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Monday, December 25, 2017

Hoenecke 2: Schaller's intro

      This continues from Part 1 (Table of Contents in Part 1), a series repristinating the praise of the fathers of the Synodical Conference, especially Adolf Hoenecke.
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      It does not matter what Franz Pieper wrote, whether he was attacking errors of opponents or refraining from publicly attacking brethren in the Synodical Conference, today's “historians” either criticize or question Franz Pieper writings.  Whether Rev. Todd Peperkorn (p. 309) or Prof. Charles Arand or others of the LC-MS, or writers for Concordia Historical Institute, or modern historians within today's WELS, Franz Pieper is now almost universally discounted and disdained.  His Dogmatics is being phased out, eliminated.  But Pieper also gave the highest praise ever for fellow leaders of the Synodical Conference.  In his Christliche Dogmatik, he could not resist giving substantial space to show just how glorious the true unity of the Spirit was by republishing portions from Hoenecke's Dogmatik (see Part 1 for ref.).
      Now I begin my "repristination" of the fathers. As I studied carefully the original German texts and compared them to the available English translations, I discovered that several portions had been omitted by previous translators and so I decided not to copy the existing English translations but would publish my own translation with the missing portions restored.  Again, the following is the full uncut text from Pieper's original. — In this Part 1, Pieper lets Prof./President John Schaller introduce his subject.
From Franz Pieper's Christliche Dogmatik, vol. 1, pp. 206, 208-211; translation by BackToLuther, not  from Christian Dogmatics, vol. 1, pp. 171 n230, 173-174. Green highlighted portions were not in the English versions and were restored from the German and translated for the first time.

As far as Hönecke's influence on the Wisconsin Synod is concerned, he is described by Prof. J. Schaller († 1920) as the man through whom the Wisconsin Synod came to a clear doctrinal position.
Prof. John Schaller
Hoenecke's historian
Schaller says, “It was then (when the Wisconsin Synod still belonged to the  General Council) that the Wisconsin Synod should be provided with an unequivocal doctrinal position and clarify its relationship with other American church bodies as well as with the German Church. At that time it belonged to the General Council, which in its commitment to Lutheran doctrine was much more resolute than the General Synod, but because of its unionist practice it displeased the resolute Lutherans who belonged to the Wisconsin Synod. On the other side was the Missouri Synod, with its unequivocal commitment to the Symbolic books of the Lutheran Church and its firm testimony against those who did not take the Lutheran Confession seriously in practice. At the proceedings, which concerned the question of confession, the young pastor Hönecke was active and soon also took a decisive part. For he had thrown himself into the study of the old Lutheran dogmatists and quickly not only gained a thorough acquaintance with their doctrinal position, but also gained the conviction that any unionistic fraternization not only denies the Lutheran Confessions but also the Gospel itself. His influence contributed greatly to the dissociation of the Wisconsin Synod from the General Council, and he made a strong stand when negotiations with the Missouri Synod were concluded in 1868, which resulted in the mutual recognition of the two bodies. That is why he is also one of those who deserves to be kept in good memory as the founder of the Synodical Conference, which was created in 1870 [sic - 1872].” (In the Foreword of Hoenecke’s Dogmatik, p. IX f; English translation Ev.-Lutheran Dogmatics, vol. 1, p. xix, NPH preface)

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      It is striking how Schaller highlights the fact that Hoenecke had “thrown himself into the study of the old Lutheran dogmatists”, an activity of Walther that typically draws scorn from some against him, indeed an activity that is ridiculed by… J.P. Koehler.  Koehler actually attempts to set the Lutheran dogmaticians against a true exegesis of Holy Scripture (History, p. 216).  This omitted portion is NOT publicized by today's WELS teachers who publicly raise the study of “exegesis” as superior over the field of “dogmatics” (ref. their Wauwatosa Theology book series).  Perhaps as an oversight, the English translation of Hoenecke's Dogmatik v. 1 by James Langebartels also does not even contain this portion. [2018-01-12: see this 1978 CTQ essay by Henry P. Hamann Jr. for examples of misuse of "exegesis".]
      Some other modern historians may point out that Franz Pieper never mentions in his Dogmatik the names of the other Wisconsin theologians of the so-called “Wauwatosa Theology”.  It is evident to me that Franz Pieper's hope for the future of the Wisconsin Synod lay not with his brother August, certainly not with J.P. Koehler, but with John Schaller.  He is the one that F. Pieper honored by quoting him. —  In the next Part 3, ...

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