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Friday, December 2, 2016

Justification: Objective vs Subjective — Walther in America; Count Erbach (Pieper's Dogmatik)

      Continuing my project of presenting the full text of Franz Pieper's original Christliche Dogmatik.... (adding cross-references for all pages to English edition pages; adding Hebrew text ...)
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      As I was polishing Volume 2, I ran across one of Pieper's many instances where he stressed the teaching of Universal, Objective Justification, or what some abbreviate as "UOJ".  But this one associates this teaching to one man in particular in the history of the Lutheran Church.  I want to present both versions – from the later English edition and my translation of the original German and Latin.  There are only minor differences:
Christian Dogmatics II (1951),  pp. 321
Translated English edition
Christliche Dogmatik, vol. 2 (1917), pp 380
(my translation from German and Latin)
Underlining in original; highlighting is mine.
Now, then, if the Father raised Christ from the dead, He, by this glorious resurrection act, declared that the sins of the whole world are fully expiated, or atoned for, and that all mankind is now regarded as righteous before His divine tribunal. This gracious reconciliation and justification is clearly taught in Rom. 4:25: “Who was delivered for our offenses and was raised again for our justification.” The term δικαίωσις here means the act of divine justification executed through God's act of raising Christ from the dead, and it is for this reason called the objective justification of all mankind. This truth Dr. Wal­ther stressed anew in America. He taught that the resurrection of Christ from the dead is the actual absolution pronounced upon all sinners.55  To refer the words: “Who was raised again for our justifica­tion,” to the so-called subjective justification, which takes place by faith, not only weakens the force of the words, but also violates the context. Calov, following Gerhard, rightly points out the relation of Christ's resurrection to our justification as follows: “Christ's resur­rection took place as an actual absolution from sin. As God punished our sins in Christ, upon whom He laid them and to whom He imputed them, as our Bondsman, so He also, by the very act of raising Him from the dead, absolved Him from our sins imputed to Him, and so He absolved also us in Him.55)
For this reason Scripture also says that justifying and saving faith has that God for its object who raised Christ from the dead. Rom. 4:24: “... if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus, our Lord, from the dead.”  
If then God raised up Christ from the dead, He declared that through the act of resurrection, that by the death of Christ, the sins of man were completely expiated, and that now all mankind is regarded as justified before the divine forum. This situation is sharply expressed in Rom. 4:25: ὃς παρεδόθη διὰ τὰ παραπτώματα ἡμῶν καὶ ἠγέρθη διὰ τὴν δικαίωσιν ἡμῶν. Δικαίωοις referred to the act of divine justification, which took place through the act of Christ's resurrection from the dead, so the so-called objective justification of the whole sinful world. This is the truth to which particularly Walther strongly reminded of again in this country, namely the truth that the resurrection of Christ from the dead is an actual absolution of the whole sinful world. 893) Therefore the Scripture also says that the object of justifying and saving faith has that God who raised up Christ from the dead, Rom. 4:24: τὸν ἐγείραντα Ἰησοῦν τὸν Κύριον ἡμῶν ἐκ νεκρῶν.
893) Evangelienpostille [Gospel Sermons I, p. 226-235, especially p. 236], Easter Day, p. 160 ff. There is a contextual weakening of the words ἠγέρθη διὰ τὴν δικαίωσιν ἡμῶν [“Who was raised again for our justifica­tion”] if one wishes to refer these to the subjective justification which is effected by faith. Calov, after Gerhard, says the right thing about the relation of the resurrection of Christ to our justification: Christ's resurrection is done “with respect to the actual absolution from sin. As God punished our sins in Christ, that is that he was given to us as the surety for this charge, so too He by this very act of raising Him from the dead absolved Him from our sins that were imputed to Him, and hence also in Him we are absolved.”

2 points stand out:
  1. Romans 4:25 is about objective justification, not subjective, and 
  2. It was C.F.W. Walther who was responsible for uncovering the Gospel again.
Pieper identifies Walther as particularly the one man who restored the Gospel again in the world.  And where did he do it?  In America.
      A German nobleman Count Erbach traveled to America in 1869.  (Ernst, Graf zu Erbach-Erbach,  – Travel Letters from America. or Reisebriefe aus Amerika, p. 211 ff.; quoted in E.A.W. Krauß book Lebensbilder aus der Geschichte der christlichen Kirche, pg 727.)  When the Count became acquainted with Walther and with Walther’s theological manner, he wrote:
“This is the man,
God has chosen him for this country”
“Many years of fierce struggle for the truth, ceaseless labor and effort for the extension of the Gospel have developed in this man so adamantine a certainty and such luminous clearness in all matters of faith that I was lost in amazement and finally concluded: This is the man; God has chosen him for this country; He could not have found a better one. And in truth, He has, midst storms and tempests, employed this tool in rebuilding, on the rock of our Confession, His Church in the New World. Through him He founded a new home for the Lutheran Church. . . . America is now the hope of Lutheranism. While elsewhere throughout the world there is heard the crash of the wreck and ruin of things, here the seed of truth undefiled is quietly and unwearyingly sown, cultivated, and watered by men who are undisturbed by the discordant noise of the world, armed with weapons of battle, ready at a moment’s notice to rush to the defense. And the seed visibly brings forth fruit a hundred-fold. ... Not a grain of revealed truth is to be surrendered; rather let everything else perish! Such conditions are a source of comfort to all who are concerned about the future of the Church. With such armament the great, decisive battles may be fought without fear of the issue.” [Requoted by Franz Pieper in Conversion and Election (Zur Einigung) pg 91-92, bolding mine]
Count Erbach spoke many other words about the Lutheran Church in Germany and America which I hope to translate and publish.  Yes, indeed, God did bless America!... and indeed the whole world!… until …
… until the LC-MS allowed the Gospel to be questioned again through especially the unionistic writings of Prof. Theodore Graebner of Concordia Seminary, 70 years later in the American Lutheran magazine in December 1939.

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