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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A Missourian died… but lives — C.H.R. Lange (Pieper's address in 1892)

      As I was going through my Der Lutheraner table of contents, I ran across the publication of Concordia Seminary President Franz Pieper's address at the funeral of one of its early professors - C.H. Rudolf Lange, or R. Lange.  It was published in the November 8, 1892 issue as the lead article.  I was interested to read this as Prof. Lange is lesser known among his colleagues... what did he teach?... was he strong in his teaching and defending of Christian doctrine?  But the still new and youthful President did what he does best – Franz Pieper brought out a true faith that leaves one praising God for such a teacher as...
Prof. Carl Heinrich Rudolf Lange 
(† 1892)

What follows is my translation of only the first paragraph of Pieper's address:
held on the day of the funeral of the blessed
Prof. R. Lange in the seminary
by Prof. F. Pieper.

In Christ, beloved mourning gathering!
A teacher of our institution has been called up by God from this life, and the one gone home was the oldest teacher of the Collegium. And not only was he the oldest teacher, but he was also one of the men whose public effectiveness extends into the early days of our Synod, to the men who had participated in the mighty struggles, but also in the rich blessing of the beginnings. The blessed Prof. Lange had already come to faith in Christ in the old Fatherland. But to the clear knowledge of the Christian doctrine as a theologian should have, he was first led here [in America] by God.  In private talks, he has repeatedly made the doctrine well-known of which the clear knowledge came to him. This was the doctrine of objective justification, the doctrine clearly revealed in the Holy Scriptures, that God is completely reconciled with the whole world of sinners through Christ. Thus the Gospel was not to him the message of a reconciliation that had yet to be achieved, but of the reconciliation which had already taken place, and to be accepted by faith. The Word and the Sacraments were now the means by which God offered and sealed to the individual sinners the salvation acquired by Christ. The Church was the fellowship of those who believe in the grace of Christ purchased and presented in the Gospel.  In this light he was changed as a teacher. In the light of this knowledge he served with the gifts of the Church given to him.

What Pieper stressed at the beginning of his address was that Prof. Lange believed the Gospel, or Universal, Objective Justification.  And where did Lange find this light?  In America.  And who was it that brought this doctrine to the New World?...  C.F.W. Walther.
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Part 1 – C. H. R. Lange (this post)
Part 2 – Martin Günther
Part 3 – A. L. Graebner
Part 4 – George Stoeckhardt (Stöckhardt)

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Dogmatik: Walther (& others) refs in books, lectures (Part E); Stoeckardt's Romans book published: "general or objective justification"

      This continues from Part D (Convention Essays) my project of listing Franz Pieper's references to Old Missouri Synod writings in his Christliche Dogmatik (Table of Contents in Part A).
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      The following is an exhaustive listing of all references to "old Missouri" books, of Walther, then also all other teachers: George Stoeckhardt (or Stöckhardt), Martin Guenther (or Günther), and E.A. Brauer.  The last table adds a listing of references that Pieper used of what apparently were unpublished lectures of Walther.
This Google Doc may be directly accessed >>  here  <<.

This Google Doc may be directly accessed >>  here  <<.

Prof. George Stoeckhardt
A quick review of the second table above will show that after Walther, the most quoted author was the venerable Prof. George Stoeckhardt.  But although most of Stoeckhardt's German works had been translated into English, surprisingly his greatest exegetical work on the book of Romans was apparently only partially translated.  So I began an extensive project to get more public exposure to this dear teacher of the Church.

The first task was to get his German book to be available to the public online -- strangely it was not included in any of the major repositories such as Google Books or HathiTrust.  It is now available at  >>  here <<.

Romans by G. Stoeckhardt
transl. by Edward W. Schade
edited by Otto F. Stahlke
(now in
But the greatest surprise was that although most of Stoeckhardt's commentaries had been translated (see WorldCat here and here), unfortunately his book on Romans was apparently only partially translated into English.  I mean "apparently" because the CTS-FW bookstore has sold a book that purported to be the "complete text" (see cover at right).  But upon further examination, it only included chapters 1 through 8 out of a total of 16 chapters.  What I have discovered is that all 16 chapters were translated but only in a hand-written format, not typed.  What was sold in the bookstore was a transcription of only the first 8 chapters.

Commentary on Romans
(handwritten translation)

Some were misled (like me) into thinking that a full translation was never completed, but it was.  After procuring a library holding, I was able to scan it and upload it to -- see title page at left.

  After some re-checking, it appears, again, that this entire work of Stoeckhardt was translated but never fully transcribed by Stahlke.  So I began to do this work, only in the hopes that someone else will take the time to complete it.  The following shows the progress made so far:
The beginning of chapter 9 is at page 314 >> here <<.

This Google Doc may be directly accessed >>  here  <<.

      The purpose of this detailed explanation is not to show how clever I am, nor am I trying to put the CTS-FW Bookstore printshop out of business.  It is presented in the hopes that some faithful adherents of "old Missouri" will also treasure the work of Stoeckhardt enough to carry on the final work of transcribing the balance (chapters 9-16) of his marvelous work on Romans.  Any serious parties who would like to collaborate on this project may contact me so that I may give them access to an editable version of this Google Doc.
      But before I leave the dear Stoeckhardt, I would point out again, that he was much more than the extraordinary exegete for our modern times, he brought out the doctrine, or the dogmatical nature of Holy Scripture, better than all previous and subsequent exegetes.  And what teaching is he primarily known for?  I will let him speak (p. 239-240) on Romans 5:18-19:
The passage treated above, vv. 18-19, is the locus classicus for the doctrine of the general or, so-called, objective justification. Here the Apostle teaches and testifies expressis verbis , that the righteousness of life has been made available for all mankind and that the many have been placed before God as righteous, as already stated in v.16: that from the offenses of many there has come "righteousness: δικαιώμα", and that all men have been justified and absolved of all their transgressions. Most modern expositors, and some ancient ones, refer these apostolic words to the believers; that is, to all those who through faith belong to Christ. They make the comment that such a restriction is self-understood. But that is pure arbitrariness. When one permits himself to apply such glosses to the text, all trustworthiness of exegesis disappears. In these three sentences, faith is not mentioned with a single syllable
Did you hear what Stoeckhardt just said?  He said that the Holy Scriptures teach that God is already reconciled to the whole world, including unbelievers, before faith!  The scoffers will scoff at this, but this is the heart of Christianity!  I could not believe that God was reconciled to me until He showed me by His Word that He was already reconciled to the whole world! (cf. 2 Cor. 5:19). [2017-05-14: see also Stoeckhardt's 1888 Lehre und Wehre essay "General Justification" translated by Otto F. Stahlke and published in 1978 CTQ here.]

      In the last Part F is a table of all of Pieper's many references to the Baier-Walther Compendium.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Walther's Epistle Sermons 2 (Walther!… not Lewis)

      This continues from Part 1 of the publication of Walther's Standard Epistles, translated by Pastor Donald E. Heck.
      It continues to amaze me that this work stood for 57 years without being published by the LC-MS publishing house so that all of its church members could benefit from the sermons of the father of the Missouri Synod.  Does this not show the "love" the LC-MS has for its spiritual father?  These sermons were not intended for the theologians and pastors, they were preached to the people!  There is no use of difficult languages such as Latin, Greek or Hebrew.  There were no involved discourses.  Just pure... Christianity.
      I would wonder that Pastor Heck's work only came to be published by the Fort Wayne seminary press because of Robert Preus as he was exposed to Walther through his earlier training at the seminary of the "Little Norwegian", the ELS, and Prof. Norman Madson Sr., and so brought it out from its obscurity.
      Now I present Part 2 which continues on through the church year, from 1st Sunday after Trinity, to Reformation Day sermons (2), culminating in the National Day of Penitence or what is now Thanksgiving.
[PDF scanned copies: — >>  Part 1 <<  —  >>  Part 2 << —]

The above Google Doc is directly available >> here <<.

      Proofing the text of Walther’s sermons was not a chore for me, rather it was a JOY, a labor of love.  On every page, I was tempted to pause and read more of the treasure of his preaching, the greatest homilies since  – dare I say it  – since the days of Martin Luther himself.  Here are a few notations I made along the way for this Part 2:

339: they fell into adultery and fornication and all the abominations of unclean venereal disease
349: TRUE Faith: (11th SAT): “He who often reads in the Scriptures and prizes it highly as a beautiful book of instruction and comfort, making a few exceptions and thinking that it contains many things which in their simplicity the apostles and prophets believed for which one must pardon them, but which can no longer be accepted today, let him not think that a spark of true faith lives in his heart; in spite of his imagined faith he is nothing but a proud unbelieving spirit who does not want to be a humble pupil but a teacher and judge of the Word of the living God. He thinks that he is wiser than Jesus Christ, the Light of the world, the eternal Truth and Wisdom. For Christ himself proved his entire doctrine with the Scriptures and always said, even in the conflict with the Seducer: "It is written, it is written." And so Isaiah says: "To the Law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light," that is, Christ, "in them." Is 8:20.”
349-350-351 FAITH: “Not all which they often try to sell by this name is faith. It is not true that so many have returned to the faith of the Reformation. Even true believers can fall into error; but true faith is not present when one errs knowingly, or considers error insignificant and harmless, or knowingly swears to follow an error. True faith is not present when one is careless and indifferent, when doctrine is positive or negative, true or false. True faith is not present when one knowingly departs from a single Word of God. … he who still thinks he can reject at least a few things in Holy Writ rejects the entire Scripture… if you let yourselves be deceived by others, you do this at your own risk … By nature no person is capable of embracing the Gospel; that must happen through the Holy Spirit.”
358- 11th Sunday after Trinity - 2: Oh, would that everyone of us would note and cling firmly to both of those highest principles: First, the Scriptures are the only source and rule of our faith, and secondly, we will be righteous before God and be saved alone through faith in Christ; if he would always use both of these divine touchstones correctly even in these last dangerous times, I am certain not a one would be deceived and misled. Both of these supreme principles are divine armor, in which even the most unlearned Christian is unconquerable in the face of all the cunning and arts of the most learned and wisest person. Both of these principles are two suns before which all the deceiving qualities of false doctrine melt away like clouds and fog.
359- “countless factions and sects
360 ~365~ 11th Sunday after Trinity - 3 - TRUE Faith, against error! “The clear letter of Scripture”.
366 ff. 12th Sunday after Trinity-1 - LAW and GOSPEL 2 Cor. 3:4-11; 367: “For if one in this way mixes Law and Gospel, one nullifies both”
373 ~~ 12th Sunday after Trinity-2 - The Office of the Ministry
380 - 13th SAT 1 - LAW and GOSPEL “reflect upon the remarkable agreement of these doctrines” (!!)  – 384: “If the Law lets him taste its horrible bitterness, this happens only that he might learn to taste the sweetness of the Gospel … to learn to yearn … the Spirit only [helps] the letter … If one is to remain in grace, the Law and the Gospel must work together in him until his blessed end”; 385 - “he who takes away the Law, takes also God and Christ away; he who wants to preach Christ must also proclaim the Law”
419: “In all the countries of the world there is no land in which so many different sects have arisen than in North America, the land of freedom.
464 - 22nd after Trinity - Reformation benefit sermon: on Luther: “... finally, by the reading of the Bible…”; 466  – “Yes, nothing else is possible but that all other important doctrines of revelation can not only not help us in the least but must even be gradually lost, if the pure doctrine of the Gospel of the justification of the sinner through faith is lost.” [Christology lost if Justification lost.]
481- - Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise, God help me. Amen! p. 481
504, 505  – Thanksgiving Day  – “but at the same time a day of penitence, prayer, and fasting, a day of humiliation before the great God because of its great sins. No longer does the government dare to summon our people to do that. It knows that most of its citizens would merely deride the suggestion. … this so-called Thanksgiving Day
505 - Abortion  – “... nowadays thousands of mothers murder even the unborn children in the womb”
508  – Saxon worldliness: “... theaters, in its places of amusement, in its taverns and casinos, yes, finds them in its ballrooms or even dancing. Now the world is even surprised when it sees that the members of our congregation join in the foolish fashions of the world, either burden themselves with mountains of false hair or let their hair fly like savages and drape themselves with infantile tinsel, yes, like Jezebel paint their face.
509-510  – “ … staying away from divine services, especially the afternoon and weekday services … Oh, do not receive this sharp word with bitterness; it does not flow from a bitter heart but one concerned about our degeneracy
510  – we have experienced little of the terrors and misery of war. Whilst other states and even our own State of Missouri has been an arena of all the misery and horror which a civil war ever had in its wake, we in our city can still live in rest under the protection of the law.
511-512 - “even a David viewed war as the greatest of all God's temporal punishmentscivil war … when God inflicts war, he does not punish directly; God deals like an angry father who, because his wicked son deserves to be cruelly beaten, gives the rod to crude servants to execute the punishment … the hands of wild human rage
515 – “Christians daily receive their wisdom from the godless newspapers of sly, political opportunists who forget God, who despise all sworn treaties, and who trample under foot all the laws of God and man. It is terrible to say it, but all such newspapers have even become the Gospel of many Christians upon which they swear, and he who has a different opinion is as far as they are concerned a political heretic, a traitor”

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TO: Dr. Joel Heck
      Now I have a message to you, Dr. Joel Heck, from your father, Pastor Donald E. Heck.  I discovered it as I came to the last of your father's typed pages (p. 516) of his translation of Walther's Epistle sermons.  This is his message now to you, son Joel (emphases mine):
  • Finished this 30th day of September in the year of our Lord 1960.
  • My thanks to my Lord, and Savior Jesus Christ for granting me strength and wisdom to finish this task.
  • May you who read and study these pages find the treasure which I have found.
So I say to you, son Professor of Theology Dr. Joel Heck, that your father suggests that you read the treasure that he found, the treasure of Walther's sermons!  May I suggest that you set aside C.S. Lewis for awhile now.
==>> And I suggest that your father would recommend the sermons of C.F.W. Walther over the writings of... C.S. Lewis.  He just testified to the great treasure he found in... Walther.   Dr. Heck, you are "Executive Editor of Concordia University Press", so you should be publishing your father's works, not me!  YOU should be publishing the greatest sermon books since the Reformation century, rather than books and websites about C.S. Lewis.
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      Now who will have the honor of translating the last untranslated sermon book of Walther, Licht des LebensLight of Life?  Twenty years ago I produced the full digital text of this sermon book from the original German, fully formatted (not from Google Books), ready to be used for the ease of translation.  This file has been available here, even to Concordia Publishing House for their possible use in getting it translated but... it seems ... maybe ... "Walther isn't popular right now". (If any serious translator wants this file, contact me... there are some parties interested in getting this done.)

      I now add my thanks to God for Pastor Donald's glorious work of bringing so many of Walther's sermons to the English language.  Now all of his translated sermons are widely available to the public -- the Gospel Sermons (volumes 1 and 2) by Concordia Publishing House and the Epistle Sermons (Standard Epistles) here on BackToLuther.  May He bless the readers to find the treasure that Walther and Pastor Heck brought to us.  I know that I have been greatly blessed along with the dear... Pastor Donald E. Heck!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Walther's Epistle Sermons: C.S. Lewis vs C.F.W. Walther; Part 1

This post is to celebrate the ancient "Great Day of the Lord", or ... Easter 2017

      I have been prompted to proceed with this blog post by a recent release by Concordia Publishing House.  Their book is entitled From Atheism to Christianity: The Story of C. S. Lewis (2017) authored by Dr. Joel Heck, son of Pastor Donald E. Heck.  Dr. Heck is a "Professor of Theology at Concordia University Texas and Executive Editor of Concordia University Press".  Concordia University claims to be not only Christian, but also... Lutheran.
      One could hardly argue that accounts of C.S. Lewis are not popular.  And Dr. Heck considers himself to be one of the top experts on Mr. Lewis.  But as I have previously pointed out, his subject matter is quite at odds with the sermons that his father translated and self-published.

Epistel Postille

by C.F.W. Walther

     Two years ago I published an obscure English translation of one of Walther's sermon books that had already been translated by Dr. Heck's father -- Year of Grace (or Gnadenjahr).  I cautioned Dr. Heck that his focus on C.S. Lewis was rather at odds with the pure Christian preaching of C.F.W. Walther.  I also blogged on another book of Pastor D. Heck, Walther's Standard Epistles, offering a download file of the scanned original German book which strangely seems unavailable online anywhere else (but has since been uploaded to  But I only listed how one might continue to purchase this book through the Fort Wayne bookstore, I did not contemplate then to offer a free version of the full text online.

      But it seems Dr. Heck cares little about the subject matter of what his father translated.  He continues to be blind to the fact that the preaching of C.F.W. Walther is a great warning against the confused, reasoned, rationalistic Christianity of one such as ... C.S. Lewis.  As I was returning to my Christian faith, I watched films and read books by C.S. Lewis and came away... confused.  I read books about C.S. Lewis and came away equally confused.  NOT SO WITH C.F.W. WALTHER!
Walther's Standard Epistles
Translated by Donald Heck

      And so, although I wasn't going to proceed with this post, at least not for awhile, I am pressured now to do so.  Dr. Joel Heck has not seen fit to halt my previous free publication of his father's translation of Walther's Year of Grace sermon book.  And I have pointed out repeatedly that Pastor Donald E. Heck's other translation of Walther's Epistle Sermons cried out to be published.  Even Concordia Publishing has not yet made any announcement (as of 2017-04-16) what, or if, there is to be another release in their "Walther's Works" series.  Why the mystery CPH?
      And if Dr. Joel Heck or Concordia Publishing House should see fit to warn me about any possible copyright issues with this publication, I will print their warning in big bold red print for all the world to see.  And then I may print just how un-Lutheran and confusing the writings of C.S. Lewis actually are for all of Christianity!

      But enough explanation and justification.   Just read and spiritually enjoy some of the greatest Christian sermons since the days of Martin Luther... from the American Luther!  And forget about reading C.S. Lewis ... at least for awhile until you are fully grounded in the Christian faith!

This Google Doc may be directly accessed >>  here  <<.

      Many hours were spent preparing and proofing the above.  And while proofing it many times, my eyes would pause on certain passages and so I would make note of them to highlight them here.  Perhaps the reader will be prompted to search further from the selection below:

55 ff. Missions - the charge has often been made that true orthodoxy was not mission-minded - false!
60: Boniface appeared in the oak forests of Germany in the eighth century
92: secret societies, theater, amusements,
93: Love, true love, is something entirely different than what is now usually sold under this glorious name.
115 ff.: Conversion (1st Sunday in Lent); p. 120: "Conversion is simply the freeing of the will"
121 - 122: Technical progress -- "Our age is happy to hear itself lauded as the age of progress...  can now send a message in a few second thousands of miles. By the application of the power of steam huge machinery";  -- "All these are facts; it would therefore be folly to wish to contest the cry that our age is a progressive one. But this is quite another question: Is our age for that reason really to boast of being the happiest age?"
131-132: Sanctification: " ... just as impossible as it is to merit and procure salvation by sanctification, just so certainly can one again trifle away his salvation by omitting sanctification"; "real goal of all of God's works of grace for and to man is nothing else but his sanctification"; " ... woe is he who uses his weakness and imperfection as a pretext for excusing his service of sin and half-heartedness! He will receive his reward with the hypocrites.
135, 137: FAITH, fides divina: Note to Pastor Martin Noland -- you might want to read this: "That faith which makes a person a Christian is, on the one hand, something so easy that a child can grasp and have it; on the other hand, it is something so mysterious  ... That faith which makes a person a Christian is not described in such a way that every one who hears the description knows immediately what it is; it is something which must be experienced. ... "If as a weak twig he is not to wither, he must send his roots deeper and deeper into Christ, so that he may grow and bring forth fruit."
142: "Not only is "fornication" rampant everywhere, but it has even ceased being a disgrace; it is considered a pardonable weakness; it, and especially impure jokes, are called galantry, and the like." ... "Fornication and all uncleanness together with greed are not sins which are to be found among Christians, which he can wash away by his daily repentance, and for which he receives forgiveness every day; rather these are sins because of which a person has no part or inheritance either here in Christ's kingdom of grace nor there in God's kingdom of glory."
155: " ... jesting, buffoonery, tricks, laughter and jests and thus appease their desires, social pleasures, the joys of fellowship and thus try to turn earth into heaven."
155: Faith, fides divina: "the moment that God took pity upon your misery and pardoned you he has also given you his Holy Spirit who is continually to drive, renew, cleanse, and sanctify you"
160: "do you belong to this Church? ... you can be a member of the visible church, ... and yet not be a member of the true Church, the invisible congregation of believers"
177 ff. -- Maundy Thursday -- universal reconciliation, Holy Communion
184 - Maundy Thurs. - importance of real presence
204: "Freedom!" is the universal watchword of our time.
242, 243 - Paternal authority, government authority: "... whether the families of a country should unite to form a monarchy in which one person rules, or an aristocracy, where a group rules, or a republic in which the people themselves rule through elected officials. But wherever governmental authority is established, it cannot be overthrown by force; it should be held sacred; God should be honored in his substitute and given that absolute obedience which children give their fathers. ; "the Israelites were tired of their republican constitution"
253 - "The believer builds the certainty of his state of grace, his salvation, on the Word alone. The Word is the only credential which he can produce for his hope of eternal life; it alone is the first and last refuge of his conscience. "It is written!" is the first and last proof which he can give himself"
262: one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousands years as one day
276: (Pentecost 2) fides divina: "How can I know whether my Christianity is my own work, or a work of the Holy Ghost? I reply: This is not easily perceived. ... you... have to hear and read God's Word zealously; etc."
280 ff.- Election, predestination -- 280: "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you." John 15:16;  285 -- "Did you seek God? or did not God really seek you? Did you come to God? or did not God really come to you?"

      But I would end this post with Walther's account of the ancient Church's practices for Easter.  On page 199 is the following quote from Ireneaus:
"We do not pray on our knees on the day of the Lord because it is a symbol of the resurrection. This custom started back in the times of the apostles." – Ireneaus
And then on pages 200 and 211, Walther reported on the earliest greetings of the Christians that can still be heard today:
"The Lord is risen!and the reply: "He is risen indeed!"
I recall during my time of return to my Christian faith of how this greeting caused a great swelling of my weak faith.  But to hear C.F.W. Walther repeat it is truly glorious as it resounds through the centuries, through the millennia. –  Hmmm, I wonder if C.S. Lewis, through all his musings, every used these phrases...?
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      In the next Part 2 is the second portion of Pastor Donald E. Heck's great translation of Walther's Standard Epistles.