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Friday, July 20, 2018

Piepkorn 2: new “Archway” title?; Kolb's reverence

      This concludes from the previous Part 1 where I defend against the most recognized name among Concordia Seminary's 40+ professors who were censured in 1973 - Arthur Carl Piepkorn.
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      In 1893, the Presbyterians “defrocked and excommunicated (expelled)Prof. Charles Augustus Briggs from the Presbyterian church.  But in 1973 the LC-MS only wanted to remove Arthur Carl Piepkorn from his teaching post and would not excommunicate him. According to a report (p. 1; also here) in Piepkorn's “biography”, the LC-MS even wanted to grant him an “honorary retirement” instead of a reprimand.

Today's LC-MS teachers and administrators are surely ready to make the following change to a prominent part of Concordia Seminary's structure in St. Louis:
Sadly, I am afraid this may indeed by true.

There seems to be no end to the appalling disregard for the Divinity of Holy Scripture in... today's LC-MS.  In his 1886 Foreword to Lehre und Wehre, p. 5-6, C.F.W. Walther lamented the appalling situation in Germany, that almost all of their theologians defended not the divinity but the “divine-human” nature of Holy Scripture (translation is mine):

Only this gives its sad special meaning, that this doctrine for the laity of the world has been presented by men who have hitherto been regarded by the lay people as believing, even orthodox and confessional theologians, indeed, men who, in this time of unbelief, still stand before the breach and make themselves as a wall against the infiltration of unbelief into the church. So the question of inspiration, which was already a burning one, has become the most burning question of our time. ... This is the deepest reason for the ever more complete apostasy of modern theology from the revealed divine truth and the complete transformation of the Christian religion into a human science.
Arthur Carl Piepkorn, in his October 1961 CTM essay “Walther and the Lutheran Symbols”, attempted to place the mediating German theologians as equals of Walther.  But Walther's description above of almost all of Germany's theologians perfectly describes Piepkorn himself and almost all of the theologians of... today's Lutheran Church-“Missouri Synod” – with very few exceptions.

If there is any doubt in anyone's mind about the reverence in today's LC-MS for Arthur Carl Piepkorn, those doubts may be wiped out after reading from the highly regarded and published Rev. Dr. Robert Kolb and his “Foreword” to Philip J. Secker's 2007 book The Sacred Scriptures and The Lutheran Confessions: Selected Writings of Arthur Carl Piepkorn:
  • pg ix: Piepkorn “...contributed significantly to the post-Vatican II ecumenical Spring,  in which Lutherans and Roman Catholics had gotten to know and understand each other better than at perhaps any time since the Reformation.”
  • pg ix: “…the integrity of his confession of the faith, and because of his sheer intellectual prowess. He combined breadth of knowledge in a number of fields with depth of knowledge in most of them to an extent that I have encountered in few other people.”
  • pg x: “…his astounding scholarly competence that fascinated and impressed me. He simply knew so much, and he knew how to bring it all together. He not only commanded information; he modeled for us what a person could do with information. He taught us something about thinking! He embodied Christian intellectual discipline. He personified the meeting of Jerusalem and Athens.” 
  • pg xiii: “Piepkorn’s summary, [in a 1954 CTM essay] which closed his lecture a half century ago remains a foundation for the on-going discussion of the source and fountain for all proclamation of God’s Word”.
  • pg xiv: “although he counseled against using the term ‘inerrancy,’ he warned against any denial of Biblical iner­rancy.”
According to Dr. Robert Kolb (p. xiv), Arthur Carl Piepkorn on Inspiration
“put the entire matter into its functional context within the entire body of public teaching”.
This bit of Dr. Kolb's judgment is explained by his apparent agreement with Piepkorn to counsel Lutheranism “against using the term ‘inerrancy’” while at the same time warning “against any denial of Biblical iner­rancy”.  What is clearly stated by this is that Piepkorn, and Kolb, do not not say that their teachers are to teach and defend inerrancy.  They are to “put the entire matter into its functional context within the entire body of public teaching” and not use the term “inerrancy”. (What fools do Piepkorn and Dr. Robert Kolb take their followers to be!?) —  How sad that Concordia Publishing House uses a comment by Dr. Robert Kolb (“A figure who dare not be ignored.”) to “promote” their Walther's Works series.

I continue this brief series on Piepkorn in the next Part 3...

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