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Saturday, July 1, 2017

Lutheran shibboleth: SOLA fide– Luther & Triglotta (Part 2a)

      This continues from Part 1 (Table of contents in Part 1) which announced the complete 1921 Concordia Triglotta unveiling on Google Books this year.  Now I want to present the subject covered by the Triglotta (the Lutheran Confessions) that began my research which led me to that discovery.
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      While continuing my project on Pieper's Christliche Dogmatik (now hyperlinking all Baier-Walther references), I ran across his short treatment of the doctrine of “by faith alone” or the familiar Latin phrase “sola fide” (Christian Dogmatics 2, p. 532-534, Christliche Dogmatik 2, p. 641 ff.).  Pieper brings to bear one of Luther's great Reformation sayings that caused me to just freeze… and thank God for the Reformation!  But what was it that Luther said?
      During the discussions surrounding the presentation of the Augsburg Confession, Philip Melanchthon reported to Luther the following from Augsburg in 1530:

[Johann] Eck finds fault with the word sola. He does not condemn the doctrine in itself, but says that the unlearned would be offended by it. I forced him to admit that we are right in ascribing righteousness to faith.”

Since Johann Eck was the chief spokesman for the Papists, Luther knew him very well and so answered the naive Melanchthon:

“You write that you made Eck admit that we are justified by faith. If you had only gotten him not to lie!” 

The above exchange is unfortunately not to be found in Luther's Works American Edition… what a shame.  Pieper then speaks for Luther by explaining Eck's "grace":
“Eck was very willing to say that a man is justified “by grace and by faith,” understanding grace to mean not the gracious disposition of God, but “infused grace,” that is, good works.”
Melanchthon’s erroneous judgment of Eck on “justified by faith” is in St. L. 16:1401 (WA Br 5, 554, #1691), Luther’s answer to Melanchthon on Eck’s “lie” in St. L. 16:1403 (WA Br 5. 576, #1699). See my Luther's Letters, p. 245-246; Reu, The Augsburg Confession, Part 2, p. 386-387 for a near full English translation. —  For the past 2 weeks or so, I have paused my work and just gloried in this statement by Luther.  Justification is accomplished sola fide, only by faith.  And the Church of the Roman Anti-Christ will not follow what the Holy Scriptures teach on this, even to the point of deceitfully agreeing to the words but not the meaning.  This is how Franz Pieper drove home the great teaching of the Reformation to his Concordia Seminary-St. Louis students.  This is why Martin Luther is the only Reformer of the Church.
      Franz Pieper then refers to several writings, but I will highlight just two of them:

(1) Luther's essay titled “On Translating, An Open Letter” where he gives his "cutting reply" and an explanation for his use of the word sola (or "solum") in Romans 3:28 (1545 German text):
“However, I was not depending upon or following the nature of language when I inserted the word "solum" (alone) in Rom. 3 as the text itself, and St. Paul's meaning, urgently necessitated and demanded it.  He is dealing with the main point of Christian doctrine in this passage – namely that we are justified by faith in Christ without any works of the Law.  In fact, he rejects all works so completely as to say that the works of the Law, though it is God's law and word, do not aid us in justification.” — [This text was translated for Project Wittenberg by Dr. Gary Mann in 1995 and was placed by him in the public domain.  You may freely distribute, copy or print this text, providing the information in this statement remains attached. — Here are all sources: St. L. XIX, 968, esp. 978-982;  WA 30, II, pp. 632-646;  Project Wittenberg English translation, (search “So much for translating”), archived copy;  Am Ed. 35, 175-202, esp. 195-202.] 
It was distressing to me that after extensive research, I could find no English translation of Romans 3:28 that followed Luther's German translation: "allein durch den Glauben", "by faith alone".  Why is that?  However you will find the word "alone" in the Lutheran Confessions – see the next item.

 (2) Article IV of the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, paragraph 73:
“The particle alone offends some, although even Paul says, Rom. 3:28: We conclude that a man is justified by faith, without the deeds of the Law. Again, Eph. 2:8: It is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast. Again, Rom. 3:24: Being justified freely. If the exclusive alone displeases, let them remove from Paul also the exclusives freely, not of works, it is the gift, etc. For these also are [very strong] exclusives. It is, however, the opinion of merit that we exclude. We do not exclude the Word or Sacraments, as the adversaries falsely charge us. For we have said above that faith is conceived from the Word, and we honor the ministry of the Word in the highest degree.”
Concordia Triglotta
(in Google Books!)
p. 140-141
     And Oh!...  while researching all online resources, I discovered to my great joy that the beloved printed Concordia Triglotta was now fully available in Google Books (and HathiTrust 2-pg spread), not just "snippet view" or "limited search".  I could now not only hyperlink references to the great website, but now everyone will be able to see not only the English translation, but also the 2 source languages, Latin and German, on facing pages as they were printed =======>>>>>>>>
by the old (German) Missouri Synod in 1921.  Now everyone, the whole world that has access to the Internet, can read how the Lutheran Confessions have it written down... that Justification is "sola fide", by faith alone.  Every Lutheran, indeed every Christian (including me!), should study Luther's complete writing of "On Translating" in the above reference and the Apology's explanation of this "main point of Christian doctrine" in the 3-language Concordia Triglotta HERE.  It is the heart of the Reformation! 

1910 Catholic Encyclopedia
"By leaving out the obnoxious word sola (alone), the article might be glossed in a Catholic sense.
1910 Catholic Encyclopedia
      Pieper calls on this reference work under the sub-heading “Faith, Protestant Confessions of” (here) to show how this doctrine has never left the center stage, as the RC Church speaks of the “obnoxious word sola (alone)”.  This doctrine, the "sola fide", is by no means settled in today's world.  It is just as much in contention "here and now" as in the days of the presentation of the Augsburg Confession in the year 1530.

      We see that Franz Pieper, Martin Luther, and the Concordia Triglotta are all in agreement.  And how the world rages!  It isn't just the Roman Church that wars against it.  In the next Part 2b, I bring a small sampling of this contention over the doctrine of… SOLA fide!

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