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Sunday, June 3, 2018

Dr. F. Pieper as Theologian, by L. Fuerbringer; Part 1-Intro, reprint

*******  87 years ago today, June 3, 1931 Dr.  Franz Pieper went “home” to Paradise. *******

      In a blog of Nov. 6, 2011, I published a translation of only the first 3 pages of Concordia Seminary President Ludwig Fuerbringer's 1931 essay “Dr. F. Pieper as Theologian” from the journal Concordia Theological Monthly.  Recently I determined to finish the full 17-page essay because it is perhaps the best available summary of Dr. Pieper's life work.  And although the first 3 pages will be largely a “reprint” of the translation done for me by a pastor of the Australian ELCR, yet I have slightly modified it and added hyperlinks to reference some points.  The balance of 14 pages are newly translated.  This series will lead into Fuerbringer's even larger Der Lutheraner essay “Memories of Dr. Franz Pieper”, also from 1931.

      Every time I return to the writings of Ludwig Fuerbringer, it is a bittersweet task to translate him.  I marvel at how well he seemed to understand Pieper, yet I can see the seeds of weakness – he was not strong in the face of the heavy-handed unionism of his colleagues, especially Prof. Theodore Graebner.  He did not stand as firm in the faith against erring American Lutherans as the Synod President Friedrich Pfotenhauer, and he practically fell asleep when later Synod President John W. Behnken ignored doctrinal issues in dialog with other synods, and turned the old (German) Missouri Synod into the “Graebner Synod”, or today's (English) LC-MS. I do not recall that Fuerbringer participated in any inter-synodical meetings, an activity in which his predecessor was very active.  (I have no doubt that Ludwig would be greatly grieved over his son Alfred's practical apostasy, or what Abraham Calov would call “veiled atheism”.)
      But we need not write off all of Fuerbringer's works, for we find that when he wrote of Franz Pieper, immediately after Pieper's passing, he spoke well.  What was written about Fuerbringer in the current Christian Cyclopedia by Prof. Richard R. Caemmerer (1904–1984) appears to be quite misleading in its judgments and speculations. Indeed,  Ludwig, in the following essay, speaks so well of the work of Franz Pieper, that as Christians, we can take true comfort.
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Translation of first 3 pages by pastor of Australian ELCR, slightly modified. Original publication in CTM, vol. 2, October, 1931 (Part 1, p. 721-729); underlining follows original emphasis, all hyperlinking & highlighting is mine.
Dr. F. Pieper as Theologian.
by Prof. Ludwig Fuerbringer
In 1888, almost a year after the death of Dr. Walther on May 7, 1887, began a series of articles under the headline “Dr. C.F.W. Walther as Theologian” (34, 97) in the April issue of Lehre und Wehre (Doctrine and Defense) by Professor F. Pieper, the fine young colleague and successor to the presidency of the seminary at St. Louis. These articles went through four years – five appeared in 1888, five in 1889, nine in 1890 and two in 1891, a total of twenty-one articles.  These masterful articles, which well deserve to be reprinted, present by Professor Pieper Walther’s entire theological position on the basis of careful research through his entire literary activity, and Walther’s position treated on every major point of Christian doctrine. Such an article should really appear, now that Dr. Pieper has gone home on June 3, and bring his position in all parts of Christian doctrine to representation.
But such an article would require, as just the series of articles about Walther shows, longer, more detailed study of the publications of Dr. Pieper in books and journals in his more than 50-year public activity from 1878 to 1931, and therefore could appear only after a long period of time and would also, if it should be fairly complete, extend over years.
However, even apart from that just mentioned, it seems that such a series of articles is not so necessary, as was the case for Walther, for from Pieper was to come – and we say this with heartfelt gratitude to God and in grateful remembrance of the departed – what had not come from Walther in spite of his eminent and many-sided activities, namely the preparation of a detailed dogmatics.

Though Walther did have a new edition of J. G. Baier’s Compendium Theologiae Positiva procured, in fact, [page 722] an editio auctior et emendatio (new, improved edition, ed.), as the title says, because he had so many of the most precious additions added in quotations from ancient and modern times, these so-called additamenta (additions, ed.) are more extensive than the original Compendium and are in some sense a dogmatics of Walther and can retain their value over time for all.
It was interesting to me as I looked to see that the first post of Pieper to Lehre und Wehre (“Doctrine and Defense", ed.) was an announcement and recommendation of just this first issue of this work of Walther (24, 371). Dr Pieper, however, was fated to present his own independent presentation of Christian doctrine, and his three-volume Christian Dogmatics in the years 1917 to 1924 appeared (also including the 1928 detailed index volume almost indispensable for the right use of the work) which brought his position on every single point of Christian doctrine, and that is in all points the biblical - Lutheran doctrine.
The work displays all the qualities that always distinguished Pieper’s oral and written presentation: first make clear, definite, and intelligible exposition comprehensible; because Pieper was always vigorously for the principle that anyone who is clear in doctrine, can and must also clearly explain this doctrine; that Christian doctrine is not only the property of scholars, but Christians, ...
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Fuerbringer testifies that Pieper's Dogmatics is practically Walther's.  And so as today's LC-MS is replacing Pieper's work, they are essentially breaking any ties they may want to claim to Walther, no matter what else they may say in their defense, i.e. bringing it "up to date", etc.. In the next Part 2, we finish Fuerbringer's introductory paragraphs and learn of a warning against a false use of Scripture, especially John 6.  Then in the following paragraphs we hear about the following subjects:
sola ScripturaBrief Statement of 1932divine certainty — infallible and inerrant infallible doctrine? — modern theologyScripture principleclear passages of ScriptureLuther on Inspiration — verbal inspiration — Analogy of Faith — sedes doctrinaeScripture interprets Scripturecrime against the Divine majestyScripture self-authenticating — fides divinasola gratiaConversion and Election of GraceFormula of Concord, Art. 11Free Will or bondage of the will?Calvinism?willful resistancesynergismGrace (Boerhaave)Open Heavenabove a whore?Norwegian SynodPieper's last conversations.
= = = = =  TABLE OF CONTENTS  = = = = = 
Part 1 – Intro; L.F.'s opening paragraphs
Part 2 – conclusion of opening paragraphs; John 6 about Holy Communion? (CTS-Ft. Wayne)
Part 3sola Scriptura; Scaer's confusion on John 6
    Briggs Heresy Trial series
Part 4 – simple faith; infallibility?; Warfield; Synergism in Inspiration; Presbyterians & Inspiration
Part 5 – 'Rule of faith' or Analogy of faith; Scripture clarity, majesty; deniers; certainty of faith
    Piepkorn Heresy – his teaching against Inerrancy (and Inspiration) – judgment
Part 6sola gratia: not “hidden synergism”; “the point that matters”
Part 7 – irresistible grace?; Formula of Concord: man is a stone, a block, clay
Part 8 – “For Agreement” on pure grace, grace alone; true ecumenism

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