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Monday, July 23, 2018

Piepkorn 3: “Lutherans only third”; “ambivalence”; “confessionalism”?; damnamus of Luther, Walther, Pieper and…

This continues from the previous Part 2 (& Part 1) where I defend against the most recognized name among Concordia Seminary's 40+ professors who were censured in 1973 – Arthur Carl Piepkorn († 1973).
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      Martin Luther condemned Duke George (as reported by Pastor C. J. Hermann Fick):
“Thus was fulfilled what he [Luther] had foretold: ‘I see that Duke George does not cease to persecute the Word of God, the preaching of that word, and the poor Lutherans …’”
I am one of those “poor Lutherans”. — In Philip James Secker’s essay at the CTS-FW 2009 “Annual Symposium on the Lutheran Confessions” p. 4, he proclaimed that (as also repeated by Prof. Erik Herrmann here at 16:32):
“Piepkorn’s most famous saying is: ‘We are Catholic Christians first, Western Catholics second, and Lutherans only third.
==>> I am one of Piepkorn's “third-rate Lutherans”.

“8th Wonder of the World”
This effrontery to Lutheranism that Arthur Carl Piepkorn plainly states is confirmed yet again in his writing in 1967 at the 450th anniversary of the Reformation where he refers to the annual celebration on October 31 of the same as (Plekon, Selected Writings, vol. 1 p. 89)
“the annual ambivalence with which a Lutheran theologian normally faces the last day of October.”
Ambivalence”?  And Piepkorn called himself a “Lutheran theologian”?  Maybe today's LC-MS should call October 31 their “Ambivalence Day” instead of “Reformation Day”, or maybe just... Halloween?

      Arthur Carl Piepkorn was officially ordered in 1973 to relinquish his post as a teacher at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. But then the seminary Board of Control wanted, by “honorably retiring” him, to soften this judgment.  It was reported (F. Danker, No Room In the Brotherhood, 1977, p. 179, Selected Writings, vol. 1pp. 300-301; confirmed here) that Piepkorn said:
It's an insult. They have no theological competence. How then can they retire me honorably? What does that say for my theology? I want to be retired dishonorably. — Arthur Carl Piepkorn 
      Piepkorn's followers will continue to justify Piepkorn by his so-called “confessionalism”.  But here is what Franz Pieper reports of C.F.W. Walther that will serve as an exact reply to the “confessionalism” of Arthur Carl Piepkorn (see here, Part 3b):
“Therefore Walther emphatically rejected the suggestion that only that is ‘Lutheran Church doctrine’ upon which our Church expresses herself in her Symbols.  No, every true Bible doctrine is Lutheran Church doctrine, even if it is not Lutheran Symbolical doctrine.”
As Martin Luther uttered his damnamus: “Damned is that love at the expense of doctrine”, so I say on the full authority of C.F.W. Walther:
Damned is that “confessionalism” at the expense of Holy Scripture!
      While working on this blog, I have also been translating C.F.W. Walther's much quoted 1886 “Foreword” to Lehre und Wehre and hope to publish it.  Walther lets loose on Germany's “scientific theologians” and blurts out a damnamus against them (p. 6German text):
Woe to him, who wants to be reckoned among the theologians and, on the contrary, thinks he must argue as such, above all, that science should remain fully free!
May Walther's condemnation now apply to... Arthur Carl Piepkorn. — I have not read of any LC-MS seminary teacher or Synod official publicly condemning the memory of Piepkorn.  And so on Walther's full authority, I will do it now. I will fulfill Arthur Carl Piepkorn's (reported) wish to be “retired dishonorably”...  I, as a “poor Lutheran”, as “only a third-rate Lutheran”, as a layman with “no theological competence”:
Piepkorn & Company destroyed the Christian faith of my youth!  He is to be charged with the “crimen laesae majestatis divinae”, because as Pieper elaborates “he actually repudiates and stands above God.” As Luther condemned the rage of Duke George against the “poor Lutherans”, so I do now the same for the rage of Arthur Carl Piepkorn
I, BackToLuther, 
a son of the Missouri Synod, 
all Christian memory of
Arthur Carl Piepkorn.

May he be remembered with revulsion!  — In Walther's essay is quoted a letter of Martin Luther that apparently has not been published in English translation.  And so I now will add one more post to my series on Arthur Carl Piepkorn, to “retire” him with my translation of this important letter... in the concluding Part 4.   (Part 1, Part 2)

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