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I asked the question in Part 1 "What good is this Index (of Eckhardt) in the German language for the English-speaking world when one can obtain the more extended Index in the English Volume 4?"
Answer: Not a lot ... except as I was preparing the text of Eckhardt's Index, by accident I ran across the subject of "Wucher" or Usury. This surprised me as I had searched in vain for this subject in the English translations of Christian Dogmatics... "Usury" was not to be found there. It also surprised me because I still consider the English translation to be quite reliable in its rendering of Pieper's original German text. – I have wondered at times why Pieper did not cover certain controversial issues in his Christliche Dogmatik series, issues such as Usury and Life Insurance where old Missouri had published essays.
In the early twentieth century the synod’s theologians tacitly rejected the condemnation of usury voiced by its early leadership, and the Synodical stance was accommodated to the American way of doing business. – Robert Kolb (emphasis mine)
|Pieper's Dogmatik, Bande 1, pgs 637-639|
(omitted portion from English version)
Old Missouri's position on these matters are largely scoffed at today. But old Missouri was about following God's Word wherever it led, not about being popular. But I wonder that the original translators, Dr. Theodore Engelder, Prof. Walter Albrecht, and Dr. J. T. Mueller somehow felt these controversial topics could safely be dispensed with. Indeed Walther himself called these topics "secondary non-fundamental" articles, indicating the church did not "stand or fall" on them. But just as importantly, neither were they indifferent matters which his opponents considered them to be, especially by the Iowa Synod,
I want to present Franz Pieper's definitive "early twentieth century" comment regarding Usury:
I took great care in translating this section of Pieper because I have had correspondence with some who have grappled with the question of Usury today, as even I do. And Franz Pieper gives the best "short answer" to be found for the Lutheran Church. Who cannot find in this subject reason to flee to the Saviour for forgiveness of his sins?
Now, where does this leave me with the comment by Dr. Robert Kolb above? Kolb said: "In the early twentieth century the synod’s theologians tacitly rejected the condemnation of usury voiced by its early leadership..." But this isn't true. Why did Prof. Dr. Robert Kolb make this blatantly false statement? Perhaps others led him to this conclusion, others like Carl S. Meyer, or someone else at Concordia Historical Institute. But that is no reason to follow it. This was not the first time I have found essays in the Concordia Historical Institute Quarterly that misrepresented old Missouri. In fact, in my early days of scouring everything I could find about and from "old Missouri", I gradually came to the conclusion that this journal was notorious for distorting the spiritual heritage of its "early leadership" and its theologians from the "early twentieth century". Indeed, I quit reading from CHIQ many years ago because I wanted the true spiritual message, not just facts and earthly history.— Because of false statements like these, it is well to ignore the writings of Prof. Dr. Robert Kolb if one wants to get the true spiritual, Christian counsel. Rather one should read from Franz Pieper. Oh, but Franz Pieper even mildly chastises his own Missouri when he says:
Why Luther's proposition was not approved by this side from the outset is still a logical and psychological mystery with us to this day. – Franz Pieper... "a logical and psychological mystery"? Pieper uses two terms in his chastisement: (1) "logical", or natural human reason, and "psychological", where Pieper's meaning is closer to a spiritual understanding, not the worldly understanding of that term.
Indeed: Luther • Chemnitz • Walther, and now Franz Pieper are the true teachers of the Biblical teaching on Usury... not today's LC-MS.
In the next Part 4, I uncover Pieper's comments on "Life Insurance"... are you listening Thrivent?