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Monday, July 24, 2017

Stoeckhardt 2: Walther- 2nd only to… ? (Pieper's address, Part 4b)

      This continues from Part 4a in a sub-series (see Part 4a) of a wider series (Table of Contents in Part 1) on Franz Pieper's addresses at the "going home" (funerals) of  Old Missouri's earliest teachers.  These Part 4x posts are on Dr. George Stoeckhardt.
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      When I translated the next brief section, I paused in amazement.  Franz Pieper asserted something that even I would hesitate to do – and it will put most modern LC-MS teachers in a tailspin:
C.F.W. Walther – 2nd only to Luther
The American Luther!

Walther, in great humility, called himself a lowly pupil of Luther and the old Lutheran theologians. According to my knowledge of Walther and the old theologians, I must say that Walther, in regard to the clear knowledge of the Christian doctrine, and to the gift of clear representation, is to be placed immediately after Luther, and far surpassed most of the theologians of the later time.”  – Franz Pieper

Oh!  Pieper places Walther, essentially, second only to Martin Luther as a teacher of the Lutheran Church.  I had earlier placed Walther in the top 3 teachers of Lutheranism.  And Pieper had in 1890 apparently ranked Walther behind Martin Chemnitz of teachers of the Lutheran Doctrine of Justification..  But it appears that Pieper, upon further reflection, now in 1913, in the address at Stoeckhardt's funeral, places Walther above both of these two other highly regarded teachers of the Lutheran Church.  I had been thinking to do much the same thing, except for my deep respect for Martin Chemnitz and his authorship of the Formula of Concord in the face of near disaster for the Lutherans. But I knew in my heart that it was Walther who applied the Formula of Concord's teaching on the Election of Grace for the first time in a Church dispute against erring American Lutherans ("intuitu fidei").
      Yes, that is how I will celebrate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, by honoring also the one who practically single-handedly restored and "repristinated" the Reformation in our modern times!  Let the scoffers scoff and go their way!  I know it is so, for Franz Pieper is the best judge of all Lutheran teachers up to… himself.  He is The Twentieth Century LutherThe Second Walther. —  In the next Part 4c, we hear Pieper's brief comments on 4 other early teachers of Old Missouri.

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