Search This Blog

Friday, June 8, 2018

Pieper as Theologian-3: Sola Scriptura!; Scaer's confusion

      This continues from Part 2 (Table of Contents in Part 1), a series presenting the full essay "Dr. F. Pieper as Theologian" by President Ludwig Fuerbringer. — In this portion, we see that nearly 50 years before the Brief Statement was adopted in 1932, Prof. Franz Pieper, at age 32, was delivering an essay at the Synod (in front of Walther) on "Scripture Doctrine".  And we note that he includes in the categories of Scriptural inerrancy two additional items not listed in the abbreviated § 1 of the Brief Statement.  What is so striking for today's modern theology (including the LC-MS) is just how far it has strayed from the "old paths" – Jer. 6:16.
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Translation by BackToLuther. Original publication in CTM, vol. 2, October, 1931 (Part 1, p. 721-729); underlining follows original emphasis, all hyperlinks, comments in [ ] brackets, and highlighting are mine.

Dr. F. Pieper as Theologian.
by Prof. Ludwig Fuerbringer
(Part 3, cont'd from Part 2)

Sola Scriptura.
As early as 1884, when the struggle for the sola gratia in the American Lutheran Church was still in progress, Pieper presented to his synod at their meeting in St. Louis a paper with individual theses reading as follows: [see here for download]
[Page 724]
Thesis 1.
“A doctrine is scriptural doctrine only if it is based on the explicit word of Scripture, or what is the same, if it is taken and judged solely from the passages that are directly dealing with that doctrine.
Brief Statement of 1932
foretold in 1884 Synod essay

“A. What we hereby say. It is not that all the words with which we speak of a doctrine (or the ecclesiastical and theological expression) must be written in the Scripture, but that everything that is stated in a doctrine must be revealed in the words of Scripture.
B. What we hereby reject: a) the derivation of a doctrine from the so-called whole of Scripture [Schriftganzen  – Brief Statement, § 2] or from passages which do not deal with this doctrine [i.e. John 6 for Holy Communion]; b) the rejection or modulation of a doctrine clearly expressed in the word of Scripture for the sake of so-called necessary implications or in the interest of a so-called system.

Thesis 2.
“Only if we cling to this, will remain
“a. the individual articles of the Christian doctrine standing and still have the faith in place, only then is
“b. a divine certainty in our hearts and the right determination against all error; only then will
“c. the Christians be left with the right given to them by Christ to test all doctrine, only then do we have
“d. the promise that in our doctrines, God will also give people and listeners who will accept it”. (19th Synodical Report of the Missouri Synod, p. 161)
And when we then compare his dogmatics and his many articles in Lehre und Wehre, to which we here particularly want to deal with because they are not equally accessible to everyone, his position is always quite firm and clear.
He is unreservedly and unequivocally committed to the supreme principle of theology, that Holy Scripture is the Word of God, infallible and inerrant in matters of doctrine and of life, but also in so-called minor matters, in historical, archaeological, geographical, astronomical and other matters, the absolute and sole source and norm of all teaching. This divine revelation in the Scriptures does not need first the human interpretation and explanation – Pieper could occasionally speak harsh words against the interpreters of Scripture, who by their explanations and glosses twist and distort the Scripture – but is in itself, in its own wording clear and understandable and therefore decides all questions of doctrine and life. And Pieper justified and defends this position again and again in the most sharp and emphatic way,
and would not be tired of reproaching modern theology, especially Germany, but also of America, with their apostasy from this supreme principle of theology, from the divinely inspired and therefore inerrant Scripture. [Page 725] He wrote, among other things, the article “Against the Later Falsification of the Scripture Principle” (30, 329), a continuation and further elaboration of the above mentioned article of 1884. Then when the German publication “Testimonies from the Evangelical Lutheran Church”, while finding broad agreement with Dr. Pieper’s convention lecture to the Synodical Conference of 1888On the Unity of Faith”, also criticised it in some points, precisely in the main point, Pieper treated this in detail in a special article [LuW 35 (1889), 265 ff.]: “The Scripture Word as source and norm of all Christian doctrines, held against the criticism of Pastor [A.] Lieberknecht and the Principles of Modern Theology”. [Full German text] Pastor Lieberknecht, influenced in this point by modern theology, had particularly objected to the sentences of the paper in which Pieper had said:
“We need in all doctrines only to confirm [nachzusagen, or repeat] what God’s Word so clearly says to us.” “All uncertainty and distraction in matters of Christian doctrine comes only from the fact that one sets aside the clear Word of God and does not want to say what the Word of God says.” The reviewer had described this as a lightly, less valued art and even let the irony take a bit of rein. Then Pieper replied as follows – and we would like to print the whole version with its clear refutation of the popular objections –:
“How is this repeating of the Word of God for revealed doctrine meant? Pastor Lieberknecht can not attribute folly to us, as if we merely wanted to speak of spiritual things in words of Scripture, and if he wished to do so, it would be in conflict with our own explanations given in detail in the report. We are talking about a mere repeating of what is revealed in God’s Word, in the sense that no preacher or teacher should add anything of his own to the teaching of Christian doctrine, but merely present what is revealed in the clear Word; we speak so particularly in contrast to modern theory and practice, that the individual articles of the Christian doctrine are not taken from the clear words of Scripture which reveal the doctrine, but must first be found by certain general Christian principles by way of construction.  
= = = = = = = =  continued in Part 4  = = = = = = = =
Once More to John 6:
The last point Pieper makes against “modern theory and practice” directly addresses the danger of Dr. David P. Scaer's use of John 6 to support the doctrine of Holy Communion beyond the very Words of Institution – the “clear words of Scripture”.  I remember to this day, from the days of my youth, being taught in confirmation class that Communion was based on just those Words, God's clear Words: “This Is My Body, This Is My Blood”.  Prof. Scaer's work only makes me think these clear words of institution are not enough…  to believe them.  Could it rather be that Prof. Scaer is weak in his “sacramental theology”? 
To Prof. David Scaer: Don't you believe the clear Words of Institution?
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

There was no hesitation or unclearness in Dr. Franz Pieper's teaching.  That is why, in other words (ref. this blog series):
“God’s Word and Luther’s Doctrine Pure
Shall To Eternity Endure.”
In the next Part 4...

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments only accepted when directly related to the post.