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Saturday, May 26, 2018

50 years ago, CSL pres. Alfred Fuerbringer said… (most hated men by LC-MS)

      In May 1968, after the passing of LC-MS President J.W. Behnken, the then president of Concordia Seminary, Alfred O. Fuerbringer, wrote in his “Tribute” to Behnken, CTM, vol. 39, p. 296:

 …our frequently harsh judgment of 

the men of past generations.

It was a small step from the weakness of Fuerbringer's father Ludwig Fuerbringer, former president of the Seminary, to the “harsh judgment” of the son Alfred against the fathers of the old (German) Missouri Synod, a hatred shared by all subsequent generations of teachers of the Lutheran Church—“Missouri Synod”. — In the following posts, I will publish my translation of Ludwig's much better “tribute” to Franz Pieper. Ludwig demonstrates that, although he was weak, he did not teach the heresies (tearing down Holy Scripture, etc.) that his son Alfred (and the teachers under him) “frequently” did.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Pieper sermons-3c: Christian scholarship

      This continues from Part 3b (Table of Contents in Part 1), a short series on the sermons of Franz Pieper.  — This part concludes the second of 2 sermons, or “golden apples” published by Prof. Theodore Laetsch after Pieper's “going home” in 1931.  We hear in this portion the great warning for scholars, of their “danger of becoming proud and arrogant so that they do not live in Christ but in themselves”.  I believe Pieper was not only warning of those outside the Missouri Synod, but was also giving a warning to the teachers within, that "scholarship" does not prevent one from falling away, but actually can present some of the greatest challenges to one's own Christian faith.
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Translation by BackToLutherhighlighting and bolding is mine; hyperlinks added for reference. Text extracted from Concordia Theological Monthly, October, 1931, pp. 761-771. (German text here)
Part 3c of 3

But does the preaching of the Gospel require as much scholarship as we have in our colleges? We teach here not only five and more languages, not only newer languages and the Latin language, but also Greek and Hebrew. Why also Greek and Hebrew? There have been some enthusiasts here and there who thought that all Christians should learn Greek and Hebrew, because these are the basic languages ​​of Scripture. That is a folly. From Scripture itself, especially from the history of Pentecost, we see that it is our Savior's will that the Gospel be preached to the hearers in the language that they understand or best understand. And it is true that every Christian and also each pastor from translations of Scripture may well recognize and teach Christian doctrine. But it is also true that the enemies of the Gospel, if we disprove them from translations, invoke the basic languages ​​of Scripture, that is, the Greek and Hebrew languages, for their heresies. There it serves the teaching of the Christian truth that on our side and in our midst we have such people who know the basic languages ​​of Scripture. Luther, too, confesses that without the knowledge of these languages ​​he would not have been sufficiently prepared against the enemies of truth.

Therefore, we find in Luther, in his work “To the Councilmen of All Cities in Germany That They Establish and Maintain Christian Schools,” the following admonition: “In proportion then as we value the Gospel, let us zealously hold to the languages. For it was not without purpose that God caused his Scriptures to be set down in these two languages alone—the Old Testament in Hebrew, the New in Greek. Now if God did not despise them but chose them above all others for his Word, then we too ought to honor them above all others.” [StL 10, 470, § 27; LW 45, p. 359]
CSL / CTS-FW: “Becoming proud and arrogant
so that they do not live in Christ but in themselves?
... misuse of the glorious natural gifts of God.”

But, as Luther reminds us, too, are not the people who have great knowledge and, above all, language skills before others, in danger of becoming proud and arrogant so that they do not live in Christ but in themselves?

Indeed, there is danger, and many have succumbed to this danger at all times.  Therefore the saying is: The scholars are the wrong ones. But their scholarship is not to blame but their evil, corrupted heart that they follow, and their misuse of the glorious natural gifts of God.
The Scripture teaches us by some examples, and records the following: Moses was learned in all wisdom of the Egyptians, Acts 7:22. And yet the Scriptures report the same [Page 770] Moses in Heb. 11:24-26: “By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to be evil entreated with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; accounting the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt: for he looked unto the recompense of reward..”  Paul was a very learned man. Not only had he gone through the Jewish high school of Gamaliel, but he was also acquainted with the writings of the highly educated Greeks. We see this from the fact that he mentions passages from the writings of the Greeks. And yet, what faithfulness in the service of his Savior Paul possessed. He writes in the Epistle to the Galatians: “Nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” [Gal. 2:20]
And Luther would not have become the Reformer of the Church, translating the Bible and even overcoming the papist theologians so victoriously if he had not known the basic languages ​​of Scripture.  Rightly he said that he knew all the arts of his opponents well and even better than they themselves. And yet he was so faithful in the service of his Savior that he could say that by God's grace he was ready to die a thousand deaths for the Gospel, if it would please God.  Let us also look at the fathers of our Synod. They could not have transplanted the 16th century Reformation to American soil as they did, unless a number of them had the so-called scientific education.
Briefly, language and all worldly sciences are powerless in the kingdom of God, if in the hearts of those who possess them not also the knowledge of the love of Christ dwells and as a result, the holy desire to live not to themselves, but to the One who died for our sakes and rose again.
But if these spiritual gifts are present, then languages ​​and other sciences are not merely an external adornment, but very useful and necessary gifts in the Kingdom of God.
The blessed Dr. Walther used to recommend two things to the students. First, ask God to strengthen and sustain the living knowledge of Christ as your Savior of sin and death in you. We need a faithful ministry from the heart. On the other hand, do not be content with a minimum of knowledge in languages and other mundane things, but rather seek the highest degree. There is scarcely an area of secular knowledge that cannot be put into the service of the Gospel.
Dear fathers and brothers, I'll come to the end. By God's grace we want to follow the example of our fathers. The establishment and maintenance of Christian educational institutions is associated with a lot of work and costs. But we do not want that to be felt as a complaint. [Page 771]

We have recognized the love of Christ in our own hearts through which we have the forgiveness of our sins and a home in heaven. The love of Christ urges us the longer, the more, that here on earth we live not to our own selves, but to our dear Savior. The love of Christ urges all our Christians to carry our Christian schools, the lower and the higher, on a praying heart, and to offer their earthly goods according to the abundance of their wealth.
The love of Christ urges all teachers in our schools to hold on with ever renewed joy for their busy office. The love of Christ also urges all pupils and students, that for their part they learn and study with complete diligence. Help, dear Savior, let it well prosper! Thine, Thine alone, shall be all glory. Soli Deo Gloria. Amen.
= = = = = = = = = =  End of sermon  = = = = = = = = = = =

      One hears in our day “Get a good education”.  But Luther and Pieper proclaimed “Get a Christian education”.  There is a difference.  One cannot get a Christian education in a public school.  A “public” education today will at best constantly challenge a Christian's faith.  In my case, it destroyed my faith.  I look back at my youth and wonder “what were the people of the LC-MS thinking?” as they allowed the demise of their Christian schools?  How Franz Pieper's heart ached for the schools.
      Soon to follow will by my translations of Ludwig Fuerbringer's full essays “Memories of Dr. Franz Pieper” and “Dr. F. Pieper as Theologian”.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Pieper sermons-3b: Christian Worldview

      This continues from Part 3a (Table of Contents in Part 1), a short series on the sermons of Franz Pieper.  — This part continues the second of 2 sermons, or “golden apples” published by Prof. Theodore Laetsch after Pieper's “going home” in 1931.
      We learn from this portion what the correct Christian Worldview is — you won't find the true Christian answer in the current Wikipedia article on this topic. Also we find out what the preaching of the Gospel does for a country… and the rather sad news for a country that loses it (like Germany, now America).
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Translation by BackToLutherhighlighting and bolding is mine; hyperlinks added for reference. Text extracted from Concordia Theological Monthly, October, 1931, pp. 761-771 (German text here)
Part 3b of 3

We must not forget the purpose for which God still allows the world and the state in the world to survive. Not for the purpose of showing people what great things they can do; not even for the purpose that the kingdoms of this world overthrow each other.  That is a very incorrect worldview.

Our Savior says very clearly what the world stands for: This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come”, namely the end of the world, the Last Day. [Matt. 24:14] We learn from this:

The whole world and all the governmental orders in the world exist only for the sake of the Gospel, and the Christians of a country with their preaching of the Gospel are the actual protective wall of the land.  Only for this sake does God let the order of nations stand.

Even in our land, which is so abundantly blessed with earthly goods, the Gospel is rare.  We have a truly appalling apostasy in mind, where Rome is active in its cursing of the Gospel. But also by those who call themselves Protestant Christians for the most part in the place of the Gospel of Christ which saves people from hell to heaven, the desire for the goods of this world, the so-called [Page 769]
social Gospel is set. In the eyes of God, that is a pollution of the land, which calls down God's wrath upon our land, and will sooner or later lead to its ruin. But if, by the grace of God, we faithfully and diligently proclaim and spread the Gospel of the sinner's Savior here in the land, we are for our country a wall of protection against the threatening wrath of God, a wall stronger than a strong army and a strong fleet.
= = = = = = = = = =  Concluded in Part 3c  = = = = = = = = = = =

Pieper corrects nearly all modern ideas of a "Christian Worldview" .  And even at the time of this sermon, in Pieper's lifetime, there was "a truly appalling apostasy".  Pieper pronounced to America then: "the Gospel is rare".  In Germany, long before World War II, long before World War I, the "Gospel was rare".  I would ask whether this was not even true for Concordia College Alabama, long before its closing of today.  Were they not promoting more of a social gospel, thereby polluting the land, instead of bringing the true Gospel?  Is it not true that the "Gospel is rare" even more now in America, because the LC-MS had turned away from it? — In the next Part 3c, Pieper brings us the writing of Martin Luther on... a Christian education.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Pieper sermons-3a: Christian education; Dale Meyer disagrees?

      This continues from Part 2b (Table of Contents in Part 1), a short series on the sermons of Franz Pieper.  — This part begins the second of 2 sermons, or “golden apples” published by Prof. Theodore Laetsch after Pieper's “going home” in 1931.
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      I do not know if the following sermon was delivered at the opening of Concordia College Alabama or not. But this current news item pertains to this sermon of Pieper:

Concordia College Alabama to close at end of spring semester

Translation by BackToLutherhighlighting is mine; hyperlinks added for reference. Text extracted from Concordia Theological Monthly, October, 1931, pp. 761-771 (German text here)
Part 3a of 3

2 Cor. 5:14: “For the love of Christ constraineth us.”

Dear fathers and brothers!
To the buildings in which our Concordia so far had its accommodation, we may today in public ceremony again add a new building. We also do this in a public celebration for the purpose of reminding ourselves of the motive that drives us to establish and build our Christian higher education institutions. The motive is pronounced in the words of the holy apostle Paul 2 Cor. 5:14: “For the love of Christ constraineth us.” We know by God's grace the love of which the holy apostle speaks, it is the wonderful love that the eternal Son of God [Page 767] become man and died for us, so that we no longer have to fear death under the wrath of God that leads to eternal damnation. We humans were under the wrath of God and thus under the judgment of eternal damnation. In this need, Christ came for us. He died in our place. As a result, God now sees it as if we ourselves have fully paid the penalty of our sins, as the Holy Apostle adds: “Because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead.” Through faith in the love that Christ has shown us through his reconciling death, we are quite certain that we have forgiveness of our sin and an eternal home in heaven. Should it be God's will that we experience the Last Day, we should not be frightened of it, but welcome it gladly. If it be the will of God that we pass through bodily death, we will not perish, but the soul will be put into Paradise and united on the Last Day with our gloriously transfigured body to have an eternal home with God in the communion of the holy angels and all the saints.
That we owe to the love that Christ has shown us. And this love shown to us has won our hearts. It urges us to live our lives here on earth no longer in our own interest, but in the interest of the One who loved us, that He did not refuse to give His life for us to die like that. The Apostle expressly adds: “Christ died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.” [2 Cor. 5:15]
So we ask, “Lord, dear Savior, what is your will in us? What is it that we should do for you?”  Well, our whole life belongs to Him, because we are His purchased property. We also want all the works of our earthly profession, which go to the service of our neighbor, for His sake with great faithfulness, so that our lives also serve before the world to the glory of Him who loved us unto death on the cross.  
But above all it is a work that He wants from us, the work that is dear to His heart. If reconciliation is acquired not only for our own sins, but for all the world's sins, He wants us to carry this message of salvation out to the world of men, so that they may believe and be saved with us, John 3:17.  That is why his mission for us and everyone who believes in His name is: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” [Mark 16:15] And again, when he opened the understanding to the disciples of Scripture: “Thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations.” [Luke 24:46-47]  Christ leaves us still living here on Earth for this Christian work, and this Christian work should also serve our Christian schools, the lower and the [Page 768] higher schools. The preaching of the Gospel and Christian schools belong together.

This is how it was in the 16th century, at the time of the Reformation. When, after the darkness of the papacy, the light of the saving Gospel was again placed on the lampstand by Luther's Reformation, Luther wrote his powerful writings in which he urged so cordially and urgently for Christians to establish Christian schools of lower, higher, and the highest kind. These are exhortations that penetrate through the marrow and bone.
Now the Reformation by God's grace has been repeated here in the United States in the nineteenth century, principally through the ministry of the fathers of our Synod. Already in the autumn of the year of their immigration, when our fathers were still anemic on earthly goods, when their poor homes were largely without a floor, our fathers started a high school in Perry County. It was a school for the education of teachers and preachers who were able to shine the light of the unadulterated Gospel here in their new homeland in this country, and lead their portion of the inhabitants of this land to peace with God and from this world into the eternal home.
We, the descendants, have sought to follow the example of our fathers. By the grace of God, we have, including those abroad,  eighteen higher schools to be counted, twelve in the United States. Their foremost purpose is to equip teachers and preachers of the saving Gospel. With this preaching of the Gospel we serve, as Luther also reminds us in his powerful school writings, at the same time also the state and the civil order.
= = = = = = = = = =  Continued in Part 3b  = = = = = = = = = = =

      As I was translating this sermon of Pieper, I recalled watching a video of the current President of Concordia Seminary, Dr. Dale Meyer, making a statement which relates to the subject matter of this sermon.  Because Meyer's statement struck me so forcefully, I decided to put together a panorama sequence of Dr. Meyer's facial expressions as he delivered it:

Publication Date: 3-10-2008
Description: Dr. Meyer interviews Bruce Kintz about Concordia Publishing House's improving for the future.

see this Google Doc for partial text of interview.

Dr. Dale Meyer, President, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis (2008)
1:45 -- 1:51 mark
“I went to public high school, didn't hurt me. 
(Meyer looks away from Kintz to the camera)
Or maybe you think it did, I don't know.
Let the reader judge whether Dr. Dale Meyer speaks for the Lutheran Church… or not. (I will have more to comment on this statement in a later post.) — In the next Part 3b, Pieper digresses briefly to the subject of a Christian Worldview.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Pieper sermons-2b (More comfort… from Copernicus?)

      This continues from Part 2a (Table of Contents in Part 1), a short series on the sermons of Franz Pieper.  This concludes the first of 2 sermons published by Prof. Theodore Laetsch after Pieper's “going home”.  Dear God! How I loved translating this sermon!
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Translation by BackToLutherhighlighting is mine; hyperlinks added for reference. Text extracted from Concordia Theological Monthly, October, 1931, pp. 761-771 (German text here)
Part 2b of 3

[How comforting this truth is.]
And that is now comforting, without measure comforting. We would like to take a closer look at this in the individual circumstances of our text.
First of all, in our text we have a very clear answer to the question of whom Christ accepts. As long as a person still lives in carnal security, he feels well offended, when you put him in a class with the thief in a relationship with God. But if a man's eyes are opened to his sinfulness by God's Law, then he probably envies the thief. He thinks or says: If the Savior also said to me, “Truly, I say to you,” etc., then I, too, would be sure of the grace of God.

Now, beloved, so that every person — let us be aware that every man, whoever he is — may be assured of God's grace, Christ, from his high priestly throne, from the Cross, chose the thief as the example of grace. The thief was [Page 765] not a good man; he was not an honest man, but a criminal, a serious criminal. It was dangerous to let him go around freely. That's why he was imprisoned. But even as a prisoner he was still too dangerous. He could have broken out of prison. To put mankind in safety from him, it was considered necessary to kill him, to take his life. And now the death sentence was executed on him. That was not a judicial murder. He confesses that he receives what his deeds are worth. Even more: at first he also, on hanging on the cross, blasphemed Christ with the other thief. [?] But then he comes to the knowledge of his sin. The fear of God's wrath and hell seizes him, and in his fear he turns to Christ with a plea for mercy: “Lord remember me,” etc. And behold, the Lord does not say unto him: “This is not possible, you've been doing it too much and for too long.  Everything has its limits. I can not accept you”, but the LORD speaks to him: “Verily”  and so on.
That is grace! That is the free and unlimited grace that exists through the cross of Christ for all, which excludes no one. Not even you, my listener, whoever you are. Do you want to go to paradise? So turn to Christ and say, “Lord, remember me.” And your request is granted, Christ has never, never denied a request for entry into Paradise. Christ has, when walking on earth, scolded certain people hard, very hard.  But he reproached the Pharisees, who said they did not need the physician, that they could enter paradise with their virtue. But we find no example in Scripture that He has cut off the crushed and humble hearts that called upon him for grace. Not the repentant publican, not the penitent Mary Magdalene, and thus not the penitent thief. So all the anguished hearts have comforted themselves with the grace of a thief, also the apostle Paul, too, when he writes, “This is a faithful saying” etc., 1 Tim. 1:15-16.

Copernicus epitaph
(Proper “Copernicanism”)
Thus it is also reported of the astronomer Copernicus that he had written himself an epitaph which states that he does not desire the grace with which Paul and Peter were forgiven, but only begs the grace with which Christ accepted the thief. Well, we are all content with the grace extended to the thief, and therefore very sure of grace. [see this blog post]

Also the word “today” is comforting. And it seems that the thief thought only of future merciful consideration when he asked, “Lord, remember me.” But the Lord instructs him: Not only later, no, no, even today, when your soul is separated, it will be with Me in Paradise, that is, in the blessed communion with God.

From this we learn that the purgatory of the papal church is a human fiction, designed for the torture of souls and for the purpose of gaining money. No, whoever departs in faith in Christ,

[Page 766] his soul does not go into purgatory, but into Paradise, in God's hands, into the blessed fellowship of God, as the Lord assures the thief: Today, without delay, shalt thou be with Me in Paradise, and as Paul says: “I have a desire to depart and be with Christ.”
Finally, for our consolation, let us pay particular attention to how lovingly the dying of the faithful is made by the word Paradise. Death is not child's play. Death itself, that is, death after the natural feeling and the natural prestige is terrible. Now the Holy Scripture is indeed full of consolation against death for all believers. The Lord speaks for example: “I am the resurrection,” etc., John 11:25-26. And again, “Verily, verily, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, he has eternal life”, etc., John 5:24. And again: “If anyone keeps my word, he will not see death for ever” (John 8:51).

But there is still a special consolation in the words the Savior calls to the dying thief: “Truly,” etc. What is the hereafter for the death of the believer? He is walking in Paradise. We do not go to judgment by death, not to a dark, sad or desolate place, but to Paradise. Who wants to be afraid of paradise? Therefore, beloved listeners, when our end comes, whether it be today or tomorrow, let us put our eye of faith on Paradise and therefore speak cheerfully [TLH 619 v. 2; German text]:
O happy day and yet far happier hour,
When wilt thou come at last,
When fearless to my Father's love and pow'r,
Whose promise standeth fast,
My soul I gladly render?
For surely will His hand
Lead her with guidance tender
To heav'n, her fatherland.
So the cross of Christ is the safe way back to Paradise. The Holy Spirit seals the Word heard in all our hearts. Amen.
- - - - - - - - - - - - -  next sermon in Part 3a  - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Never mind the straying LC-MS of today, the old (German) Missouri Synod rubs our nose in... what?  the epitaph of... Copernicus! -- Only Christians, the believers, have true comfort in their last hour.  And Franz Pieper shoves Paradise into our lap.  —  In the next Part 3a, Prof. Laetsch brings us another sermon from the greatest preacher of the Twentieth Century... on the importance of Christian education.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Pieper sermons-2a (The Way Back to Paradise)

      This continues from Part 1 (Table of Contents in Part 1), a short series on the sermons of Dr. Franz Pieper.  This begins the first of 2 sermons published by Prof. Theodore Laetsch after Pieper's “going home”.
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Translation by BackToLutherhighlighting is mine; hyperlinks added for reference. Text extracted from Concordia Theological Monthly, October, 1931, pp. 761-771 (German text here)
Part 2a of 3

Luk. 23:39-43.
Christ, thou Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world, have mercy on us and give us thy peace. Amen.
Hear now a Good Friday text, as it is found in the excellent Luk. 23:39-43.
Beloved listeners in Christ!
This is a wonderful text. Indeed, the Holy Spirit uses different texts for different people in order to make the Christian faith quite certain and comforting. Such texts then become favorite texts for these people. Who for this chosen text has especially thanked God but thousands and thousands, not only poor and lowly people, but also great ones in the world, kings and princes and famous scholars.

Why? These words of Scripture express so clearly and mightily the merciful Gospel of Christ crucified, that every man for whose consolation he is sorely anxious, can not avoid being fully assured of the grace of God, and overcome all fear of death and judgment. For what do we see in our text? This: Christ our Savior, hanging on the cross for the sins of the world, speaks to a criminal who is rightfully condemned to death. but who calls in his conscience for help with a solemn prayer, and immediately paradise is pronounced to him: “Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” [Luke 23:43]

From Golgotha, from the place of the skull, from the most horrible place in the world, from the place where the [Page 763] people crucify the Lord of Glory, the incarnate Son of God, from this place the Son of God Himself is now directing our gaze upon the most beautiful and loveliest place that has existed here on Earth, to paradise. And He says that through His death on the cross the way back to paradise is open. Yes indeed! Golgotha ​​and paradise are closely related. From Golgotha ​​it goes to paradise. “The cherubim stand no longer in the way; to God be praise, honor and glory.” That's what our text teaches us to do, let's take a closer look.

Christ's Cross, the way back to paradise.
We want to see,
1. How to be certain; 2. How comforting this truth is.
Secular poets sing poignant songs of the earthly home. They talk about the beautiful home, the sweet home. The love for home is innate to humans. We Christians now know from Scripture that all humanity has a common home, an old, original homestead. That is paradise. This present earth, this thorns-and-thistles bearing earth, this earth with its thousandfold pain, with distress and death is not the original home of the human race. When God had created man in His image in holiness and righteousness, He did not place him in a desert between thorns and thistles, but God planted, as the Holy Scriptures expressly stated, a beautiful garden in Eden and set the man whom He had made therein, Gen. 2:8.

We also know from Scripture how we lost our old, beautiful home, the Paradise. It was done by sin. When men had transgressed the commandment of God, and burdened themselves with sinfulness, God drove them out of the beautiful home, and set before the gate of them the cherubim with the bare flaming sword. All the misery of this earth, including death, is but a fruit and consequence of sin. And here now we hear that there is a way back home, the sweet home, in the blessed fellowship with God. Christ, hanging on the cross, puts the guilt-laden thief, who summons Him for mercy, into Paradise. There can be no doubt about that. The thief asks, “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” The LORD answers, “Verily, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” How can that be? Beloved listener, how can that be? This comes from the great love and great compassion of our God toward us unfortunate and lost people.
We could not help ourselves. We could not reopen the closed paradise. The cherubim with the flaming sword, the holiness and righteousness of God, cannot be bribed with money, not even with the so-called good [Page 764] works of the people. What people call good works is like straw in the fire before God's holy face. Scripture says, “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse.” [Gal. 3:10] “Can not a brother redeem any,” etc., Ps. 49:7-8-9.  

But now look at God's love and mercy. God has laid what has driven us out of paradise, our sinful guilt, on his incarnate son and let him pay for it. Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world! John 1:29. [ref. blog on Luther’s sermon]
And what is the effect of this sacrifice made for us? The cherubim at the gate of paradise step back and release the entrance. The curtain in the temple is torn. The most holy place, the communion with God, the heavenly paradise, more beautiful and glorious than the garden of Eden, is completely open. Let us now come forward, the letter to the Hebrews admonishes, with joyfulness to the temple of mercy, so that we may receive mercy and gain grace.
So Christ's Cross is the way back to paradise. Our Good Friday hymns, in which we worship the suffering and death of Christ, are at once sounds of home: Back to the blessed homeland! Through the darkness of Good Friday breaks the splendor of the open paradise. What has been raised at Christmas has now been accomplished: “He opens us again the door,” etc. [TLH # 105, v. 8; German v. 6]  The matter is quite certain. The Savior himself, the Son of God, says so. And to his Son's mouth and Word, God the Father has pointed us when he says: This is my beloved Son: hear him [Luke 9:35], Though God the Father holds the judgment, at the same time he testifies by breaking the curtain [Matt. 27:51], that the judgment is now at an end, and His wrath has been satisfied over all mankind. The Holy of Holies is also open to the thief, and by believing in Christ, in the Son of God, he goes from the place of execution to Paradise.
- - - - - - - - - - - - -  Continued in Part 2b  - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

      We see what Prof. Laetsch meant as Pieper, a master theologian with a command of many languages, with a deep knowledge of the writings of Luther and the Lutheran Church, with a full knowledge of modern theology, spoke plainly in his sermons.  There is no confusing terminology of philosophy, no use of modern psychology, no use of sociology to figure out the plight of man, just pure Scriptural teaching of sin and grace, and the certainty of salvation. -- In the next Part 2b, we meet with a surprising example, and Pieper piles on the comfort for… a Christian.