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Sunday, October 1, 2017

“God's Word & Luther's Doctrine…” motto – 2 of 5

      This Part 2 (of 5) continues from my Part 1 (see Intro for Table of Contents), my publication of a serial essay explaining and defending 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

A false understanding of the motto of our Der Lutheraner and therefore the reason for the impetus would be this, if one understood it as if Luther's word was to be placed next to God's Word as equal. The opinion is this: The Papists have acted like this. They have placed the Pope and the Church over Scripture. In addition to the Bible, the written Word, they have put the so-called unwritten word, the tradition, and the Council of Trent has expressly decided that these traditions or lore of the Holy Scripture should be accepted with the same reverence. Some teachers in the Papacy have openly said: We need the tradition, or we can not establish some doctrines; some of our teachings are not in the Bible.
Will we now say something like this with our verse of “God's Word and Luther's Doctrine Pure?”  Let us also say that: we hold the Bible in all honor as far as it goes; but we do not have it enough; the Scripture is not perfect, not everything is in it; we have many special doctrines, which are not in the Bible, which we take from Luther's writings?  Is that the opinion? If we thought so, then all Christians would have to turn away from us with horror. Indeed, it would be an abomination, which would be the same as the first dismissed horrible misunderstanding. For if you put something above or beside God's Word, that eventually comes to one thing.
Such an abuse of the writings of Luther would, of course, not be in the sense according to God, but also not according to Luther's sense, would again be neither God's Word nor Luther's doctrine, God wants Himself and His words to be kept with no equal. 
And Luther would oppose it with his hands and feet if he and his word were to be placed by the side of God and His Word. This he would regard as blasphemy; and it would be. Then Luther would do something similar to what Paul and Barnabas did when one wanted to sacrifice to them as gods. There it says, “They rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out, and saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you and preach unto you the gospel”, Acts 14:14.
God's Word in this piece is this: God gives us His Word in Scripture and nowhere else. He always points us to the Scriptures and nothing else. It is called [page 151, col. 2] always: "Search the Scriptures!" John 5:39.  What God does not tell us in Scripture, He will not tell us. We have enough of the Scriptures, and let us be satisfied with them. It is perfect; it contains all the teachings necessary to know and to believe in salvation. From his gospel John says it is written, "that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing ye might have life through his name”, John 20:31.  Paul says to Timothy, “That from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” 2 Tim. 3:15. And this is what the Apostle says of the Old Testament, since at that time there was only this. How much more can be said of the whole Scripture! Thus, if we are able to come to the knowledge of God and Christ, to faith and salvation through Scripture, then it is perfect. Then we need nothing next to it. And God does not give us anything next to it and does not allow us to put anything next to it. He forbids us to do the same. Earnestly enough, the Lord punishes the Pharisees for their doctrine of men, their trimmings and writings, Matt. 15:3, 9, 13.
And this is also Luther's doctrine in our piece. If ever a man emphasized Scripture and Scripture alone, it was Luther. Luther's countless sayings could again be mentioned. He even wrote a book of his own, "Avoiding the Doctrines of Men." (St. L., 19, 598 ff.; Am. Ed. 35, p. 125 ff.)  Here are just a few words from Luther. “We shall be bound to the divine Word, and we shall hear it, and no man shall teach anything from his own head without God's Word.” (St. L. III, 1667, #6; not in Am. Ed.) “Thus God's Word and God’s matters can suffer no addition along side; it must be wholly pure and unadulterated, or it is already corrupt, and of no more use.” (St. L. XII, 480, #7; not in Am. Ed.).  “We can not bring this division between the Scriptures and the doctrines of man into one. The doctrine of man is to be forsaken, and the Scriptures are to be kept; for they both can not and will not be kept, because they will not be one, and naturally they must be against each other, like water and fire, like heaven and earth.” (St. L. XIX, 620, #65; not in Am. Ed.) On the first verse of the first Psalm [Ps. 1:1]  he says: “It is a remarkable Word that, apart from the Word of God, all human doctrines are so damned that they are called godless counsel, the way of sinners, the seat of the scornful, and God will not know anything about them.” (St. L. IX, 1763; not in Am. Ed.) “It is easy to reckon how honestly and faithfully the Sophists go around the Christians; who, out of their own mad head from evil thirst and devils input, without the command of God, without any cause, all to make what they will of articles of faith.” (St. L. XVIII, 895; not in Am. Ed.)"  “For whatever departs from the word of God (which is the only way, as Christ says, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life’ [John 14:6]), however well and beautifully it may glitter, is without question error, lie, and death. It is without the word of God, that is, without the way, the truth, and the life.” (St. L. XVII, 1342, #/63, Against Hanswurst; Am. Ed. 41, p. 215) And so Luther did not only fight against the teachings of men which he found among others; he was very much wary of a sacrilege against God and His Word and His Christians, that he did not bring a doctrine of his own into the way, without God's Word.
How often he asserts that he has drawn all his teachings through the Scriptures over and over again, and [page 152, col. 1] so that their truth has become assured. Indeed, out of sheer dread of false human prestige, or that someone may misuse his writings to the detriment of the Scriptures, or the reading of Scripture, he expressed the wish that all his books perished. Here we find such expressions as this: “Would to God that my exposition and that of all doctors might perish and each Christian himself make the Scriptures and God’s pure Word his norm.” (St. L XI, 429, footnote; Am. Ed. 52, p. 286).
The Lutheran Church inherited this sense from him. She does not want to know about the doctrines of men. In her Confession, she declares herself free from “all unlawful, doubtful, suspicious, and condemned doctrines, wherever and in whatever books they may be found, and whoever may have written them, or even now may be disposed to defend them”, also from “errors, which are spread here and there in the writings of some theologians”, so that no Christians “be misled in this matter by the reputation [authority] of any man”.  (Trigl. 856/857, #19-20; BoC Form. of Concord, #19-20; Müller, p. 573.)  In these words the confession has men in mind, whose names in the church had a good sound.
God will have no doctrines beside his Word.  Luther and the Lutheran Church regard as an abomination all doctrines of man. And because Der  Lutheraner thinks in the same way, it places in its heading, for itself and others, the warning: “God's Word and Luther's doctrine pure, shall to eternity endure.”  E. P.
- - - - - - - - - - -  Continued in Part 3a  - - - - - - - - - -

Pardieck covers every objection to this motto — and so he isn't done yet.  In the next Part 3a...


  1. Excellent treatise; looking forward to Part 3. Thank you for translating!

    1. jwskud:
      I accept your thanks as from God. Dear God!... I have read and re-read Pardieck's essay for my Christian faith... over and over. You will be rewarded for your love for the truth as I publish the balance of this 5-part essay over this whole month of October, 2017. I consider this essay to be the greatest tribute to the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation on the web. Every week in October will have 1 or 2 postings.


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