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Saturday, January 26, 2019

Schrift 16: #12: OT Interpreted by NT; LC-MS/CTCR – “accommodational” for Jesus

[2019-02-18: added missing underlining in essay]
      This continues from Part 15 (Table of Contents in Part 1) in a series presenting an English translation of C.F.W. Walther's major essay on the Inspiration of Holy Scripture in the Missouri Synod's chief theological journal, Lehre und Wehre. — From matters of 'science' and chronology, Walther moves to show Luther's clear teaching shows that the only valid Old Testament interpretation is by Christ and the New Testament. It seems practically unbelievable that Christian theologians would doubt Christ's word…
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Translation by BackToLuther; all highlighted text, text in square brackets and in red font are my additions. Underlining follows Walther.
(continued from Part 15)
Lehre und Wehre, vol. 32, March, p. 73-75 "Foreword" by C.F.W. Walther

XII. The interpretation of the Old Testament given by Christ and the apostles is the authentic interpretation of the Holy Spirit Himself.
“Besides making other observations on this psalm, Jerome remarks that it is a fixed custom in the Psalter that each group of ten succeeding psalms has only one author, whose name is given in the first of the group. This he probably said on the basis of a rabbinical tradition. I believe, however, that Moses wrote only this one psalm, and not the following, which have no titles. For the Epistle to the Hebrews expressly says with reference to the verse in Psalm 95:7, “To day if ye will hear his voice,” that God spoke this through David (Heb. 4:7). It is, therefore, our opinion that Jerome was influenced by a Jewish fiction.” (Lectures on Psalm 90. V, 1086 [StL 5, 736; LW 13, 79; WA 40-3 , 490])
“Again, Paul, rather than reason, says in 1 Corinthians 10:4 that the rock (Exodus 17:6) in the desert means Christ. Therefore, no one but the Holy Spirit himself, who instituted the figure and created its fulfilment, can interpret the figure, so that word and work, figure and fulfilment, and the interpretation of both are God’s own and not man’s. Consequently, our faith is founded on divine, not human, works and words. …  For I think you will not deny that this passage (Ps. 110:4) is said about Christ, since St. Paul cites it in Hebrews 5[:6] and in many other places, and the Lord Christ applies it to himself in Matthew 22[:44].” (“On the Papacy in Rome, Against the Most Celebrated Romanist in Leipzig”, 1520. XVIII, 1127 [sic, 1227 § 59], 1229 § 63 [StL 18, 1029-1030 §, § 63; LW 39, 79, 81]) 1)

1) Brenz writes in his exposition of Psalm 2: “When we have apostolic testimonies that are the foundation of the Church, that this Psalm is to be understood of Christ, the Son of God, we may not listen to even an angel, let alone a godless rabbi, which teaches something otherwise.” (Opp. Tom. III., fol.181) The same: “When Paul interprets this (18th) Psalm of Christ, there is no other, not even that of an angel is to be recognized.” (Ibid.)  By contrast, Calvin writes: “While the prophet from the excellence of the people are (in Ps. 8), such moves (“trahit”) the apostle Heb. 2:6--9. the humiliation of Christ.…What the apostle describes by a brief distortion is not exegetic, but bends it to his purpose (ad suum institutum deflectit), which was said by David in another sense. So he lays Ephes. 4:8, the passage in Psalm 68 does not both endure the passage, but instead accommodates it on the basis of a pious deviation ("pia deflectione") on Christ's person.” (Ad Ps. 8, Vid. Opp. Tom. II, 24.)
The modern believing theologians are going, unfortunately! still much, much further.  Tholuck has spoken most radically about this subject, namely: “The Messiah of the prophets and his kingdom prophesied by them is not the Jesus ​of the New Testament and not the church he instituted; [cp. Paul G. Bretscher, here &, here pp 30-31] yet it is for him who recognizes in the institutions of the Old Testament religion the pre-formation of the higher degree of Christianity.” (The Prophets and Their Prophecies, p.149.)

“In the first place, we should know that everything taught and written by the apostles comes from the Old Testament. For in the Old Testament all is prophesied which was to be fulfilled in Christ and to be preached, as St. Paul says in Romans 1[:2]: “God promised the gospel concerning his Son Christ through the prophets in Holy Scripture.” Thus their preaching is based on the Old Testament, and there is no word in the New Testament that does not look back into the Old Testament where it was first told. We have noted in the Epistle how the divinity of Christ is confirmed by the apostle from the Old Testament passages.1 For the New Testament is nothing but a revelation of the Old; it is as if somebody had a sealed letter and later on broke it open. In like manner the Old Testament is a last will and testament of Christ; after his death he had it unsealed and read through the gospel and preached everywhere. This is signified in Revelation 5[:1–5] where the Lamb of God alone opens the book with the seven seals which, otherwise, nobody could open up, neither in heaven, nor the earth, nor under the earth.” (Sermon on the Gospel on the third Day of Christmas, 1528. XI, 214 f. § 2 [StL 11, 154, § 2; LW 52, 41-42])
“‘I will be his father, and he shall be my son’ [2 Samuel 7:14] – this passage they have also made dim, as if they were merely teachers, that they should weaken the Scripture, and say that this passage has two meanings: once it is understood by Solomon, as a figure of Christ, the other time of Christ. But if it is allowed that Scripture does not exist in a simple-minded sense, so it will never do battle. May the Jews insist that this is said of Solomon, but as we confess, the apostle fells it [Hebrews 1] with good appearances in the sand and it does nothing. Therefore it is solemn to say that he says this of Christ alone.” (Sermon on the Epistle on the third day of Christ, 1522. XII, 228, § 50 [StL 12, 169, § 50; NOT in LW].)
“We let the Jews chatter, and rather stay with St. Paul's mind, who not without reason (Gal 3:16) so diligently urges the word 'seed', and thus indicates that the Scriptures Genesis 12:3 and 22:18, speak of one seed, not one of many, and says freely that such seed is Christ, and does so from the true apostolic spirit and understanding. Whether now the Jews do not like such an interpretation of the apostle, we Christians have nothing at all. St. Paul's interpretation has more power for us than all the rabbis' glosses.” (Exposition of the Epistle to the Gal., 1535. VIII, 2220, § 405 [StL 9, 396, § 405 ; LW 26, 298-299 - different text])
“And since David’s words in this passage (2 Sam. 23:17) [sic 1. Chron. 17:17] amply reflect that meaning in accord with the general usage of the (page 75) Hebrew tongue, we Christians must not seek or heed any other significance in them but regard this as the only correct one and look upon all other interpretations as worthless human imagination. The New Testament cannot err, nor can the Old Testament where it harmonizes and agrees with the New Testament.” (Excerpt from the last words of David, 1543. III, 1814 .[sic III, 2814, 32; StL 3, 1902, § 32; LW 15, 287])
“Somewhere [Sebastian] Münster quotes a rabbi who says: ‘Holy Scripture cannot be understood without what is above and what is below,’ that is, without the upper and lower [vowel] points. This is true among the Hebrews. But they do not point out who the author of this way of reading was; nor do they bring sure arguments why the points must be added in this way. In fact, they make arbitrary use of the points. . … It surely seems that at the time of Jerome points were not yet in use, but the whole Bible was read without them…..  Hence I do not worry much about the above and the below [vowel points] of the rabbis. It would be better to read Scripture according to what is inside. And the New Testament gives us an inner understanding, not an upper or a lower one.” (Lectures on Genesis, 1545. II, 2703. f. § 144-145 [StL 2, 1837-1838, § 144-145; LW 8, 141-142)
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CTCR admittedly “accommodational” for Jesus?
      In 1967 the LC-MS CTCR published an essay in CTM: "The Witness of Jesus and Old Testament Authorship".  Because of controversy on its assertions questioning Jesus' authority on the OT, a panel was established to investigate it.  The findings in the form of questions and answers were published in the 1969 Denver Convention Workbook, "A Response to Questions on "The Witness of Jesus and Old Testament Authorship" (Archive) On page 500 is one of those Q–A exchanges (emphases mine):
10. Doesn't the document actually teach an accommodation theory (p. 12, point 2) and thereby open a "Pandora's box" whereby important teachings of Jesus can be explained away?
… Our paragraph disagrees. It reckons with the possibility that something like this may have taken place with certain Old Testament books which continued to bear their author's names. It argues, hypothetically, [?] that even if [!] it could be demonstrated that Jesus used such book titles [of the Bible], this usage would not involve Him (or anyone else) in error or deception. It would be no more erroneous than to speak of "sunrise" or "sunset," even though, scientifically considered, the sun neither rises nor sets. Such a manner of speech is "accommodational," but it is neither erroneous nor imprecise, nor does such speech in Holy Scripture lose its character as the inspired Word of God. Our church has long recognized this manner of speech in the Bible without opening a "Pandora's box." (CTCR Executive Secretary, Dr. Richard Jungkuntz)
The CTCR used the reasoning of a "scientifically considered" point in an "accommodational" way to attempt to keep Jesus from being involved in an "error or deception".  Because the "scientifically considered" point  (that "sunrise" and "sunset" are misnomers) is considered to be objective truth, the CTCR admitted to holding to "science" over Holy Scripture's clear wordsall for the sake of keeping Christ from errors on the authorship of the Old Testament.  We see now that the worst enemies of Inspiration are the LCMS teachers. They are the target of Walther's Theses on Luther's teaching.  —  In the next Part 17...

Monday, January 21, 2019

Schrift 15: #10: Natural History; #11: Chronology of Bible; the surprising Preus brothers

      This continues from Part 14 (Table of Contents in Part 1) in a series presenting an English translation of C.F.W. Walther's major essay on  the Inspiration of Holy Scripture in the Missouri Synod's chief theological journal, Lehre und Wehre. — This segment addresses perhaps the most cited reason for the modern world's rejection of "inerrancy" for the Bible -- "SCIENCE".   Luther was not unmindful of Augustine's view of Creation as "instantaneous", but Luther was utterly bound by… Holy Scripture -- it was SIX DAYS.  But that stand is actually a stand for all "Natural History" of the Bible, 'science' notwithstanding.  To say that this is a "hot topic" would be an understatement. Walther then specifically treats of Biblical Chronology by Luther. See my series on this topic starting here. Prof. Manteufel covers this also in his essay here and footnote 89.
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Translation by BackToLuther; all highlighted text, text in square brackets and in red font are my additions. Underlining follows Walther.
(continued from Part 14)
Lehre und Wehre, vol. 32, March, p. 71-72 "Foreword" by C.F.W. Walther

X. Also what the Scriptures say of Natural History is said by God the Holy Spirit Himself.

I have often said that he who desires to study the Holy Scriptures should ever see to it that he abide by the simple words as he always can, and never thereby yield, whether it forces possibly that one must understand an article of the faith differently than the words read. [i.e. the articles of faith = the Word] For we must be sure that no simpler speech on earth has come, for God has spoken. Therefore, when Moses writes that God has created heaven and earth in six days, and what is in them, let it remain that it was six days, and may not apply a gloss how six days were one day.  But if you can not hear it, that it has been six days, then do the Holy Spirit the honor of being more learned than you.  For you should go with Scripture, so that you think as God Himself speaks. But because God speaks, it is not proper for you to direct His Word out of sacrilege, wherever you will, for it compels the need to understand a text differently, than as the words read; that is, when faith does not suffer such understanding as the words give.” (Sermons on Genesis, 1527. III, 23 § 9-10 [StL 3, 20-21 § 9-10; not in LW)
Hilary and Augustine, almost the two greatest lights of the church, hold that the world was created instantaneously and all at the same time, not successively in the course of six days. … Therefore so far as this opinion of Augustine is concerned, we assert that Moses spoke in the literal sense, not allegorically or figuratively, i.e., that the world, with all its creatures, was created within six [page 72] days, as the words read. If we do not comprehend the reason for this, let us remain pupils and leave the job of teacher to the Holy Spirit.” (Exposition of Genesis, 1536 ff. I, 3. 4. § 5-6  StL 1, 6-7, § 5-6; LW 1, 4-5)  

XI. Also the chronological information in the Holy Scriptures is of divine origin.

Still, there is little reason to find fault with Eusebius. Indeed, as Jerome writes, he was an amazing and very precise man. We complain about all other historians, and they complain among themselves that they have not a clue to the precise reckoning of the years. So I have set them all aside, and in this work I have tried to derive this chronology chiefly out of Holy Writ, upon which we can and should rest.….  

I base mine solely on the Bible. Therefore I find it necessary, reluctantly, to reject Philo who in another place inserts eighteen years too many….  This matter convinced me that I should not completely disdain the historians but I should give preference to Holy Writ. I use them in such a way that I am not compelled to contradict the Bible, for I believe that the truthful God speaks in the Bible, but in the histories good people, according to their ability, show their diligence and their honesty (but as men), or at least, that the copyists could have made mistakes.”  (Luther’s Chronica, 1541  & 1545. XIV, 1112., § 5, 1116 § 16. 1117 § 18; [StL 14, 487, 490-491; NOT in LW; ref. this blog post for English translation of Pastor Kenneth K. Miller; see this blog post for Pieper’s comments)
Before Luther would have attributed a chronological error to one of the holy scribes, he preferred that a chronological statement incompatible with other pertinent statements should have come into the Bible text by copyists. He writes: “The age of the Judges from the death of Moses to Samuel is 357 years, including Joshua, as you can see. This reckoning does not fail us, since in 1 King. 6 is reckoned 480 years from the Exodus to Solomon’s Temple. Hence Acts 13 (Acts 13:2020) evidently contains a copyist’s error [durch die Schreiber versehen]. The Latin is doubly wrong, for it has 450 years for the Judges during the division of the land, and it compels Lyra to take it back to the time of Isaac. The Greek text was corrupted by a copyist, a mistake easily made, because he wrote tetrakosiois instead of triakosiois.”  (XIV,  1178 f.. [StL 14, 600; not in LW; this is from p. 58 in K. K. Miller's English translation]) 1)                           
1)  Beza agrees with Luther and justifies his opinion in his Novum Testamentum et Th. Bezae annotationes 1598. fol. 512.
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LC-MS for “Science” (and Copernicanism) over Scripture
Walther's citations did not single out the fields of Astronomy, or Geography, or other areas of Natural History.  But is there even a hint from Luther's writings that suggests he would not stand in the same way over these other fields of science?  If someone thinks otherwise, they will run head-on into Luther's statements on the Chronology of the Bible.
      Unfortunately the LC-MS long ago officially abandoned this stand:

  • In 1969, the LC-MS/CTCR officially stated (here, p. 500, question #10): "It would be no more erroneous than to speak of "sunrise" or "sunset," even though, scientifically considered, the sun neither rises nor sets." (Dr. Richard Jungkuntz, Exec. Sec'y)
  • Sadly, Dr. Robert Preus weakened his defense of "Inerrancy" in his 1967 CTM essay on the subject (p. 370) when he explicitly abandoned the clear words of Joshua 10:13, stating: “In describing the things of nature, Scripture… describes and alludes to things phenomenally as they appear to our senses…  the earth as motionless in a fixed positionthe sun as going around the fixed earth.” And in 1970, Preus confirmed his denial of the clear Biblical reading even as he reported Calov's strong support of the same over against Copernicanism (see here – p. 359, 399).  
And of course, today's LC-MS has confirmed nearly 50 years later (2015) this same teaching in their recent 2015 CTCR booklet "In Christ All Things Hold Together - The Intersection of Science and Christian Theology". (see this intro to my series on Copernicanism.)

… but a surprise – against Copernicanism
      LC-MS teachers have been predictable in their teaching for at least the last 50 years, but more like the last 75 years.  One might despair of any Lutheran teacher or leader in the world holding to the Bible's Natural History, including the field of Astronomy, except for Prof. Wallace McLaughlin.
Joshua 10:12-14!
But then I about fell out of my chair when I read Prof. J.A.O. Preus's 1948 pamphlet What Stands Between?.  I quote (emphases mine):
• “When Scripture and Science disagree, Science is wrong” (p. 14)
• “And finally we come to some teachings which do not necessarily destroy any doctrine of the faith, but which amount to a denial of the clarity of Scripture on the part of the ELC [Norwegian merger]. The students at the seminary of the ELC are taught that the account of Joshua and the stopping of the sun in Josh. 10.12-14, is poetry, not history.” (p. 16)
It appears that, of the two brothers Robert and J.A.O. Preus, J.A.O. was the stronger one in the doctrines of the Inspiration and Inerrancy of Holy Scripture.  However I could not find evidence in J.A.O.'s later writings, while he was yet a professor at CTS-Springfield, of his former strong stand on these issues. -- In the next Part 16...

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Schrift 14: #9: Lack of proper order?; Reu's reticence; Boehme's defense

      This continues from Part 13 (Table of Contents in Part 1) in a series presenting an English translation of C.F.W. Walther's major essay on  the Inspiration of Holy Scripture in the Missouri Synod's chief theological journal, Lehre und Wehre. — This segment highlights Luther's great spiritual understanding of Holy Scripture, of the "method of the prophets".  Walther brings choice passages from Luther so that we may learn to love... God's Word, the Bible.
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Translation by BackToLuther; all highlighted text, text in square brackets and in red font are my additions. Underlining follows Walther.
(continued from Part 13)
Lehre und Wehre, vol. 32, March, p. 69-71 "Foreword" by C.F.W. Walther

IX. Also the lack of proper order, which seems to be found here and there in the Scriptures, has its reason in the wisdom of God the Holy Spirit.
“To the first question (Matthew 24:3) he answers, when Jerusalem is to be destroyed, it says, ‘When ye shall see the abomination of desolation,’ saying that for the sake of the elect, the days shall be shortened.…  But the words are a little obscure, and Matthew and Mark conclude the tribulation for the world, and say that Jerusalem should be destroyed, and at times they also point to the  destruction of the world, so that they mix and mingle the two into each other; and it is the Holy Spirit's way in the Holy Scriptures, that he speaks. For, as Adam was created and Eva was yet to be created, the Scripture says: God took a rib and built a woman out of it.
There he uses the word ‘building’, as he could have said: he created or made a woman out of it. Then he uses the word 'building' as the carpenters build a house, and the Holy Spirit,  with this Word in the same history, indulges, and indicates something peculiar, that with the word 'building' not only is Eve described as Adam's bride, but that at the same time the Christian church is also indicated, which is also God's dwelling and temple, so God has built it and is still building it to the end of the world; for that is the spiritual Eve, so it taken from the side of Christ. For since the side has been opened, she is taken from His flesh and (Page 70)  blood. Adam rib has been with flesh and blood; So we, the Christian Church, are also being built out of the side of the right Adam, Christ. That must be the meaning of the word in the beginning of the world. Thus the Holy Spirit often sets forth, and from the history states that as Eve is the true woman, made of the rib of man, therefore is the Bride of the LORD Christ, the true Eve, the Christian Church, taken also of Christ, just as Eve was born and built out of Adam's flesh; because this is what is meant. So here Matthew also used several words that illuminate the last disaster in the world, which is meant as a result of the crash [Unfall] and destruction of Jerusalem. For then will be also tribulation of the churches, saying, ‘Unless the days were shortened, no man would be saved.’ This is what Matthew does. [Matt. 24:22] Now we want to apportion each in its own time.” (Sermons on the Several Chapters of the Evangelist Matthew, dated 1537-1540, Erlangen Volume XLV, page 119. f., [StL ??; NOT in LW] )
“But why does Moses mix up his laws in such a disordered way? Why does he not put the temporal laws together in one group and the spiritual laws in another and the laws of faith and love in still another? Moreover he sometimes repeats a law so often and reiterates the same words so many times that it becomes tedious to read it or listen to it. The answer is that Moses writes as the situation demands, so that his book is a picture and illustration of governing and of living. For this is the way it happens in a dynamic situation: now this work has to be done and now that. No man can so arrange his life (if he is to act in a godly way) that on this day he uses only spiritual laws and on that day only temporal. Rather God governs all the laws mixed together—like the stars in the heavens and the flowers in the fields—in such a way that at every hour a man must be ready for anything, and do whatever the situation requires. In like manner the writing of Moses represents a heterogeneous mixture. That Moses is so insistent and often repeats the same thing shows also the nature of his office. For one who is to rule a people-with-laws [Gesetzvolck] must constantly admonish, constantly drive, and knock himself out struggling with the people as [he would] with asses. For no work of law is done gladly and willingly; it is all forced and compelled. Now since Moses is a lawgiver, he has to show by his insistence that the work of the law is a forced work. He has to wear the people down, until this insistence makes them not only recognize their illness and their dislike for God’s law, but also long for grace.” (Prefaces to the Old Testament, 1523). XIV, 8 f. § 17-18 [StL 14, 8-9 § 17-18; LW 35 p 241)
“But before beginning with the text, I must pave the way with a general introductory remark. This is necessary and useful for a better understanding not only of this prophet but also of most of the others. For it has been most confusing in the past to hear the prophets speak (page 71) of the Jewish kingdom and then to break off so abruptly and intersperse remarks about Christ. Everybody who is not familiar with their method regards that as an odd way of doing things, and he supposes that they observe no order but ramble along from one subject to another. This seems incomprehensible to all; people cannot get used to it. It is indeed very irritating to read a book that observes no order, in which statements are so disconnected that they do not fit together and therefore lack proper coherence. All of that may reasonably be expected of correct and proper speech. Thus the Holy Spirit was accused of an inability to express Himself properly, of talking like a drunkard or a fool, of mixing everything together and of delivering Himself of wild and odd words and statements. But it is we who were at fault; we did not understand the speech, and we were not acquainted with the method of the prophets. For it cannot be otherwise: the Holy Spirit is wise, and He also makes His prophets wise. Now, a wise man must necessarily be able to speak well; this can never fail. But to him who does not hear well or is not sufficiently conversant with a language, to him a speech may seem faulty because he hears or understands hardly half of the words.” (Exposition on the prophet Habakkuk, 1526. VI, 3093. f. § 3-4. [StL 14, 1418 § 3-4; LW 19, p 152])
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J. Michael Reu, a well-known theologian of the old Am. Lutheran Church, wrote a scholarly book in English, Luther and the Scriptures (Columbus: Wartburg Press, 1944); reprinted in The Springfielder. Vol. XXIV, No. 2 (August, 1960). Chapters 5 and 6 are titled
  • "Luther Never Admitted Any Error In Scripture." 
  • "Even Those Parts of Scripture That Do Not Concern Our Salvation Were Considered Errorless By Luther."  
Even though he reported Luther's teaching accurately, it is sad that Prof. Reu did not come to fully confess with Luther on these points.  He could not fully confess with the Brief Statement, which teaches as Luther did.  — 
For those who want to believe their LCMS is still "orthodox", see Dr. Armand Boehme's 1977 essay "The Smokescreen Vocabulary", (CTQ) for a scholarly defense against those who use word-play sophistry to deny the divine Inspiration of all Holy Scripture.
      To finish this post with a quote:
“To fight for the doctrine of justification and for Holy Scripture and the Christian religion amounts to one and the same thing.” — Franz Pieper, "C.F.W. Walther as Theologian." here.
      In the next Part 15...