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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

“God's Word & Luther's Doctrine…” finale 2017-10-31

       This finale concludes from Part 5b (see Intro for Table of Contents), a fitting graphic put together to honor the 500 Year Anniversary of Luther's Reformation... and the serial essay by Prof. Eduard Pardieck which explained and defended the great Lutheran motto:
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Today is
October 31, 2017
500th Anniversary of Luther's Reformation

Rev. 14:6–7 – And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,
Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him...
Amen!  Amen!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

“God's Word & Luther's Doctrine…” motto – 5b of 5 (pure doctrine, imperfect life)

      This Part 5b (of 5) concludes from Part 5a (see Intro for Table of Contents), my publication of a serial essay by Prof. E. Pardieck which explains and defends the great Lutheran motto.
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Translation by BackToLuther.  All emphasized words are from the original.  Highlighting is mine.

“God's Word and Luther's Doctrine Pure.”
[by Prof. E. Pardieck]

God's Word also speaks a clear language. Christians should not be such “children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive,” Eph. 4:14.  “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God” (1 John 4:1). The Word of God gives Christians the serious instruction: “Beware of false prophets!” Matt. 7:15. “I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment”, 1 Cor. 1:10.  “I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them”. Rom. 16:17.

Luther took this Scriptural position.  He is certain of his cause. “By the grace of God our doctrine is pure; we have all the articles of faith solidly established in Sacred Scripture.” (St. L. IX, 650, #126; Am. Ed. 27, p. 42)  “One tittle of doctrine is more than heaven and earth. [Matt. 5:18] This is why we do not suffer the fact that it is hurt in the very least. The doctrine is not ours but God's; He shall not suffer it; there patience ceases. …  When they attack doctrine, God's glory is attacked, and love and patience should be ended, and not remain silent.” (St. L. XI, 569, #6, #7, not in Am. Ed.). Luther has no false respect for false doctrine.  “For there is [page 214, col. 2] no more noxious and harmful poison under the sun than false doctrine which does murderous and unspeakable harm, and leads men continually from God to vain abomination and blasphemy.” (St. L. III, 1873, #60, not in Am. Ed.) He also did not let himself be misled by the fact that the false teachers said, "We do not take it so closely with doctrine; the main thing is life. “It is the greatest power in doctrine; if it remains pure, one can bear all sorts of imperfect life and weakness, as long as one adheres to the doctrine and confesses that life should be different. But where the doctrine is falsified, life can no longer be helped.” (St. L. III, 180, #16; not in Am. Ed.) Let the unbelieving world call the struggle against error as it will. Indeed, a fool would be the devil and an unbeliever if he wanted to praise it. “We, too, have to hear the reproach: ‘You are obstinate and stiff-necked dunces; you refuse to listen to anyone.’  I have had to cope with perhaps thirty such spirits who accused me of this. . … But this is my boast—and, please God, let it strike emperor, pope, bishops, universities, doctors, or all the angels—that I am proud and stubborn in glorying in the Gospel.  …  This is the arrogance I must have, and no one shall keep me from it. It would be good if I could be unyielding and proud enough in this matter; for here I do not rest on myself but on One who is called Christ, in whose name I am baptized.” (St. L. VIII, 146, #46, Am. Ed. 23, p. 329). The struggle is to be led not only against those who reject everything, but against every false doctrine, as the Apostle says, “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” [Gal. 5:9]  Also Luther: “Neither does it help them to assert that at all other points they have a high and noble regard for God’s words and the entire gospel, except in this matter. My friend, God’s Word is God’s Word; this point does not require much haggling! When one blasphemously gives the lie to God in a single word, or says it is a minor matter if God is blasphemed or called a liar, one blasphemes the entire God and makes light of all blasphemy. There is only one God who does not permit himself to be divided, praised at one place and chided at another, glorified in one place and scorned in another .” (St. L. XX, 775, #28; Am. Ed. 37, p. 26) “Therefore, it is not to be suffered in Christendom where one wants to make such a mixture and patchwork of doctrine.”  (St. L.XII, 481, #8; not in Am. Ed.)  

And also where will the concessions probably end up at? Luther says, “Where I should have obeyed anyone, I should have had to change my doctrine 30 or 40 times.” (St. L. II, 1309, #42; Am. Ed. 7, p. 120)  Indeed, what a miserable part the Christian Church would have played if in the course of time,  where almost every doctrine had been disputed, it had said to all the erring parties: “That is right, dear brethren!” Then she would have had nothing left.  And now many churches, which have been lax in the doctrine, see with horror where that leads. There are no limits; they can not resist the manifest unbelief.
We do not want to have this modern disease. Because we are convinced that our teaching, the doctrine which Luther has proclaimed, is the old pure Word of God, and because truth and error are not equally dear to us, let us hold to what we have, and say:

God's Word and Luther's Doctrine Pure
Shall to Eternity Endure.
E. P. [Eduard Pardieck]

- - - - - - - - - End of Essay - - - - - - - - - - -

  When Dr. Franz Pieper wrote how the Old Missouri Synod, in his Brief Statement, had the pure doctrine in agreement with Scriptures and the Confessions, he was only echoing what Luther said above: “By the grace of God our doctrine is pure”.  Anyone who cannot say this with full assurance is not a Confessional Lutheran teacher.   —
      I am not quite finished with this motto.  It seemed to me that this motto is THE motto for the 500th anniversary of Luther's Reformation.  So I put together my confessional graphic in the next blog post as a "finale" to this essay.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

“God's Word & Luther's Doctrine…” motto – 5a of 5 (rascal Liberals)

      This Part 5a (of 5) continues from my Part 4b (see Intro for Table of Contents), my publication of a serial essay by Prof. E. Pardieck which explains and defends the great Lutheran motto.
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Translation by BackToLuther.  All emphasized words are from the original.  Highlighting is mine.

“God's Word and Luther's Doctrine Pure.”
[by Prof. E. Pardieck]

Now there is one more possible reason where a Christian can stumble at the little proverb of “God's Word and Luther's Doctrine.” And it will probably be the one in most cases. Indeed, it would be strange if even Lutheran Christians were not often stuck on it, because it is, as it were, in the air.  This is unionism and indifferentism, that is, indifference to pure doctrine. One may not hear this when people are certain of their doctrine and say: We have the pure doctrine. This is considered self-praise, arrogance, conceit. Even less may we hear that one says of the contrary doctrine: That is false doctrine.  The people they lead are false believing churches. This is considered to be lovelessness, pride, forbidden judgment and condemnation, and who knows what else.
It is natural and human, when it is disputed for external things, where money, authority, power, and honor are concerned; but quarrels about doctrine in our time is long past, it belongs in the Middle Ages. One should be liberal, that is, do not bother with the doctrine precisely, pay no attention to doctrinal differences.  One should teach and believe what he wants, and in the case of existing differences in doctrine, the churches are to be united externally. The more liberal one is, the more popular he is of course with the unbelieving world. This indifference in teaching has become a formal fashion and plague. Christians should not lose their spiritual understanding over this. They are to be guided in this by God's Word.

What is the correct view? Is there a pure, certain doctrine? Oh yes, and it is very pure and very certain. God Himself has given man His Word, and the Son of God Himself says to the Father, “Thy Word is truth,” John 17:17. “The testimony [page 213, col. 2] of the Lord is sure” (Ps. 19:7-8).  But can we also understand the Scriptures, find in it the truth, and be certain of it?  Yes, when it is true, as the Scripture itself says, that it is a light and a lamp, that it may instruct to salvation, 2 Tim. 3:16; when it is true what the Psalm says: “The testimony of the Lord is sure, and makes wise the simple,” (Ps. 19:7-8). The question of the Son of God has certainly been decided when he says, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth”, (John 8:31-32).
How does one become certain of the truth? By diligently handling the truth that one makes it like those Bereans, of whom it is said: “They received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Acts 17:11. Where, then, is there right, pure doctrine? “Where the Word of God is taught boldly and pure.” Who teaches falsely? “Whoever but teaches otherwise than the Word of God teaches.”  “If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness,” 1 Tim. 6:3.
Is it from arrogance and conceit when someone says: “We have the right doctrine?” If there was no Bible, yes. If we had to conceive and search for the doctrine of God ourselves, it would be unfortunate arrogance if someone would say: I alone found it, you others are all wrong. But when God gives us His Word and tells us that this is clear, that it can be understood, from which you will know the truth, what is to be conceit if someone who learns this Word and teaches himself to be taught by the Word, says: I have recognized the truth? Is it praiseworthy modesty to be never sure of one’s faith and doctrine, and despair of becoming certain? The Holy Scripture speaks of such people, who are “ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth,” 2 Tim. 3:7; but it does not want to praise people. We know [page 214, col. 1] of a man who when faced with the testimony of truth, could only say with a shrug: “What is truth?” Oh, what truth! Go away with your truth! Everyone says he has the truth; there is no such thing. But the man who spoke thus did not have a good name in Scripture and among the Christians; it was Pilate. Is it liberal, is it any good at all, not to take doctrine exactly? If someone goes to a rich man and says, “Here write me a good sum!” and so he writes a statement to his bank, that is liberal.

If, however, an administrator or cashier hands out a handful of someone else’s property and thinks: it is not mine — that is, at most, a rascal Liberal.  If the doctrine were ours, then we could surrender.  But now the doctrine of God is concerned; it demands of us the loyalty that we hold to the Word. Is it unloving judgment and condemnation when we call out false doctrine and reject it? Yes, if we had to make up the doctrine out of our own head. But if God's Word teaches the truth and rejects error, then we simply repeat God's judgment; and God will still have the right to be able to speak and judge in the Church! Do we sin against love when we punish false doctrine? Not if it is true what the Savior says that false prophets are ravening wolves. Do we divide the Church if we keep the pure doctrine and reject the error? No, the schisms in the church come in such a way that "men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them,” Acts 20:30.  No, the uncertainty and indecision in doctrine is a serious disease; thereby the Church loses even the respect of the intelligent world.

- - - - - - - Continued in the last Part 5b - - - - - - - - - - - - -
The "Intelligent World"
Pardieck makes a striking statement above :
No, the uncertainty and indecision in doctrine is a serious disease; thereby the Church loses even the respect of the intelligent world.
Even the unbelieving "intelligent world" loses respect for the Church... when through unionism it turns Liberal.  The "intelligent world" knows very well that Christianity has something to do with believing the Bible.  They understand that someone who espouses a cause should believe in their cause.  So when "teachers" in the Church disavow belief in various doctrines of the Bible, even the "intelligent world" knows something isn't right about this and can see that these "teachers" deserve no respect for this. — A corollary to Pardieck's statement is that Christians should not be surprised that the "intelligent world" is gleeful when "Christian" teachers turn away from pure doctrine. Matt. 11:25, Luke 10:21.

      Pardieck uses the term "rascal Liberal" above.  He delineates exactly what it is about the "Liberal" that is bad, explaining that it could mean a beneficial thing.  If an evangelist is "liberal" in proclaiming the pure Gospel, that is beneficial!  But if false teachers are "liberal" in giving up God's doctrine, they are "rascal Liberals" who are to be defended against as rascals, or "ravening wolves", Matt. 7:15.  It seems the world is overflowing with "rascals and ravening wolves" today.
      Many "Liberals" are very intelligent people!  Perhaps a good example of Pardieck's point is when the American television game show "Jeopardy" uses questions and answers about the Bible for its program.  Curiously it uses very few questions or categories about other "religious" books, e.g. the Koran, or books of Buddhism.  Some might think (even me) that this is showing respect for the Bible, but the reality is that rather than respect, the "intelligent world" uses the Bible as a game.  The Bible is only useful for a game, or as myth or legend, something to sport with, but never as something to believe. —  In the concluding Part 5b...

Thursday, October 19, 2017

“God's Word & Luther's Doctrine…” motto – 4b of 5

      This Part 4b (of 5) continues from my Part 4a (see Intro for Table of Contents), my publication of a serial essay by Prof. E. Pardieck which explains and defends the great Lutheran motto.
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Translation by BackToLuther.  All emphasized words are from the original.  Highlighting is mine.

“God's Word and Luther's Doctrine Pure.”
[by Prof. E. Pardieck]

If one can now say of every pure teacher who brings the doctrine of Scripture, his doctrine is the Word of God, then why do we speak with special emphasis on Luther: "God's Word and Luther's Doctrine Pure"?  

In the church, Luther was not just a preacher of the Word, who is only one of the Church's preachers, but he is the Reformer of the Church whom God has awakened. The apostles of Jesus Christ, whom He had trained and sent, which the Holy Spirit guided in all truths which were spoken, driven by the Holy Spirit, and to such an extent that the Savior said to them, “It is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in [through] you.” [Matt. 10:20] they preached to the Christians of their time the most pure Word of God. They have laid down for the Church of all times the Word in the Scriptures, in the Scriptures of the New Testament. With this Word of God Christianity would be well cared for until the Last Day. But then came the papacy, the antichrist sat down in the temple of God, repressed God's Word, and put his word in its place. There were sad times in the church, so that there was not much left of the Christian religion. After many futile attempts, as men tried to reform the papacy at least outwardly, God sent his reformer Luther, who revealed the abomination of anti-Christianity, helped the enslaved church again, brought Christianity and the Gospel back to sinners. This he did through his doctrine and preaching. And what he preached was nothing new, but the old eternal Gospel. But this had been completely forgotten, the old Gospel seemed to be a new doctrine.

The people who did not accept it, did not want to be reformed, spoke abusively of God's Gospel, which had a new clarity, as of Luther's doctrine.

But the people who were won for the truth spoke of Luther's doctrine this way: it is God's Word. And on the other hand, they may rage and rave as they will, they will not exterminate it; it “shall to eternity endure”.
The fact that God's Word and truth is named after a human teacher is nothing new in the Church. When, in ancient Christendom, the heresy of Arius [page 182, col. 2] raged and threatened to keep the upper hand, who taught that Christ was not the Son of God and God, but a creature of God, there the faithful Athanasius resisted this heresy, and defended the divinity of Christ. The pure doctrine was also called the doctrine of Athanasius, and the orthodox Christians were called Athanasians. As they were not ashamed of the name of their teacher Athanasius nor could be ashamed, we must not be ashamed of the name of Luther. If we call ourselves Lutherans, then we mean that we are people who believe God's Word, as God brought it to light through Luther after the papacy.
And Luther is such a teacher, of whom we need not be ashamed. Even strenuous opponents of Luther could not refuse their esteem of him. Calvin, for example, says, “This I beg, wishing you well: first, what a great man is Luther, and by what great gifts he is distinguished, with what courage, with what steadiness, with what dexterity, with what penetrating power he has up to now to overthrow the realm of the Antichrist, and at the same time to spread the doctrine of salvation. I often say to myself: If he also called me a devil, I should be so honorable toward him as to regard him as an excellent servant of God.”  Beza, an even more fierce disputer of the Lutheran doctrine than Calvin, must say: “Luther was a truly admirable man; and whoever does not notice the Spirit of God in him notices nothing.”
Der Luth v06 - crop angel w border, Eternal Gospel callout box.jpg
Indeed, we regard Luther not only as a pure teacher among others, but we regard him as the God-awakened Reformer of the Church. We apply to him the Word from the angel who brings the eternal Gospel to all peoples, tongues and languages. And because Der Lutheraner wears this Scripture passage, Rev. 14:6-7, at its top, so this little verse fits very well beside it:

God's Word and Luther's Doctrine Pure
Shall to Eternity Endure.

- - - - - - - - - -  Continued in Part 5a  - - - - - - - - - - -

That's right, Prof. Pardieck identifies only one person to be the Reformer of the Church, and makes no apologies in stating it. — In the next Part 5a

Sunday, October 15, 2017

“God's Word & Luther's Doctrine…” motto – 4a of 5

      This Part 4a (of 5) continues from my Part 3b (see Intro for Table of Contents), my publication of a serial essay by Prof. E. Pardieck which explains and defends the great Lutheran motto.
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Translation by BackToLuther.  All emphasized words are from the original.  Highlighting is mine.

“God's Word and Luther's Doctrine Pure.”
[by Prof. E. Pardieck]

We have stated that with this well-known little verse we do not want to place Luther's word above or beside God's Word, but, like everything else, under God's Word, indeed, that we may rather say: Luther has no word or doctrine of his own. His teaching is the doctrine of the Word of God.  It is the Word of God because it is taken from Scripture, which is the Word of God.

Thus we say of Luther's doctrine, the doctrine of the Scripture, what we say of Scripture. It would be pure madness, if someone wanted to say: God's Word does not pass away, but one can not say that of the doctrine of the Word of God.
One could ask: Why exactly do we say this of Luther's doctrine? If Luther's doctrine is the Word of God because it is a doctrine taken from Scripture, can not that be said of every pure teacher?  Indeed, one can and should do this.  One can say, however, that every right preacher, who has a good conscience in his preaching, must say: I preach to my congregation God's Word, my preaching is the Word of God, my doctrine and preaching brings people salvation, God's Word and my doctrine and preaching, or what is the same: the doctrine of the Word of God which I preach shall not pass away, now or nevermore. A preacher, who can not say this of his sermon, should rather seek a different occupation. Luther expresses this as follows: “A preacher must say and boast with Jeremiah, “Lord thou knowest that which came out of my lips is true and pleasing to thee” [Jer. 17:16]; indeed, with St. Paul and all the apostles and prophets, he should say firmly, Haec dixit dominus, ‘God himself has said this’ [1 Cor. 1:10]. And again, “In this sermon I have been an apostle and a prophet of Jesus Christ’ [1 Thess. 4:15]. Here it is unnecessary, even bad, to pray for forgiveness of sins, as if one had not taught truly, for it is God’s Word and not my word, and God ought not and cannot forgive it, but only confine, praise, and crown it, saying, ‘You have taught truly, for I have [page 181, col. 2] spoken through you and the word is mine.’

Whoever cannot boast like that about his preaching, let him give up preaching, for he truly lies and slanders God.”  [St. L. 17, 1343-1344, #66, Against Hanswurst ; Am. Ed. 41, p. 216]  In such a [false] preacher the listeners may not sing at the beginning of worship:
Dear Jesus, we are here,
To listen to you and your Word.
Before such a sermon, it would be pointless to sing:
Lord, open the door of my heart,
Draw my heart through your Word to them!
And when the congregation wanted to sing,
Amen, we have heard,
What God has taught us;
The Holy Spirit from above
Seal it in us, Amen,
then such a preacher would have to run away from shame and horror if he is not a miserable hireling, who is concerned only with the idea of ​​how long it will be until the next pay day comes.
However, the doctrine of the Word of God, the doctrine derived from Scripture is God’s Word, may it be preached by whoever will. This is a thought which Luther often expresses. He says, for example, “It is indeed thine, not our word. So He wants us, too, to see the Word alone. He is talking about how or where He wants.” (St. L. III, 412, #15 end; not in Am. Ed.)  “God now takes an angel, now Peter or Magdalene, or even an ass, as with whom He spoke His Word. "(St. L. 3, 726, #22; not in Am. Ed.). Luther was far from believing that only he could teach God's Word. That would have made him very sad, if it were so. With joy he also recognized in other pure teachers — of course only such — the doctrine, sermons, and books of God's Word. Yea, in his humility, he preferred other men's books to his, and wished his books might subside. In a recommendation for a book by Melanchthon, he writes: “I myself have rather such as master Philipp's books than [page 182, col. 1] mine, also prefer to see the same both in the Latin and in the German on the plaza than mine.” (St. L. 14, 176, #1; not in Am. Ed.). On Jan Hus, who had appeared about a hundred years before Luther and was burned by the Papists for his faithful testimony, he said, "Thus I hold that John Hus has brought the Gospel that we have now through his blood to the light." (St. L. 6, 87, #20; not in Am. Ed. 16, p. 101, different version)  At the end of his interpretation of the Epistle to the Galatians, he expressed the wish that his little work might serve the Christian ministry, and then continues: "For here, because it is God’s affair and surely of the utmost importance, I am eager to be instructed by any child." (St. L. 8, 1362-1363; Am. Ed. 27, p. 159)  He says to every pure preacher: "Such a priest may then proceed from God to the people, to present God's answer and command. And such a priest's word shall be as much as the Word of God itself, for it does not lead, but God's Word. He that hath the Word of God is a priest: and he that heareth him, heareth God "(St. L. 3, 1016, #15; not in Am. Ed.).
- - - - - - - - - -  Continued in Part 4b  - - - - - - - - - - -

I believe Prof. Pardieck's answer to this reader's concern about the Lutheran motto is much more glorious than the reader might have imagined.  Pardieck's essay rings out to all of Christianity … today! — In the next Part 4b, Pardieck gets rather bold in his statements about... Martin Luther.