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Friday, May 19, 2017

Copernicanism comment from Germany

      I received a private email from a German correspondent whom I will call "JM". This may have been because I did not allow public comments on my "Copernicanism" series, and so this was the only way for "JM" to make a comment.  The sender granted me permission to publish his email which reads as follows:
Researching geocentricity and bible I found your blog. It is very, very interesting. Though I am involved in this topic since 2016, I never heard from F.E. Pasche and the Missouri Synode. Thank you for this amazing publications.
I am from Germany, so I can learn something new about Luther and the lutherian church. This fits to the 500. anniversary of reformation.
Do you know Robert Sungenis and his approach to geocentricity? Very interesting also!
Greeting from Germany 
JM 
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Reply to "JM":
      As I stated in my first reply to you, I was pleased to hear your comments.  I am happy you find the information beneficial.  Certainly you, as a German, do not need any of my English translation work!  How I envy you!
      As for Robert Sungenis, I can say that I have read about his background history in Dr. Gerhardus Bouw's book Geocentricity: Christianity in the Woodshed (see geocentricity.com).  Sungenis is now known for his "conversion back to Roman Catholicism" and for defending against the "Protestant doctrine" of salvation by faith alone.  But his "defense" flies directly in the face of the Bible and the Apostle Paul:
Eph. 2:8-9 – For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. (Lutherbibel 1545 here: Denn aus Gnaden seid ihr selig worden durch den Glauben, und dasselbige nicht aus euch, GOttes Gabe ist es; nicht aus den Werken, auf daß sich nicht jemand rühme.)
So Sungenis's "defense" of "geocentricity" falls to the ground.  Why?  Because he does not believe the Bible at its foundation.  The Gospel of John states of the Holy Scriptures that 
"…these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name."  John 20:31 (Lutherbibel 1545 here: "Diese aber sind geschrieben, daß ihr glaubet, JEsus sei Christus, der Sohn GOttes, und daß ihr durch den Glauben das Leben habet in seinem Namen.")
      And so, JM, I send you greetings from America back to the land of Luther's Reformation: Germany.  I was going to think that your only interest in this subject was the "scientific" aspect.  But then you spoke of "Luther and the Lutheran Church"… and then you said:
"This fits to the 500. anniversary of reformation." -- JM
I would say that you are right!  That Luther believed the Bible and so the Reformation came to be because he believed it at its foundation -- the Gospel.
      You may study all the scientific aspects that Pastor F.E. Pasche wrote about in his 2 books -- there certainly is a lot of science and history of science in them.  For more up-to-date science, you may want to purchase Dr. Bouw's book.  I would suggest that you hold off reading the works of Robert Sungenis, at least until you are well-grounded in the truth. --

I must add this: The greatest warnings against Copernicanism were from... Lutherans.

BackToLuther

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Walther, Schaller, Lange… now Günther! Pieper's address (Part 1)

      This follows the previous blog on Prof. C.H.R. Lange's funeral message.
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      The young Concordia Seminary president, Prof. Franz Pieper was called on again in short order after Prof. Lange's passing to deliver yet another funeral address – this time for Prof. Martin Günther (WorldCat Identity).  This passing would now bring the total to four fathers of the early Missouri Synod who had fallen in the space of 5-6 years.  Would this young man just wring his hands and wonder how he could carry on such a church in America that had grown so much and thrived under its founder Walther?  How could he keep the ship of Missouri from capsizing?... keep it sailing under God's blessing?  Let us hear how God not only used the dear Günther, but also the dear Franz Pieper and kept the ship of Missouri sailing, and propelled it into the 20th century:
†  Prof. M. Günther. †
Memorial address,
held in the auditorium of the theological seminary
by
F. Pieper.
In Christ, dearly beloved mourners.
When we had gathered at this place for a funeral service a little more than seven months ago, we had to break into the complaint: "Walther, Schaller, Lange — God has called these men away over a period of five years from our midst and the chairs at our institution." But what should we say today, where we once again need to gather still in the same academic year for a funeral service, because the Lord has suddenly called our dear Professor Prof. Günther from his work! In a period of six years — May 7th of 1887 was the day of the death of the blessed Dr. Walther — our institution has lost four teachers, all the older members of the teaching staff have gone home.  We are not merely beaten — God has thrown us into the dust. We are shaken and frightened to the core. The elders in our council  are taken away from us!
Also our institution, as well as our whole synod, suffered a great loss by the going home  of our blessed Günther. He was one of the first students of the founders of our Synod. In their spirit he was educated, and in their spirit he walked and worked in the service of the church for forty years, twenty years as a pastor and twenty years professor of theology at the local institution. A clear and sure knowledge of the pure Christian doctrine marked him as it is testified in the confession of our Church. He possessed in a great measure the gift of distinguishing between right and wrong doctrine.  And as he was devoted to the pure, unadulterated doctrine with all his heart, he shared with all serious and well-informed children of God the quality that he was hostile to all adulteration of the salutary doctrine. In this sense he has worked in his oral lectures and in writings, and exerted an extensive influence on our Synod and the Church in general.  It was true that his effectiveness took place more in silence. Rarely did he speak in public church meetings. But it was given to him before others to testify in a clear, concise, written expression the saving truth and to refute the error.  Thus, through many years of editorial work, especially in the Der Lutheraner, God made him a blessing to the Church. And the pure doctrine was not only a dead storehouse for him.  What he taught and wrote as a theological professor, he also gladly preached from the pulpit of the Christian congregation. He died preaching. He was as a theological professor still lovingly active as a pastor.  As a theological professor, he gathered and nurtured a church in Kirkwood, which now has already appointed its own pastor for several years. Such a pardoned instrument in the hand of God was the blessed Günther!
We are deeply, deeply afflicted by the loss which we have suffered by his sudden death. But do we want to quarrel with God? Not so! God has allowed us to enjoy the service of our fathers to their old age; They have been among us forty or fifty years. So not quarreling, but thanking is appropriate.  Do we want to be despair because God takes the old, experienced teachers so fast one after another from us?  This, too, would not be in accordance with the will of God. We know from the Word of God, and also through the testimony of our fathers, that the Church is not built on the persons of the teachers whom God gives and takes, but on a basis which remains the same through all changes of persons. This is the foundation of the apostles and prophets; this is the Word of God, as God has recorded through the apostles and prophets in the Holy Scriptures, and has given the Church a foundation. As long as the Church of God has a pure Word, and remains in it with simple faith, so long does it remain firm and immovable on the foundation upon which God Himself has built it, and on which God will continue to build it until the Last Day. We should also not despair in unbelief. But let us recollect and be reminded that we hold fast to faith in the immovable foundation of the Church, namely, the infallible Word of God, and always base our persuasion upon them again and again. That can, that will be given us by God out of grace. So in the great tribulation that has affected us, our prayer is this:
Oh, stay with your grace
With us, Lord Jesus Christ,
That we not be brought to shame
By the evil enemy’s cunning.


Oh, stay with your Word
With us, precious Saviour,
To us both here and there
Preserve goodness and salvation.
Lord, have mercy. Amen.
 = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =


      As Pieper mentions, Günther worked many years as an editor for the Der Lutheraner magazine.  He wrote many articles – search for "(G.)" or "Günther" in my Table of Contents blog post.  He also was the main editor for the periodical Magazin für Ev.-Luth. Homiletik  —  And his biographical book of Walther C.F.W. Walther: Lebensbild was a popular book for presenting the life of Walther to succeeding generations.  The book has had enough interest in Germany to be republished again in recent years.  It is too bad that this was never fully translated into English!

But perhaps the greatest legacy of Prof. Guenther, as Pieper highlights, was when he used his "gift of distinguishing between right and wrong doctrine".  In the next Part 2 of this blog series, I will expand on this part of Günther's work sometimes referred to as "popular symbolics".

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A Missourian died… but lives — C.H.R. Lange (Pieper's address in 1892)


      As I was going through my Der Lutheraner table of contents, I ran across the publication of Concordia Seminary President Franz Pieper's address at the funeral of one of its early professors - C.H. Rudolf Lange, or R. Lange.  It was published in the November 8, 1892 issue as the lead article.  I was interested to read this as Prof. Lange is lesser known among his colleagues... what did he teach?... was he strong in his teaching and defending of Christian doctrine?  But the still new and youthful President did what he does best – Franz Pieper brought out a true faith that leaves one praising God for such a teacher as...
Prof. Carl Heinrich Rudolf Lange 
(† 1892)

What follows is my translation of only the first paragraph of Pieper's address:
Address
held on the day of the funeral of the blessed
Prof. R. Lange in the seminary
by Prof. F. Pieper.


In Christ, beloved mourning gathering!
A teacher of our institution has been called up by God from this life, and the one gone home was the oldest teacher of the Collegium. And not only was he the oldest teacher, but he was also one of the men whose public effectiveness extends into the early days of our Synod, to the men who had participated in the mighty struggles, but also in the rich blessing of the beginnings. The blessed Prof. Lange had already come to faith in Christ in the old Fatherland. But to the clear knowledge of the Christian doctrine as a theologian should have, he was first led here [in America] by God.  In private talks, he has repeatedly made the doctrine well-known of which the clear knowledge came to him. This was the doctrine of objective justification, the doctrine clearly revealed in the Holy Scriptures, that God is completely reconciled with the whole world of sinners through Christ. Thus the Gospel was not to him the message of a reconciliation that had yet to be achieved, but of the reconciliation which had already taken place, and to be accepted by faith. The Word and the Sacraments were now the means by which God offered and sealed to the individual sinners the salvation acquired by Christ. The Church was the fellowship of those who believe in the grace of Christ purchased and presented in the Gospel.  In this light he was changed as a teacher. In the light of this knowledge he served with the gifts of the Church given to him.

What Pieper stressed at the beginning of his address was that Prof. Lange believed the Gospel, or Universal, Objective Justification.  And where did Lange find this light?  In America.  And who was it that brought this doctrine to the New World?...  C.F.W. Walther.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Dogmatik: Walther (& others) refs in books, lectures (Part E); Stoeckardt's Romans book published: "general or objective justification"

      This continues from Part D (Convention Essays) my project of listing Franz Pieper's references to Old Missouri Synod writings in his Christliche Dogmatik (Table of Contents in Part A),
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      The following is an exhaustive listing of all references to "old Missouri" books, of Walther, then also all other teachers: George Stoeckhardt (or Stöckhardt), Martin Guenther (or Günther), and E.A. Brauer.  The last table adds a listing of references that Pieper used of what apparently were unpublished lectures of Walther.
This Google Doc may be directly accessed >>  here  <<.

This Google Doc may be directly accessed >>  here  <<.

Prof. George Stoeckhardt
A quick review of the second table above will show that after Walther, the most quoted author was the venerable Prof. George Stoeckhardt.  But although most of Stoeckhardt's German works had been translated into English, surprisingly his greatest exegetical work on the book of Romans was apparently only partially translated.  So I began an extensive project to get more public exposure to this dear teacher of the Church.



The first task was to get his German book to be available to the public online -- strangely it was not included in any of the major repositories such as Google Books or HathiTrust.  It is now available at Archive.org  >>  here <<.

Romans by G. Stoeckhardt
transl. by Edward W. Schade
edited by Otto F. Stahlke
(now in Archive.org)
But the greatest surprise was that although most of Stoeckhardt's commentaries had been translated (see WorldCat here and here), unfortunately his book on Romans was apparently only partially translated into English.  I mean "apparently" because the CTS-FW bookstore has sold a book that purported to be the "complete text" (see cover at right).  But upon further examination, it only included chapters 1 through 8 out of a total of 16 chapters.  What I have discovered is that all 16 chapters were translated but only in a hand-written format, not typed.  What was sold in the bookstore was a transcription of only the first 8 chapters.

Commentary on Romans
(handwritten translation)

Some were misled (like me) into thinking that a full translation was never completed, but it was.  After procuring a library holding, I was able to scan it and upload it to Archive.org -- see title page at left.



  After some re-checking, it appears, again, that this entire work of Stoeckhardt was translated but never fully transcribed by Stahlke.  So I began to do this work, only in the hopes that someone else will take the time to complete it.  The following shows the progress made so far:
The beginning of chapter 9 is at page 314 >> here <<.


This Google Doc may be directly accessed >>  here  <<.

      The purpose of this detailed explanation is not to show how clever I am, nor am I trying to put the CTS-FW Bookstore printshop out of business.  It is presented in the hopes that some faithful adherents of "old Missouri" will also treasure the work of Stoeckhardt enough to carry on the final work of transcribing the balance (chapters 9-16) of his marvelous work on Romans.  Any serious parties who would like to collaborate on this project may contact me so that I may give them access to an editable version of this Google Doc.
      But before I leave the dear Stoeckhardt, I would point out again, that he was much more than the extraordinary exegete for our modern times, he brought out the doctrine, or the dogmatical nature of Holy Scripture, better than all previous and subsequent exegetes.  And what teaching is he primarily known for?  I will let him speak (p. 239-240) on Romans 5:18-19:
The passage treated above, vv. 18-19, is the locus classicus for the doctrine of the general or, so-called, objective justification. Here the Apostle teaches and testifies expressis verbis , that the righteousness of life has been made available for all mankind and that the many have been placed before God as righteous, as already stated in v.16: that from the offenses of many there has come "righteousness: δικαιώμα", and that all men have been justified and absolved of all their transgressions. Most modern expositors, and some ancient ones, refer these apostolic words to the believers; that is, to all those who through faith belong to Christ. They make the comment that such a restriction is self-understood. But that is pure arbitrariness. When one permits himself to apply such glosses to the text, all trustworthiness of exegesis disappears. In these three sentences, faith is not mentioned with a single syllable
Did you hear what Stoeckhardt just said?  He said that the Holy Scriptures teach that God is already reconciled to the whole world, including unbelievers, before faith!  The scoffers will scoff at this, but this is the heart of Christianity!  I could not believe that God was reconciled to me until He showed me by His Word that He was already reconciled to the whole world! (cf. 2 Cor. 5:19). [2017-05-14: see also Stoeckhardt's 1888 Lehre und Wehre essay "General Justification" translated by Otto F. Stahlke and published in 1978 CTQ here.]

      In the last part F is a table of all of Pieper's many references to the Baier-Walther Compendium.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Walther's Epistle Sermons 2 (Walther!… not Lewis)

      This continues from Part 1 of the publication of Walther's Standard Epistles, translated by Pastor Donald E. Heck.
      It continues to amaze me that this work stood for 57 years without being published by the LC-MS publishing house so that all of its church members could benefit from the sermons of the father of the Missouri Synod.  Does this not show the "love" the LC-MS has for its spiritual father?  These sermons were not intended for the theologians and pastors, they were preached to the people!  There is no use of difficult languages such as Latin, Greek or Hebrew.  There were no involved discourses.  Just pure... Christianity.
      I would wonder that Pastor Heck's work only came to be published by the Fort Wayne seminary press because of Robert Preus as he was exposed to Walther through his earlier training at the seminary of the "Little Norwegian", the ELS, and Prof. Norman Madson Sr., and so brought it out from its obscurity.
      Now I present Part 2 which continues on through the church year, from 1st Sunday after Trinity, to Reformation Day sermons (2), culminating in the National Day of Penitence or what is now Thanksgiving.
[PDF scanned copies: — >>  Part 1 <<  —  >>  Part 2 << —]

The above Google Doc is directly available >> here <<.

      Proofing the text of Walther’s sermons was not a chore for me, rather it was a JOY, a labor of love.  On every page, I was tempted to pause and read more of the treasure of his preaching, the greatest homilies since  – dare I say it  – since the days of Martin Luther himself.  Here are a few notations I made along the way for this Part 2:

339: they fell into adultery and fornication and all the abominations of unclean venereal disease
349: TRUE Faith: (11th SAT): “He who often reads in the Scriptures and prizes it highly as a beautiful book of instruction and comfort, making a few exceptions and thinking that it contains many things which in their simplicity the apostles and prophets believed for which one must pardon them, but which can no longer be accepted today, let him not think that a spark of true faith lives in his heart; in spite of his imagined faith he is nothing but a proud unbelieving spirit who does not want to be a humble pupil but a teacher and judge of the Word of the living God. He thinks that he is wiser than Jesus Christ, the Light of the world, the eternal Truth and Wisdom. For Christ himself proved his entire doctrine with the Scriptures and always said, even in the conflict with the Seducer: "It is written, it is written." And so Isaiah says: "To the Law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light," that is, Christ, "in them." Is 8:20.”
349-350-351 FAITH: “Not all which they often try to sell by this name is faith. It is not true that so many have returned to the faith of the Reformation. Even true believers can fall into error; but true faith is not present when one errs knowingly, or considers error insignificant and harmless, or knowingly swears to follow an error. True faith is not present when one is careless and indifferent, when doctrine is positive or negative, true or false. True faith is not present when one knowingly departs from a single Word of God. … he who still thinks he can reject at least a few things in Holy Writ rejects the entire Scripture… if you let yourselves be deceived by others, you do this at your own risk … By nature no person is capable of embracing the Gospel; that must happen through the Holy Spirit.”
358- 11th Sunday after Trinity - 2: Oh, would that everyone of us would note and cling firmly to both of those highest principles: First, the Scriptures are the only source and rule of our faith, and secondly, we will be righteous before God and be saved alone through faith in Christ; if he would always use both of these divine touchstones correctly even in these last dangerous times, I am certain not a one would be deceived and misled. Both of these supreme principles are divine armor, in which even the most unlearned Christian is unconquerable in the face of all the cunning and arts of the most learned and wisest person. Both of these principles are two suns before which all the deceiving qualities of false doctrine melt away like clouds and fog.
359- “countless factions and sects
360 ~365~ 11th Sunday after Trinity - 3 - TRUE Faith, against error! “The clear letter of Scripture”.
366 ff. 12th Sunday after Trinity-1 - LAW and GOSPEL 2 Cor. 3:4-11; 367: “For if one in this way mixes Law and Gospel, one nullifies both”
373 ~~ 12th Sunday after Trinity-2 - The Office of the Ministry
380 - 13th SAT 1 - LAW and GOSPEL “reflect upon the remarkable agreement of these doctrines” (!!)  – 384: “If the Law lets him taste its horrible bitterness, this happens only that he might learn to taste the sweetness of the Gospel … to learn to yearn … the Spirit only [helps] the letter … If one is to remain in grace, the Law and the Gospel must work together in him until his blessed end”; 385 - “he who takes away the Law, takes also God and Christ away; he who wants to preach Christ must also proclaim the Law”
419: “In all the countries of the world there is no land in which so many different sects have arisen than in North America, the land of freedom.
464 - 22nd after Trinity - Reformation benefit sermon: on Luther: “... finally, by the reading of the Bible…”; 466  – “Yes, nothing else is possible but that all other important doctrines of revelation can not only not help us in the least but must even be gradually lost, if the pure doctrine of the Gospel of the justification of the sinner through faith is lost.” [Christology lost if Justification lost.]
481- - Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise, God help me. Amen! p. 481
504, 505  – Thanksgiving Day  – “but at the same time a day of penitence, prayer, and fasting, a day of humiliation before the great God because of its great sins. No longer does the government dare to summon our people to do that. It knows that most of its citizens would merely deride the suggestion. … this so-called Thanksgiving Day
505 - Abortion  – “... nowadays thousands of mothers murder even the unborn children in the womb”
508  – Saxon worldliness: “... theaters, in its places of amusement, in its taverns and casinos, yes, finds them in its ballrooms or even dancing. Now the world is even surprised when it sees that the members of our congregation join in the foolish fashions of the world, either burden themselves with mountains of false hair or let their hair fly like savages and drape themselves with infantile tinsel, yes, like Jezebel paint their face.
509-510  – “ … staying away from divine services, especially the afternoon and weekday services … Oh, do not receive this sharp word with bitterness; it does not flow from a bitter heart but one concerned about our degeneracy
510  – we have experienced little of the terrors and misery of war. Whilst other states and even our own State of Missouri has been an arena of all the misery and horror which a civil war ever had in its wake, we in our city can still live in rest under the protection of the law.
511-512 - “even a David viewed war as the greatest of all God's temporal punishmentscivil war … when God inflicts war, he does not punish directly; God deals like an angry father who, because his wicked son deserves to be cruelly beaten, gives the rod to crude servants to execute the punishment … the hands of wild human rage
515 – “Christians daily receive their wisdom from the godless newspapers of sly, political opportunists who forget God, who despise all sworn treaties, and who trample under foot all the laws of God and man. It is terrible to say it, but all such newspapers have even become the Gospel of many Christians upon which they swear, and he who has a different opinion is as far as they are concerned a political heretic, a traitor”

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joelheck.com

TO: Dr. Joel Heck
      Now I have a message to you, Dr. Joel Heck, from your father, Pastor Donald E. Heck.  I discovered it as I came to the last of your father's typed pages (p. 516) of his translation of Walther's Epistle sermons.  This is his message now to you, son Joel (emphases mine):
  • Finished this 30th day of September in the year of our Lord 1960.
  • My thanks to my Lord, and Savior Jesus Christ for granting me strength and wisdom to finish this task.
  • May you who read and study these pages find the treasure which I have found.
So I say to you, son Professor of Theology Dr. Joel Heck, that your father suggests that you read the treasure that he found, the treasure of Walther's sermons!  May I suggest that you set aside C.S. Lewis for awhile now.
==>> And I suggest that your father would recommend the sermons of C.F.W. Walther over the writings of... C.S. Lewis.  He just testified to the great treasure he found in... Walther.   Dr. Heck, you are "Executive Editor of Concordia University Press", so you should be publishing your father's works, not me!  YOU should be publishing the greatest sermon books since the Reformation century, rather than books and websites about C.S. Lewis.
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      Now who will have the honor of translating the last untranslated sermon book of Walther, Licht des LebensLight of Life?  Twenty years ago I produced the full digital text of this sermon book from the original German, fully formatted (not from Google Books), ready to be used for the ease of translation.  This file has been available here, even to Concordia Publishing House for their possible use in getting it translated but... it seems ... maybe ... "Walther isn't popular right now". (If any serious translator wants this file, contact me... there are some parties interested in getting this done.)


      I now add my thanks to God for Pastor Donald's glorious work of bringing so many of Walther's sermons to the English language.  Now all of his translated sermons are widely available to the public -- the Gospel Sermons (volumes 1 and 2) by Concordia Publishing House and the Epistle Sermons (Standard Epistles) here on BackToLuther.  May He bless the readers to find the treasure that Walther and Pastor Heck brought to us.  I know that I have been greatly blessed along with the dear... Pastor Donald E. Heck!