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Sunday, October 8, 2017

“God's Word & Luther's Doctrine…” motto – 3a of 5

      This Part 3a (of 5) continues from my Part 2 (see Intro for Table of Contents), my publication of a serial essay by Prof. E. Pardieck 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]

But not only is it a false understanding of the verse in question, if one understands by it that Luther's word was to be placed above or even beside God's Word, but it is also a false understanding when one places God's Word and Luther's doctrine in opposition to each other, tears them apart, looks as if they were two completely different things.  As if the saying were to express, “There are two [different] things which never pass away: First, God's Word remains forever; but Luther's doctrine remains as a second thing.  

No, God's Word and Luther's doctrine are not two different things, they are one and the same, Luther taught nothing else, and wished to teach nothing other than the Word of God, Luther was certain that his doctrine is nothing but God's Word.  We are also certain of it. That is why what we say of Luther's doctrine is what we say of God's Word, and know that we do not really speak [page 167, col. 2] of two things, but of one, namely of God's Word. Luther did not teach his own doctrine, but taught God's Word. In order to express this, the verse has also been conceived as “God’s Word is Luther's doctrine,” therefore it never ceases to exist. “The opinion is that Luther's doctrine is God's Word, therefore it remains forever; for the Scripture expressly says this: ‘The Word of the Lord endureth for ever,’” 1 Peter. 1:25.
It must, of course, be shown that Luther's doctrine is God's Word.  How is it then? Is Luther then God? Certainly not. He was a mortal man, indeed a sinful man, like all Adam's children. Or is Luther's doctrine the Word of God in the sense of the words of the Prophets and Apostles, who were speaking by the immediate impulse of the Holy Spirit, to whom God Himself gave what and how to write? Not even that. How then? Simply like this: God has given his Word once and for all in the Holy Scriptures. This is to be taught as God's Word. Luther has taught this; he has taught the doctrines of the Holy Scriptures, has taken all the doctrine out of Scripture and proved them with Scripture. There he added nothing of his own. Thus his doctrine is the doctrine of the Word of God.
That's how Luther himself looked at it. He says, “Nor should any doctrine be taught or heard in the church except the pure Word of God, that is, the Holy Scripture” (IX, 87; AE 26, p. 58) “God speaks to us through the Scriptures and through men who teach Scripture. Whoever hears this will not be deceived.” (VI, 80, para. 15; AE 16, ~ p. 96 but not exact same ).  The Scripture is to be taught purely and not to be falsified. “One must not interpret, understand and turn the Scriptures according to reason, but as they were spoken by God Himself through the mouths of the prophets, apostles, and godly teachers.” (XXII, 577)  Where one twists the Scripture, false doctrine  arises, which is of course not God's Word. “All the heresies from the beginning originated from the fact that what they read in Scripture, they would interpret as reason teaches” (XIII, 1899, para. #6; not in AE). Whoever teaches the Scriptures does not teach his own doctrine.  “They should know that we are not the one who teaches that,  that we should not teach our own word, but that only our mouth can serve His Word if He so wishes, and He has called" (IV, 623, not in AE 10). “Therefore when we speak the Word of God, it should not be taken as the word of man.” (II, 949, parag. 112, AE 6, p. 257, ). Remaining with the Word of Scripture gives a certain divine doctrine, not because man is error-free, but because God’s Word is certain. “We cannot err at all if we will stand by the Word and will follow the decision of the Word of God.” (XIV, 915)[AE 19, p. 5].
That Luther had taught Scripture and did not want to teach anything else is an historical fact; that was known and is known now by friend and foe. He begins his 95 Theses with an appeal to God's Word: “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ speaks.”  In Worms before the Emperor and the Empire, he demanded refutation with clear passages of the Holy Scriptures, because his conscience was captive to God's Word. He took all his doctrine from Scripture, and founded it with Scripture; against others he fought with the Scripture. He always drew his doctrine through the Scriptures, and became so certain of them. He always urged his opponents to submit to the Scriptures, then they would be united, or [page 168, col. 1] to refute him with Scripture. And because they could not do the latter, it only served to make him more certain of his doctrine.

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      How I love that Pardieck proves Luther's adherence to Scripture by his statement at the very beginning of his 95 Theses which were nailed to the church door, the event popularly known for the inauguration of the Reformation:
“When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ speaks…”
Luther rested on what was written in the Scriptures.  In the next Part 3b, Pardieck points out who did not rest on Holy Scripture…

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