Search This Blog

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Delitzsch 3: Holy Scripture & Luther; LC-MS & Luther – "You flatter yourselves…"

      Continuing from Part 2 the series on Franz Delitzsch and German church conditions from Franz Pieper's Christliche Dogmatik, volume 1.  (Table of Contents in Part 1) …
K&D Commentary on OT
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
      Who was Franz Delitzsch? … why is he a famous German theologian, even today?  One indication is that many of his German writings were translated into English – mostly by Scottish (Reformed) Church people (T & T Clark).  These works are actively sold today by Reformed book distributors.  At right is the 10 volume series Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament, sold for the amazing CBD price of $99!  (That's $10/volume.  Hmmm... maybe CPH should figure out how to sell Luther's Works at such a ridiculously low price so more people could read Luther!)  More can be read about Franz Delitzsch at both the English and especially the German Wikipedia sites.  But what you will not find at practically all other sites is what Franz Pieper reports of both the early Franz Delitzsch, and the fall of the later Franz Delitzsch.
      One could think of Delitzsch as the ultimate expert on Biblical Hebrew language.  He most certainly was an expert!  But we see from the writings of the old (German) Missouri Synod that he was not the ultimate Biblical Hebrew scholar.  No, that remains for the likes of… Martin Luther, and the teachers of the old Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri.  An example of their strength and Delitzsch's weakness is displayed especially in comments on Genesis 4:1 (note Prof. Eduard Pardieck). —  Now I present Part 3 of my translation:

Translation by BackToLuther; all green shaded text was omitted in the 1950 English edition and is first published here in English; all underlined words emphasized in the original German; red text and/or red bold text is my emphasis, all notes inside square brackets [ ] are mine; many items hyperlinked for reference; hyperlinked page numbers in square brackets [ ]; all unshaded text was included in English edition but re-translated to avoid copyright complaint by CPH.

—————————  Part 3  ———————————
He [Delitzsch] says of the Holy Scripture [pg 6-7]: “It alone is the foundation upon which the Christian Church defies the gates of hell, the touchstone according to which it distinguishes between truth and falsehood, according to which it is judged, but also by which it is judged. To this Word it [the Church] must submit itself with reverence, with humility, with self-denial.  It is not placed as a judge, but as a housekeeper, from whom God will demand accountability; if it does not want to invite the curse of God, it should neither add to nor take away anything from this Word; without any fear or favor of men, it should confess its faith in this Word and defend it from all injustice or heretical doctrine, according to the express command of God.”  Through disregard of Scripture, Rome has fallen.  [pg 8:] “The fathers of our Lutheran Church, however, did not fight anti-Christianism with anti-Christianism, they did not place a source of knowledge, such as tradition, alongside or even over the Holy Scripture. They did not substitute for the long-running darkness the natural light of human reason, nor the supernatural of an immediate enlightenment, but the light of the Holy Scripture, without which human reason, whether philosophizing or swarming over it, remains forever blind and unenlightened. Of course, you [neologists] separate between the letter and spirit.  [pgs 20-21:] You flatter yourselves that Luther is your patron. But never does Luther understand by the Word of God anything other than the letter of the Holy Scriptures, never the inspiration of an inner light, the ideas of blind reason, or the illusions of perverted feelings, but always the written Word according to the simple Word excluding of all human mediation, falsification and spiritualization — the Holy Scripture, by which alone, but by which also always God the Holy Spirit works, they become  to the listener or reader a smell of life to life or a smell of death to death.” [2 Cor. 2:16]  
- - - - - - - continued in next Part 4 - - - - - - - - -

      Could it be that the Church History taught by Prof. Erik Herrmann does not follow the early Delitzsch but rather the later Delitzsch, the later Delitzsch who fell to “scientific theology”?  Prof. Herrmann, chairman of the historical theology department at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, follows Prof. (emeritus) Robert Kolb as director of the Center for Reformation Research and is a staunch defender of the teaching of Prof. Jeffery Kloha (the Bible is a “plastic text”).   Hmmm... seems like an easy question to judge... what do you think, dear reader?... especially in light of what our Saviour says –
The Scripture cannot be broken. — John 10:35
To you, Profs. Herrmann and Kloha, I shall use the words of the early Delitzsch:
You flatter yourselves that Luther is your patron.” – Franz Delitzsch
Nay, more than these, I say to all the teachers and leaders of today's LC-MS:
You flatter yourselves that Luther is your patron.” – Franz Delitzsch

Today's LC-MS proposes to be at the forefront of the celebration of the 2017 500th anniversary of the Reformation.  On their new website they have emblazoned the quote from Luther shown at the right: ==>>

One could take heart that they at least quoted this defining statement of the Reformation and even included the disputed portion "Here I Stand".  But that rings hollow when its teachers call these very same Scriptures... “plastic text”.  Now some will protest that Prof. Kloha has retracted these words, but Kloha has not retracted his teaching that effectively says “The Bible is a book of PLASTIC TEXT!” Delitzsch's words above ring out against Kloha and Herrmann:
“To this Word it must submit itself with reverence, with humility, with self-denial.  It is not placed as a judge, but as a housekeeper, from whom God will demand accountability”.
Today's LC-MS teachers are placing knowledge of “variant readings” over Holy Scripture and so doing what the early Delitzsch charged Germany's theologians of doing: fighting anti-Christianism with anti-Christianism.
      Nay, to more than the teachers and leaders identified above... to anyone in the LC-MS who does not reject the erroneous teaching of Prof. Kloha (and so also of his defender Prof. Herrmann) but yet fancies themselves followers of the Reformer of the Church, I apply Delitzch's statement:
You flatter yourselves that Luther is your patron.” – Franz Delitzsch
How is that for an introduction to the so-called Reformation 500 “celebration” of the LC-MS...
the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, “Missouri Synod” so-called? 
In the next Part 4, Delitzsch addresses the Lutheran Confessions and the “old dogmaticians” of the Lutheran Church.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Delitzsch 2: lay circles- "no other than Lutheran faith"; "behind 300 years"

      Continuing from Part 1 the series on Franz Delitzsch and German church conditions from Franz Pieper's Christliche Dogmatik, volume 1.  (Table of Contents in Part 1) …
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
      It was a psychological mystery to me why editor Prof. Theodore Engelder omitted all these pages in the translated English edition... until I read again the Foreword in Volume 1 (page VII) and these comments by chief editor Engelder:
“We have condensed some parts, for instance, … on German church conditions at the time of writing, etc., because we feel that they are not of equal interest for the reader today.”
Even after reading this, the psychological mystery remains.  I will have to disagree with the dear Prof. Engelder on his reasoning for this omission because the “German church conditions” were exactly the reason that the Missouri Synod came into being.  And with the “Missouri Synod” being charged as “an evil in the Church” by Germany's theologians, it behooves the teachers of the church to once again point out in detail that the reason for its separation from the German church was for reasons of spiritual “life and death”.  And so Pieper's objective examination of the historical events once again reminds true “Missourians” that they continually need to make their stand – a “Here I Stand!” defense of the faith that is always vigilent.
      I present now Part 2 of this series with the reminder that all the green shaded text was omitted in the 1950 English edition and is here published in English for the first time.

Translation by BackToLuther; all green shaded text was omitted in the 1950 English edition and is first published here in English; all underlined words emphasized in the original German; red text and/or red bold text is my emphasis, all notes inside square brackets [ ] are mine; many items hyperlinked for reference; hyperlinked page numbers in square brackets [ ]; all unshaded text was included in English edition but re-translated to avoid copyright complaint by CPH.

—————————  Part 2  ———————————
A. Köhler, in Herzog’s Real Encyclopaedia, says that Delitzsch, after his conversion from rationalism to Christianity, was “working together with his like-minded friends, who later became the founders of the strictly confessional direction in the Lutheran Church of North America”. 616)  In this circle, as is further reported, 617) there was no talk at first of the doctrinal difference between the different churches.  But with the growth in knowledge, the question arose after a time: Which faith are you? Are you Lutheran or Reformed or United?  The result of this was a survey, but most of them soon recognized that there was no other than the Lutheran faith as the true one which the Holy Spirit had sealed in the diligent searchers of Scripture – in distress and temptation alone they were sealed, yet this was before they knew which church faith. Delitzsch, for the most part, later forgot what he saw as Christian truth after his transition “from the school of Spinoza and Fichte into the school of Christ.” 618)  The later Delitzsch is an example of the inevitable degeneration of theology when it departs from its only source and norm and makes itself guilty of the unscientific μετάβασις εις αλλο γένος [“change to different field / genus”] under the dazzling appearance of “science”.  But the later Delitzsch also declared the time which he shared with the founders of the “strictly confessional direction in the Lutheran Church of North America”
615) Hochstetter, Geschichte der Missourisynode, S. 65. [History of the Missouri Synod].
616) RE.3 IV. 566. [Ed. RE == Realencyklopädie for Protestant Theology and Church, 1898 3rd edition, lines 13-15; Full article by A. Köhler on Delitzsch, pgs 565-570 (PDF)]
617) Hochstetter, op. cit., p. 66.
618) Thus Delitzsch himself describes his conversion to Christianity in the preface to his work, Vom Hause Gottes oder Kirche [or The House of God or Church], Dresden, 1849.

[199  >]

as the happiest time of his life. A. Köhler, op. cit .[lines 19-21; German]: “Delitzsch himself calls the last three years of his academic studies, 1832-34, the happiest of his life: ‘they were the time of my first love, the spring season of my spiritual life.’”  It must be pointed out that Delitzsch had given testimony to the Lutheran truth for a long time after his academic study. His biographer in the Realenzyklopädie reports that Delitzsch, after he had been promoted to Doctor of Philosophy in Leipzig in 1836, led the “worship exercises” of the “Stillen im Lande” [or “Silent in the Land”] until 1842, and that “the religious direction of these circles was that of a healthy pietism which was faithful to the strictly Lutheran confession.” [pg 566, lines 51-53; German text]  This is also clear from a treatise which Delitzsch published in 1839 on the three-hundredth anniversary of the Reformation in the city of Leipzig under the title Lutherthum und Lügenthum [or Lutheranism and Liarism; Munich library].” 619)   This writing has always been interesting and instructive to us that here Delitzsch describes the position in all chief points which has to be taken by a truly Christian theology compared with modern theology.  But this is the attitude which characterizes our American Lutheran Church’s "strictly confessional direction" from the outset, and then against the accusation of “repristination” it is also described again in a comprehensive manner by Walther in Lehre und Wehre in 1875.  Delitzsch's commemorative publication has been classed as “more practical and edifying”, but it can also be described as dogmatic and dogmatically instructive, and in the main points it shows a factual agreement with the fathers of the Missouri Synod, when the latter also treated the same things in a settled tone. But Delitzsch's writing is a commemorative publication [Festschrift]. The author addresses the Lutheran congregations of Leipzig: “Evangelical Lutheran congregations of my dearly beloved home city, take part in the celebration of the Reformation introduced in our midst, also with my most beloved intercession together with festive greetings.”  In the Foreword Delitzsch says against the accusation that he is pursuing a theology of repristination: “I confess, without being ashamed, the fact that I am behind three hundred years in matters of faith, because after a long time
619) The full title is: Lutherthum und Lügenthum. Ein offenes Bekenntnis beim Reformationsjubiläum der Stadt Leipzig [or Lutheranism and Liarism. An Open Confession at the Reformation Jubilee of the City of Leipzig]. By Franz Delitzsch. Grimma 1839.

[200  >]

of going astray, I have recognized that truth is only one, namely an eternal, immutable one, and because it is revealed by God, no sifting or improvement is needed.”  Delitzsch wants to remind the Leipzig churches of three chief doctrines, “which through the Reformation, led by God's help, were brought back to light again after a long darkness had enveloped them: the doctrine of the regard for Holy Scripture or the Word of God, the doctrine of justification, and the doctrine of the means of grace.
- - - - - continued in next Part 3 - - - - - - - - -

Selected Writings of C.F.W. Walther - Editorials from "Lehre Und Wehre"
It should be noted that Pieper's reference to the writing of Walther from 1875 in Lehre und Wehre would include the Foreword, or Vorwort, from that year and was translated and published by CPH as one of the Editorials from Lehre und Wehre in the Selected Writings of C.F.W. Walther series, pages 122-142.  The translator Herbert J. A. Bouman added the title “Are We Guilty of Despising Scholarship?”.  But Walther continued his defense (Wehre) in a further series of essays (p. 161 ff., 1876, 1878) entitled “Was ist es um den Fortschritt der modernen lutherischen Theologie in der Lehre?” or "What is it about the Progress of Modern Lutheran Theology in Doctrine?".  But in searching for the word “repristination” in the original Lehre und Wehre in Google Books, I ran across several instances of this same word used again in the 1876 Foreword (pgs 1, 8, 10, 35), again authored by Walther.  A translation of the first few sentences from this Vorwort tells of the main focus also in 1876:
      The more God blesses the testimony of our Synod for His truth, the more our enemies seek to speak against us, all to oppose this testimony. Shall we be discouraged? Shall we not at last make concessions to the enemies?  No, the more reproaches of our enemies, the more courageous our heart becomes, the more determined we are to stand firm and not to waver. Let us recognize the grace of God, that the accusations made against our Synod are all testimony to the fact that she is a faithful daughter of the Church of the Reformation.  One main accusation made against us is that of repristination. [German text]
As far as I know, there is no published English translation of the 1876 Foreword by Walther.  Would some faithful Lutheran of today translate this?... just as Andrew Boomhower translated the edifying 1886 Synodical Conference essay on the “Divinity of Holy Scripture”?  It would be another great treasure for the Church of today…
      How sad to read of the fall of the “later Delitzsch”.  But happily, Franz Pieper shows us the “early Delitzsch”.  In the next Part 3, the early Delitzsch addresses the importance of the Doctrine of Holy Scripture itself…

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Delitzsch 1: A Tale of 2 Men, 2 Countries; missing pages in Dogmatik; “an evil in the Church?”

      Continuing my project of presenting the full text of Franz Pieper's original Christliche Dogmatik.... (all pages cross referenced to English edition pages, and bookmarked; all Hebrew text added)
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
      As I was cross-referencing the German edition to the English edition of Pieper's Dogmatik, I discovered another series of significant omissions made by the English translators/editors.  These omissions exceed those missing on Usury and Life Insurance.  So I decided to study the omitted material in the German edition and oh! I became more and more puzzled, even irritated, on why these sections were omitted for they give tremendous Church History... they explain further why the Church is in such a dilapidated condition... today, here and now.  But they also show to the Church of today the way out of its sorry condition.
Franz Delitzsch
      Pieper took great pains to give an objective presentation for his Dogmatik theology so that everyone could see which way is the right way for the Church.  And he felt compelled to defend the "Missouri Synod" for it had become the object of attacks as "an evil in the Church" by Germany's theologians in general.  But one famous German theologian stood out as a witness against this charge, at least in his early life: Franz Delitzsch.  So Pieper gave several pages of quotes and information on Delitzsch in support of the “evil” of... that “Missouri Synod”.  
C.F.W. Walther

      And in the midst of Delitzsch's memories, one man in particular stands out...

      Now I begin a series of blog posts bringing Pieper's full uncut account of Church History covered in his Dogmatik pages 195 to 205… of Germany and on Franz Delitzsch [English edition pages 167-171].  All text in green shading was omitted in the English edition – several pages of material – so this is the first time it is being presented in English.

Translation by BackToLuther; all underlined words were emphasized in the original German; red text and/or red bold text are my emphasis; many items hyperlinked for reference, hyperlinked page numbers in square brackets [ ]; all unshaded text was included in the English edition but I re-translated it to avoid copyright complaints by CPH.
——————————  Part 1  ———————————
[195 >]
It would not appear quite fitting that the church situation in our American Lutheran Church should be described in detail in a dogmatic writing. It must, however, first be borne in mind that our Church in modern and most recent  [196] theological literature — and especially also in dogmatic works — is considered more or less in detail.  This, as we have seen, is done in an accusing and condemning manner, as if with our adherence to the Scripture principle we spread dead orthodoxy, and so we are to be seen as an evil in the Christian Church. …
… [197 middle] At the present time [~ 1924], the separation of church and state has been officially declared in also Germany. This has raised the question of how the Church of Germany had to re-establish itself in the changing circumstances in order to secure her life. The episcopal constitution has been thought of, and some have already been introduced. There is no objection to the episcopal constitution in itself; but without a return to the Word of the Apostles and Prophets as God's infallible Word, the basis  on which the Christian Church is built is lacking, and even the “bishops” are only a piece of decoration that obscures the sad state of affairs in the church.  At present Lutheran countries and Lutheran regions are complaining that not only the great Roman sect, but also the different Reformed sects devote themselves especially to propaganda.  Without a return to Scripture, the Church of Germany is not only powerless against the propaganda of Rome, but is also unable to cope with the propaganda of such Reformed sects, which, in addition to errors, still admit Scripture as the Word of God and also teach the satisfactio vicaria.  By surrendering the Scripture as the Word of God and by the associated surrendering of the satisfactio Christi vicaria the modern theologians of Germany have delivered the weapons of the Christian Church to its enemies and are eo ipso just as powerless against Rome and the sects as political Germany [1924, post WW I] is  a pawn of the arbitrariness of its enemies after delivery of its weapons.  The theology of Germany must return to the theology which it rejects in the theology of the “strictly confessional American Lutheran Church” as Repristination Theology. Moreover, we should recall in this connection that this [198  >] theology comes from Germany, from Germany's best period in the previous century.  
Charles Meynier - Napoleon in Berlin.png
4th Coalition against
Napoleon's French Empire
After the struggles for freedom against the French world domination, a considerable religious awakening went through Germany.  It proceeded primarily from lay circles, but also extended to a part of the student youth. The majority of the fathers of the Missouri Synod belonged to the group of believing students at the University of Leipzig, which is described as follows: “They gathered together on certain days every week for common prayer, for the common reading of the Holy Scriptures, for the purpose of edification and mutual exchange over the One, as was necessary.” 615)  Franz Delitzsch († 1890) [ADB article] also belonged to this student circle.
- - - - - - - - -  continued in next Part 2  - - - - - - - - - -

Pieper gives not only true Church History, but the background of World History for Germany as its faith was floundering.  And there will be more mentions of World History in this continuing series.  But more importantly we see a ray of light beginning to break forth in the gloom of political darkness… in what were termed “lay circles”.
      That's right, if you follow this blog you are following “dead orthodoxy” promoting “an evil in the Christian Church”!  Not just Franz Pieper, but also Franz Delitzsch has a defense for you… (Would some accuser now call me “Franzie baby”...   please?)
   - - - - - - - -  Table of Contents   - - - - - - - -
Part 1 - this introductory blog; “an evil in the Church?”
Part 2 - “no other than the Lutheran faith”; “behind 300 years in matters of faith”
Part 3 - Holy Scriptures & Luther; LC-MS & Luther
Part 4 - Lutheran Confessions; old dogmaticians
Part 5 - “You, my Walther…”; Missouri Synod fathers
Part 6 - German layman, beautiful hymns; “Lutheran Judaism”; “lay circles” - Fundamentalists
Part 7 - later (grieving) Delitzsch; von Hofmann & von Frank
Part 8a - whither is Lutheranism bound?; Missouri's church literature
Part 8b - great chasm — supermen to stragglers