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Sunday, June 23, 2019

Memories 6: Pieper’s essays; 1st Brief Statement; Fürbringer called to faculty

      This continues from Part 5 (Table of Contents in Part 1), a series by Prof. Ludwig Fürbringer of his personal memories of the departed Franz Pieper in the 1931 Der Lutheraner magazine. — These "memories" of Fürbringer were wide-ranging.  To his credit, he recognized, to a certain extent, the greatness of Franz Pieper.  And his highlighting of Pieper's major essays delivered before Synod conventions gives us readers a true picture of that greatness.
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(page 266, col. 2)
Memories of Dr. Franz Pieper.
by Ludwig Fürbringer – [2.] (Part 6 of 16)

For three years I was allowed to study under Pieper and the other unforgettable members of the faculty: Walther, Günther, Schaller, Lange, and Stöckhardt, who at the time was not a full professor, but a so-called Professor extraordinarius and pastor of Holy Cross congregation. And I can safely say that I often looked up the notes that I made in the lectures of these men in later life and still occasionally use them today. The deepest stimulus emanated from these men on my whole theological, religious and personal life. And the same will be witnessed by the 3,394 candidates for preaching who made their examinations here in St Louis during the fifty-three years of Pieper’s activity, and who entered the service of our Church with only a few exceptions. Also then in the years 1885 to 1893, I have seen and heard Dr. Pieper nearly every year. So during the Synod of the year 1887 in Fort Wayne, Dr. Walther went to his blessed eternal home. Stöckhardt had stayed in St Louis to be close to Walther in his last days, while Pieper attended the Synod.
In 1888, he then delivered one of his many, (page 267, col. 1) beautiful synod essays at the Synodical Conference meeting in Milwaukee on the “Unity in Faith”, and I had the opportunity to hear it. At that time I was particularly interested to hear, in addition to Pieper, also for the first time Dr. A. Hönecke of the Wisconsin Synod, the keynote speaker with Pieper at the meeting, and the friendly discussions that both often had; but also Bente emerged at that time. In the years 1887 and 1889 I visited St Louis and at least I was allowed to visit my revered teachers briefly. In 1890, Pieper again came to the fore at the Delegate Synod in Milwaukee and, as at the 1884 meeting, presented one of his short, excellent papers, as well as in 1893 at the St Louis assembly. In 1884, the subject matter [“Scripture Doctrine”], suggested by the relations of the time, was the question of when only is a doctrine a doctrine of Scripture, namely, only if it is based on the express written Word, and what results therefrom. In 1890 he dealt with the theme: "The Gospel or the Pure Doctrine of Justification, the Source of Proper Enthusiasm and the Right Guide to All Work in the Kingdom of God";
In 1893 he gave an “Overview of Our Position in Doctrine and Practice, Which We Take as a Synod on the Surrounding Error and Abuse” [LCR translation], perhaps the most common and best-known of his papers, which I have in a handy separate print since then, and handed over or sent innumerable times to those who did not know our synod and sought information from me. But it was quite natural that, as a young pastor, I only greeted him and my other teachers on such occasions, and did not rob them of their time as they were busy and men in much demand. But from those years I have an opinion from Pieper's hand, in which he gave good, proven advice on behalf of the faculty for my then congregation and myself in a difficult marriage case. of Faculty”
There came, I would like to say like a flash of lightning from heaven, when I was already on my way to New York for a trip to Germany, the news of my election as a member of the St Louis Faculty, after Lange in October 1892 and Günther in May 1893 had blessedly gone home. When I think back now, I must still wonder as much as I did then that the choice fell on me.  And more than once I wondered what my former teachers, who in 1887 had appointed A. L. Graebner as the professor in the place of Schaller's professorship, had come to think of my choice in their heart. Nevertheless they all were so friendly, when I asked them in Chicago at the conference of professors of that year for their open expressions of opinion, to encourage me to accept the call. And so in August 1893 I joined the faculty as the youngest member, where after a few months already my longtime friend, and colleague Bente followed. From then on I have been able to teach and work at Dr. Pieper’s side for almost 38 years. And what I have learned from him in these many years dear and good, what I have learned from him to his death, remains one of the most pleasant memories of my life, about which I would like to write further next time. L[udwig] F[ührbringer].
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      Fürbringer reports that the relationship between Franz Pieper and the Wisconsin Synod's leader Adolf Hönecke was quite good – "the friendly discussions that both often had".  This is in stark contrast to the report of Wisconsin's historian J.P. Koehler.  It was claimed by Koehler that Hönecke told him privately in 1878 the following about the “Missourians” (History of the Wisconsin Synod, p. 153):
“There is something sectarian about them.” (the Missourians)
It would appear that either Hönecke was being duplicitous with Pieper or Koehler was intentionally creating discord between the two synods with his "history".  I am convinced by Fürbringer's account that relations were indeed quite good between the Missourians and Wisconsin, especially before Koehler gained ascendancy after the death of John Schaller in 1920.

      Fürbringer characterizes the earliest "Brief Statement" of 1893 as the "most common and best-known of his papers". I am providing an English translation by the LCR of this essay in 1971 here.  It is worthy of reading today to see a true Lutheran teacher lay down truly Christian assertions in defense of the faith.  This essay actually predates his 1897 writing that is considered by some, e.g. Dr. Lawrence Rast, as the first "Brief Statement".
      The "longtime friend, and colleague [Friedrich] Bente" is mentioned in this narrative. As I reviewed Old Missouri's history years ago, I wished that it had been Bente who wrote these memories of Pieper, as he was stronger than Fürbringer in upholding the pure Gospel and the divinity of Holy Scripture against erring American Lutherans. Bente is reported by his wife to have said this of Pieper's Dogmatik (Biography, p. 108):
“It was written by the right man, at the right time, in the right way. It leaves for the reviewer nothing but reiteration, emphasis, and enthusiastic acclaim.”
But since Bente passed away a few months before Pieper, we must settle on these memoirs of Fürbringer. It is indicative of today's LC-MS that Bente is given virtually no credit for his work on the Concordia Triglotta in the lastest Kolb-Wengert Book of Concord. Bente's masterful Historical Introductions, although sold by CPH, is almost universally faulted by its theologians. The newest Kolb-Wengert book, admitted to be a unionistic work, has "richer historical context" (sigh). — In the next Part 7…

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Memories 5: trained in Dogmatics by Walther; Greek & Latin: "like water"; captivating Pieper- Pastoral Conferences 1880/81

      This continues from Part 4 (Table of Contents in Part 1), a series by Prof. Ludwig Fürbringer of his personal memories of the departed Franz Pieper in the 1931 Der Lutheraner magazine. — Pieper is now looming larger – much larger – for the future of the Missouri Synod…
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(page 266, col. 1)
Memories of Dr. Franz Pieper.
by Ludwig Fürbringer – [2.] (Part 5 of 16)

In the autumn of 1878, the newly appointed professor of our St Louis seminary arrived here and was received with great pleasure. In the Der Lutheraner of October,  15 [p. 156] the blessed Professor M[artin] Günther, then editor of the paper, reports: “On October 1, our Concordia was filled with joy.  On the morning of this day, the newly elected Professor of Theology, Pastor Fr[anz] Pieper from Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Bell ringing soon announced his happy arrival, and there was a welcoming ceremony in the auditorium, which was opened and closed with song. The long-awaited one was warmly welcomed by the teachers as a new colleague, by the students as a teacher.”
Professor Pieper was particularly, as already indicated in the previous article, called for Dogmatics so that just one with younger strength was trained in this field under Dr. Walther while he was still strong,  even now at sixty-seven years old. And so Pieper would probably become his successor. That was a very wise thought of those who had to manage these things. What a splendid gift and excellent strength the synod had received, who then served our institute for fifty-three years and after Walther's death in May 1887 also took over his main subjects at seminary: Dogmatics and Pastoral Theology. It will always be the right thing for all our educational institutions to provide for men of advanced age to have middle-aged and younger ones to work under them. I have observed more than once that the capacity of an institution has been going down for several years because this has not been observed and carried out in due time. And it is also an advantage to provide in this way some continuity in an institution.
But at first Walther was still in full force, and the young, newly-elected professor had other subjects to teach. Although he would always organize a dogmatic Repetitorium (repetition) [de.Wikipedia: the repetition of knowledge, usually to pass an exam] with the uppermost seminary class, Pieper’s main strength in those early years related to other subjects. Thus, in the years when I became his student, in the lowest seminary class he presented the Gospel of John and taught in hermeneutics, and in the middle seminary class he presented the Letter to the Romans and selected Psalms.

In the dogmatic Repetitorium which he directed, he proceeded, as far as I remember, in various ways; partly he discussed important dogmatic objects with the members of the class; in part he read with them selected passages from the famous, excellent work against the papacy, the “Examination of the Council of Trent” by Martin Chemnitz, the “second Martin” of our church. Pieper was still a young man when I entered the seminary in 1882, and I know that some in the preceding classes were older than their teacher, and he knew with youthful enthusiasm, which remained until his advanced age, to recite the objects and to warm our hearts for theology. I remember especially how he made an impression on me and others in my class in the first few weeks by his mastery of the basic Greek text of the New Testament, again a well-known ability that could be perceived in him throughout his life. He might begin an the exposition of the Bible text perhaps with a sentence in German, but then completed it, without looking at the text, in the words of the Greek original.
Therefore, it was also later written by students of the seminary to the students at our colleges that the professors in St. Louis spoke Greek and Latin fluently like (page 266, col. 2) water, which was especially true of Pieper and Stöckhardt. Pieper used Latin indeed for years, as did Walther before him, for certain sections of Dogmatics. And Stöckhardt demanded of us students to translate from the basic Hebrew and Greek text into Latin, an exercise for which I am still grateful today and owe much.
This made a special impression on probably the oldest Lutheran pastor of our country a few years ago. Dr. G. U. Wenner of New York, who visited our seminary and the Holy Cross Church during a church meeting in St Louis, was quite taken by Dr. Pieper in his lectures. And on his return to New York, he read a paper for his conference of the United Lutheran Church [see #15.] on the Lutheran Church in St Louis, also writing down Dr. Pieper's two short sentences on what Lutheranism actually is. [see also Wenner’s book The Lutherans of New York by George Unangst Wenner, search "Missouri"]

When Professor Pieper entered his work in St Louis, as the readers of our church papers know, the heavy, hot doctrinal dispute about the doctrine of the election of grace began, and it was granted to the young teacher to step immediately into the front row of fighters from the very beginning. One can say that Walther, Stöckhardt and Pieper led the main battle in those years. And from the very beginning, in Pieper's oral and written exposition, the quality which distinguished him in all his long teaching—the clear, simple, definite, fixed exposition of the Christian doctrine, especially of the doctrine of grace— came to light.


When I heard and saw Pieper for the first time, I was still a Secondary at Fort Wayne. The memorable synod of 1881 with the adjoining Pastoral Conference met in the old St. Paul's Church. [see this blog] It still stands before my soul quite vividly, how in this great, extremely excited and attentive assembly, Walther, Stöckhardt and others spoke from our synod.  But also our opponents at that time, formerly from our own synod, came to speak. Us college students at that time did not understand too much of these things, but always the whole appearance, the whole presentation of Pieper captivated and we were glad to get him once as a teacher. How skillfully he knew how to wield the pen then, as in the years of Lehre und Wehre, especially from 1881 on, and actually then to his blessed death. It  is commonly known in our synod and far beyond its borders how one article after another was carried out to testify and defend the biblical-Lutheran truth.
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      Fürbringer praises the process of training the young men while the "men of advanced age" are still able to provide this, and thus promoting "continuity".  This is certainly praiseworthy.  But did Fürbringer miss here an opportunity to also point out the importance of maintaining and passing on the Synod's orthodoxy, i.e. the "doctrine pure"?

      The proceedings of the Pastoral Conference of 1881 mentioned above has been translated into English and published in the recently released CPH book Walther's Works: Predestination.  This book also has the earlier 1880 Pastoral Conference proceedings as well (Chapter 2).  These 2 translations are perhaps the greatest new material that the CPH "Walther's Works" series has produced.  Almost all of the previous material was only a republishing of works already published before. I had these 2 items on my list of projects to be translated by myself given their immense importance in the great controversy of American Lutheranism,. I knew 20 years ago when I had them machine translated that these conferences were a display of the greatness of the "Missourians" when their teachers gave an impassioned plea to their opponents within the synod. So I was shocked to find that CPH had actually produced major new translations for this series.  Although this volume of "Walther's Works" is relatively small, it's price is worth every penny because of these two conference reports.  They show the great teachers of Missouri at their finest, defending not only "predestination", but also the Lutheran Doctrine of Justification. I hope to produce a future blog post on the rich material in these.  For German speaking readers, these books are available at Archive.org:1880 here, and 1881 here). I have also prepared full OCR German text documents with hyperlinks: 1880 here, 1881 here. — In the next Part 6, among other things, we will see a list of Pieper's great essays to the Synod.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Memories 4: Concordia student; pastor Wisc; Walther's recommendation: Concordia professor; August Pieper

      This continues from Part 3 (Table of Contents in Part 1), a series by Prof. Ludwig Fürbringer of his personal memories of the departed Franz Pieper in the 1931 Der Lutheraner magazine. — Now begins the connection between Walther and Pieper, first as Pieper's teacher, then…
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(page 251, col. 2)
Memories of Dr. Franz Pieper.
by Ludwig Fürbringer – [1.] (Part 4 of 16)

Pieper then transferred to our seminary in St Louis, as the Wisconsin synod did not have its own theological seminary at that time but sent its students to St Louis.
Thus he came under the influence of the blessed Walther and his co-workers, of whom Günther and Schaller later became like Walther his older colleagues. Besides these, A. Crämer, the head of the practical department, and F. A. Schmidt, employed by the Norwegian Synod, worked in those years. The class with which Pieper completed his theological examination after three years of study also showed familiar names in our synodical history, such as the two recently deceased brothers Friedrich and Bernhard Sievers, E. Hamann, who later became a professor at our college in Milwaukee, H. Käppel, the longtime director of our college in Concordia, Mo., G. Spiegel, the future president of our Michigan district, O. Hoyer of the Wisconsin Synod, who later became professor at the institute of his synod in Watertown, and others. I can well imagine how Pieper, with all his earnestness and diligence, threw himself particularly into the study of dogmatics or Christian doctrine, and soon drew the attention of his teachers, especially that of Dr. Walther. And it is remarkable, how Walther – as I was informed by one of the (page 252, col. 1) class from that time – paid special attention to Pieper just because of an excellent student sermon by him on Isaiah. 55:1-3. Every reader already sees from the choice of this text how Pieper was directed at the very beginning to the center of the Christian doctrine also in his preaching; for these are well-known words:
“Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.”  
Yes, the doctrine of grace, the certain graces of David, the grace of God in Christ Jesus toward the lost sinner world, that was the theme of his theological thought even then.

Since Pieper came from the Wisconsin Synod, after completing his studies in 1875, he entered the service of this synod, first as a pastor in Centerville (now Hika, Cleveland), Wisconsin, [MAP] from July 1875 to November 1876, and then at the large congregation at Manitowoc, Wisconsin, until September, 1878. I have always considered it a special providence of God that our Pieper was well acquainted with the Wisconsin Synod and its leaders, and remained in constant contact with them until his old age. This also contributed to the right relationship between the two synods in the Synodical Conference, whose meetings Pieper visited regularly, especially in earlier years, and whose well-being, as I have already learned from many conversations with him in recent years, was of particular importance to him.
But Pieper would remain in the service of the Wisconsin Synod only three years. Then he was called to a much more important post. At the Delegate Synod of 1878 in St. Louis, our Synod decided, in view of the fact that Walther was getting older and the other members of the faculty were all mature, to establish a new professorship for Systematic Theology and resume the vacant English professorship left by the departure of Professor Schmidt to the Norwegian seminary at Madison, Wisconsin; and while the Synod ordinarily had its institution’s professorship appointed by the electoral college, in its order at its assembly it expressly reserved the right to carry out such elections as synod itself;
and thus at the Synod, undoubtedly especially on Walther's recommendation, Pieper was elected to the systematic professorship, while the English professorship fell first to Professor M[atthias] Loy of the seminary of the Ohio Synod at Columbus, Ohio, and then, after he rejected this, it went to the blessed Rudolf Lange. And the fact that our synod did not make any mistakes at that time, but through this election has experienced the greatest blessing, everyone in the Church knows. I would like to tell you more about this next time. L[udwig] F[ürbringer].
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      Fürbringer reveals a major point of Missouri Synod history when he stated that Pieper's election to the seminary professorship was "undoubtedly especially on the recommendation of Walther”.  He even stated the Missouri Synod “experienced the greatest blessing” from this.  This corresponds with Pieper's close conversation with Walther near his death which indicated that Walther probably also recommended Pieper to succeed him as president of Concordia Seminary.  Would anyone question Fürbringer's judgment on this, even though he was only about 14 years old at that time? We see now just how hard the LC-MS has worked to bury almost all memory of…  Franz Pieper.
Prof. August Pieper
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      In Part 3, Fürbringer mentioned Pieper's brother August Pieper, a noted professor of the Wisconsin Synod.  Franz Pieper never mentions the works of his brother August in all his own writings, whereas he praised the works of other Wisconsin theologians Hönecke and John Schaller.  One can detect a possible reason for this when August made the following statements, in his 1923 "Anniversary Reflections" essay, on Walther and his use of languages (The Wauwatosa Theology, vol. 3 p. 237):
      “Walther preached this doctrine of justification as no one has since Luther. When he preached sin and wrath, hearts quaked with fear; when he testified to God’s grace, they embraced it, rejoiced in it, found peace, and humbled themselves before God. …
      He did not have the same power in his lectures in the seminary. In dogmatics, the “Baier hour,” he was indeed always intellectually interesting, but spiritually he often seemed dry. That is in part, of course, because of the nature of teaching dogmatics. It deals to such a large extent with making distinctions between concepts and with logically grasping them, with intellectual operations that do not touch the heart. In Walther’s case this was worse because he kept the Latin textbook and stubbornly adhered to using the Latin language in teaching. It was noticeable that in doing this even Walther was walking on stilts, and most of his students did not fully understand him. For all of them the daily three- to five-hour “Baier grind,” as they in typical student fashion called it, spoiled their joy in God’s precious Word.”
One wonders that brother August was not as astute in the knowledge of languages as his older brother Franz. — One can detect in August Pieper's public comments that his theology, the so-called "Wauwatosa Theology" that the Wisconsin Synod came to adopt, came to differ from Walther's in certain areas, especially Church and Ministry.  August's statement above displays a typical beginning comment of high praise for Walther, only to be followed by a detraction. A student of August later became one of the "faculty majority" who staged the Walkout in 1974 at Concordia Seminary.  In his public testimony, Alfred von Rohr Sauer praised his mentor and counselor… August Pieper.
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      In the next Part 5, we hear of just how proficient Franz Pieper was with the languages of the Church…

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Pieper (FP) Memories 3: Early training, language proficiency, esp. Latin

      This continues from Part 1 and Part 2 (Table of Contents in Part 1), a series by Prof. Ludwig Fürbringer of his personal memories of the departed Franz Pieper in the 1931 Der Lutheraner magazine. — This segment continues with more information about Pieper's family.  The report on Pieper's early language training shows the basis for his later mastery of this learning.  O that I had not chosen a learning in languages instead of an education in today's "math and science". For some reason I got into Purdue University with only 1 semester of Spanish -- today they require 4 semesters.
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(page 251, col. 1)
Memories of Dr. Franz Pieper.
by Ludwig Fürbringer – [1.] (Part 3 of 16)

The parents sent the young Franz, apparently as well as his brothers known in the American Lutheran Church, Reinhold Pieper, the late President of our Springfield Seminary, and August Pieper, the professor of the Wisconsin Synod Seminary in Thiensville, Wisconsin, themselves distinguished by special gifts, to the grammar schools nearby his home in Köslin [now Koszalin, Poland] and Kolberg [now Kołobrzeg, Poland after WWII]. And there was already an aptitude that our Dr. Pieper used throughout his life, the talent for languages.

I recall years ago that at a conference we used to play music and sing together to younger pastors (blessed Bente was there also) – nowadays such recuperation has become much rarer.  Now one either sits down in front of the phonograph or in front of the radio and foregoes the joy and enjoyment that one can prepare oneself in a unique way. So he [Pieper] almost complained that, although he loves music, he never came to practice it because in his youth his whole interest was always on languages. And so, not only did he exquisitely master his own native language, German, as everyone knows, but he had also acquired English so that he would have an English ceremonial speech in the dining room at an academic ceremony here in the seminary, when three new professors were introduced.  His subject was a favorite one for him, the vicarious satisfaction of Christ (vicarious sacrifice). But above all, he was interested in the basic biblical languages, Greek and Hebrew, that he had studied all his life (page 251, col. 2) and whereby he brought especially the use of the Greek New Testament to a mastery. His old Greek Bible, which had really turned very brown by age and which I have so often seen in his hands, testifies to how diligently he has dealt with it.
And he also mastered the language he particularly valued, which in his early years also needed part of his teaching, the scholarly language of the whole world, Latin. He was fluent in Latin even without further preparation; and from my student days I am especially aware of a comparison of two Latin speeches which were given at the inauguration of our St Louis seminary in 1883 on the second day of the academic celebration by Stöckhardt and Pieper. Both speeches were masterpieces in their own way and yet completely different. Stoeckhardt, who had visited one of the well-known Saxon grammar schools, which were famous throughout the world for their care for Latin, without any trouble spoke a most elegant, chosen Latin, which was therefore more difficult to understand. Pieper, on the other hand, also speaks quite fluently, but in a more popular way, as always was his way.
In 1870 Franz Pieper came to America with his parents. They settled in Wisconsin, in the Wisconsin Synod territory, and so the son completed his studies at Northwestern College at Watertown, Wisconsin.  Of his teachers at the time he kept a grateful memory, as far as I can remember. There was the Hanoverian Professor A. F. Ernst, the longtime president of the institute, who distinguished himself with philological and philosophical knowledge. Dr. F. W. A. Notz, as well as Ernst, was well-educated in Württemberg in the ancient languages ​​and this dominating Württemberg scholar began his Watertown activity only since 1872. Pieper also met often with both of these yet in later life, especially with Ernst.
And as he after two years of study in Watertown was awarded with the title of Bachelor of Arts, so his alma mater honored him later in 1903 for his twenty-five-year jubilee professorship by awarding him the theological doctorate at the same time as with the man who established himself as the leader in the Wisconsin Synod, as Pieper in our synod, in the area of Dogmatics, Dr. Adolf Hönecke.
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      Although Pieper was wistful about his lack of music skills, yet the Lutheran Church is better for it -- for his skill in languages.  Thank God! for Pieper’s command of languages!  We will hear more about these in future segments.  The next Part 4 begins Pieper's first experience with Walther.