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Monday, November 9, 2015

Unionism & LC-MS swan song to Synodical Conference (Pieper's Dogmatik vs. Carl S. Meyer)

      Continuing my project of presenting the full text of Franz Pieper's original German edition of his Christliche Dogmatik.... (Vol. 1a, 1b, 2b, 3a are polished; finishing Vol. 3b)
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      As I first read through the Christian Dogmatics series over 20 years ago, I recall arriving at Pieper's section on heterodox churches and the subject of Unionism.  This became critical for my restored Christian faith as I was faced with fellowship questions.  And so I made a lot of markings and notes on Dr. Pieper's teaching.  These portions can be found in the German edition: Vol. 3, pgs 488-492: Heterodox fellowships:  here:  Unionism:  here.  In the English edition, these are covered on pages 423-427.
      What were some of the major points Pieper makes? (Translations by BackToLuther)
1) Pseudo Reformers
"As severely as Luther fought Carlstadt, Zwingli and their comrades due to their deviation from God's Word, nevertheless he admits that children of God have made common cause with these pseudo reformers without knowing about the evil thing."
2) Christians also in Heterodox fellowships:
"There are more Christians than orthodox Christians in all parts.  ... So great he [Luther] fought the papacy and expressly called it a foundation of the devil, yet he did not doubt that God has also preserved under the papacy at all times a Christianity, indeed the 'paragon' of Christendom...  Whoever binds salvation to the fellowship with any visible church thereby knocks over the article of justification of a poor sinner before God alone through faith in Jesus Christ."
3) Charity and Love misused by false teachers:
"It is known to us, that because there are children of God in heterodox churches is given as the reason for the basis that it is right, indeed demanded by love, to have fellowship with heterodox churches.  Scripture teaches the exact opposite, namely "avoid them!" The unionist argument is of course unreasonable. ... For to invoke love, is an abuse of the word. The love for God and for the brethren calls for exactly the opposite. He who loves Christ, loves the Word of Christ, and Christ's words heard most of all?... the word of avoidance of all those who teach something other than the Word of Christ. And to this practice also belongs, before all things, that to love the brethren means that we do not join with them in error and sin, but that we try to get them free from error and sin."
4) Unionism - a topic much covered in the past.  And what does Pieper say?:
"The disobedience to the divine command which forbids Christians to fellowship with false teachers and false doctrine is called in ecclesiastical parlance 'Unionism', 'Religionsmengerei' [mixing of religions to achieve a stabilization or an association], 'syncretism', etc.  Unionism is actually the cause of divisions and the rise of heterodox churches in Christendom. ... because the unity of the Christian church is a unity of faith and confession, so Unionism is a caricature of, indeed a mockery of,  Christian unity."
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And how do I add an exclamation point to the fact that the LC-MS broke fellowship with it's brethren in the Synodical Conference?  Along with the volumes of historical evidence (see my Timeline), I want to add the last major essay presented to the Synodical Conference before it completely collapsed, an essay presented to its 1956 Convention (44th).  Who gave that essay?  The "great" church historian of the LC-MS, Dr. Carl S. Meyer.  (See my listing of essays here, scroll down to last essay.)  Carl Meyer gave a 58-page impassioned essay outlining a myriad of events, people, and works of the Synodical Conference, pleading with the WELS and ELS to not break away even in the face of all the doctrinal aberrations.  Meyer called on Luther, Jan Hus, Walther, Pieper, Hermann Sasse, Werner Elert, ... to name a few.  But what was Meyer's great plea to the brethren ... what did all his efforts boil down to?  It was this (pg 15):
"This unity is a unity in love..." - Dr. Carl S. Meyer
But Franz Pieper quotes 1 Cor. 1:10 and says (pg 491, English ed. pg 426):
"Here is called for a uniformity in speech (λέγειν) or in the confession of the Christian doctrine." - Dr. Franz Pieper
      So I want to publish below what I call the "last gasp" or the final plea or "swan song" by the LC-MS to the hemorrhaging Synodical Conference in 1956 -- the 58 page essay presented by Dr. Carl S. Meyer.
OCR'd by BackToLutherPage headings retained. Highlighting is mine.  PDF scan of essay available here.

Carl Meyer would not have been oblivious to all the unionistic actions among the teachers in his own fellowship.  He may have appeared to support the teaching of "objective justification" in his essay, yet, these actions belie what so worried Franz Pieper and caused him to give his Last Words to his "dear Missouri Synod" and warn against a "mixed theology".
      And so it is that I put forth this blog to show the LC-MS where the truth is, where it has left the path of pure teaching or "orthodoxy" so that it might once again speak the truth in love.

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