he brought Martin Luther to our modern world...

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

LDJ–1859/1880-Part 8 (pages 21-23)—Bible opened; pure doctrine of justification

This continues from the previous Part 7 presenting a new translation of C.F.W. Walther's seminal essay in 1859 (see Part 1 for Table of Contents).  In this Part 8, Walther finishes his section § 3 and includes this quote from Luther as he was enlightened by the Holy Spirit:
...justified before God through faith... There for me opened all of Holy Scriptures and also heaven itself.
Luther here speaks like the Apology to the Augsburg Confession where it says "Article IV (II): Of Justification":
...the chief topic of Christian doctrine ... which, understood aright, illumines and amplifies the honor of Christ [which is of especial service for the clear, correct understanding of the entire Holy Scriptures, and alone shows the way to the unspeakable treasure and right knowledge of Christ, and alone opens the door to the entire Bible]...
Walther then begins section § 4 and again brings magnificent quotes from... Martin Luther.

Endnotes beginning on page 73 (A thru W) will eventually be hyperlinked back to the original section that they refer to.
Underlining follows Walther's emphasis in original.
Hypertext links have been copiously added for reference to original sources and on several subjects.
Highlighting is mine.
= = = = = = = = = = = =  Part 8: Pages 21-23 (1880)  = = = = = = = = = = = =
(cont'd from Part 7)
The Lutheran Doctrine of Justification.
[by C.F.W. Walther]
[1880-21]....   “I worked hard and fearfully to understand how I should understand Paul’s statement in Rom. 1:17, as he says: ‘The righteousness of God is revealed in the Gospel.’  There for a long time I sought and knocked at [see Matt. 7:7] that statement, trying to comprehend it, for the phrase ‘the righteousness of God’ was a stumbling block to me.  It was usually interpreted in this way: The righteousness of God is a virtue whereby He is holy in Himself and condemns sinners.  Also all the doctors of theology had explained this passage in such a way, excepting Augustine, that they said: ‘The righteousness of God is the wrath of God.’ But so often as I read the passage, [W1859-22] I always wished that God had never revealed the Gospel. After all,  who could love a God who is angry, judges, and condemns?  Until finally, by illumination of the Holy Spirit, I considered more carefully the passage of the prophet Habakkuk 2:4: ‘The just shall live by his faith.’  From this I extracted and concluded that life must come from faith, and thus pulled the abstractum into the concretum (as one calls in the schools), that is, I related the word ‘righteousness’ to the word ‘just’, namely that man would be justified before God through faith, etc. There for me opened all of Holy Scriptures and also heaven itself.” (Walch W1 II, 467-469. paragrs. XXX-183; StL Ed. 2, cols 320-321, paragrs 181-183; [cf. Am. Ed. 5, 157-158])
From that time forward Luther underwent a major [Essays1-37] change that he also describes thus in the introduction to his commentary on Galatians:  “In my heart reigns alone and shall also prevail this article, namely faith in my dear Lord Christ, who is the only beginning, middle, and end of all the spiritual and godly thoughts I may have day and night.” (VIII, 1524)
When, therefore, after presentation of the Augsburg Confession in 1530, and the Evangelical Lutherans were [1880-22] menaced by an imperial Recess, Luther wrote a so-called Comment on the Supposed Imperial Edict, wherein he, among other things, makes the following confession: “Because I see that the devil must always blaspheme this chief article through his swinish teachers, and cannot rest or cease, therefore I, Dr. Martin Luther, unworthy evangelist of our Lord Jesus Christ, declare that this article: that faith alone, without all works, makes just before God — should let stand and remain the Roman emperor, the Turkish emperor, the emperor of the Tartars, the Persian emperor, the pope, all cardinals, bishops, priests, monks, nuns, kings, princes, lords, all the world, including all the devils; and shall the fires of hell descend on their heads and they shall have no thanks for it.  That is my, Dr. Luther’s, inspiration from the Holy Spirit and [is] the true, holy Gospel.  There stands the article which the children pray: ‘I believe in Jesus Christ, crucified, died,’ etc. It is indeed that no one died for our sins except Jesus Christ, God’s Son. once again I say, only Jesus, God’s Son, has redeemed us from sin; that is most certainly true and is the whole of Scripture; and should all devils and the whole world were to tear themselves to pieces and explode, it still remains true.  But if it is He alone who takes away sin, so we certainly cannot be the ones doing it by our works. Thus it is impossible that I could cling to this one and only Savior from sin or come to Him except through faith and it remains that with works He is and remains beyond grasp. Since faith alone, before any works follow it, can lay hold of such a Redeemer, so must it be true that it is only faith, before and without any works, that is capable of laying hold of such redemption, which can be nothing else but become just/righteous.  For being redeemed from sin, or having sin forgiven, can be nothing else than being or becoming just [or righteous], etc. But after such faith or reception of salvation from sin, and forgiveness or righteousness, thereupon will follow good works as the fruits of such faith. That is our doctrine [1880-23] and also [W1859-23] is what teaches the Holy Spirit and all of holy Christendom, thereby we remain in God’s name. Amen!” (Walch W1 XVI, cols. 2046-2048, paragr. 47-48; StL Ed. , col. 1688-1689, paragr. 47-48;  [cf. Am. Ed. 34, 91]) [Endnote C]
§ 4
Luther already complained that in his day only a few thoroughly understood and taught the pure doctrine of justification, that many had become weary of it, and that therefore this doctrine would be obscured and lost after his death.
So he wrote in the year 1525 in a sermon on St. John’s day:  “We who cleave to Christ, who have based our confidence on this Rock alone, know that the Word is not to be considered unimportant nor to be discarded; as we, alas! however see how even now there are so few who cling to and remain with the pure Word. How many there are who want to write books, under which barely three or four maintain God’s Word in its purity! *)  It decays among them, and the sects spring up, the Word becomes contaminated and so fully darkened that we hardly recognize it;  so few of them keep it in its purity even among those who imagine that they have grasped it well and are standing firmly; but before one looks around, so they lie in mud up to their ears. ‘Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall’ (1 Cor. 10:12), for the treasure is too priceless and is entrusted to but a few.” (Walch W1 Xl, 3023, paragr. 7; StL Ed. 11, cols. 2270-2271, paragr. 7; not in Am. Ed.)
So writes Luther also in 1535 on Gal. 3:19:  “Here I plead with and admonish all who love godliness and especially those who should teach others, that they this article, which teaches what the proper and distinctive work of the Law rightly is and
_______________
*) In 1539, Luther declared the three, Rhegius, Brenz and Amsdorf, the "highest and foremost theologians" of his time. (Walch W1 XXII, 2235; StL Ed. 22, 1527 “On Wittenberg University”; [cf. Am. Ed. 54, #5126, pg 391])
————————


[1880-24] is its own work, and how one should properly applied it, as St. Paul’s epistles well teach with all diligence.

= = = = = cont'd in next Part 9 = = = = = = = 
Note to Prof. Roland Ziegler: did you notice above that Martin Luther's use of the Bible verse 1 Cor. 10:12 (in a sermon of 1525 on St. John’s day) is the same verse you used in your essay praising Walther's theology? (here)  May you continue to look up to Luther and Walther... and may you also add Franz Pieper and his Brief Statement to these.  With these you will find "the pure doctrine of justification".

In the next Part 9...