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This installment presents all references to synodical Convention Essays. I have tabulated 30 of these, 18 having Walther's stamp. Historians of old Missouri have sometimes slipped up on authorship or responsibility for some of the older essays. Profs. August Suelflow and Kurt Marquart missed the fact that whenever C.F.W. Walther was in attendance at any synodical convention, that convention's essay bears the stamp of his responsibility. So if the presenter or the formulator of the essay theses is published as Th. Brohm or F.A. Schmidt, etc., I have learned for my own part that it bears the stamp of Walther whenever he was present. Perhaps the only exception to this is if the essayist was George Stoeckhardt or Franz Pieper where the essay would stand without "discussion". So in the following tables, I made some judgment calls on whether to include an essay in Walther's list or not. More on this below.
I recall that when I first read Pieper's Christian Dogmatics 20 years ago that I was amazed at how many references he gave. And because his subject matter was so rich in Christian doctrine, I longed to have access to these. But they seemed to be so inaccessible and I prayed that somehow these would come to light again. Now... almost all of these are available to some extent on my listing of Convention Essays blog post.
|Prof. August Suelflow|
Dir., Concordia Historical Institute
However, I would suggest Suelflow's tabulation is partially incomplete. For example he did not consider the 1872 Synodical Conference essay (SCR1872) to be Walther's. Also see my comments on the 1886 Synodical Conference essay. But the more I studied the large collection of District Synod, Delegate Synod (Missouri Synod), and Synodical Conference essays, it became apparent that a large pool of essays should be considered as under Walther's responsibility, even if Walther is not listed as the presenter. Even Director Suelflow admitted (page 13) that in these essays there was such a"Immediately after the six English volumes appeared [CPH - Selected Writings of C.F.W. Walther], the undersigned enlisted several men to complete translating the convention essays. All of them have now been completed after years of effort.... for a total of 11."
"pervasive use of the passive voice (because of Walther’s modesty?), it sometimes even is hard to tell which comments are those of a questioner and which are Walther’s."Despite some weaknesses, the translation work spearheaded by Director Suelflow of Walther's works has been a great gift to the Church. And although CPH allowed Suelflow's great work on Walther to lapse, it has begun to have some of these Convention Essays to be republished in a revised format, e.g. Church Fellowship, etc. (CPH: When is the next one coming out??)
Now I present all 34 references that Franz Pieper included in his Christliche Dogmatik work:
As I again reviewed these essays, it struck me how important the 1860 Delegate Synod (Missouri) essay was -- scroll down the above table in Walther's listing. Walther was present at this convention but Franz Pieper identified Theo. Brohm as the formulator of the Theses (C.D. 3, p. 191 n. 89). But I say that this essay bears the clear stamp of... C.F.W. Walther. And what was the subject matter? ==>> The Lutheran Doctrine of Absolution. Here is Pieper's main takeaway from this essay:
ABSOLUTION: a special form of proclaiming the Gospel where nothing more and nothing else is given than every believer already has through the general preaching and promise of the Gospel.I paused my project for awhile to take some time once again to review this doctrine in relation to Universal Justification. Any readers who want to truly understand this most Christian doctrine should learn from the masters: Luther, Walther and Franz Pieper.
==>> Will some faithful Lutheran consider translating this important essay from the German into English? The full German text is available >> here <<. It would be an immeasurable treasure for the Church. (See also my Convention Essays blog for source material).
In the next Part E are references to various books of Walther and other Old Missouri teachers.