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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.

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