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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]

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  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.

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