Search This Blog

Sunday, February 11, 2018

“Ecumenical” vs Ecumenical: Pieper/Walther/Luther speak (1930/1975) - Part 1

      There is a term “Lutheran Catholicity” that has been used for quite a few years by theologians, perhaps A. C. Piepkorn started it in the LC-MS, maybe Berthold von Schenk caused its widespread use... or have all LC-MS theologians used it since about 1947?  Whoever started using it in the LC-MS, they had in mind the same meaning as an earlier term used in Franz Pieper's day:
Ecumenical Lutheranism”.
But the switch to the term “catholicity” from “ecumenicity” actually exposes a lack of propriety among true Lutherans who avoid (Rom. 16:17) the Roman Catholic church.  Rome has robbed the term “catholic” just as the Greek Orthodox church has robbed the term “orthodox” of its true meaning.  The later modernist Lutheran teachers have in mind to condition the thinking of the laity to ease their way into thinking of the Catholic Church as having changed in substance since Vatican II.
      So what is truly ecumenical? That question is best answered by Franz Pieper, the clearest Lutheran teacher of the last 130 years to address this subject matter, whether it be on "catholicity" or “ecumenicity”.  In the foreword to the very first issue of the Concordia Theological Monthly (CTM) journal, Pieper poured out his heart to his church, to instruct and to warn it against falling into the modernism enveloping the world's “Lutheranism” and Christianity in general.  In the January, 1930 issue, Franz Pieper wrote the “Vorwort” or Foreword to take on this subject in a few short pages… but it was in the German language, now a foreign, unknown language to practically all American Lutherans.
      After the “explosion” in the LC-MS during the Walkout of 1974, Concordia Seminary was attempting to get back onto a firmer Lutheran footing.  And, dear God!... the editor of the newly named successor to CTM, Concordia Journal (CJ), chose to publish an English translation of Pieper's 1930 “Vorwort”.  This was done by a pastor in the field who apparently had been called to the Seminary “to help in the days of need and great stress” (p. 20).  More on the translator later.
      I stumbled across this essay recently and was joyfully surprised to find such an essay in CJ, a journal that has decidedly fallen off from its earliest attempts to deal with the traumatic events of 1974.  I was so impressed… that I decided to follow in the spirit of the 1975 CJ and republish Pieper's essay again!  I think another 40+ years is long enough to realize once again that its former great teacher was exactly right on this matter… and that all the later LC-MS theologians who use the tiresome term “catholicity” are giving mixed theology at best, or have completely run off the track at worst.
      The following text is exactly as printed with only minor changes.  The reader may follow along with the originally printed pages >> here << downloaded from ATLA Serials, and in clear violation of their stated copyright notice.  If they complain about this, I will have to remove my public download link.
Foreword to Volume I, No. 1
of the
Concordia Theological Monthly
January 1930 by Francis Pieper
Translated by Paul H. F. Boecler
The expression “ecumenical Lutheranism” was given much prominence and emphasis during the worldwide discussions of recent years designed to achieve agreement and unification among Lutherans. The stated objective of these discussions or negotiations was not mere Lutheranism, but the achievement of an “ecumenical” Lutheranism. Participants have not always used this expression in the same sense; in fact, they often used it in a wrong sense. The expression “ecumenical Lutheranism” was used interchangeably also with “broad Lutheranism,” meaning a Lutheranism which does not take Christian doctrine as seriously as the Lutheran Church of the 16th and 17th centuries and, in our own day, the “Missourians.”

Open charges were made against the Missourians as “the disturbing element in the Lutheran Church.” There was also no lack of statements to the effect that Missourians will have to be excluded a priori from all discussions if any sort of agreement and unity is to be achieved. This we regret. We desire, by God’s grace, to serve the Lutheran Church in all the world also to this end, that the church of the Reformation, our dear Lutheran Church, may come to a unity which conforms to God’s will. To achieve this, it is necessary that we come to an understanding regarding the correct, that is, Scriptural and also confessionally Lutheran, concept of “ecumenical Lutheranism.”

- - - - - - - - -  continued in Part 2  - - - - - - - - - - 
      Those “disturbing Missourians”!  How horrible they were in the world's eyes, in the eyes of “ecumenical Lutheranism”.  Ah, but Dr. Franz Pieper turns the tables on them and is about to show them (and us) just exactly what Ecumenical Lutheranism really is... in the next Part 2.  I will also reveal a little more about the changes I made from the 1975 English translation, and why my republication offers benefits over just reading the 1975 publication.

= = = = = = = = =   Table of Contents   = = = = = = = = = =
Part 1 – This post
Part 2 – “Genuine Lutheranism is ecumenical Christianity.” … the Lutheranism of Luther.
Part 3 – To agree concerning the doctrines of Gospel; Conversion; Election of Grace; (not Kolb)
Part 4 – One unmatched treasure; attacked from within and without; not Arand
Part 5 – Omitted portion from Luther, part A; three persons, one true God
Part 6 – Omitted portion, part B; no special forgiveness beyond general forgiveness; Robert Preus mystery

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments only accepted when directly related to the post.