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Sunday, October 15, 2017

“God's Word & Luther's Doctrine…” motto – 4a of 5

      This Part 4a (of 5) continues from my Part 3b (see Intro for Table of Contents), my publication of a serial essay by Prof. E. Pardieck which explains and defends the great Lutheran motto.
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Translation by BackToLuther.  All emphasized words are from the original.  Highlighting is mine.

“God's Word and Luther's Doctrine Pure.”
[by Prof. E. Pardieck]

We have stated that with this well-known little verse we do not want to place Luther's word above or beside God's Word, but, like everything else, under God's Word, indeed, that we may rather say: Luther has no word or doctrine of his own. His teaching is the doctrine of the Word of God.  It is the Word of God because it is taken from Scripture, which is the Word of God.

Thus we say of Luther's doctrine, the doctrine of the Scripture, what we say of Scripture. It would be pure madness, if someone wanted to say: God's Word does not pass away, but one can not say that of the doctrine of the Word of God.
One could ask: Why exactly do we say this of Luther's doctrine? If Luther's doctrine is the Word of God because it is a doctrine taken from Scripture, can not that be said of every pure teacher?  Indeed, one can and should do this.  One can say, however, that every right preacher, who has a good conscience in his preaching, must say: I preach to my congregation God's Word, my preaching is the Word of God, my doctrine and preaching brings people salvation, God's Word and my doctrine and preaching, or what is the same: the doctrine of the Word of God which I preach shall not pass away, now or nevermore. A preacher, who can not say this of his sermon, should rather seek a different occupation. Luther expresses this as follows: “A preacher must say and boast with Jeremiah, “Lord thou knowest that which came out of my lips is true and pleasing to thee” [Jer. 17:16]; indeed, with St. Paul and all the apostles and prophets, he should say firmly, Haec dixit dominus, ‘God himself has said this’ [1 Cor. 1:10]. And again, “In this sermon I have been an apostle and a prophet of Jesus Christ’ [1 Thess. 4:15]. Here it is unnecessary, even bad, to pray for forgiveness of sins, as if one had not taught truly, for it is God’s Word and not my word, and God ought not and cannot forgive it, but only confine, praise, and crown it, saying, ‘You have taught truly, for I have [page 181, col. 2] spoken through you and the word is mine.’

Whoever cannot boast like that about his preaching, let him give up preaching, for he truly lies and slanders God.”  [St. L. 17, 1343-1344, #66, Against Hanswurst ; Am. Ed. 41, p. 216]  In such a [false] preacher the listeners may not sing at the beginning of worship:
Dear Jesus, we are here,
To listen to you and your Word.
Before such a sermon, it would be pointless to sing:
Lord, open the door of my heart,
Draw my heart through your Word to them!
And when the congregation wanted to sing,
Amen, we have heard,
What God has taught us;
The Holy Spirit from above
Seal it in us, Amen,
then such a preacher would have to run away from shame and horror if he is not a miserable hireling, who is concerned only with the idea of ​​how long it will be until the next pay day comes.
However, the doctrine of the Word of God, the doctrine derived from Scripture is God’s Word, may it be preached by whoever will. This is a thought which Luther often expresses. He says, for example, “It is indeed thine, not our word. So He wants us, too, to see the Word alone. He is talking about how or where He wants.” (St. L. III, 412, #15 end; not in Am. Ed.)  “God now takes an angel, now Peter or Magdalene, or even an ass, as with whom He spoke His Word. "(St. L. 3, 726, #22; not in Am. Ed.). Luther was far from believing that only he could teach God's Word. That would have made him very sad, if it were so. With joy he also recognized in other pure teachers — of course only such — the doctrine, sermons, and books of God's Word. Yea, in his humility, he preferred other men's books to his, and wished his books might subside. In a recommendation for a book by Melanchthon, he writes: “I myself have rather such as master Philipp's books than [page 182, col. 1] mine, also prefer to see the same both in the Latin and in the German on the plaza than mine.” (St. L. 14, 176, #1; not in Am. Ed.). On Jan Hus, who had appeared about a hundred years before Luther and was burned by the Papists for his faithful testimony, he said, "Thus I hold that John Hus has brought the Gospel that we have now through his blood to the light." (St. L. 6, 87, #20; not in Am. Ed. 16, p. 101, different version)  At the end of his interpretation of the Epistle to the Galatians, he expressed the wish that his little work might serve the Christian ministry, and then continues: "For here, because it is God’s affair and surely of the utmost importance, I am eager to be instructed by any child." (St. L. 8, 1362-1363; Am. Ed. 27, p. 159)  He says to every pure preacher: "Such a priest may then proceed from God to the people, to present God's answer and command. And such a priest's word shall be as much as the Word of God itself, for it does not lead, but God's Word. He that hath the Word of God is a priest: and he that heareth him, heareth God "(St. L. 3, 1016, #15; not in Am. Ed.).
- - - - - - - - - -  Continued in Part 4b  - - - - - - - - - - -

I believe Prof. Pardieck's answer to this reader's concern about the Lutheran motto is much more glorious than the reader might have imagined.  Pardieck's essay rings out to all of Christianity … today! — In the next Part 4b, Pardieck gets rather bold in his statements about... Martin Luther.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

“God's Word & Luther's Doctrine…” motto – 3b of 5

      This Part 3b (of 5) continues from Part 3(a) (see Intro for Table of Contents), my publication of a serial essay by Prof. E. Pardieck explaining and defending the great Lutheran motto.
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Translation by BackToLuther.  All emphasized words are from the original.  Highlighting is mine.
“God's Word and Luther's Doctrine Pure.”
[by Prof. E. Pardieck]

That Luther's doctrine was the doctrine of Scripture, even the enemies had to admit. It is well known that when in the year 1530 the Augsburg Confession had been read before the Emperor and Empire, Duke William of Bavaria, overwhelmed by what had been read, said to Dr. Eck: “I have been told a lot about Luther's doctrine, for I have heard it in their confessions. You have also comforted me, that their teaching is to be disproved.”  Then Eck gave the answer: “With the fathers I dare to refute them, but not with the Scriptures.”  It became clear to him that with Scripture one cannot harm the doctrine of the Lutherans; because they have the Scriptures for themselves. The Duke then rejoined this answer: “So I am to understand, the Lutherans are sitting in Scripture and we are beside it.”  Luther often refers to this. He says:

“The Papists do not wander into sin, but knowingly, willingly; for they know, especially the chief among them, that our doctrine is right and founded in the Word of God, as they have known and said to themselves at the Diet of Augsburg in 1530.” (XXII, 359.)  And another time: “Therefore it is that the best and worst among them must say that our doctrine is not contrary to any article of faith. I was so fond of this confession of the Papists as if someone had given me 100,000 guilders.” Carlstadt, Münzer, the heavenly prophets, Zwingli— all could not suffer from Luther that he clung to the Word of Scripture and held it. “The text, the text is too powerful,” he always said. Yes, just this holding on the word brought him the heretic's name. “This is the doctrine for which we bear not only the name “heresy” but punishment, namely, that we attribute everything to hearing or to the Word or to faith in the Word” (V, 563; AE 12, p. 369). Such people were called disgraceful Lutherans, who, in matters of doctrine, would not submit to any pope, reason, or new revelation, except the Word of God. Our confession laments: "This blessed doctrine, the precious holy Gospel, they call Lutheran." (Müller, p. 213; Triglotta p. 327; Apology to the Augsburg Confession, “Article XV (VIII): Of Human Traditions in the Church” § 42)
Luther's doctrine is nothing but God's Word. Luther's doctrine is simply the doctrine, as it is stated in Scripture. Yes, the gospel – that will turn the enemies Lutheran. Whether or not the doctrine is now called “Lutheran” is of no importance. We will not say with this verse that certainly to the last day a church will be called “Lutheran,” and that in all times the doctrine according to Luther's name will be called “Luther's doctrine.” On the contrary, we may say that the doctrine taught by Luther will remain eternal as the Word of God because Luther's doctrine is the Word of God. This is what we say even more.

All who believe and accept the Word of God are in this sense Lutheran, though they may not call themselves so, or even know Luther's name, or may not suffer to be named so. Indeed, the Lutheran doctrine, because it is nothing more than the doctrine of the Word of God, has long existed before Luther was born. An old [page 168, col. 2] Lutheran teacher has written a book with the title “Lutheranism before Luther.” [Kürtzlich-gewiesenes Lutherthum vor Luthero by August Pfeiffer] There he enumerates all the dear confessors of truth and says that all are what we call “Lutherans” in our time, namely Bible Christians. Luther himself says of himself: “Thus Luther himself will not be Lutheran, unless he teaches the Holy Scripture purely." Only in this sense can we also call ourselves “Lutheran.” We have recognized that Luther's doctrine is true with Scripture, that is, God's doctrine is God's Word itself. Of course, one must have realized that Luther's doctrine is God's Word. Our verse is a confession. You can only confess what you know and believe. He who does not know the Word of God and Luther's doctrine cannot, of course, confess that the two are in agreement. He must first come to know both God's Word and Luther's doctrine, and convince himself that Luther is teaching nothing but God's Word. Then, of course, he will no longer stumble on the verse. Because we are now convinced that Luther's doctrine is the Biblical truth, nothing other than God's Word, and no one has ever been able to convict us of the contrary, we confess of the two as one thing:

God's Word and Luther's Doctrine Pure
Shall to Eternity Endure.
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      There are a lot of Christians today who will "not suffer to be named" as Lutherans.  But so far as they believe and accept God's Word, they ARE Lutherans.  And I would extend Prof. Pardieck's statement:
In so far as “Lutherans” do not believe and accept God's Word, they ARE NOT Lutherans.
      I have read of some scholars who question whether the Papists verbally said the Lutherans were Scriptural and they, the Papal party, had to rely on the traditions of men.  But I will believe Luther's own testimony that they did indeed say these very things at Augsburg in 1530.  Let the modern scholars and theologians mumble and grumble… they were not there with Luther.
      I confess with Prof. Eduard Pardieck:
“Because we are now convinced that Luther's doctrine is the Biblical truth, nothing other than God's Word, and no one has ever been able to convict us of the contrary, we confess of the two as one thing.”
i.e. God's Word = Luther's Doctrine. — In the next Part 4a...

Sunday, October 8, 2017

“God's Word & Luther's Doctrine…” motto – 3a of 5

      This Part 3a (of 5) continues from my Part 2 (see Intro for Table of Contents), my publication of a serial essay by Prof. E. Pardieck explaining and defending the great Lutheran motto.
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Translation by BackToLuther.  All emphasized words are from the original.  Highlighting is mine.
“God's Word and Luther's Doctrine Pure.”
[by Prof. E. Pardieck]

But not only is it a false understanding of the verse in question, if one understands by it that Luther's word was to be placed above or even beside God's Word, but it is also a false understanding when one places God's Word and Luther's doctrine in opposition to each other, tears them apart, looks as if they were two completely different things.  As if the saying were to express, “There are two [different] things which never pass away: First, God's Word remains forever; but Luther's doctrine remains as a second thing.  

No, God's Word and Luther's doctrine are not two different things, they are one and the same, Luther taught nothing else, and wished to teach nothing other than the Word of God, Luther was certain that his doctrine is nothing but God's Word.  We are also certain of it. That is why what we say of Luther's doctrine is what we say of God's Word, and know that we do not really speak [page 167, col. 2] of two things, but of one, namely of God's Word. Luther did not teach his own doctrine, but taught God's Word. In order to express this, the verse has also been conceived as “God’s Word is Luther's doctrine,” therefore it never ceases to exist. “The opinion is that Luther's doctrine is God's Word, therefore it remains forever; for the Scripture expressly says this: ‘The Word of the Lord endureth for ever,’” 1 Peter. 1:25.
It must, of course, be shown that Luther's doctrine is God's Word.  How is it then? Is Luther then God? Certainly not. He was a mortal man, indeed a sinful man, like all Adam's children. Or is Luther's doctrine the Word of God in the sense of the words of the Prophets and Apostles, who were speaking by the immediate impulse of the Holy Spirit, to whom God Himself gave what and how to write? Not even that. How then? Simply like this: God has given his Word once and for all in the Holy Scriptures. This is to be taught as God's Word. Luther has taught this; he has taught the doctrines of the Holy Scriptures, has taken all the doctrine out of Scripture and proved them with Scripture. There he added nothing of his own. Thus his doctrine is the doctrine of the Word of God.
That's how Luther himself looked at it. He says, “Nor should any doctrine be taught or heard in the church except the pure Word of God, that is, the Holy Scripture” (IX, 87; AE 26, p. 58) “God speaks to us through the Scriptures and through men who teach Scripture. Whoever hears this will not be deceived.” (VI, 80, para. 15; AE 16, ~ p. 96 but not exact same ).  The Scripture is to be taught purely and not to be falsified. “One must not interpret, understand and turn the Scriptures according to reason, but as they were spoken by God Himself through the mouths of the prophets, apostles, and godly teachers.” (XXII, 577)  Where one twists the Scripture, false doctrine  arises, which is of course not God's Word. “All the heresies from the beginning originated from the fact that what they read in Scripture, they would interpret as reason teaches” (XIII, 1899, para. #6; not in AE). Whoever teaches the Scriptures does not teach his own doctrine.  “They should know that we are not the one who teaches that,  that we should not teach our own word, but that only our mouth can serve His Word if He so wishes, and He has called" (IV, 623, not in AE 10). “Therefore when we speak the Word of God, it should not be taken as the word of man.” (II, 949, parag. 112, AE 6, p. 257, ). Remaining with the Word of Scripture gives a certain divine doctrine, not because man is error-free, but because God’s Word is certain. “We cannot err at all if we will stand by the Word and will follow the decision of the Word of God.” (XIV, 915)[AE 19, p. 5].
That Luther had taught Scripture and did not want to teach anything else is an historical fact; that was known and is known now by friend and foe. He begins his 95 Theses with an appeal to God's Word: “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ speaks.”  In Worms before the Emperor and the Empire, he demanded refutation with clear passages of the Holy Scriptures, because his conscience was captive to God's Word. He took all his doctrine from Scripture, and founded it with Scripture; against others he fought with the Scripture. He always drew his doctrine through the Scriptures, and became so certain of them. He always urged his opponents to submit to the Scriptures, then they would be united, or [page 168, col. 1] to refute him with Scripture. And because they could not do the latter, it only served to make him more certain of his doctrine.

- - - - - - - - -  Continued in Part 3(b)  - - - - - - - - - -

      How I love that Pardieck proves Luther's adherence to Scripture by his statement at the very beginning of his 95 Theses which were nailed to the church door, the event popularly known for the inauguration of the Reformation:
“When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ speaks…”
Luther rested on what was written in the Scriptures.  In the next Part 3b, Pardieck points out who did not rest on Holy Scripture…

Sunday, October 1, 2017

“God's Word & Luther's Doctrine…” motto – 2 of 5

      This Part 2 (of 5) continues from my Part 1 (see Intro for Table of Contents), my publication of a serial essay explaining and defending the great Lutheran motto.
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Translation by BackToLuther.  All emphasized words are from the original.  Highlighting is mine.

“God's Word and Luther's Doctrine Pure.”
by Prof. E. Pardieck

A false understanding of the motto of our Der Lutheraner and therefore the reason for the impetus would be this, if one understood it as if Luther's word was to be placed next to God's Word as equal. The opinion is this: The Papists have acted like this. They have placed the Pope and the Church over Scripture. In addition to the Bible, the written Word, they have put the so-called unwritten word, the tradition, and the Council of Trent has expressly decided that these traditions or lore of the Holy Scripture should be accepted with the same reverence. Some teachers in the Papacy have openly said: We need the tradition, or we can not establish some doctrines; some of our teachings are not in the Bible.
Will we now say something like this with our verse of “God's Word and Luther's Doctrine Pure?”  Let us also say that: we hold the Bible in all honor as far as it goes; but we do not have it enough; the Scripture is not perfect, not everything is in it; we have many special doctrines, which are not in the Bible, which we take from Luther's writings?  Is that the opinion? If we thought so, then all Christians would have to turn away from us with horror. Indeed, it would be an abomination, which would be the same as the first dismissed horrible misunderstanding. For if you put something above or beside God's Word, that eventually comes to one thing.
Such an abuse of the writings of Luther would, of course, not be in the sense according to God, but also not according to Luther's sense, would again be neither God's Word nor Luther's doctrine, God wants Himself and His words to be kept with no equal. 
And Luther would oppose it with his hands and feet if he and his word were to be placed by the side of God and His Word. This he would regard as blasphemy; and it would be. Then Luther would do something similar to what Paul and Barnabas did when one wanted to sacrifice to them as gods. There it says, “They rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out, and saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you and preach unto you the gospel”, Acts 14:14.
God's Word in this piece is this: God gives us His Word in Scripture and nowhere else. He always points us to the Scriptures and nothing else. It is called [page 151, col. 2] always: "Search the Scriptures!" John 5:39.  What God does not tell us in Scripture, He will not tell us. We have enough of the Scriptures, and let us be satisfied with them. It is perfect; it contains all the teachings necessary to know and to believe in salvation. From his gospel John says it is 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.  Paul says to Timothy, “That from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” 2 Tim. 3:15. And this is what the Apostle says of the Old Testament, since at that time there was only this. How much more can be said of the whole Scripture! Thus, if we are able to come to the knowledge of God and Christ, to faith and salvation through Scripture, then it is perfect. Then we need nothing next to it. And God does not give us anything next to it and does not allow us to put anything next to it. He forbids us to do the same. Earnestly enough, the Lord punishes the Pharisees for their doctrine of men, their trimmings and writings, Matt. 15:3, 9, 13.
And this is also Luther's doctrine in our piece. If ever a man emphasized Scripture and Scripture alone, it was Luther. Luther's countless sayings could again be mentioned. He even wrote a book of his own, "Avoiding the Doctrines of Men." (St. L., 19, 598 ff.; Am. Ed. 35, p. 125 ff.)  Here are just a few words from Luther. “We shall be bound to the divine Word, and we shall hear it, and no man shall teach anything from his own head without God's Word.” (St. L. III, 1667, #6; not in Am. Ed.) “Thus God's Word and God’s matters can suffer no addition along side; it must be wholly pure and unadulterated, or it is already corrupt, and of no more use.” (St. L. XII, 480, #7; not in Am. Ed.).  “We can not bring this division between the Scriptures and the doctrines of man into one. The doctrine of man is to be forsaken, and the Scriptures are to be kept; for they both can not and will not be kept, because they will not be one, and naturally they must be against each other, like water and fire, like heaven and earth.” (St. L. XIX, 620, #65; not in Am. Ed.) On the first verse of the first Psalm [Ps. 1:1]  he says: “It is a remarkable Word that, apart from the Word of God, all human doctrines are so damned that they are called godless counsel, the way of sinners, the seat of the scornful, and God will not know anything about them.” (St. L. IX, 1763; not in Am. Ed.) “It is easy to reckon how honestly and faithfully the Sophists go around the Christians; who, out of their own mad head from evil thirst and devils input, without the command of God, without any cause, all to make what they will of articles of faith.” (St. L. XVIII, 895; not in Am. Ed.)"  “For whatever departs from the word of God (which is the only way, as Christ says, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life’ [John 14:6]), however well and beautifully it may glitter, is without question error, lie, and death. It is without the word of God, that is, without the way, the truth, and the life.” (St. L. XVII, 1342, #/63, Against Hanswurst; Am. Ed. 41, p. 215) And so Luther did not only fight against the teachings of men which he found among others; he was very much wary of a sacrilege against God and His Word and His Christians, that he did not bring a doctrine of his own into the way, without God's Word.
How often he asserts that he has drawn all his teachings through the Scriptures over and over again, and [page 152, col. 1] so that their truth has become assured. Indeed, out of sheer dread of false human prestige, or that someone may misuse his writings to the detriment of the Scriptures, or the reading of Scripture, he expressed the wish that all his books perished. Here we find such expressions as this: “Would to God that my exposition and that of all doctors might perish and each Christian himself make the Scriptures and God’s pure Word his norm.” (St. L XI, 429, footnote; Am. Ed. 52, p. 286).
The Lutheran Church inherited this sense from him. She does not want to know about the doctrines of men. In her Confession, she declares herself free from “all unlawful, doubtful, suspicious, and condemned doctrines, wherever and in whatever books they may be found, and whoever may have written them, or even now may be disposed to defend them”, also from “errors, which are spread here and there in the writings of some theologians”, so that no Christians “be misled in this matter by the reputation [authority] of any man”.  (Trigl. 856/857, #19-20; BoC Form. of Concord, #19-20; Müller, p. 573.)  In these words the confession has men in mind, whose names in the church had a good sound.
God will have no doctrines beside his Word.  Luther and the Lutheran Church regard as an abomination all doctrines of man. And because Der  Lutheraner thinks in the same way, it places in its heading, for itself and others, the warning: “God's Word and Luther's doctrine pure, shall to eternity endure.”  E. P.
- - - - - - - - - - -  Continued in Part 3a  - - - - - - - - - -

Pardieck covers every objection to this motto — and so he isn't done yet.  In the next Part 3a...