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Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Warfare against SOLA fide; Triglotta, Pt 2b

      This continues from Part 2a (Table of contents in Part 1) in connection with the unveiling of the complete 1921 Concordia Triglotta on Google Books this year, 2017.  —  While studying Lutheranism's "sola fide", the question arose: What does the world think of Luther's great Reformation, of the Lutheran Confessions' affirmation of the "sola fide", "by faith alone", the heart of Christianity?… it is a war!
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     Here is a sampling of just how contentious the world gets over against this doctrine, even by non-Catholics, even by… Lutherans:
(1) Lord Vansittart – British statesman during World War II
We see this contention through the ages, not just from the Papists but also from all unbelief, such as from Lord Vansittart, a well-known British statesman during World War II.  Lord Vansittart was not only known for his anti-German stance (as a Germanophobe), he also fulminated against Luther's translation of Rom. 3:28  in his Lessons of My Life, p. 189:
“He [Luther] altered the text of his German translation of the Bible to suit a cardinal point in his doctrine”
(2) Dr. Andrew Steinmann, – Concordia University, Chicago
"because of faith"?
Recently it was reported in a Reclaim News post by Pastor Jack Cascione that a distinguished LC-MS scholar, Dr. Andrew Steinmann, caused the fall of the NET Bible translation project by insisting on the phrase "justified because of faith" for Romans 1:17. This reportedly killed the GWN translation or the New Evangelical Translation (NET):
“The incorrect interpretation of prepositions can kill a Bible translation.  In 1995 the entire GWN Bible translation, after spending at least 6 million dollars in donations and foundation money, collapsed when the head translator, Dr. Andrew Steinmann, demanded that Justified by Faith in Romans 1:17 should be translated Justified because of faith (because, he said, the Greek preposition ἐκ had to mean because).  Steinmann dug in his heals, and killed the whole translation, 40 plus people lost their jobs, and the magnificent new building paid for by the Swann [Schwan?] Foundation was sold to an insurance company.”
If this report is true, it kills my interest in reading any of Steinmann's many publications for CPH, even his major work From Abraham to Paul: A Biblical Chronology.  I think I would rather read Martin Luther's Biblical Chronology since Luther understood the foundational doctrine of Holy Scripture (sola fide!) whereas Steinmann is reportedly confused.

(3) Even in Paul McCain's Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions, 2nd edition, one of the editors, in their preface to the above Article IV to the Apology, says (p. 90):
“...the Roman Catholic Church does not bypass Christ or God's grace
It is difficult to believe that a book that prides itself in publishing the authentic text of the Book of Concord, purportedly from a pure Lutheran standpoint, would make such a statement!  It does not help that the editor subsequently essentially proves this statement to be false because it allows the above statement to stand as stated.  Indeed, if the statement above is true of the Roman Catholic Church, then I would want to be a Roman Catholic!  But if Justification is truly sola fide, "by faith alone", then since the Roman Catholic Church flatly denies this, it introduces works into Justification, essentially bypassing Christ and God's Grace, i.e. “grace is no more grace”. Romans 11:6  —  I shudder to think what comments the editors of the more liberal Kolb/Wengert edition have to say on this Article IV of the Apology to the Augsburg Confession.

      One might argue that the last item is overstepping the mark, that because the editor explains that the Roman Church bases its doctrine of Justification on "our cooperation with God's grace rather than on Christ's work alone", therefore the editor redeems his confusing remark.   But it is precisely in this confusion that the Lutheran "sola fide" loses its exclusionary forcefulness.  The above editorial statement is not Lutheran.  It is certainly not from… the Concordia Triglotta!  The editors of the Concordia Triglotta would never have phrased their explanation of Article IV in the above manner.  In the next Part 2c we find more evidence of this confusion (warfare?) against "by faith ALONE".

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