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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.

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