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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Lutheran Church = the Bible Church (Dogmatik), Part 1 of 2

      Continuing my project of presenting the full text of Franz Pieper's original Christliche Dogmatik.... (Vol. 1a fully proofed, proofing Vol 1b...)
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      One of the more striking aspects of the old (German) Missouri Synod was its tenacious attitude toward the words of Holy Scripture.  In the German edition of Volume 1 (pages 390-391; English ed. page 323), Pieper summarizes the lofty position of the Lutheran Church, besides that of its pure Doctrine of Justification:
The following is my translation from German edition. Underlining in original German. All highlighting is mine:

It is characteristic of the Lutheran Church that it is not based on an exegesis, not even on the exegesis of Luther, but its teaching is based on the words of Scripture itself, while Papists and Reformed, in all the teachings in which they differ from the Lutheran Church, evidently do not stand on the Scripture itself, but on an "exegesis" of the Pope, Zwingli, Calvin, etc. President Franz Pieper

This statement by Pieper reminded me of a pastor in Walther's day who made the following striking statement as reported by Franz Pieper (see here):

Pastor Hochstetter, who took part in the colloquy arranged with the Iowa Synod in 1867 at Milwaukee, writes: “It was then first really clear to me (Pastor Hochstetter had recently come from the Buffalo Synod to the Missouri Synod) “that the strength of the Missourian teachers lay not so much in their dependence upon the Symbols, as rather in their reverence for God’s Word!  Isaiah 66:2.  There the maxim was: ‘Everything is Church doctrine which is Bible doctrine, whether it is contained and established in the Symbols or not, if only it is in Holy Scripture’.”  (Geschichte der Missouri-Synode, page 288. [in Google Books!])

Hochstetter even went one step further, naming the "Symbols" or the Lutheran Confessions as below the Scriptures as the source of the teachings of the Lutheran Church.  —  Would to God today's LC-MS lived up to its "conservative" reputation that is largely based on the old (German) Missouri Synod, not on what is taught by its teachers today.

Now for the ultimate contrast to the above teaching, see Part 2...

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