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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Stoeckhardt 3: 4 teachers of Old Missouri; Lange's gem; Part 4c

      This continues from Part 4b in a sub-series (see Part 4a) of a wider series (Table of Contents in Part 1) of Franz Pieper's addresses at the "going home" (funerals) of  Old Missouri's earliest teachers.  This Part 4x sub-series presents the address at the funeral of Dr. George Stoeckhardt.
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      After putting Walther in his proper place, next to Martin Luther, Pieper moves on to comment on 4 other teachers of Old Missouri.  We are still several paragraphs into the funeral address for George Stoeckhardt, yet Pieper takes more time to show his Missouri how blessed it has been by its earlier faithful teachers.  These would compliment Walther's strong leadership in teaching and defending pure Lutheran/Christian doctrine (continuing Pieper's address from Part 4b):

Schaller used to say in our smaller circles: “God has not made me a warrior.” But he was an extremely valuable gift from God in our faculty meetings. In his silent manner, and with his deep and profound recognition of the Christian teachings, he has strengthened our hearts and hands through counsel and instruction, especially in the contentious points. Lange was rightly said to have a philosophical nature. But in all theological matters, God's Word was his only wisdom.  His preface to Lehre und Wehre in 1884 is an immense exposition of the the "sola Scriptum", the truth that in theology all man’s thoughts are nothing and God's revealed Word has its own validity.  I do not know if ever anything more glorious has been written.   He used to sit in our meetings somewhat apart, listening attentively and covering his face with his hand. But then he often spoke words to us all that were at once teaching and refreshment.  Günther was one of the first students of our institution, when it still was located in Perry County. He had grown up entirely in the spirit of our fathers. He was especially given the gift of distinguishing between truth and error, and with this gift he had served the Church especially in clear, concise written expression, as his years of editorship of our Der Lutheraner proves.  Gräbner, combined an amazing diligence with his extraordinary general knowledge and the clear recording of Christian doctrines. He has worn himself out prematurely by his diligence. His special field of work was the history of the Church; but in the last major doctrinal controversy he also fought in the foremost ranks.
What struck me in this summary was the special compliment he paid to C.H.R. Lange that he had not done in his earlier address at his funeral – on Lange's "Foreword" ("Vorwort") to the 1884 Lehre und Wehre journal.  My blog has concentrated mostly on presenting Walther and Pieper, but Pieper's immense praise of Lange's "Foreword" caused me to take some time in the Google Books copy, with Google "plain text" and Google Translate to skim over this highly regarded essay.  Would to God someone would take on the project of carefully translating this article into English!  What was it the Pieper said again?
“I do not know if ever anything more glorious has been written.”
Indeed, pure Lutheranism!  Because of Pieper's high praise, I have now also gone back to Lange's periodical, the St. Louis Theological Monthly, the earliest English language Missouri Synod doctrinal journal, a forerunner of the Lutheran Witness and Theological Quarterly. It is freely available in Google Books.  This journal contains the best English writings that give an overview of the “Predestinarian Controversy” and present the clearest defense of the truth, by Rudolf Lange and others.  It shows that Lange was a true pupil of Walther.  It was quite a treat for me to again skim through the many articles, and such good doctrine in so easy-to-read ENGLISH!! Thank God that Prof. Lange produced this wonderful journal... in... English.  Too bad that it only ran 2 years, from 1881 to 1882.  —

      In the next Part 4d, Pieper reaches the point in his address where he highlights perhaps his closest colleague at that time, George Stoeckhardt.

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