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Sunday, October 4, 2015

Walther's complaint — over "Lutheran Orthodoxy" (from Pieper's Dogmatik

      As I continued my project with Pieper's Christliche Dogmatik and neared the final pages of Volume 2, it struck me how close Pieper was to C.F.W. Walther's core teachings.  On page 652 (English ed. p. 540), Pieper discusses what I would call "Walther's complaint" against some later Lutheran dogmaticians who "clouded" the doctrine of justification by setting the object of faith to be Christ's merit, but not the remission of sins or justification.   Pieper had access to Walther's personal copy of his Baier-Walther Compendium and published Walther's personal notes which complained of some (but not all) of these later Lutheran teachers:
"The means of grace – the promise – is missing in the whole presentation" 
What is particularly surprising is that Pieper (and likely Walther) even included the great John Gerhard among those complained against. (See note # 1526 or note 71 in English ed.) I have commented previously about the weaknesses of John Gerhard, but this point concerning believing God's "forgiveness of sins", i.e. Justification, struck Walther particularly hard as The American Luther revitalized the Lutheran Church for our modern times.  This subject reminds me of the often repeated Apostles' Creed passage that I spoke in my youth: "I believe... in the forgiveness of sins."
      Walther wrote an essay in "Lehre und Wehre" in 1876 entitled "Is Absolution to be Pronounced Categorically or Hypothetically?".  In this essay Walther expressed his concern (i.e. his complaint) against several Lutheran dogmaticians and I am making the German language text available in a Google Doc for easy translation within the Chrome browser ... here.  Pieper referred to this essay more than once in his Dogmatik.  Walther had to go past the age of "Lutheran Orthodoxy" to fully "gather the luminous rays of the Gospel"... he had to go
Back To Luther!

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