|Prof. J.H.C. Fritz|
“I did not limit myself to a literal translation of those portions which I took over from Walther's Pastoraltheologie; I rather reproduced the subject-matter either by a literal or by a free translation, inserting such thoughts as suggested themselves to me at the time of writing and as seemed necessary or desirable to add.”An example of one of the "insertions" was on "Christian Stewardship" where he quoted extensively from one of Franz Pieper's convention essays (pp. 261-262, 266-267). Indeed, Fritz informs us in his preface that he was indebted to "the sainted Dr. F. Pieper, under whom I studied Pastoral Theology while a student at Concordia Seminary".
I spent considerable time cross-referencing to both of Fritz’s editions, even hyperlinking to copies of pages, so that true students of "pastoral theology" could see what the LC-MS used for many decades after it abandoned the German language. I found that most of the points that Pieper highlighted in his Dogmatik were covered by Fritz. Prof. J.H.C. Fritz’s work is perhaps most disappointing in that it only roughly follows Walther’s subject matter, excluding portions, adding to other portions -- topics not specifically addressed by Walther. It was rather difficult to refer back to Walther’s work from either of Fritz’s works, 1932 or 1945. This highlights one of the greatest benefits of the new 2017 edition which allows the reader to be exposed to the (mostly) complete pure Walther as he presented his material. Another benefit is that there is no difficulty comparing the original German edition to this 2017 English edition as it even keys each page to the original page number – a very helpful feature!
Now I want to address the one topic that reveals the downfall of the external Church in America in the Twentieth Century. I will incorporate the story of two other professors of Concordia Seminary, Prof. Fritz's associates, to fully illustrate this history:
UnionismUnionism is one of the topics covered by Prof. Fritz that is not named specifically by Walther. However Walther does speak clearly of church "fellowship" in several places in his book, leaving no doubt as to his teaching that condemns all forms of unionism. (See also the 2014 CPH book Walther's Works: Church Fellowship.) -- In 1932, Fritz begins well with the following definition of unionism (p. 219):
“Joining in religious worship or in religious work or in both by such as are not in doctrinal agreement is religious unionism.”
|Prof. W. Arndt|
"Whoever changes the teachings of Jesus thereby creates a division in the church and sets himself in opposition to all those who adhere to the doctrine of Christ. We have learned from St. Paul that we must avoid all such causes of division (Ro. 16:17). That naturally means that we can have no prayer fellowship with them."
Arndt: from "no prayer fellowship" to "Deep Fog"
But this firmness in doctrine and practice gradually broke down. Through his extensive involvement in doctrinal discussions with the American Lutheran Church (ALC), in 1943 (CTM vol. 14, #11 November pp. 787-791), he came to write the essay "God Purposes To Justify Those That Have Come to Faith" which is an attempt to defend the ALC's statement of the same name. Arndt admits (p. 787) that "Everybody can see that the sentence under discussion puts the creation of faith before the pronouncement of justification." But compare this to Walther's words from Central District 1868: "…you often hear pastors preach, 'You are saved if you believe.' What they should be saying is, 'You are saved so that you might believe.'" Arndt here ignores Universal Justification and so his essay confuses the Lutheran Doctrine of Justification. (See also this blog post on Arndt's error) Then in the summer of 1946, Prof. Arndt was again in the middle of further discussions with the ALC, and preceding official agreement, he said (Fendt, The Struggle for Lutheran Unity..., p. 79):
- 'In my opinion the meeting, if it is held, should be opened with joint prayer. A common document constituting a confession of faith has been drawn up by representatives of two church bodies, which document will be considered by both bodies when they meet in convention. If the representatives of these bodies cannot jointly ask for God's guidance when they meet, then I move in a deep fog as to the scope and meaning of joint prayer.But there is no record of an opening prayer at the August 23, 1946 joint meeting. Evidently Dr. Arndt did not get enough support for that in his group.
And we see that Prof. Fritz had just the year before, in the 1945 2nd edition of his Pastoral Theology, supplemented his 1932 1st edition definition of Unionism (highlighted, p. 211):
“Joining in religious worship or in religious work or in both by such as are not in doctrinal agreement, or, in other words, joint work or worship by which the truth is either denied or the appearance of denial, or at least of indifferentism, is given, is religious unionism.”
“Where previous to this, certain acts in themselves had been called unionistic, now it was not the act itself which constituted unionism, but whether or not it was done in such a way as to imply denial of truth or support of error. This new definition of unionism found its way into an important publication of the Missouri Synod, Pastoral Theology, by John H. C. Fritz...”
Fritz to Graebner: Retract!
Prof. Th. Graebner
When the Missouri Synod Committee on Doctrinal Unity met on May 8, 1947 the following entry in the minutes appears right after the opening prayer and statement of the purpose of the meeting by the chairman, Dr. Fritz:We see that Prof. Fritz endured strong pressure from Graebner toward unionism and wanted this letter to be retracted.
Dr. Graebner did not retract.
- "A letter written by Dr. Graebner, in which he accuses our Committee of presenting a false picture on current relations with the ALC was read by Prof. Baepler. It was resolved to request Dr. G[raebner]. to retract this accusation in a letter to us and to his correspondents" (neither Dr. Behnken nor Dr. Arndt was present when this action was taken).
Fritz's new definition ==> "Common Confession"
Unfortunately this firmness in the face of such intimidating unionism began to weaken and fall for it was Prof. J.H.C. Fritz who was the leading teacher from the Missouri Synod who in 1949 drafted the infamous "Common Confession" with men from the ALC. For a penetrating analysis of the history surrounding this document, see Aaberg, p. 172-177; also see Wendland, Review of Common Confession [added 2017-03-05], Fendt, p. 136-138. So we see the tragic consequences of Fritz's revision in the 1945 definition of "unionism" which paved the subjective road to ruin.
Further comments on Fritz's work are beyond the scope of this blog. It is sad for me to again review the steps of the downfall of the old Missouri Synod to today's modernist, heterodox LC-MS. But I view Prof. J.H.C. Fritz's Pastoral Theology books as not completely denying his teacher, Franz Pieper, or Walther's work.
|Pastoral Theology (1990)|
by Mueller and Kraus
(Russian Pastoral Theology)
In the last Part 4, I comment further on the new 2017 edition of Walther's work. At least 2 topics show a distinct change in the LC-MS from its former pure teaching of Bible truths.