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Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Walther As Theologian, a modern rendition: Reformation 501

[2019-02-25: this book available for purchase - see later blog post here.]
Dr. C.F.W. Walther as Theologian
by Dr. Franz Pieper
(Translation by Wallace H. McLaughlin; rendition: J. Lucas/GPP Publishing)
    As announced in a blog post earlier this month, on this 501st Anniversary of Luther's Reformation, it is fitting to publish again one of Pieper's greatest writings – a series on the father of the true Missouri Synod.  A reader of this blog noticed the great value in Pieper's series and took it upon himself to make a "Reader's Edition" so that it may be much more easily consumed.  It may  possibly also be put into a print format.  Although it came from the material on this blog site, yet oh! is it greatly enhanced and improved! 
      Walther has been generally publicized to the world by the English translation of his book The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel (or updated version Law and Gospel), yet this series by Pieper can be viewed as equally important for understanding Walther's theology.
      In case anyone wonders, I had no part in the production of this "modern rendition" – it is entirely the work of the gentleman named therein.
It is readily apparent the considerable effort that the editor put into this work.  Take a look at his page 4 and notice the professionalism ====>>>>:
Although the Greek/Hebrew words were omitted, one may still make use of my old online version with its hyperlinks to obtain these.
      I wonder that when the great B.B. Warfield asked Franz Pieper for more information on Walther, Pieper supplied him with just this information.  And I am certain that if McLaughlin's translation and this "modern rendition" by GPP Publishing were available, Pieper would have given him this.  I suspect that former President J.A.O. Preus would gladly read this.
      This blog post will be updated whenever any new information becomes available.  I personally am anxious that it be made available in a print format and would like to purchase multiple copies.
      What better way to celebrate Luther's Reformation @501 than to read (again), Pieper's masterful treatment of perhaps the greatest Lutheran theologian since... Martin Luther.  —  To obtain the PDF file for "Revision. 1.2" (198 pages), one may
download >>>  HERE  <<<. [purchase HERE]

On page 99, Pieper explains the greatness of Walther for us today, here and now:
Walther had Luther as his teacher 
especially also in this doctrine (of Justification), 
and gathered the luminous rays 
which the later teachers shed upon this doctrine into 
one beam of brilliant light.


Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Rom. 16:17 (# 4, today's LC-MS and "heresy"); Who is lukewarm? (Walther's answer)

    This concludes from Part 3 (Part 2, Part 1) with LC-MS VP Rev. David Benke who, in a well-publicized "New York City Prayer Service" of September 23, 2001, demonstrated the "new way of thinking" about Rom. 16:17, and offered prayer along with leaders of all the "major faiths" of the world, for all the world to see:
LC-MS V.P. Rev. David Benke
Prayer for America
2001, Yankee Stadium (C-SPAN, 0:23)
LC-MS V.P. Rev. David Benke said at this prayer service: "... join me in prayer on this field of dreams turned into God's house of prayer."   Benke's "field of dreams" is today's LC-MS "united church".
      In contrast to today's LC-MS, the editor of The Confessional Lutheran, (1962, v. 23, p. 125), in the same 1962 article reporting LC-MS VP Theo. Nickel's charge of "Heresy" against the old teaching, gave voice to C.F.W. Walther in the matter of unionism, syncretism, prayer fellowship.  This was from a sermon of Walther, and rather than use the editor's translation, I will use Pastor Donald Heck's translation of Walther's Epistle Sermons (3rd Sunday After Epiphany, p. 81), emphases mine:
A church which wants to make peace by yielding part of the truth and declaring that false doctrine is just as permissible in the church as the true doctrine, according to God’s Word such a church is a house which consists of whitewashed walls which are neither built of stone nor erected upon a firm foundation; any wind can blow it down, any rain wash it away. Such a church is more dangerous than the most deceitful sect; for at least they recognize it as true that only pure doctrine should be preached in a church; but such a united church rests upon the quicksand that one absolutely can not find and have the truth, to say nothing of having to struggle for it. — C.F.W. Walther
From that same sermon (p. 80), Walther says:
About such people indifferent in religion the Lord says in Revelation: "I would that thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth." Rev 3:15-16. Such lukewarm people are more opposed to Christ than the known enemies of the truth.
Now who is teaching and preaching "heresy"?  And who is "lukewarm"… today's LC-MS or the Old Synodical Conference?

Monday, October 22, 2018

Pieper — Rom. 16:17 (# 3, How division is removed); "Heresy!", "scholastic confessionalism!"?

(2018-11-07: corrected sermon in one place, in red text: the word "no" added in 1st paragraph)
      This continues from Part 2 (see also Part 1), Prof. Franz Pieper's sermon before the Synodical Conference convention of 1912. — This essay pin-points one of the great differences between the New (English) Missouri (LC-MS) and the Old (German) Missouri.  One may trace the dramatic change from the agreement within the Synodical Conference of 1912 to today's LC-MS by the following:
  1. 1950: Pres. John Behnken published to the Synod Prof. Martin Franzmann's essay Exegesis on Romans 16:17 ff.  Although it concluded that “the interpretation traditional in our circles is essentially sound”, yet in its "Conclusion" it distanced itself from the previous understanding in three "nuanced" points.
  2. 1962: In a National Lutheran Council news release of Oct. 25, 1962, it was reported that the Second Vice-President of the LC-MS, Theo. Nickel, D.D., instructed the American Lutheran Church at its convention in Milwaukee (Confessional Lutheran, v. 23, p. 125): "that insistence on complete agreement in doctrine and practice as necessary for fellowship or even possible in this life 'has its roots in heresy.'"
  3. 1970: (a) Valparaiso U. president O. P. Kretzmann stated in a letter to the Editor of CHIQ (Nov. p. 189) as one of 44 protesters ("Statement of the 44") against a "traditional interpretation" said "Such a simple little thing as the interpretation of Romans 16:17-18 we had to defend with our very lives."; (b) The difference is perhaps expressed most clearly in a Master of Divinity thesis at Concordia Seminary by John J. Marschausen entitled “Dr. Adolph A. Brux and Prayer Fellowship in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.” The abstract speaks of "... the shift within Synod from a strictly 'scholastic confessionalism' to a more 'evangelical confessionalism'. ... the very real struggle for vision between those sincerely fighting to maintain traditional attitudes and those open to new ways of thinking.'"
Heresy! – that is the 1962 LC-MS term for complete agreement in doctrine and practice. And to reinforce that pronouncement, the charge one still hears today is that of 'scholasticism' or 'scholastic confessionalism'! May the reader beware!... for Holy Scripture (and Luther and Walther) says that the "sheep" (that's us) must judge, by a plain reading of the words of Scripture, the doctrine, and they therefore must determine who is actually speaking for the Bible: Old Synodical Conference / Old Missouri or the New LC-MS?  — The "struggle for vision" was largely over by the 1947 Missouri Synod Centennial celebration and a new name was chosen to mark the "new thinking": 
Lutheran Church—“Missouri Synod”
"Open to new ways of thinking"
      But now back to the "old paths", the Christian, biblical (not the so-called "scholastic" or "traditional") confessionalism of the Old Missouri — in the concluding Part 3:
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Opening Sermon (on Ro. 16:17)
Delivered by Dr. F. Pieper.
(Translation by Pastor Bryce Winter, ELCR 1997)
(continued from Part 2)
3. How division is to be removed

Who places at our disposal a means, an effective means, to remove division? Who shows us the way how this offense of division in Christendom can be prevented? The Apostle indicates the means. The means is just as simple as it is thoroughly effective. He says: “Mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to [Ed. alongside of] the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.” If people appear in the Christian Church who teach something other than Christ’s Word and refuse to be instructed, then Christians should not stand with such people, but isolate them, have no fellowship with them, but separate from them. This is to be done in the manner prescribed by God. Had the Christians from the very beginning and of every time obeyed this simple and clear divine instruction, then there would be no division in Christendom, but entire Christendom would be completely united. Where there are no buyers, there is also no market. The Arian division in the Fourth Century would not have originated, if the Christians of that time had submitted to this divine instruction in regard to Arius who denied the eternal deity of Christ, instead of adhering to him. The offense of Rome would not have arisen and would not have spread over the entire world, if the Christians had shunned the pope as an abomination and had given him the true title, instead of calling him “holy father”, who under the name of Christ secured control for himself in the church with his own word. The division at the time of the Reformation would not have occurred, if the Christians had avoided Zwingli and his adherents, who did not continue in the words our Lord Jesus Christ concerning the Lord’s Supper and Baptism. There would be no division in the American [p. 12] Lutheran church, if Christians had kept a distance from the people who bring their own word concerning the (doctrines of the) Christian Church and the Office of the Ministry, concerning conversion and the election of grace.  In short, avoiding those who teach other than Christ’s Apostles, that is the simple, certain and effective means prescribed by God to remove division in Christendom. According to God's Word those who teach a different kind of doctrine arise in the Christian Church with God’s permission not for the purpose that one holds himself to them, but for the purpose that one avoids them. How the apostle expressly impresses (this on us): “For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you” (1 Cor.11:19). This lesson Christians must learn constantly from God's Word. But instead of following this simple and completely effective way prescribed by God, one attempts ways devised by men which only makes evil worse. Especially one seeks the way that one exempts (releases) each other from continuing in all doctrines of God's Word. One calls that unity, what according to God's Word is division!

Against the treatment which is prescribed by God’s Word for those who teach a different doctrine one raises several objections. One says: The people who do not continue in all parts of God's Word, but teach differently, are often still learned, scientific, educated people, concerning whom one also can not deny their honest intentions. One must still however have respect for the knowledge and the earnestness and good will of these people. Respect for those who teach a different doctrine — that is truly an essential sign of our time. This whole view is against God's Word. In vain do we find respect for those who teach a different doctrine in Holy Scripture . What their science and knowledge arrives at, the apostle says thus: “If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing” (1 Tim. 6:3,4). Such a one pretends knowledge of divine things, that he does not even have, and in self deception regards his ignorance as knowledge. And what their noble motives involve, the Apostle in our text says about those who teach a different doctrine the following: “For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly.” In these words it is not being said that in all cases they are coarse gluttons and live in great sins of greed and of the flesh. But it is indeed said in these words that in all cases they do not think of Christ, but of their own selves, they do not want to explain Christ’s Word, but their own opinion, they have not the Christian Church, but their own glory or their own party in mind. The Lord says: “He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory” (John 7:18). That is a powerful text that we should all indeed take to heart! Only in so far as someone does not have his own interest, but has Christ’s interest alone and believes His Word, he is also truly and without injustice [hypocrisy, Ed] for Him, that is, he also speaks God’s Word and not his own word.

But is not the avoiding of all those who teach a different doctrine an unattainable, ideal situation? So men judge different than the Apostle. [p. 13] The Apostle does not speak of an unattainable ideal, which is suspended in the mind and remains in the mind, but of a feasible and an accomplished practice, when he admonishes the Christians: “Mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to [Ed. alongside of] the doctrine which ye have learned, and avoid them”! — Yet one calls out: How can Christians — the simple [Ed. uneducated, plain] Christians — recognize with certainty those who teach a different doctrine and distinguish between truth and error? The simple Christians can do exactly that. Their Saviour, who calls them to continue in His Word, has also given them the means in their hands for this purpose. The Holy Scriptures, the Word of the Prophets and Apostles, is for the Christians not a collection of riddles, but a lamp for their feet and a light for their way. Christians can only then err in their thoughts, in their speech and in their judgment, if they put the light of the Word of God under the bushel. If they use their Light and Right, if they hear and believe what their Lord speaks, then they will know the truth, and the truth will them free from all the slavery of the doctrine of men. The LORD says expressly, that His sheep recognize their Shepherd’s voice. But the voice of the stranger they do not know, but flee before him (John 10:3-5). Let us only remind each other, that we are to let the Word of Christ dwell richly among us, then it also makes the simple wise.

Finally one still objects: But the success! The success of preventing division in this manner is however a very doubtful one. One must despair of success, if one looks at the past and views the present. The success, dear fathers and brethren, is not our matter, but God’s matter, that we this manner which God has prescribed create unity and remove division. Besides we need not ourselves also complain about success. The Synodical Conference has not produced division, but has brought about a gathering together. It has grown steadily in spite of defections (losses) from it, and it is still the most numerous Lutheran church body in the United States. From the very first one has prophesied our downfall. In the last months one has repeated this prophecy. It will not become true. Above all we need to ask God for two things. In the first place for humility. It is not due to our merit, but alone to God’s grace that we do not teach other doctrines [Ed. false doctrines], but that we confess God's Word. Also this humility should be noticeable in everything that we speak and write. Even though we certainly have the sinful flesh in us, yet we should not fight in a fleshly manner. Also we do not want everyone who falls into error occasionally, immediately to be treated as a false teacher. Is it not a miracle, Luther explains, that someone in these high (great) things, which are so foreign to us by nature, sometimes has one’s own thoughts and perhaps blunders (errs) in the words. Luther confesses that for himself, and we will not refrain from the same confession. However we should not give in to our own thoughts, but immediately again seize hold of God’s [p. 14] Word and thereby resist all our own thoughts and all perverse speech. To that end we should in humility help each other. Secondly, we need to ask God for His grace that just as we are to have humble heart, so also we are to testify with clarity and with determination to the doctrine of the Apostles and Prophets and uncover and refuse foreign doctrine. In this way we strive in the right manner for the unity of the Christian Church and for the removal of destructive division. May God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, to whom be the highest praise in eternity, bring that about!  Amen.
= = = = = = = = =  End of sermon  = = = = = = = = =
      How was it that I stumbled onto this translation of Pieper's sermon?  It was from reading again Prof. Mark Braun's A Tale of Two Synods (p. 209), especially his report of the reprint of Pieper's sermon in the WLS theological journal in 1957.  This blog has pointed out serious concerns with the theology of today's WELS, but I must confess that Prof. Braun's book appears to be the best book currently available concerning true 20th century Church History. It seems to be the only history that gives voice to the judgments of the great Prof. Siegbert Becker who left the LC-MS. Braun's history is certainly much better than that of C.S. Meyer, better than August Suelflow or Todd Peperkorn, or... even of Armin Schuetze's work.

==>> To Prof. Braun:
Because of your book (and other readings), many of the supporting documents and publications pertaining to the downfall of the Old Missouri Synod and The Synodical Conference are being uploaded to Archive.org.  In particular, your extensive use of the journal The Confessional Lutheran showed a need for its wider availability (and others) and will now be immediately available. Anyone reading this book and interested in reading the actual documents may want to first check availability here.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
      Of course the doctrines concerning "church fellowship" will always loom large, and today's LC-MS demonstrates that it is in need of true counsel.  The father of the Missouri Synod has much to offer it, in the concluding Part 4...

Friday, October 19, 2018

Pieper — Rom. 16:17 (# 2, How division is judged)

      This continues from Part 1, Prof. Franz Pieper's sermon before the Synodical Conference convention of 1912. — Some years ago, a well-educated pastor of the ELCA told me "... you are the only person I know who studies extensively all of Old Missouri theological history".  Of course he is not correct, in part because this sermon was translated in Australia, not in America.  Apparently there are some in Australia who prefer to stay with "Old Missouri" and those faithful teachers in Australia who did not bow down to modernism.  —  We continue with Pastor Bryce Winter's translation of
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
Opening Sermon (on Ro. 16:17)
Delivered by Dr. F. Pieper.
(Translation by Pastor Bryce Winter, ELCR 1997)
(continued from Part 1)
2. How division is to be judged (p. 10)

In our time one is not free from self contradiction in the judgment of division in the Christian Church. On the one hand, one mourns the division and emphasizes -- correctly --, how much more the Christian Church could accomplish, if it was not divided, but also externally was completely united. On the other hand, one however also often speaks, as if division does not have much significance, yes indeed even as if something good is intended by God. Every church body [Ed. communion] has its particular gifts and preferences. That is perverted human judgment. The Apostle’s judgment reads differently. He says: “Mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to (alongside of) the doctrine which ye have learned.” He does not call those who cause division something good or also merely indifferent, but an offense. Already the mere fact of division is an offense for the world and for weak Christians. The world thereby excuses its unbelief and weak Christians are misled from the faith. Even more the offense is evident, when we add that those who are causing the divisions have originated through departing from the doctrine of Christ. Different doctrine is brought as Christ’s Word, is a hit in the face of Christ, who wants to teach and rule the Church through His Word. Different doctrine brought as Christ’s Word, is also a hit in the face of the Christian, whose Christian dignity and Christian glory exist in this that they have not submitted to the word of men, but have submitted alone to Christ’s Word. And also finally: Different doctrine brought as Christ’s Word, can always only bring harm to souls. It is a question of life and death. The word of men, even if it be so well intended, can never save a single person of the human race dead in sins. God's Word alone can do that. Every word of men in the Christian Church is like grass and all his glory is like the flower of grass. The grass withers and the flower decays (falls away), when men also flatter themselves that they could bring light to the whole world by their “understanding” or “further development” or “supplementing” of Christian doctrine. Only God’s Law, in so far as it is taught without weakening [watering it down, Ed.] and human addition, makes men to be truly poor sinners. Only God’s Gospel, in so far as it is proclaimed without being intermingled with the works of this Law, produces faith in Christ, confers the highest good on earth, the certainty of grace and salvation, and gives power and joy to walk the narrow way to eternal life. Every alteration of the Gospel through admixture of the works of men, whether one directly calls it merit or only right behaviour, is poison and death for the spiritual life, places itself as an obstacle, as a trap, as an offense between mankind and the grace and salvation obtained for them by Christ. Therefore the zeal of the Apostle that he pronounces the curse over all those who teach the Gospel of Christ different than he has taught it (Gal. 1:8). (p. 11)

Yet, aren’t there then any Christians in church bodies who do not continue in all parts of the Apostle’s word? Do we condemn all, do we deny salvation to all those who depart from God’s Word in any point? This judgment one assigns to us, but unjustly. We know from God's Word: there is in certain doctrines an erring out of weakness whereby Christianity can exist, if the person in his heart is a poor sinner and trusts alone in Christ as his Saviour. So many take part in external division, but continue at the same time to cling to Christ in their hearts. We think of the two hundred, who, called from Jerusalem, went with Absalom and knew nothing about the evil matter (2 Sam. 15:11). Of this fact the Apostle also points out in our text, when he speaks of “innocent hearts,” who “through sweet words and excellent speech” to whom division is an offense. God wants to have no other doctrine in the Church than His Word and fellowship with those who teach otherwise is an evil association forbidden by God and a constant danger for souls.
= = = = = = = = =  concluded in the last Part 3  = = = = = = = =

      In the concluding Part 3, Pieper turns to what is on the mind of every Christian, the Scripture's direction on how division is to be removed.  Only God's Word can supply that answer...

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Pieper's sermon — Rom. 16:17 (1912 Synodical Conference), Part 1

      In a May 2018 blog I lamented that there were so few sermons of Pieper that found their way into publication.  But I recently discovered another sermon obtained in 1997 from Australian Pastor Bryce Winter (ELCR — Evangelical Lutheran Congregations of the Reformation) who translated it.  
      Another condensed translation of this same sermon was published in C. S. Meyer's Moving Frontiers, pp. 288-290.  And it has come to my attention from Mark Braun's A Tale of Two Synods, p. 209, that the Wisconsin Synod reprinted, possibly in English translation, this sermon in their Theologische Quartalschrift, vol. 54, July 1957.  This shows the notoriety this sermon achieved in the 20th century among Lutherans of the Old Synodical Conference before its demise.  Oh, but the subject matter was to become far from popular and indeed has become a major issue in church fellowship matters!  I will touch on this later in Part 3...
      This sermon will be presented in three parts due to its length.  One will note Pastor Winter's usual method of inserting alternate translations in parentheses for possible better understanding of the original German words.  I have made only minor edits.  Now with thanks to Australia...
Pr. Bryce Winter

==========  (p.7)  ==========
Opening Sermon (on Ro. 16:17)
Delivered by Dr. F. Pieper.
(Translation by Pastor Bryce Winter, ELCR 1997)
-----------

Text: Romans 16:17-18: Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

Venerable fathers and brethren!  In Christ, dearly beloved hearers!

If we look around in visible Christendom, then we are chiefly confronted by one extremely distressing scene: its division. Those who in the same way call themselves after Christ's name, are divided into a number of groups (factions) which are themselves engaged in mutual combat. This state of affairs is rightly deplored by all sides as miserable (pitiful) and is described as extremely harmful for church and world. Also we agree with full conviction in lamenting this state of affairs. But we are moved to examine the matter still closer when we hear and read the accusation that also just we Lutherans of the Synodical Conference cause and continue division by the position of our church, namely, in this way that we require the adherence to all parts of Christian doctrine and do not cultivate church fellowship with false doctrine. We reject the accusation raised against us as unjust and maintain the opposite with all determination that by the position of our church we are not bringing about division, but union and agreement. Who decides the propositions in this conflict? God's Word. God's Word clearly answers and decides all questions that have to be answered and decided in the church until the last day. This is also the case concerning the division within the Christian Church. The entire Scriptures are full of instruction concerning this point. In the text which has been read out we have

The instruction of the Apostle Paul concerning division in the Christian Church.

From this instruction we emphasize especially three points:

[1]   How division originates;
[2]  How division is to be judged; and
[3]  How division is to be removed.

[1] How division originates [p. 8]

First of all, we learn from our text something for our comfort. Our text reminds us, namely, of the fact that division in the Christian Church is nothing new. When we in our time lament over this division and have to endure this division, then we should not think that something strange is happening to us. The misery of division occurred also in the church of the Apostles and before the eyes of the Apostles. That also now arises (follows from) out of our text. When the Apostle still so urgently admonishes the Roman congregation with a final detailed explanation of Christian doctrine, to direct their attention on the people who are causing the division and gives instruction to isolate such people, then he is not fighting a scarecrow (dummy), but real existing dangers and actions which have already happened at other places.

However above all things the Apostle now teaches us about the important point how or whereby division originates in the Church. He says: “Mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to (alongside of) the doctrine which ye have learned.” Thus division is then caused, division then originates, when people come forward (arise) in the Christian Church, who alongside of the doctrine, that is, teach something different than Christ's Apostles, speak something different in the Christian Church than Christ's Word and find supporters for this (error). This results from the nature of the Christian Church. The Christian Church here on earth is a completely unique Kingdom, absolutely distinct from the kingdoms of this world. The different kingdoms of this world have different rulers and laws and accordingly are ruled differently. The Christian Church here on earth is not man's, but Christ's Kingdom and has in all countries and for all times until the last day only one Ruler, Christ, and only one Law for its Kingdom by which it is taught and ruled: that is Christ's Word, the Word, that He has given to the Church through His Apostles and Prophets. There is no place in the Christian Church for a word alongside of (Christ's Word) and for a Ruler alongside of (Christ).  Christ says in regard to His Church: “One is your Master, even Christ” (Matt. 23:8), and therefore inculcates (the following) as a Law in His Kingdom: “If ye continue in My Word, then are ye My disciples indeed” (John 8:31). And that was valid not merely for the time, when Christ walked on earth, but for the Church of all times and at all places until the last day. In His High Priestly prayer Christ describes the Church until the last day as a community (fellowship) of people, who through their — that is, the Apostles' — word will believe on Him, John 17:20. St. Paul describes the Church as a house that is “built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets”, Eph. 2:20, and says of his own teaching activity: “I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought [Greek: worked, Ed.] by me,” Romans 15:18. St. Peter lays down the principle for all [p. 9] teaching in the Christian Church: “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles (Word) of God,” 1 Pet. 4:11. The unity of the Christian Church in all different kinds of circumstances, times, nations and languages consists in its adherence to the Word of Christ and its separation from those who cause divisions in departing from this Word. In order to preserve this unity and to prevent division, the Apostle Paul therefore wherever he found himself sent to the congregations and to their teachers the message and the admonition never “to teach anything different”, but to hold fast steadfastly to the form (model, pattern, example) of sound (wholesome) words (2 Tim.1:15) which they have learned from the Apostles of Christ. From Athens he writes to the Thessalonians: “Stand fast and hold the traditions [oral teachings of God's Word which were proclaimed, Ed.] which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle [letter, Ed.],” 2 Thess. 2:15. He left Timothy at Ephesus in order to command (order) some that they “teach no other doctrine,” 1 Tim. 1:3. From Corinth he writes to Rome: “Avoid them”, those who teach another doctrine! Romans 16:17. From Rome he writes to Galatia and admonishes the Galatians that they have allowed themselves to be turned away to another kind of gospel, which however is not another (gospel) of the same kind (as Paul taught), Gal. 1:6 ff. And when he travels back from Europe to Jerusalem, he calls together the elders [pastors, Ed.] of the congregation of Ephesus to Miletus and warns them against people who will arise out of their own midst and will speak perverse doctrines to draw away disciples for themselves, Acts 20:29 ff.

Hence it is now clearly evident, when doctrine comes into consideration, on whom the cause (blame) for division falls in the Christian Church, namely, not on those who hold fast immovably to the doctrine of the Apostles, but rests on those who depart from it and teach a different [doctrine, Ed.].  We Lutherans of the Synodical Conference are now certain of it and have proven it before the church, that our doctrine, particularly also in the points raised in dispute, is not own word, but God's Word. We could and can in all points place the finger on God's Word and says: “There it is [Ed. stands] written.”  It is a complete overturning of the usage of Biblical language, if one claims that through our insistence on the pure, unadulterated teaching of the Word God we are causing and maintaining division in the church.

In our time one particularly demands “doctrinal freedom.” There is doctrinal freedom in the state, furthermore it is not a matter of the state to teach and to govern the Christian Church [Ed. in spiritual matters]. However there is no doctrinal freedom in the Christian Church, because in the Christian Church according to God’s command and order everyone who steps forward to teach should speak God's Word. Whoever in the Christian Church makes for himself the claim of doctrinal freedom, thereby demands the right to cause division in the Christian Church and set himself up alongside of Christ and revolts against Christ as the One Head and Ruler in the Church.

However with this we have already come to the second point concerning which we want to be instructed by the Apostle Paul, namely, how division is to be judged.
= = = = = = = =  continued in the next Part 2  = = = = = = = =

In the next Part 2, we learn from the Bible how division is to be judged...

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Reformation 501: Walther as Theologian (new book) - Part 1

      One year ago true Lutherans were celebrating the 500th Anniversary of Luther's Reformation.  The blog series I published then was a defense of Luther's doctrine and its "identity" with the Word of God. But the writer of the essay came not from Luther's time, or from the Age of Orthodoxy, or the 21st century. Prof. Eduard Pardieck wrote the essay in the 20th century as a true member of "Walther's Church", the Missouri Synod from above.  I have gone back to that series on occasion to strengthen my Lutheran faith when I grow weary of our modern theologians of today.
      Now a year later, 501 years after Luther's Reformation, I have been informed of a project to take an earlier serial publication from my blog, "C.F.W. Walther as Theologian", and present it in a much more readable format. A reader who has benefited from this series has recognized the need for a compiled and formatted version suitable for printing and to be put into a book format.

      In 1992, J. A. O. Preus II, former President of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, wrote a Preface for Essays for the Church, the Concordia Historical Institute / Concordia Publishing House collaboration of "all the essays which Walther delivered to... conventions" translated into English.  In his preface Preus confessed (emphases mine):
"Sad to say, though I had the privilege of teaching theology and serving as president of the Missouri Synod, I never really felt that I knew much about Walther ... as a theologian on a broader basis, ... I did not know enough about Walther and was so poor in the language he used..."


President Preus was quite candid in his remarks and one wonders that he may have used better judgment in some of his weaker actions during the tumultuous period in LC—MS history had he given more attention to Walther, "the language he used" (German), and his theology.  Preus went on to express his elation over the 1992 appearance of these convention essays.  But perhaps he knew more than he realized when he published his 1971 book It Is Written.  I suspect that both Walther and Pieper would have commended him for this book. Concordia Publishing continues to offer this book, albeit only in a Kindle format for $10


But now although I had already published an online version of the English translation of Franz Pieper's series "C.F.W. Walther as Theologian", a new book is about to be presented that aids  J. A. O. Preus's great lament ... to know Walther as Theologian... better. --

It is planned to have this new work appear on this blog site ... look for it to appear on Reformation 501,
October 31, 2018.