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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”

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

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.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

      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!

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