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Sunday, February 25, 2018

Who is the real Antichrist? (Prologue–C.J.H. Fick)

I ran across a statement made by Martin Luther in one of his lectures that drives home the Lutheran doctrine on a certain point rather forcefully.  It was so striking to me, that I tracked down its original form in Latin, which was later translated into German, then finally into English:

Omnes haeretici reliqui sunt particulares Antichristi, ille vero est unicus ille et venis Antichristus, qui est contra totum Christum.” (WA 20, p. 730, lines 24-25; Google Translate; Yandex Translate; full paragraph)
“Alle übrigen Ketzer sind nur in gewissen Stücken Ketzer; dieser aber (der Pabst) ist der einzige und wahre Widerchrist, der wider den ganzen Christum ist.” (StL vol. 9, 1475 §13)
“All the rest of the heretics are antichrists in part, but he who is against the whole Christ is the [one and] only true Antichrist.” (Am. Ed., LW 30, p. 287)
Inserted (by Walther) into the German is an explanation of who Luther is speaking about, “der Pabst”, or
the Pope, 
LW vol. 30 p. 287
not just the “papacy as an institution… (excluding) its individual occupants”, (per Robert Kolb, The Christian Faith (1993), p. 292-3). This quote is taken from Luther's “Lectures on the First Epistle of St. John”, particularly 1 John 4:3.  I would invite the reader to discover Luther's basis for his statement in the text preceding it by clicking on the caption at right: ===========>>>>>>>>>
      This quote from Martin Luther was reported by C.F.W. Walther to be the motto for a book written by Pastor C.J. Hermann Fick. And so this blog post is a Prologue to my next series, beginning with the next Part 1

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Ecumenical Lutheranism (#6), CJ & Robert Preus, a mystery

[2018-04-06: addendum on 1964 Robert Preus essay at bottom]
     This concludes from Part 5 (Table of Contents in Part 1), reprinting an English translation, partially from the first issue of Concordia Journal (1975), of Franz Pieper's “Vorwort” (Foreword) to the first issue of Concordia Theological Monthly (1930).

All bold words are Pieper's emphasis. All highlighting by BackToLuther.

Franz Pieper's Foreword to Concordia Theological Monthly, Vol. 1, No. 1
Part 6 (cont'd from Part 5 – from LW 37, 368-372; not included in 1975 Concordia Journal)

For this reason I have a high regard for private confession, for here God’s word and absolution are spoken privately and individually to each believer for the forgiveness of his sins, and as often as he desires it he may have recourse to it for this forgiveness, and also for comfort, counsel, and guidance. Thus it is a precious, useful thing for souls, as long as no one is driven to it with laws and commandments but sinners are left free to make use of it, each according to his own need, when and where he wishes; just as we are free to obtain counsel and comfort, guidance and instruction when and where our need or our inclination moves us. And as long as one is not forced to enumerate all sins but only those which oppress him most grievously, or those which a person will mention in any case, as I have discussed in my Little Book on Prayer.

But the pardons or indulgences which the papal church has and dispenses are a blasphemous deception, not only because it invents and devises a special forgiveness beyond the general forgiveness which in the whole Christian Church is bestowed through the gospel and the sacrament and thus desecrates and nullifies the general forgiveness, but also because it establishes and bases satisfaction for sins upon the works of men and the merits of saints, whereas only Christ can make and has made satisfaction for us.
As for the dead, since Scripture gives us no information on the subject, I regard it as no sin to pray with free devotion in this or some similar fashion: “Dear God, if this soul is in a condition accessible to mercy, be thou gracious to it.” And when this has been done once or twice, let it suffice. For vigils and requiem masses and yearly celebrations of requiems are useless, and are merely the devil’s annual fair.
Nor have we anything in Scripture concerning purgatory. It too was certainly fabricated by goblins. Therefore, I maintain it is not necessary to believe in it; although all things are possible to God, and he could very well allow souls to be tormented after their departure from the body. But he has caused nothing of this to be spoken or written, therefore he does not wish to have it believed, either. I know of a purgatory, however, in another way, but it would not be proper to teach anything about it in the church, nor on the other hand, to deal with it by means of endowments or vigils.
Others before me have attacked the invocation of saints, and this pleases me. I believe, too, that Christ alone should be invoked as our Mediator, a truth which is scriptural and certain. Of the invocation of saints nothing is said in Scripture; therefore it is necessarily uncertain and not to be believed.
If unction were practiced in accordance with the gospel, Mark 6[:13] and James 5[:14], I would let it pass. But to make a sacrament out of it is nonsense. Just as, in place of vigils and masses for the dead, one might well deliver a sermon on death and eternal life, and also pray during the obsequies and meditate upon our own end, as it seems was the practice of the ancients, so it would also be good to visit the sick, pray and admonish, and if anyone wished in addition to anoint him with oil, he should be free to do in the name of God.
Neither is there any need to make sacraments out of marriage and the office of the priesthood. These orders are sufficiently holy in themselves. So, too, penance is nothing else than the practice and the power of baptism. Thus two sacraments remain, baptism and the Lord’s Supper, along with the gospel, in which the Holy Spirit richly offers, bestows, and accomplishes the forgiveness of sins.
As the greatest of all abominations I regard the mass when it is preached or sold as a sacrifice or good work, which is the basis on which all religious foundations and monasteries now stand, but, God willing, they shall soon be overthrown. Although I have been a great, grievous, despicable sinner, and wasted my youth in a thoughtless and damnable manner, yet my greatest sins were that I was so holy a monk, and so horribly angered, tortured, and plagued my dear Lord with so many masses for more than fifteen years. But praise and thanks be to his unspeakable grace in eternity, that he led me out of this abomination, and still continues to sustain and strengthen me daily in the true faith, despite my great ingratitude.
Accordingly, I have advised and still advise people to abandon religious foundations and monasteries and their vows and come forth into the true Christian orders, in order to escape these abominations of the mass and this blasphemous holiness, i.e. “chastity, poverty, and obedience,” by which men imagine they are saved. Excellent as it was in the early days of the Christian Church to maintain the state of virginity, so abominable is it now when it is used to deny the aid and grace of Christ. It is entirely possible to live in a state of virginity, widowhood, and chastity without these blasphemous abominations.

Images, bells, eucharistic vestments, church ornaments, altar lights, and the like I regard as things indifferent. Anyone who wishes may omit them. Images or pictures taken from the Scriptures and from good histories, however, I consider very useful yet indifferent and optional. I have no sympathy with the iconoclasts.
Finally, I believe in the resurrection of all the dead at the Last Day, both the godly and the wicked, that each may receive in his body his reward according to his merits. Thus the godly will live eternally with Christ and the wicked will perish eternally with the devil and his angels. I do not agree with those who teach that the devils also will finally be restored to salvation.
This is my faith, for so all true Christians believe and so the Holy Scriptures teach us. On subjects which I have treated too briefly here, my other writings will testify sufficiently, especially those which have been published during the last four or five years. I pray that all godly hearts will bear me witness of this, and pray for me that I may persevere firmly in this faith to the end of my life. For if in the assault of temptation or the pangs of death I should say something different—which God forbid—let it be disregarded; herewith I declare publicly that it would be incorrect, spoken under the devil’s influence. In this may my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ assist me: blessed be he for ever, Amen.
- - - - - - - - - -   End of essay   - - - - - - - - - - -

      This is my faith also, so the Holy Scriptures teach us.  Ecumenical Lutheranism is nothing more nor less that this.
      Because there are readers of this blog from around the world, some who are native German speakers, I am including a link to the above essay in a side-by-side presentation of both the German original and English translation.
 >>  CTM1-FP Vorwort and Foreword (CJ 1975)  <<
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A Psychological Mystery
      Who was it that suggested that the first issue of the Concordia Journal in 1975 should publish Franz Pieper's great Foreword from 1930 in English?  I wonder that it may have been someone other than translator Pastor Paul Boecler.  I wonder that it was either J.A.O. Preus or Robert Preus.  Why either of them and not others?  Because they came from outside the LC-MS.  Pastor Robert Preus, in 1953, while still a pastor in the “little Norwegian” Evangelical Lutheran Synod, said (A City Set on a Hillp. 180-182):
“Today we find ourselves in … a united, conservative, but also small synod within a much larger conference which, speaking truthfully, is rapidly losing its orthodox character. … Our sister synod of Missouri hands us a document called the “Common Confession,” which is supposed to settle all differences between her and the ALC, but which in reality scarcely mentions these differences, and then she says to us, Please accept this. We have no recourse but to reject the confession as settling nothing, and testify to our dear sister synodGod forbid, repent! . . .  It is not only a matter of our duty, it is a matter of our salvation.…”
It is one of the great psychological mysteries of the 20th Century why both Robert Preus and his brother J.A.O. Preus would leave their “united, conservative” synod to join the LC-MS, a synod they admitted was “rapidly losing its orthodox character”, a synod for which Robert Preus in 1953 would counsel: “God forbid, repent!”.  Nevertheless it appears that he had not completely abandoned his training under S.C. Ylvisaker and Norman A. Madson Sr. and was the major impetus in getting the teaching of Walther and Franz Pieper partially back into Concordia Seminary's program.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
2018-04-06: It has come to my attention that an essay with similar subject matter as Pieper's was authored by Robert D. Preus in 1964.  It was published first in the German language Lutherischer Rundblick (ELFK, German title), February-March 1964 issue. It was later translated into English and first published in John Warwick Montgomery's 1967 book (anthology) Crisis in Lutheran Theology, Vol. II. pp. 180 ff. under the title “The Lutheran Church and the Ecumenical Movement” (free borrow at  It is rather informative, especially on the history of the World Council of Churches and "social-gospelism", but even it has some weaknesses.  Overall, I suspect Pieper would still praise it with noted exceptions to its weaknesses.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Ecumenical Lutheranism (#5): missing part - Luther

     This continues from Part 4 (Table of Contents in Part 1), reprinting the English translation, from the first issue of Concordia Journal (1975), of Franz Pieper's “Vorwort” (Foreword) to the first issue of Concordia Theological Monthly (1930). — This portion, as explained below, begins where the 1975 Concordia Journal left off.  But it is more than just a copy, I have added also Franz Pieper's emphasized words of Luther, words that drive home what “ecumenical Lutheranism” is. I have showcased these in the insets below.

All bold words are Pieper's emphasis. All highlighting by BackToLuther.

Franz Pieper's Foreword to Concordia Theological Monthly, Vol. 1, No. 1
Part 5 (cont'd from Part 4not included in 1975)
[BTL: The following was omitted from the 1975 Concordia Journal translated article, but no notice or reason was given for this omission.  So I, BackToLuther, am publishing it in 2018 as it should have been included in 1975. This was taken from the American Edition, Luther’s Works vol. 37, pp. 363-372 (I am violating the copyright again - “© 1961 by Muhlenberg Press”, although readers would do well to purchase this volume.). Again, this is taken from Part III of Luther's “Confession Concerning Christ's Supper” and quoted by Franz Pieper in full in CTM 1930 with Pieper's emphases added:]

Next, I reject and condemn also as sheer deceptions and errors of the devil all monastic orders, rules, cloisters, religious foundations, and all such things devised and instituted by men beyond and apart from Scripture, bound by vows and obligations, although many great saints have lived in them, and as the elect of God are misled by them even at this time, yet finally by faith in Jesus Christ have been redeemed and have escaped. Because these monastic orders, foundations, and sects have been maintained and perpetuated with the idea that by these ways and works men may seek and win salvation, and escape from sin and death, they are all a notorious, abominable blasphemy and denial of the unique aid and grace of our only Savior and Mediator, Jesus Christ. For “there is no other name given by which we must be saved” than this, which is Jesus Christ [Acts 4:12]. And it is impossible that there should be more saviors, ways, or means to be saved than through the one righteousness which our Savior Jesus Christ is and has bestowed upon us, and has offered to God for us as our one mercy seat, Romans 3:25.
It would be a good thing if monasteries and religious foundations were kept for the purpose of teaching young people God’s Word, the Scriptures, and Christian morals, so that we might train and prepare fine, capable men to become bishops, pastors, and other servants of the church, as well as competent, learned people for civil government, and fine, respectable, learned women capable of keeping house and rearing children in a Christian way. But as a way of seeking salvation, these institutions are all the devil’s doctrine and creed, I Timothy 4:1 ff., etc.
But the holy orders and true religious institutions established by God are these three: the office of priest, the estate of marriage, the civil government. All who are engaged in the clerical office or ministry of the Word are in a holy, proper, good, and God-pleasing order and-estate, such as those who preach, administer sacraments, supervise the common chest, sextons and messengers or servants who serve such persons. These are engaged in works which are altogether holy in God’s sight.
Again, all fathers and mothers who regulate their household wisely and bring up their children to the service of God are engaged in pure holiness, in a holy work and a holy order. Similarly, when children and servants show obedience to their elders and masters, here too is pure holiness, and whoever is thus engaged is a living saint on earth.
Moreover, princes and lords, judges, civil officers, state officials, notaries, male and female servants and all who serve such persons, and further, all their obedient subjects—all are engaged in pure holiness and leading a holy life before God. For these three religious institutions or orders are found in God’s Word and commandment; and whatever is contained in God’s Word must be holy, for God’s Word is holy and sanctifies everything connected with it and involved in it.
Above these three institutions and orders is the common order of Christian love, in which one serves not only the three orders, but also serves every needy person in general with all kinds of benevolent deeds, such as feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, forgiving enemies, praying for all men on earth, suffering all kinds of evil on earth, etc. Behold, all of these are called good and holy works. However, none of these orders is a means of salvation. There remains only one way above them all, viz. faith in Jesus Christ.
For to be holy and to be saved are two entirely different things. We are saved through Christ alone; but we become holy both through this faith and through these divine foundations and orders. Even the godless may have much about them that is holy without being saved thereby. For God wishes us to perform such works to his praise and glory. And all who are saved in the faith of Christ surely do these works and maintain these orders.
What was said about the estate of marriage, however, should also be applied to widows and unmarried women, for they also belong to the domestic sphere. Now if these orders and divine institutions do not save, what can we say about the effects of the devil’s institutions and monasteries, which have sprung up entirely without God’s Word, and further, rage and contend against the one and only way of faith?

Thirdly, I believe in the Holy Spirit, who with the Father and the Son is one true God and proceeds eternally from the Father and the Son, yet is a distinct person in the one divine essence and nature. By this Holy Spirit, as a living, eternal, divine gift and endowment, all believers are adorned with faith and other spiritual gifts, raised from the dead, freed from sin, and made joyful and confident, free and secure in their conscience. For this is our assurance if we feel this witness of the Spirit in our hearts, that God wishes to be our Father, forgive our sin, and bestow everlasting life on us.
These are the three persons and one God, who has given himself to us all wholly and completely, with all that he is and has. The Father gives himself to us, with heaven and earth and all the creatures, in order that they may serve us and benefit us. But this gift has become obscured and useless through Adam’s fall. Therefore the Son himself subsequently gave himself and bestowed all his works, sufferings, wisdom, and righteousness, and reconciled us to the Father, in order that restored to life and righteousness, we might also know and have the Father and his gifts.
But because this grace would benefit no one if it remained so profoundly hidden and could not come to us, the Holy Spirit comes and gives himself to us also, wholly and completely. He teaches us to understand this deed of Christ which has been manifested to us, helps us receive and preserve it, use it to our advantage and impart it to others, increase and extend it. He does this both inwardly and outwardly—inwardly by means of faith and other spiritual gifts, outwardly through the gospel, baptism, and the sacrament of the altar, through which as through three means or methods he comes to us and inculcates the sufferings of Christ for the benefit of our salvation.

Therefore I maintain and know that just as there is no more than one gospel and one Christ, so also there is no more than one baptism. And that baptism in itself is a divine ordinance, as is his gospel also. And just as the gospel is not false or incorrect for the reason that some use it or teach it falsely, or disbelieve it, so also baptism is not false or incorrect even if some have received or administered it without faith, or otherwise misused it. Accordingly, I altogether reject and condemn the teaching of the Anabaptists and Donatists, and all who rebaptize.
In the same way I also say and confess that in the sacrament of the altar the true body and blood of Christ are orally eaten and drunk in the bread and wine, even if the priests who distribute them or those who receive them do not believe or otherwise misuse the sacrament. It does not rest on man’s belief or unbelief but on the Word and ordinance of God—unless they first change God’s Word and ordinance and misinterpret them, as the enemies of the sacrament do at the present time. They, indeed, have only bread and wine, for they do not also have the words and instituted ordinance of God but have perverted and changed it according to their own imagination.
Next, I believe that there is one holy Christian Church on earth, i.e. the community or number or assembly of all Christians in all the world, the one bride of Christ, and his spiritual body of which he is the only head. The bishops or priests are not her heads or lords or bridegrooms, but servants, friends, and—as the word “bishop” implies—superintendents, guardians, or stewards.
This Christian Church exists not only in the realm of the Roman Church or pope, but in all the world, as the prophets foretold that the gospel of Christ would spread throughout the world, Psalm 2:8, Psalm 19:4. Thus this Christian Church is physically dispersed among pope, Turks, Persians, Tartars, but spiritually gathered in one gospel and faith, under one head, i.e. Jesus Christ. For the papacy is assuredly the true realm of Antichrist, the real anti-Christian tyrant, who sits in the temple of God and rules with human commandments, as Christ in Matthew 24:24 and Paul in II Thessalonians 2:3 f. declare; although the Turk and all heresies, wherever they may be, are also included in this abomination which according to prophecy will stand in the holy place, but are not to be compared to the papacy.
In this Christian Church, wherever it exists, is to be found the forgiveness of sins, i.e a kingdom of grace and of true pardon. For in it are found the gospel, baptism, and the sacrament of the altar, in which the forgiveness of sins is offered, obtained, and received. Moreover, Christ and his Spirit and God are there. Outside this Christian Church there is no salvation or forgiveness of sins, but everlasting death and damnation; even though there may be a magnificent appearance of holiness and many good works, it is all in vain. But this forgiveness of sins is not to be expected only at one time, as in baptism, as the Novatians teach, but frequently, as often as one needs it, till death.

- - - - - - - - - -   concluded in Part 6   - - - - - - - - - - -

      That is Ecumenical Lutheranism, that is Ecumenical Christianity.  Franz Pieper does not just quote Martin Luther verbatim, he rubs our nose in him.  Franz Pieper grabs a hold of Martin Luther like no other teacher in the Lutheran Church since… C.F.W. Walther. Franz Pieper (and Luther) speak for all of Christianity. Too bad this last portion was omitted by the 1975 Concordia Journal. —
      In Part 6, I will include a hyperlink to a presentation of Pieper's essay in both the German and English languages side-by-side.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Ecumenical Lutheranism (Part 4); not Charles Arand; a mystery

     This continues from Part 3 (Table of Contents in Part 1), reprinting the English translation, from the first issue of Concordia Journal, of Franz Pieper's “Vorwort” (Foreword) to the first issue of Concordia Theological Monthly.  —  There is a bit of a surprise regarding the last portion of this essay… which will be revealed below.
Prof. Charles P. Arand
      Concordia Journal's 1975 republication of Pieper's 1930 Foreword is not unknown by today's theologians, and that includes Prof. Charles Arand.  In Arand's 1997 essay “The Confessionalism of Missouri in the Early Twentieth Century”, CHIQ vol. 70, No. 4 (Winter 1997, p. 200), he quotes from this essay which actually is quoting a church news item from Lehre und Wehre in 1867 – see the green highlighted sentence below.  Prof. Arand would appear in 1997 as wanting to be seen as teaching like the old (German) Missouri Synod as he appears to compliment Friedrich Bente and Franz Pieper. But that can be shown to be questionable as Arand also allows room for the worst teaching of Prof. Arthur Carl Piepkorn in his 1995 book Testing the Boundaries.  Without one word of criticism, Arand states of the ELCA on page 265:
“Theologians in the ELCA have sought to rediscover and retrieve resources within its heritage in order to halt a slide of the denomination into mainline Protestantism. Through the periodical Lutheran Forum, some have sought to promote an evangelical-catholicism, traceable back to Piepkorn, as our best hope for the future.”
Our best hope”? Was that just a slip of the tongue or did not Prof. Arand, in 1995, expose his already indifferent theology, his unionism? How could anyone true to the Lutheran Confessions sympathize with a “back to Piepkorn” direction, with an “evangelical-catholicism”?  —  And so we will go back to the 1975 issue of Concordia Journal, where matters were much less not muddled by... Franz Pieper.
All bold words are Pieper's emphasis. All highlighting by BackToLuther.

Franz Pieper's Foreword to Concordia Theological Monthly, Vol. 1, No. 1
Translation by Paul H. F. Boecler  —  Part 4 (cont'd from Part 3)

It is imperative to be watchful at all times in order that by God’s grace we stand united in the pure Lutheran doctrine. In the year 1867 Lehre und Wehre quoted the Evangelical Lutheran (a publication advocating at that time a union of the Lutheran synods in the South on the basis of the Lutheran confessions) in the following “excellent and most pertinent” statement on the one unmatched treasure of the Lutheran Church:
If unity in the faith is in any case the real, true basis for the unification of churches, it holds true even more so with the Lutheran Church. Her only characteristic trait is her doctrine. Once this is lost, she is left with nothing. Other churches may hold together by the strong bonds of their traditions in addition to their faith, and for this reason may permit broader tolerance in doctrine. The Lutheran Church, however, knows of no such ties. She has no such striking and characteristic constitution. There is no time-hallowed usage which has come to be so sacred among us so as to become a factor to hold us together. She has nothing of which she might be proud save the truth of her confession, nothing to assure her the love of her members but the purity of her faith.
But this is quite enough to preserve her unity. In this way she can maintain her own unaltered identity in spite of the greatest variety of outward forms of church government and of divine worship. Historical circumstances may lead to an episcopal or congregational church polity. Conditions may require the Lutheran Church to be liturgical or not. But she remains, one and the same, because her faith is one.
We rejoice that this is so, that she has preserved her purity, that she binds herself only in matters where God has bound her and is free where God has set her free. We are glad that she has not forgotten the purpose of her founding, that she never allows matters of human appointment to have equal validity or importance as those which her exalted Head Himself has commanded.
To return to the issue of our own situation in the South: What can be the basis for our unification? Nothing but the great confessions of our church. The old school of theology regards every doctrine of this venerable confession to be so sacred, not because it was set up by the Reformers [of the 16th century], but because she firmly believes that every teaching is based on God’s Word. She does not thereby attribute to it any undue importance. The confession of our church has always been her great palladium [safeguard], and her loyal devotion to it her very life. Divorced from her confessions, she is no longer the Lutheran Church. We do not adhere to these confessional writings in a sinful manner. We do not attribute to them the same authority as we do to God’s Word. We have been falsely accused of that. We never refer to the confessions to support a truth. For that purpose we always refer to the Scripture alone. Whoever heard of a sensible old Lutheran referring to the confessions for any other purpose than to point to those doctrines his church holds to be teachings of Scripture? We do not claim that the authors were infallible. We concede that they might have erred. But no one has ever been able to demonstrate on the basis of this one unerring plumb line [the Scriptures] that while drafting this confession they ever deviated therefrom. Convince us that it contains something contrary to Scripture and every one of us will be quick to repudiate it.
While holding to this view, that we regard the teachings of the confessions as the teachings of the Bible, we stand ready to discard every usage which anyone might reasonably demand of us. But we can never give up any truth of our noble old confession. This is no mere individual opinion. The reminders and instructions given our authorized commissioners by the Synod prove that this is our position. (Quoted from Lehre und Wehre, XII [May 1867], 150 f.)

Finally, we ought to add one more reminder. We should never forget that “ecumenical Lutheranism,” as expressed in the confessional writings of the Lutheran Church, has never been able to maintain itself without being constantly attacked from within and from without. We must never grow weary of this struggle. The great treasure at stake here is worth the battle. When we need a comforting word in this conflict, we may and should remind ourselves that the pure Christian doctrine was assailed at all times, not only from without but also from within the ranks. That happened also in the apostolic church. When the apostle Paul was departing from  [CONCORDIA JOURNAL/January 1975, p. 19] Macedonia, he left Timothy behind in Ephesus to command certain persons to stop teaching heretical doctrines, me heterodidaskalein. (1 Tim. 1:3)
That very thing happened in Luther’s day soon after the Reformation began and even more so after Luther’s death. Therefore we ought not to be astonished that in our times, here in this country of ours as well as in other lands, the same thing is happening. For our own sake and, God willing, for the sake of others, we ought not grow weary of the struggle for the “one great treasure of the Lutheran Church.” Our River Forest church convention [of 1929] followed the right course by resolving that doctrinal discussions with other Lutheran Synods were to be continued and not terminated provided that they proceed from the status controversiae.

After these statements on “ecumenical Lutheranism” it may be most fitting to mention Luther’s confession of faith of the year 1528, which he added as a third part [Part III] of his treatise, “Confession Concerning Christ’s Supper.” [St. L. XX, 1094 ff.; American edition of Luther’s Works, Vol. 37, 161 ff.] Dr. [Karl] Graul [BTL: see Graul's book on India’s ‘caste question’, similar to Walther counsel on slavery.] placed Luther’s confession of faith at the beginning of his well-known book The Distinctive Doctrines of the Various Christian Confessions in the Light of the Divine Word. After a brief introduction, this confession was drawn up in the form of theses. A number of the theses deal principally with the false teaching and practice of the Roman Church. But this fits our situation today, because Rome is still the same Rome. Luther’s confession of faith reads in part as follows: (This translation of Luther’s “Confession Concerning Christ’s Supper, 1528” is taken from Luther’s Works, Vol. 37, pp. 360 ff. The reader may be willing to compare the English text with the German and note the differences. Editor [of Concordia Journal]) [2018-06-08: Luther's Confession, March, 1528" was formerly translated by M. Reu in his book The Augsburg Confession: A Collection of Sources and posted online here]
I see that schisms and errors are increasing proportionately with the passage of time, and that there is no end to the rage and fury of Satan. Hence lest any persons during my lifetime or after my death appeal to me or misuse my writings to confirm their error, as the sacramentarian and baptist fanatics are already beginning to do, I desire with this treatise to confess my faith before God and all the world, point by point. I am determined to abide by it until my death and (so help me God!) in this faith to depart from this world and to appear before the judgment seat of our Lord Jesus Christ. Should any one say after my death, “If Luther were living now, he would teach and hold this or that article differently, for he did not consider it sufficiently,” etc., let me reply once and for all that by the grace of God I have most diligently traced all these articles through the Scriptures. I have examined them again and again in the light thereof. I have been determined to defend all of them with the same certainty as I have now defended the sacrament of the altar. I am neither drunk nor irresponsible. I know what I am saying, and I well realize what this will mean for me before the Last Judgment at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let no one make this out to be a joke or idle talk; I am in dead earnest. By the grace of God I have learned to know a great deal about Satan. If he is able to pervert and to confuse the Scriptures, what will he not be able to do with my words or those of another person?
First, I believe with my whole heart the sublime article of the majesty of God, that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, three distinct persons, are by nature one true and genuine God, the Maker of heaven and earth and of all things; in complete opposition to the Arians, Macedonians, Sabellians, and similar heretics (Gen. 1:1). All this has been maintained up to this time both in the Roman Church and among Christian churches throughout the world.
Secondly, I believe and know that Scripture teaches us that the second person in the Godhead, the Son, alone became a true human being, conceived by the Holy Spirit without the participation of man, and was born of the pure, holy Virgin Mary as of a real and natural mother, all of which St. Luke (1:26) clearly describes and the prophets foretold; so that neither the Father nor the Holy Spirit became man, as certain heretics have taught.
Also, that God the Son assumed not a body without a soul, as certain heretics have taught, but also the soul, that is, a full, complete humanity, and was born as promised the true seed or child of Abraham and of David and the natural son of Mary, in every way and form a true man, as I am myself and every other man, except that he came without sin, by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary alone.
And that this man was true God, as one eternal, indivisible person, of God and man, so that Mary, the holy Virgin, is a real, true mother not only of the man Christ, as the Nestorians teach, but also of the Son of God, [CONCORDIA JOURNAL/January 1975, p. 20] as Luke says (1:35), “The child to be born of you will be called the Son of God,” i.e. my Lord and the Lord of all, Jesus Christ, the only, true and natural Son of God and of Mary, true God and true man.
I believe also that this Son of God and of Mary, our Lord Jesus Christ, suffered for us poor sinners, was crucified, dead, and buried, in order that he might redeem us from sin, death, and the eternal wrath of God by his innocent blood; and that on the third day he arose from the dead, ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father almighty, Lord over all lords, King over all kings and over all creatures in heaven, on earth, and under the earth, over death and life, over sin and righteousness.
For I confess, and am able to prove from Scripture, that all men have descended from one man, Adam; and from this man, through their birth, they acquire and inherit the fall, guilt and sin, which the same Adam, through the wickedness of the devil committed in paradise; and thus all men along with him are born, live, and die altogether in sin, and would necessarily be guilty of eternal death if Jesus Christ had not come to our aid and taken upon himself this guilt and sin as an innocent lamb, paid for us by his sufferings, and if he did not still intercede and plead for us as a faithful, merciful Mediator, Savior, and the only Priest and Bishop of our souls.
I herewith reject and condemn as sheer error all doctrines which glorify our free will, as diametrically contrary to the help and grace of our Savior Jesus Christ. Outside of Christ, death and sin are our masters and the devil is our god and lord, and there is no power or ability, no cleverness or reason, with which we can prepare ourselves for righteousness and life or seek after it. On the contrary, we must remain the dupes and captives of sin and the property of the devil to do and to think what pleases them and what is contrary to God and his commandments.
Thus I condemn also both the new and the old Pelagians who will not admit original sin to be sin, but make it an infirmity or defect. But since death comes to all men, original sin must be not merely an infirmity but enormous sin, as St. Paul says, “The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23), and again, “Sin is the sting of death” (1 Cor. 15:56). So also David says in Psalm 51:5, “Behold, I was conceived in sin, and in sin did my mother bear me.” He does not say, “My mother conceived me with sin,” but, “II myselfI was conceived in sin, and in sin did my mother bear me,” i. e. in my mother’s womb I have grown from sinful seed, as the Hebrew text signifies.

Rev. Paul Boecler, now Pastor Emeritus of Ladue Village Church, Ladue, Mo., son of the sainted Professor Boecler, grew up on this campus and returned last spring to help in the days of need and great stress.
- - - - - - - - - -   continued in Part 5   - - - - - - - - - - -
      I was not familiar with the translator Rev. Paul Boecler before and so a quick Google research turned up that he was likely, before he returned to Concordia Seminary in 1974, the pastor at Village Lutheran Church, now in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Pres. Matthew Harrison is currently assistant pastor there.)  The Editor of Concordia Journal was rather candid in revealing that Boecler played a part in assisting the Seminary in 1974 “in the days of need and great stress”.
      There is a mystery surrounding this article.  I was quite surprised to find that Concordia Journal and/or Rev. Boecler included less than half of Luther's “Confession” that Pieper quoted in full.  I have thought about this situation... could it have been an oversight?... or could it be that Concordia Publishing or Augsburg Publishing would not grant full access of Luther's essay to the Concordia Journal in 1975?  Perhaps someone living yet today might know the answer to this mystery.  But Pieper's purpose in quoting Luther's full “Part III” of his “Confession” is far too important to omit again, and so I, BackToLuther, will publish it... in Parts 5 and 6 following.
      Could it be that the Concordia Journal and Concordia Seminary again need “days of great stress”? … that Prof. Charles Arand needs to go back to what it really means to teach truly ecumenical Lutheran doctrine?