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Monday, June 18, 2018

Pieper as Theologian-4: simple faith; infallibility; Warfield; Synergism?; Briggs heresy trial

[2018-06-20: corrected link to "Baptist" essay.]
      This continues from Part 3 (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 hear one of the greatest tributes given to Dr. Pieper apart from that of Prof. Wallace McLaughlin.  Listen now to the works of the greatest Christian theologian of the 20th Century... on sola Scriptura:
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Translation by BackToLuther. Original publication in CTM, vol. 2, October, 1931 (Part 1, p. 721-729); underlining follows original emphasis, comments in [ ] brackets, and all hyperlinks and highlighting are mine.

Dr. F. Pieper as Theologian.
by Prof. Ludwig Fuerbringer
(Part 4, cont'd from Part 3)

“We allow ourselves to add the pertinent statements from the report here. The report says: ‘If it was concerning dark human opinions or in hard-to-grasp philosophical problems, agreement would be impossible. But this is the agreement in the articles of the doctrine revealed by God Himself in Scripture.
And how is this doctrine revealed? Not in a way dark and incomprehensible. There is no need for great arts of men to recognize the revealed truth. (Page 726)
Here only simple faith in God’s Word is necessary. He who believes the Word of Scripture has the truth. It is not the case that in God’s Word only dark hints approach the truths of faith, and that people with their wisdom and art must construct the actual doctrines themselves. It is not that God the Lord in his revelation says only A, leaving the wisdom of men to say B and C, and thus to find the alphabet of Christian doctrine themselves. No, all articles of the Christian doctrine are revealed in Scripture in clear words. God has said in Scripture the whole ABCs of Christian doctrine. All that is required is acceptance of the revealed, of the repeating of what is said, of the simple faith ....
We are also accused of a tendency toward the papal infallibility if we assert that we have the truth in all the articles of the Christian doctrine, and thus in complete unity of faith. [ref. this blog post here] But this accusation can only be based on great ignorance or malice. [ref. Scaer’s similar charge against Pieper] The Pope claims that he, for his person, is infallible without, beside, even against God’s Word. We admit that we can be wrong in our person, and that if it comes down to us, we can only be wrong in spiritual matters.
But in doctrine we are not mistaken, but are infallible, inasmuch as we stand by God’s Word, as it is. We speak as God’s Word speaks. In all doctrines we only need to agree to what God’s Word so clearly recites [vorsagt]; that is our whole art. The Lutheran Church only claims to be in possession of the certain whole truth
Pieper then took an active part in the debate which was brought about by the modern decline of the Scripture principle. Because newer theology always asserted Luther’s supposedly “free” position on Scripture and the individual books of the Bible and made use of it, Pieper wrote “On Luther’s Doctrine of Inspiration” (31, 329; text file) and “On Luther’s Position on Scripture”  (42, 360) and showed clearly how superficial and unfounded the assertions found in modern dogmatics, treatises, and journals are.  
He was therefore also asked by the well-known conservative Presbyterian dogmatist at the Princeton Theological Seminary B. B. Warfield to present this matter in English, and thus was published in the Presbyterian and Reformed Review (4, 249) “Luther’s Doctrine of Inspiration. The German theologian Dr. Adolf Zahn gave an account of this article in a shortened version in his work, “Serious Attention to the Madness of Modern Criticism of the Old Testament” (New Series, p. 127). [ref. this blog post] Because one always cited the free form of the quotations in Scripture against verbal inspiration, so Pieper once examined this question and pointed out in “The Form of the Old Testament Quotations in the New Testament” (32, 77) that this free form does not overturn, but rather vastly confirms the biblical Lutheran doctrine of Inspiration. This is explained really satisfactorily only by the fact that the Holy Spirit, the author of the whole Holy Scripture, speaks through the writers of the New Testament and moves freely in the quotations and presides over His own Word. Pieper reported on “The Doctrine of Inspiration Among the Baptists” (32, 145;  text here);  
he treated “The Presbyterians and the Doctrine of the Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures” (39, 161; text here); he wrote about “The Latest Attack on the Doctrine of Inspiration in the Hanoverian State Church” (37, 225); he dismissed “Synergism in the Doctrine of Inspiration” (38, 193; text here); he showed how the “Defense of False Doctrine Entails the Falsification of the Scripture Principle” (51, 9; text here); and, on the other hand, he was happy to announce “A Commitment to the Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures” and to report that at the gathering of “Augustkonfernz”, widely known at that time, Pastor G. Schulze gave a lecture on the “Glory of Scripture as the Revelation of God”. in which he was unreservedly acquainted with the Christian doctrine of inspiration, but was of course also informed of opposition from the respected theology professor O. Zöckler in Greifswald (37, 353; ).
Because in the dispute over the doctrines of the election of grace and conversion and their foundation in Scripture it was also argued with the so-called analogia fidei, he spoke out in detail about “Use and Misuse of the Analogy of Faith” (49, 321). And the theses he set out on “Scripture and Analogy of the Faith” deserve to be reprinted and published again because they express the correct principles of Scripture interpretation so clearly and definitely. We therefore let them follow here.
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Synergism and Inspiration?

Fuerbringer gives a wonderful listing of Franz Pieper's great essays in Lehre und Wehre on Inspiration. And for some of these I had to investigate further.  Although “synergism” is normally associated with the Doctrine of Conversion (§ 12, Brief Statement), yet it was also applied by Pieper against errorists on Inspiration.  Prof. Theodore Engelder also recognized this and quoted Pieper's 1892 essay “Synergism in the Doctrine of Inspiration” in his book Scripture Cannot Be Broken, p. 327:
“Where Scripture speaks of the causa efficiens of Scripture only one factor is recognized, the divine factor. Scripture does not say: ‘All Scripture is given partly by inspiration of God, and partly it is produced by men,’ but only: ‘πᾶσα γραφὴ θεόπνευστος.’ [2 Tim. 3:16] The holy men that took part in this matter are characterized as instruments through whom God spoke. What resulted was not a writing which is half man’s word and half God’s, but Scripture, which is nothing but God’s word (cf. Matt. 1:22; 2:15, etc.; Heb. 10:15) and cannot be broken (John 10:35).” (Lehre und Wehre, 1892, p. 197.)
The Presbyterians & Inspiration: Briggs Heresy Trial
      When Fuerbringer tipped me off to Pieper's essay on the Presbyterians, I had to take the time to fully translate his comments on the famous “Briggs Heresy Trial”. I wondered that the strength that the Presbyterians showed in defrocking and excommunicating (expelling) Dr. Briggs was partly a result of  Franz Pieper's assistance to B. B. Warfield in 1890. —  O yes, the old German Missouri Synod had plenty to say about one of the most famous civil trials in history, the so-called ‘Monkey Trial’ and William Jennings Bryan.  But Franz Pieper also had a part in perhaps the most famous church trial in American history, the famous Briggs Heresy Trial of 1893.  And at the conclusion of this trial, the greatest Lutheran teacher in the world, Professor Franz Pieper, had the final word on its results.  But more than this, Pieper's comments have great application for today's Church.  And so this series on Fuerbringer's testimony will continue only after I publish this great article of Pieper: “The Presbyterians and the Doctrine of the Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures” — Then I will return to this series in the next Part 5 where we will hear Pieper's clear teaching on the “rule of faith” or the “Analogy of Faith”.

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