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Friday, December 25, 2015

"Here I Stand" controversy (3 witnesses), 2 of 3

      Continuing from Part 1 (of 3) regarding the controversy surrounding the historicity of Luther's famous "Here I Stand..." phrase. Now I will present my 3 witnesses to the truth of the "Here I stand" controversy.
1) C.F.W. Walther
The quote I gave in my original post was from a Reformation sermon of C.F.W. Walther.  And Walther presented an insightful essay in 1887 entitled “The Fruitful Reading of the Writings of Luther” (English translation in Matthew Harrison's At Home... book, pgs 333-343, reference my blog post here) where he counseled his Lutheran pastors and laymen to read first what Luther himself wrote, then what others wrote about him or what he said.  Walther clearly valued Luther’s own account of the Reformation above all others.  So in this current controversy, it appears that perhaps Luther himself did not report his own speech but left it to others.  –  But this did not cause Walther to hesitate to report this ending phrase in his Reformation sermon.  Walther was convinced that by the available accounts and their sources sufficiently attested, he could confidently report this “controversial” phrase of Luther in not only this Reformation sermon, but in multiple places – actually 6 places in Baseley's translation (see also pgs 192-193 in For the Life of the Church):
"Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen!"

2) Pastor Hermann Fick
And I consulted again Pastor Hermann Fick's book Life and Deeds of Dr. Martin Luther (see this blog post for full text.). On pages 107-110, Pastor Fick gives a thrilling account of the happenings at the Diet of Worms. And on page 110, Fick reports Luther's final sentences:
"Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise; God help me! Amen."

3) President Franz Pieper
Franz Pieper presented an essay in 1921 to the North Dakota-Montana District entitled "What do we learn from Luther at Worms?" (German language text of essay available here). And in the past year, an Australian Lutheran pastor has published his translation of this magnificent essay that prepares one for a true celebration of the upcoming Reformation anniversary. He added pictures and helpful footnotes for reference. Below is an HTML based excerpted document reproduced from a DOC file. In this process, the handy footnotes normally at the bottom of each page were reformatted and hyperlinked to the end of the document. For some reason the normally word-wrapped pictures came out "in-line", but I like the HTML version for its handy footnote links. To download the original full 26-page PDF file, click here. Again, it comes from Australia, with love:

In this excerpt, "The Twentieth Century Luther" explains further that Martin Luther not only stood on Scripture, but mainly on the doctrine of Scripture: grace alone, through faith alone, not by the works of the Law. On the second page of this issue of "Morsels", Pastor Winter translated Pieper's quote of Luther
without a footnote, i.e. no footnote needed:
Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise. God help me. Amen.
If I get time, I may publish the whole series of Pastor Winter's translation of this masterful Lutheran essay. Would to God that some publication of the LC-MS would republish it for the upcoming Reformation anniversary!! (sigh)
In the concluding Part 3, I bring a different kind of witness regarding this controversy on the historicity of Luther's "Here I Stand..." phrase.

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