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Thursday, August 30, 2012

"Came across your blog... interesting stuff", a criticism

     I received a private message from a correspondent a couple of days ago:
"Just came across your blog, lots of interesting stuff."
Hmmm... another spam comment...  I'll just mark him as "spam" and be rid of him..... oh, wait, he goes on and says:
"I liked the material on Old Missouri and geocentrism."
Oh, this is definitely not a spam message...  I wonder who this is, he mentions "Old Missouri" and "geocentrism".  Could it be a Lutheran who is perhaps strengthened by the pure Christian teaching of Luther, Walther and/or Pieper?  Could it be?  He goes on:
"I enclose an English translation of a piece by Lindemann against modern astronomy.  My German isn't great, but I had a member of the congregation translate it for me."
OK, sir.  You have an interest in the topic of "geocentrism".  I also do and the article you sent me is an English translation of J.C.W. Lindemann's booklet that C.F.W. Walther commented on.  Actually, I'm not so interested in Lindemann's booklet, but what Walther's comments were.  Why?  Because I am absolutely certain that what Walther says is truly Christian.  Lindemann, although he upholds the Biblical teaching of geocentrism, may be weak on the true Gospel.  It was Walther who kept his brothers, including Lindemann, strong in the true Christian faith because he taught the pure Doctrine of Justification.
     But then the correspondent said this:
"Only one criticism.  It is unworthy of a Christian to post under a pseudo-name.  Always be brave enough to use your own name."
Ouch!  This statement touched me...  I'm not proud of using a pseudo-name instead of my real name.  Amazon praises its reviewers when it puts "Real Name" next to a reviewer's name.
     Then the correspondent identified himself – he is a pastor of a Lutheran congregation and he identified the name and city of his congregation.  However, he did not identify what synod he was from ...  hmmm, a bit odd to me, since he just told me I should be brave and identify myself.
     So in today's world of instantaneous, ubiquitous knowledge, I searched the Internet for his congregation and, Oh! ... my correspondent is a member of the ELCA, or the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.  What?  He says my blog has "interesting stuff", but did he read Pieper's comment on the forebearer of his ELCA synod, the Ohio Synod, which taught that the old Missouri Synod taught heresy?  Did he read in my Timeline of the Downfall of the LC-MS how a member of the ALC committee (Buehring) on June 26, 1946 complained of the LC-MS forcing the Brief Statement on ALC men, like a "potato stomper"?

     Does my correspondent not see that my blog is not about "interesting stuff" but rather about spiritual life and death?  Does the correspondent not see what Pieper saw when he said that the forebearers of ELCA, the Ohio/Iowa/ALC synods, were "reaching for our souls" during discussions on fellowship?
- - - - - - - - - - - 
     You just called me a Christian... but what Christian?  Pieper said the following when writing of Walther's teaching on the Doctrine of Justification:
"All praise of Christ, of grace, and of the means of grace, without the right doctrine of justification, is nothing."
Nothing.  Nothing?? What Doctrine of Justification?  Universal, Objective Justification (the Gospel)
Dear ELCA pastor ==>> Do you preach this Gospel, that even before the hearers believe, there is salvation, that they are already justified, God is already reconciled to them,... even before they believeAs Walther says:
"Yes, there are not a few Lutherans who think that doctrine should be treated very lightly lest the hearers become too secure."
- - - - - - - -
     He called me a Christian.  He would probably call Martin Luther a Christian, but why?  His synod and the LC-MS condemn Luther, yet they probably make at least some use of Luther's Small Catechism in some instructional classes for its youth.  What are your youth supposed to think:  "You teachers condemn Luther, and yet you want us to learn from him spiritually?"
- - - - - - - -
     And so, dear ELCA pastor, to you I'm just pseudo-name BackToLuther... from the old (German) Missouri Synod.  I cannot accept your admonishment because I have to question your motive.  If I am to be admonished by someone, it will be especially by a Lutheran pastor or teacher who admonishes me from an unquestionable motive, who teaches the true Gospel as Walther and Pieper taught, and that Jesus commands his followers:

Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.  Matthew 10:32 

     No, this blog is not for those who would collect old writings as "interesting stuff", but rather for the sake of their soul.  I have over 30 feet of book shelf space of old Lutheran writings, over 40 megabytes of scanned, OCR'd and translated materials from old (and not so old) Lutheran material.  I had accumulated perhaps the greatest library of true Lutheranism in the world – in my basement.  And then it finally hit me... I don't have to do this anymore.  I have the truth of Christianity in my lap... it is enough.  I have Pieper's Christian Dogmatics, and Walther's Proper Distinction of Law and Gospel, and most of Luther's writings.

     Who will speak for Christianity, not just Lutheranism, today
·        Franz Pieper, the 20th Century Luther
·        C.F.W. Walther, the American Luther
·        Martin Chemnitz, the Second Martin
And...
Martin Luther,
the one whom nearly all "Lutherans" in the world today, including your ELCA, condemn.

Who Am I? To you, dear ELCA pastor, I'm just BackToLuther.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Movies... and the Bible? (and Jews)

     Our modern world is so steeped in the works of the motion picture industry – it is now about a hundred years since Hollywood began its march into our hearts and our minds.  There is hardly anyone around who can remember when there weren't movies.  But even unbelievers recognize the detrimental effects of Hollywood but do not dare to censure it.
     Franz Pieper knew the detrimental effects of the film industry in June of 1921 when he wrote about it.  But the following comments that he made weren't just about the general film industry, but about films about the Bible.  Surely he wouldn't criticize films made about the Bible... would he?  Here is what he said in Lehre und Wehre, volume 67, page 192:

Just like here in the United States.   A consistently "liberal" theologian [Gottfried Traub- translate this page] complained in the "Iron Sheet" [Eiserne Blätter] (volume 2, pg. 352) the lack of Biblical knowledge in Germany.  At the same time, he describes the attempt to acquaint people with the Bible through the "cinema" (motion picture theater).  He says:
"The people who were at home in the Bible, were more straightforward, pithy, healthier and active than our distracted generation today.  They knew far more than us, even if occasionally not all knew what we consider worth knowing today.  Above all they were deeply rooted and breathed in the strong, pure air of the Bible which can be the for the plant biting like the East and mild like the spring flower.  What are all stock market losses against this lack in character!  A Goethe bent [?] before the Bible.  Today there are Goethe enthusiasts who make a stupid face when they recall him.  But nowadays we have a substitute. Be glad, German people!  Your Bible is 'filmed'!  One sends a caravan of traveling city folk for good daily wages in Egypt and Palestine, and locates there on the site and spot of the 'Bible'.  Then afterward they can marvel at the girl in the cinema between the 'love frenzy' or the best detective story.  Have we become so insensitive that we all can be taken in?  These people are much too shrewd calculators that they would do something for which they know that nobody wants to see.  Unfortunately, they know the masses too well – they will flock to them.  It is a pleasant tickling to be pious in the movies between all the others for an hour.  If the German people are still Christians [?], they do not allow that Christ is made junk for themselves.  Or should he be crucified once again by the same people who led him mocking and jeering to Golgatha?"
If it is also a fact what has been reported occasionally, that even in the United States the owners of the movie theaters are in the majority Reform Jews, so it stands but firmly the other fact that our American sect churches largely rave for films as an excellent means to disseminate knowledge of the Bible.  We have been repeatedly approached by sect pastors for advice on which biblical events are best suitable for the "cinema".    F. P.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
     When I first began translating this article, I figured that the "liberal" German theologian (Goethe was not a Christian) would praise the movie industry for doing "Bible" cinema.  But wow!... was I surprised because even he, a "liberal" theologian could see through the movie industry.  And what did this German theologian say?
Or should he [Christ] be crucified once again by the same people [the Jews!] who led him mocking and jeering to Golgatha?
     What about the films "The Ten Commandments" and "The Bible" and others?  When the Lord brought me back to the true faith, I wanted to watch these films again ... to, you know, strengthen my faith in the Bible.  And even though there are portions of these films that have correct depictions of certain Bible events, yet even they betray a lack of spiritual understanding of the Bible's message.  For example in the movie "The Bible", George C. Scott depicts Abraham as railing against God when God told him to offer his son Isaac for a burnt offering in Genesis 22:1-18.  The Bible records nothing like what the movie portrays.

In our modern world, truly "anything goes"... Cole Porter did not say it any better:
The world has gone mad today
And good's bad today,
And black's white today,
And day's night today,...
than Martin Luther in paragraph 26 here:
they [the Jews] must believe their rabbis,
even if they said in the same matter that
the right hand would be the left and the
left would be the right one
Not only the movie industry but also television is basically controlled by unbelievers, especially Jews.  Turn on your TV set, let alone go to the movies.  There is virtually nothing that does not cause you to question the Christian faith, the Bible.  And who are these people that largely control what we see and hear and read?  They will tell you who they are.  Joel Stein, a Jew, said it best in the LA Times here:
Jews totally run Hollywood.... But I don't care if Americans think we're running the news media, Hollywood, Wall Street or the government.  I just care that we get to keep running them.
They are openly proud of it!  There is one institution that Mr. Stein didn't mention – universities.  But Pieper wasn't fooled by them, nor was he fooled by preachers who claim we need their motion picture shows for our faith.
  • Henry Ford capitulated to the Jews.
  • Today's LC-MS has capitulated to the Jews.
  • Not so the old (German) Missouri Synod!  Franz Pieper continually guided it until the day he died in 1931... by following Luther – they believed God at His Word.
Let the LC-MS make their motion pictures of C.F.W. Walther's life!  I will be content with holding to his doctrine, and so I will keep on reading and publishing him.  Thank God for Google Translate.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Student secret societies (and Freemasons)

     Franz Pieper watched like a hawk (or shall I say like an eagle) over the education institutions of the old (German) Missouri Synod.  He knew of all the forces bombarding true Christian education.  So in December 1922 he reported in the pages of Lehre und Wehre (Doctrine and Defense) an event that pointed out these forces and how they should be combated.  The article is from volume 68, pages 381-382:
Student societies in higher education.  "The Supreme Court of the State of Missouri has made the decision in the appeal brought by Waldemar R. Wright against the St. Louis City Department of Education that students who belong to student societies therefore in no way may be disciplined.  The son of the plaintiff, Roy Thomas Wright, a graduate of the Soldan High School, was a member of Delta Sigma society.  In December 1920, the school board decided to ban student participation in such societies because studies are thereby neglected and the moral attitude of the students would be affected.  Circuit Judge Killoren had decided that the educational authority had the right to make such a regulation, and Wright had appealed for the sake of his son to the High Court. This Court has now overturned the decision of the district court and declared with a 6-1 vote that the students cannot be forbade to belong as members to such societies."  This decision is not strange considering that student societies are not more harmful for schools than sworn secret societies like the Freemasons for the State.   F.P.
Pieper's sarcasm!  Freemasons and all secret societies are not only enemies of Christianity, but also enemies of the State.  So also fraternities, sororities and all student societies which are patterned after Freemasonry and are enemies of true education and its institutions.  Even unbelievers know of the shady background of secret societies.
     You Missouri, your Supreme Court had sympathizers for the secret societies among its members.  It is not unlikely that you still do since Freemasonry and other secret societies (F.O.P., etc) are so entrenched in government and police offices. They are in Indiana.  I wonder who was that 1 dissenting vote in 1920...  You should now honor Circuit Judge Killoren for his wise judgment.
     And you, Valparaiso University, who calls itself "Lutheran" and "Christian", you and your Greek life!  I know of how your Greek life has caused untold misery!

The cart and the horse... or the horse and the cart

There is a saying, a proverb, an idiom that says don't "put the cart before the horse", or as it is explained don't get things in the wrong order.  The horse pulls the cart... everybody knows the cart can't pull the horse.  It is the horse that has the horsepower to pull.  A cart is ... just a cart and has no power of its own.

I have used this picture in explaining the doctrines of Law and Gospel.

The world has it thus:
Do good works (the Law), then you'll get to heaven.
The Bible says this:
Believe the Good News (the Gospel), and you'll go to heaven.
Pretty simple, isn't it?  

Ah, but you and I are still in this world and even our own flesh screams within... 
Do Good Works!... (see God? ... see what I'm doing?)
The world steps in and confirms your inner being and says, Yes!  Do Good Works! now you're on the right track!

Now to add insult to injury, the Devil is not so crass, but is quite sly, for he will put on a religious mask and say:
Even the Bible says 'Good works are necessary' (Matthew 5:16)
What the Devil is implying is this: 
"Good works are necessary for salvation" 
and not only that, but this:
"Good works are necessary to retain salvation"
Ah, dear Devil, you are still the Devil for the Bible says neither of these 2 things.  Our Lutheran Confessions, and especially the Formula of Concord have struck you down.  Now go to your corner, you Devil!  The world may call everything but you as evil, but Christians know who you are for you want us to 
Put the cart before the horse! and think thus: 
  • Good works are necessary for salvation
  • Good works are necessary to retain salvation!
But the Bible only keeps the horse in front of the cart, keeps the Law in its place (Shows Our Sin), and keeps the Devil in his place by saying:
Acts 16:31 Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved
You want more evidence from the Bible?... that the Bible only keeps the horse before the cart?  Then read the account of the woman "taken in adultery", John 8:3-11.  The Pharisees and scribes called Jesus "Master", but what did the woman call Jesus?  Later, Jesus told her:
Go, and sin no more
Didn't Jesus put the cart before the horse?  But read what the woman called Jesus at the beginning of verse 11... it wasn't "Master" but:
Lord 
She called Him - Lord... you are my Lord, you are the Messiah long foretold who would save us from our sin!  You are my Lord and Savior!  And so Jesus seeing her faith, said:
Go, and sin no more
You want real horsepower?  Pedal-to-metal horsepower?  Varoom!  Varoom!  Then sit at the foot of the cross and look up at the Savior who did it all, paid the full price with His precious blood... all for you.  Then do Him the honor by thanking and praising Him.  Read and ponder His Word to you.  Believe Him at His Word that says, "Thy sins be forgiven thee" (read Luther's Small Catechism - the Keys).  Then, and only then, can you pull a cart.  Otherwise, keep pushing your cart for the Devil.  Dear God!  How you have to keep pulling me from behind where I'm pushing my cart to put me back in front again – by Thy Word!  Keep me in Thy Precious Word!

Now go buy the book "The Formula of Concord – Core and Highlights" by C.F.W. Walther (read page 30) and throw the Devil back in his corner!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Missions to the Mormons – in 1884, a perilous effort

This post continues the series on Mormonism from the previous post on their zeal.
In this last post on Mormonism for awhile, I am bringing the earliest writing of Dr. Pieper on this subject.  It was in 1884, while C.F.W. Walther was still the president of Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, that Pieper wrote of Christian missions among the Mormons.  Utah was still a territory, not a state, for another 12 years. The article was in Lehre und Wehre, volume 30, page 226:
Missions among the Mormons. In our circles there is, if we are not very mistaken, often the idea that Mormons enjoy uncontested domination in their territory.  However, this is not so. There are Mormon communities in which the younger generation seems to have heard little of Christianity in Utah as well as in neighboring areas.  Also Dr. Walther proves this in a letter, published recently in Der Lutheraner, written to him from a young man who grew up among Mormons. (See Der Lutheraner, April 15, a.c.)  But presently in many places of the area occupied by the Mormons are conversions made already by Christian congregations quite keenly.  Admittedly, these missions go out for the most part from the fellowships of the sects, and only the Swedish Augustana-Synod has begun recently a Lutheran mission among the Mormons, to return to the Christian faith as much as possible the 40,000 Scandinavians seduced by the Mormons.  We refer to the "Augustana Observer" of the missions among the Mormons for the following notes: The Presbyterians among the Mormons have 18 ministers, 12 churches, 310 Communicants, higher and lower schools with 51 teachers and approximately 2,000 students; the Congregationalists 7 preachers, 21 teachers, 2 congregations with 200 members, 16 schools with over 700 students; and the Episcopalians 7 preacher, 5 congregations, 395 communicants, 5 schools with 700 pupils; the Methodists 10 preachers, 6 congregations, 189 members, 5 schools with 430 pupils.  The missions extend over 50 "of the principal towns".   The "Augustana Observer" says this on the Lutheran mission: "So far, the Lutheran church has been able to do very little. The Swedish Augustana Synod has established a mission, and the great work of regaining 40,000 seduced Scandinavians, rests on our fellowship."  The same journal writes on the fanaticism of the Mormons: "Few people outside of Utah have an idea of ​​the vengeance, the unscrupulousness and the devilish cunning of the Mormon priesthood (?).  If Utah became a state under the present conditions, the life of no Christian teacher or preacher would be sure in Utah beyond Salt Lake City and Ogden where the Americans are primarily concentrated.  Even now, under a brave and competent governor and at American courts of law, it cannot be prevented that at night the windows are smashed in the houses in the country districts which are inhabited by Christian teachers and preachers.  Lives have been so threatened on and on.  School houses and churches are damaged repeatedly and set on fire."   F.P.
I don't know how it is today in Utah and surrounding areas... but I suspect similar conditions exist for Christians in the state dominated by Mormons, especially in the "country districts".

Mormonism's "extraordinary zeal"

This post continues the series on Mormonism from the previous post about their early practice of polygamy.
Most people are aware of the zeal of Mormons... the pair of boys on bicycles in neighborhoods neatly dressed with only maybe a book or book pack on them...  looking to stop at houses to "convert" the households to their sect.  Franz Pieper reports how it was in 1898 of these captive people in Lehre und Wehre, volume 44, pages 121-122:
Activity of Mormons. A Presbyterian journal reported that in North Carolina there are more Mormon missionaries than Presbyterian preachers, and that they work in mountain areas with great success. There exists no prospect that the Mormon sect becomes extinct soon.  An error can be even so crass: the devil already provides for the fact that he finds followers. As the above was already written, we found the following said about Mormons: "The statistics of their last General Conference shows that the increase in membership by baptism of children who have reached the eighth year, and by 'conversion' of adults in the last year was greater in Utah, Idaho, Colorado, Wyoming, Arizona and Canada than in any year in the history of Mormonism. In other states, even in Mexico, they have experienced a significant increase, proportionally the largest in New England, in the States east of the Missouri, north of the Ohio river, and in California and Oregon. They have divided well their 'work area' and occupy not less than 1400 traveling missionaries, mostly men in the prime of life that exhibit an extraordinary zeal.  As in all of Wisconsin, for which a special Mormon conference is set, their missionaries work in Fond du Lac, especially in Milwaukee; they not only move as much as possible from house to house, and try to win in particular women for their cause, but also every evening, hold conversion meetings on the street, in the manner of the Salvation Army."    F.P.
I will repeat Pieper's phrase: "...the devil already provides for the fact that he finds followers".

And in 1893, Pieper reported on the massive new Mormon temple completed at that time (L.u.W., vol. 39, pg 122).  This temple still is the main temple of Mormons.
The new Mormon temple which was "initiated" on the 6th of April is described in the newspapers: "The building is 186 1/2 feet long and 99 feet wide . The foundations are 19 feet thick; on these rest the granite walls which are 9 feet thick at the bottom and upwards narrowing to 6 feet thick. The immense stone construction which seems to be calculated for eternity carries 6 towers of about 200 feet high. The cost of the construction, as far as it can be determined is estimated about $4,000,000. The real temple has space for more than 6000 people, while the upper floors still contain many meeting rooms from which the biggest 2500 people can touch." What for offerings the fanaticism brings for a false religion! The devil is served much more keenly than Christ.    F.P.
The next post on Mormonism (last in this series) shows their true colors... their vengeance against true Christianity.

Mormons, polygamy, Mississippi

To follow the previous post which showed the worldly Mormon religion, Franz Pieper also commented on a state government grappling with the detrimental effects of a part of Mormonism – polygamy.  This practice has been pushed into the background now in America, but it wasn't so in 1900.  Pieper comments in Lehre und Wehre, volume 46, page 27:
Mormons. The Governor of the State of Mississippi recently recommended the enactment of laws which prevent the spread of Mormonism.  He said in his message that Mormon apostles under the guise of the Gospel seduced people into polygamy under the cloak of the Gospel.  Indeed, the state does not get out of line if it makes legally punishable, like polygamy, also the "provocation" of polygamy.     F.P.
Pieper identifies the estate of marriage as under the protection of the State.  It is the governments that are now going against the estate of marriage with their allowance of "men with men" and women who "change the natural use" of their bodies  –  Romans 1:26-27 – hardly happy or gay people.

The next post on Mormonism concerns their zeal.

Mormons, Rome, British, Jews, Socialists -> Kingdom of God on Earth!

In the previous post, I quoted Franz Pieper (F.P.) from the February, 1921 issue of Lehre und Wehre, page 62.  On that same page, he wrote about the frenzy in today's world to create a Kingdom of God on Earth.  Since there is much confusion in today's world about Mormonism, I am starting a series of posts on this "religion".  Here is Pieper's brief article:
A sharp competition for the establishment of the "Kingdom of God" on earth is currently before our eyes. Our "Latter Day Saints", the Mormons, still firmly believe that the state of Utah, in particular Salt Lake City with its temple, will be the center of a kingdom of God on earth, where "the saints" are the landlords and the kings and judges, while the "heathen", the non-Mormons themselves, will enjoy the "privilege", as plowmen, winemakers, gardeners, carpenters, etc. to serve the "saints".  Where Rome is concerned, it has of course fixed on its old sentence in relation to the kingdom of God: "I am the kingdom of God."  Also for many British, the kingdom of God coincides with British rule, and many Americans, particularly those whose American patriotism is beyond all doubt, are of the same opinion.  The Jerusalem-based Jerusalem News lays out the arrival of the British in Jerusalem as the coming of the Kingdom of God. This coming of the British kingdom of God seems to serve the expulsion of German missionaries from India and other places.  Furthermore: The Reform Jew Dr. Weizmann said at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Jewish University on the Mount of Olives, that from this University of the renewed and united Judaism will rule all mankind spiritually.  The Orthodox Jews who have come to Palestine would like with pleasure to put the place of spiritual rule at the physical one in Jerusalem, provisionally at least.  However they very soon came into conflict with the British authorities on that.  Everybody with each other seems to fear more or less the arrival of another realm, namely of God's kingdom of the Socialists and related connections.  And the possibility is not excluded that this kingdom of God may come yet.  In this competition for the kingdom of God, it is a great comfort to know that the real Kingdom of God, in spite of competition, will come and remain on the Day of Judgement, namely an invisible community such who believe by operation of the Holy Spirit the Gospel of the Savior of sinners that is a stumbling block to the Jews and to the Greeks foolishness.    F. P.
I have not taken time to research the specifics of Pieper's details on Mormonism, I will leave it there...  the reader can do their own Internet research.  But I believe Pieper had the relevant teachings of Mormonism correct.  There are many sites that show the false teachings of this "religion" which attempts to attach itself to Christianity – some sites more helpful than others.

The topic of "Socialism" that Pieper speaks of also has a complex history... just follow these topics in Wikipedia:
Socialism
Christian Socialism
Francis Bellamy (Baptist minister who wrote Pledge of Allegiance, was a "Christian socialist")
Bellamy Salute (ha!)

See the next post on Mormonism... polygamy.

Doctorate... in Advertising? ... education?

     Franz Pieper took note of where "higher education" was going in his lifetime.  He saw public universities falling away from delivering a good education.  In February of 1921, he wrote the following about talk of a new degree in "advertising".  It was published in Lehre und Wehre, volume 67, pages 62-63:

"Doctor of Advertising Arts." We read in School Life, the organ of our education offices in Washington:
"Degrees in advertising to be granted by the University of California, Leland Stanford Junior University, the University of Washington, Oregon Agricultral College, and other Pacific coast colleges and universities are urged by Harry P. Carroll, of Los Angeles, president of the Pacific Coast Advertising Club. With Marc N. Goodnow, head of the School of Journalism of the University of California, as chairman, a committee of five has been appointed to present the matter to the several institutions." 
A title of Doctor of Advertising would be in name only, not new in substance. Thousands of "doctors" live in the world and have a great name in the world, whose ability consists in, under the name and title of "science" for the public, especially the "intelligent" public, something to "pretend".    F.P.

Franz Pieper was not impressed with Ph.D. degrees.  When he embraced Walter A. Maier (WAM) after WAM received his Ph.D. from Harvard, he did not do this to congratulate him on this degree.  Why?  Because WAM was to be a professor of Theology, and Harvard University only pretended to know Theology.  So also for the University of Chicago where other Concordia Seminary professors received their Ph.D. degrees, much to their discredit and weakness in theological matters.

Much could be spoken of today's advertising.  One notices that Adobe software company speaks of "evangelists" as teachers of its software products.  They imply that their software brings the great "Good News" of... what?  graphic software, not the real Good News of the Gospel, the salvation of the world from its sins worked by Christ on the cross – i.e. the Open Heaven.  So we see in today's "advertising" much deception... and it takes doctorates to figure this out.  BTW, have you noticed there are no graphic pictures in the Bible... just words... and the Word (John 1:1).  No amount of Photoshop can touch these words, although scholars try their best.

In my next post, I will publish Franz Pieper's comments relating to Mormonism, starting from this same issue of Lehre und Wehre.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

"A history of our youth education" - from 1929

     To build on the previous posts regarding congregational schools, I am presenting a short article from the 1929 issue of Lehre und Wehre (Doctrine and Defense) that Franz Pieper published about the important subject of "youth education".  This is nearly 40 years after Pieper so eloquently had written about the importance of congregation schools... and this article was just 2 years before his death.  The article was in Lehre und Wehre volume 75, September 1929, pages 282-284.
     There is a question on terminology that some older German Lutherans could probably answer better than I.  It has to do with the term "Hochschule" or literally "high school".  Some translations render this "college" or even "university", but I think by this article it actually means what we now call "high school" or grades 9 through 12.  My father was a farmer and only had an eighth grade education.  All his children had at least some education from universities.
     Pieper makes extensive use of an article from a Missouri Synod pastor in Nebraska, again in 1929:

From the Synod.  We share parts of the following historical overview of our youth education that is found in the "Southern Nebraska District Messenger":
"While twenty years ago [~1909] it was the exception that our children attended high schools [Hochschulen] and other higher educational establishments, today it has become almost the rule.  After the children have completed the eighth grade in the congregational school, they attend high school.  Admittedly, the children still remain in their parents' home during these years. They go to church, to Holy Communion, to Bible class [respective to Christian doctrine], belong to the youth association and to the singing choir.  There they still remain under the sound of the Word of God.  However, do we parents and pastors not notice with affliction that the idea of evolution is inculcated into our children already in high school?  But God's Word proves to be powerful and after a few years our children, along with many others, forget the idea of ​​evolution that they have learned in high school and again believe that God created the world as it is in the Bible.  But what if our children have graduated from high school? Then some want to yet continue studying, and so they come to the university.  Our church members have come into a prosperity that they can afford to let some of their children partake in a university education.  Thousands of young people in our congregations are now attending colleges and universities in our country each year.  Here in our State of Nebraska alone, there are 150 young people in our congregations who attend the university in Lincoln.  Truly, a very good number!  Now have small-town high schools begun to undermine the faith of our children, so it is even more true in the case of the University.  The children sit at the feet of such teachers who have earned a doctoral degree in their field.  Here are the clever ones of the world and the worldly wise, but also the unbelievers.  Yes, doubts, unbelief (page 283) and modernism are at home.  Here not only is the following said to our children:
'No educated person believes in our day the creation account as it appears in the Bible; only people with low education believe that; distinguished people today believe in evolutionism',
but such debates are still the least because our children are told this:
'The belief that the Bible is God's Word is plain nonsense.  It is nothing but a collection of human writings.  It contains probably some truth, but also a lot of myth and superstition.  That Christ, the Son of God, born of the Virgin Mary is a true man, that he willingly went to his death for our sins and on the third day was raised for our justification, which simple people have well believed for centuries, but that in the modern twentieth century educated people no longer believe.  Such a God is far too cruel for modern man. You want to be really educated people!  Then you cannot take everything at face value what the pastors preach to you.'
"What I say here is truly not exaggerated. This is the spirit which rules where our children have to study four years and even longer if they want to become doctors, lawyers, teachers, mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, etc.  These children do not live in the parental home any more, but among wild strangers, unbelievers.  Is it then a surprise that one complains about the fact that our children, after they have attended such a school, do not any more want to go to church and to holy Communion and are lost for the kingdom of God?  – What now should we parents say to this?  Can we watch quietly, without doing anything for our children?  Are these then not our children?  Are they not as dear to us at the age of 18 to 20 years as at the age of from 8 to 10?  Does this not suggest to us on this occasion the truth of this proverb: Small children, small worries; big children, big worries?  Does it not matter to us as a church that the devil now wins our children, whom we have brought up with some trouble and worry, in droves for the kingdom of unbelief and worldly wisdom?  To overcome this loss, now for several years our church has set up the office of university pastor.  We pastors are now to address the specific difficulties that face the children of our congregations, and especially in these dangerous times bring them close to the Word of God so that they are preserved for the kingdom of our Saviour.  Yes, it is the nature of our work that through private interviews, Bible classes and exhortations for  attendance to church and to participation in the Holy Supper to keep the precious youth of our church for the kingdom of heaven."
We share the following announcement from Valparaiso University:
"The fall semester at Valparaiso University will open Thursday, September 19. The University comprises a College of Liberal Arts (accredited by the North Central Association), a College of Pharmacy (accredited by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy), and a School for Law (accredited by the American Bar Association). The College of Liberal Arts maintains fourteen departments, with offerings as follows: Biology, Botany, Zoology, Business Management, Chemistry, Education, Psychology, Engineering (Civil, Electrical, and Mechanical), Industrial Arts, English Language and Literature, Fine Arts (Art and Music), Foreign Languages (page 284) and Literatures, Geology, Health and Physical Education, Home Economics, Mathematics, Physics, Religion, Philosophy, and Social Sciences (History, Economics, Political Science, Sociology)."
Whoever desires more notifications apply to The Registrar,Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, Ind.    F.P.

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Dear God!... this has been a most heart-wrenching article to translate!  How I had to get up and walk around awhile... how the tears flow!  Dear God, you are a witness to these tears!  Have mercy on us!  Do not forget us... we need thy Word to guide us.  We need teachers who teach the true Christian doctrine to our children... and to us!

Who are you dear reader?  Are you a youth, a parent, a grandparent?
  • If a youth, can you not confirm what the Nebraska pastor said about your teachers in the public schools and universities?
  • If a parent, can you not confirm your anxiety for your children to be taught rightly?
  • If a grandparent, can you not confirm from your past or your parent's past that the situation was as the pastor reported?
Ken Ham speaks of the youth being "already gone", already gone in the sense that even while the youth are still in their parents' home, they are already doubting their Christian faith, even have completely thrown it off.  And where does this doubt spring from?  It is more than the false teaching of evolution, it is more than the "scientific" teaching that refutes the centrality of our Earth among the planets, it is this:  the Doctrine of Justification, as the dear pastor from Nebraska so beautifully spoke (and Franz Pieper happily repeats).

The reader will note that although the old (German) Missouri Synod highly valued a good education for its youth, yet they valued more highly the teaching of Christian doctrine, Bible teaching.  This mirrors Luther's thoughts on education.  And so when "Christian education" drops its Christian nature, it ceases to be Christian education and in fact becomes anti-Christian.  And even more, when "education" teaches against Christianity, against Bible teachings, then it ceases to be any education at all.  So much for a "good education".

And you, Valparaiso University, although Franz Pieper gave you column space and a blessing by listing your schools of learning, yet it was without comment.  Could it be that even he was not certain that your founder, W.H.T. Dau, could keep your institution on the true Lutheran path?  Could it be that he was not so sure that your inclusion of the subjects of "Psychology" and "Sociology" could be taught from a Christian perspective, from the perspective of the Bible?  You should stop calling yourself "Lutheran" and "Christian" and only call yourself a public university.  Stop being worse than a public university with your pretense of "Christianity" for you teach the very thing warned against in this article – evolution.  You fight against Christianity, you destroy what Christian faith your students might have!

Dear Christians, even the unbelievers know to "Teach Your Children Well"... so must you!  Teach them first and foremost what the pastor from Nebraska spoke of... exactly what the unbelievers scoff at.  It is a matter of spiritual life and death!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Pieper – Foreword 1891 – Pt 3b: Congregational schools

This continues from Part 3a, Franz Pieper's foreword to the 1891 Lehre und Wehre journal.  In this section, Pieper details the opposition sects (papal and Reformed), then hammers home the extreme importance of congregational schools as God's command:
Conclusion. - continued from Part 3a
     We Lutheran Christians will also not try to make the state schools Christian.  We differ in this respect from the Pope's church as well as the sects.  The Pope's church even works in our country towards the aim to make the popish schools the state schools.  This plan the Archbishop of Ireland yet in the last year quite unceremoniously laid before a meeting of public (page 36) school teachers.  Even most sect preachers up to this day have in mind to make our public schools Christian in their sense as an ideal.  Only recently were prominent sect preachers gathered somewhere in the East to trim a Christian religion into one which could be introduced in public schools.  It is precisely the character of both the Pope's sect and the Reformed sects to mix church and state.  However sober Lutheran Christians distinguish sharply between church and state.  Thus they also do not want to turn the schools of the state into church schools.  The state does not deal with the propagation and preservation of the Christian faith.  Thus the schools which it establishes, maintains, and controls also should not teach the Christian faith.  If it tries to establish such schools, it does things which are not commanded of it, and the result will be an oppression and tyranny of conscience.  Therefore Lutheran Christians go for state schools, when they are necessary, that are without religion.
     These Lutheran Christians certainly cannot allow themselves to be satisfied for their children at the state schools without religion.  Before their eyes is the commandment of God: Ye fathers, ... bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4).  From this commandment of God the congregational schools grow.  However the Christian education of their children is first for the Christian parents, and even the Christian congregation has to take care that they do not trespass on the rights of parents.  Where individual Christian parents are able and want to completely retain the education of their children in their hand, so the congregation may not want to make them to sin.  But since it is now, as Luther already reminds, that most parents have neither the time nor the skill for the necessary training of their children, so the Christian congregational schools are a necessity.  The Christian congregational school is under these circumstances the means by which Christians fulfill the commandment of God to educate their Christian children.  And because this command is an international one, that is it concerns all Christians all over the world, it also binds Christians of America.  The fact that presently even Christians call the establishment and preservation of congregational schools "un-American" in our country, is an awful delusion.  We do not want to be dragged into this delusion, but rise above it through our counter testimony.
     Briefly, we do not want to let us have our congregational schools made suspect or even wrestled from our hands through the opposition which rises in this country against them.  We want to rather look after the congregational schools, by God's mercy, as one of the most marvelous facilities of our church and nurture them.  Only so can we, under the prevailing circumstances, fulfill the duty imposed by God to bring up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.  Only in this way are (page 37) our children so established in the pure doctrine of the Word of God that they can defend themselves against unbelief and all sorts of erroneous beliefs.  Only with the help of the congregational schools will the church of the Reformation in this country gain a firm foothold and have to show a healthy growth; for when the increase of the sects is not insignificant without congregational schools, so it must be remembered that they refrain from the beginning from the purity of God's Word and unity in doctrine.  Finally, we also need the congregational schools as a means to missionize in the still standing remote districts of the church.  God bless our congregational schools!    F.P.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
     What congregational schools?  In Indiana, the LC-MS lists 105 schools, but only 3 are listed for high school education. The breakdown is approximately this: 39 are "preschool" only, 63 go to grades 6 or 8, and the balance of 3 are for high school ages, grades 9 -12 (Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Seymour).  These schools are a vestige of the old (German) Missouri Synod, even if most are weak at best in maintaining the purity of truly Christian doctrine.  How could they maintain purity when their seminaries and church leaders have largely fallen on the Lutheran Doctrine of Justification?
     Dear God! How Pieper hammered home the importance of these schools, but how Lutherans have been led to the disastrous, wretched situation of being satisfied with having to leave their children to the religionless public schools.  And even worse, a "Lutheran" university in our state rather leads those students in its charge to the ravages of non-Christian teaching. (I'll have more to say about Valpo later.)
     Dear God, grant that not only may the glory of Thy Grace shine again through the pure Doctrine of Justification, but also that those parents enlightened by this faith may again see their duty to see to it that their children be brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord!  God grant it to the glory of thy Grace and to the furtherance of thy Church, through thy dear Son Jesus Christ!  Amen!  Amen!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Pieper – Foreword 1891 – Pt 3a: Congregational schools

This continues from Part 2, Franz Pieper's foreword to the 1891 Lehre und Wehre journal.  This Part 3 is the February continuation from the initial installment in the January issue – volume 37, pages 33 - 37. In this section, Pieper details the situation with its congregation schools.  Who needs congregational schools?  Christians...
(Conclusion.)
     Finally, we have also been referred to as un-American in this, that we will not be satisfied with public schools, but in addition build and maintain our own schools, namely congregational schools.  We even had to face German political newspapers coming to us during the recently conducted "school fight" in which the "state" almost was prompted to prohibit the construction and maintenance of church schools beside the public state schools on the grounds that church schools are dangerous for the well-being of the state.  These omissions came initially from the radical unbelieving side and have therefore not particularly baffled us.  Hatred of Christianity proved stronger than a certain love for the German language.  But not only the spokesman of the professional unbelievers demanded the suppression of congregational schools.  Also newspapers from the church sects themselves described congregational schools "as contrary to the institutions of the country" and went into the fierce battle against our schools.  This must be most disconcerting for every sober Christian.
     We stand here in America before an anomaly for which we find no example in other countries.  Wherever the Christian Church yet is even only a small power, there it urges with Christian schools.  Wherever there is still a reasonably Christian mind, there one recognizes that the Christian school belongs to the Christian church.  If Christian missions want to gain a foothold in a country and assert themselves in it, they direct their attention from the beginning to the establishment and preservation of Christian schools.  The American missions make no exception to this.  In Africa, Asia and everywhere they work, they maintain with special zeal just also the Christian school.  But here in America it stands differently.  Although the Christian church is a power in this country, yes, although there is scarcely any country on earth (page 34) where the Christian church has such an influence on public life as we see in the United States of North America, yet we see apparent here the astonishing fact that the vast majority of Protestant Christians have no church schools and want to know nothing about Christian schools.  Just the most numerous sects, the Baptists, Methodists, and Presbyterians with their 100,000 congregations have no Christian schools.  The people who want to be with earnest Christians, trust their uneducated children year after year throughout the week to the non-religious state schools, until only on Sundays is it remembered that Christian children belong in Christian schools.  One is satisfied with "Sunday Schools."  And this is generally not considered an emergency – for where would the state of emergency be in the complete freedom of the church and the rich earthly means that these congregations have mostly come from? – but it is viewed as the right state of affairs.  Among the Protestant sects are only the Episcopalians and the German United Church a partial exception.  Also, not all who want to be Lutherans have Christian schools.  In the General Synod and the General Council, with the exception of the Swedish Augustana Synod, there is usually no congregational schools, although it is recognized that there are more exceptions to the rule in the Council than in the General Synod.
     How could it come to this wretched state?  In general one can say that it has been with the majority of America's Christians as it was with some pagan peoples of ancient and modern times.  If certain gross sins were public among the heathen and were in vogue a long time, finally the natural conscience was stifled and it lost the sense of sin.  So also was the conscience dulled for America's Christians by the long habit concerning the lack of the Christian school.  Through the long bad habit has it reached the point that only very occasionally is the feeling stimulated that the school without religion is an impropriety for the Christian Church.  If we question further as to the causes which underlie this abnormal state, so no doubt several factors here work together.
     At once the Christian sects bear throughout the sap of the Arminian type.  The real essence of Christianity, the Gospel, the doctrine of the justification of a sinner by faith in the Gospel, is withdrawn; in contrast, an outwardly legal essence is pushed into the foreground, "to keep the commandments", as the real essence of Christianity.  The specific difference between nature and grace is blurred.  Christianity is often perceived only as a higher morality, and is developed under a certain care of natural morality.  Thus one can calm down with religionless public schools, so long as they imprint the morals of "to do right".  (page 35)  If a chapter from the Bible is read still now even in public schools at the beginning of the lessons, one easily says to himself that public schools are nevertheless one more kind of Christian school.  However the principal reason, why one is content with public schools and looks basically at every congregational school as an "attack on our American institutions", is still another.  The average Americans, not just the "native" but also often the "foreigner", sees the establishment of "public schools" with the rich resources thrown out by the State for the non plus ultra [no further beyond] political-social wisdom.  Even though individual sober men, also from anglo-American circles, have always warned about the overestimation of public schools, nevertheless public schools have become a sort of national idol in the country in the course of time.  From this current has even the great majority of American Christians been taken captive, and with them the duty to establish and maintain religious schools been taken completely out of sight.
     We Lutheran Christians do not want to be carried away by this current through God's grace, but remain mindful of our Christian duty.  We are not enemies and opponents of non-religious state schools. We leave them in all honor in their field.  The non-religious state schools are schools for the non-religious people.  However, there are also enough people without religion in America.  Although it is incumbent not first upon the state, but the parent's duty to provide for the education of their children.  As it first comes to the parents by natural law to nourish and dress their children, so it is obvious also that first have the parents to teach their children according to natural law.  Meanwhile the state may, when experience teaches that many parents would not or could not otherwise follow their duty, come to the assistance of parents by the fact that it establishes, maintains and makes available schools for them at its cost.  The State may tax its citizens for this purpose and few Christians will refuse among its citizens to pay these taxes.  The state has an interest in ensuring that its future citizens are equipped with a certain amount of knowledge.  So we recognize the relative necessity of state schools and we leave these schools their value in their field.
(continued in Part 3b)
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     Not only did today's LC-MS give up the German language, but it has also largely given up on congregational schools.  Where I grew up, we only had confirmation classes on Saturday mornings – there was no congregational school.  We also attended "Sunday school" for maybe one hour on Sunday mornings. Today, the few remaining Lutheran congregational schools offer more in the way of sports programs, movies, Boy Scouts, fund raising auctions, etc.  But do they teach the true Gospel as Pieper and Walther taught it?
     It is notable how Pieper speaks of public schools – that Christians should pay taxes that support public schools while they have the duty (and expense) to setup congregational schools.  In recent years, Indiana has passed a law for "school vouchers" where Christians can save paying this tax and can use state money to send their children to non-public schools such as religious schools.  But even this is not sufficient reason for Christians to establish congregational schools for they already have this duty whether or not they pay taxes for public schools.
     How is it that today there is a resurgence of "home schooling" but congregations cannot offer "congregational schools"?  Why is it that whenever I hear of people "home-schooling" their children, that I assume they are of Reformed (conservative Baptists or "old-orders" such as Amish or German Baptists) and not Lutheran?  It is because long ago, the LC-MS gave up its birthright on doctrine.  And so it does not matter so much that its children go to public schools where they are filled with un-Christian teachings.  Even the unbelievers extol the education of their children, but not you, today's (English) LC-MS.

Yes, today's LC-MS, it is your children that you have given up!

In Part 3b, Pieper speaks on separation of Church and State, and the duty of parents for their children's Christian education.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Pieper – Foreword 1891 – Pt 2: German or English language?

This continues from Part 1, Franz Pieper's foreword to the 1891 Lehre und Wehre journal.  In this portion of his essay, he brings out the subject of why the Missourians maintained the use of the "foreign" German language.  I have blogged on this subject before here and here but Pieper hammers home the spiritual reasons even more in this article.  The reason was not because of convenience:
     It is also charged against us Missourians as "un-American" that we do not accelerate the process of anglicization in our mostly German congregations.  With regard to this point, we repeat here what has already been often spoken by us: we do not consider it our mission to get a German Lutheran church here in America in all circumstances.  For our holy duty, applied to us by God, we hold only so far to us is to ensure that the Lutheran Church will remain in this country.  Thereto we strive.  To achieve this goal, we seek to be diligent in the training of orthodox preachers and teachers.  Whether the Lutheran Church speaks English or German, is not essential to us.  To us everything comes on the fact that she is Lutheran.  We subordinate to this aim everything, also the language.  If it stood in such a way that we would have to accept as quickly as possible the English language to receive in this country the Lutheran church and to spread out, we would not hesitate for a moment to offer quickly to anglicize our congregations.  But now it is generally the reverse that is the case.  The target set us by God, the preservation and propagation of the Lutheran Church, imperiously demands that we still cling to the German language as a church language.  The attempt to introduce the English language would destroy not only most of our existing congregations, but would also take the possibility from us to gather the scattered material, which we turn first our concern, into Lutheran congregations.  The fact that here in America much unchurched German material exists which can be reached only by the medium of the German language is already illuminated by the fact that also the English-speaking sects feel constrained to form German congregations to supply the Germans ecclesiastically and to win them for their fellowships.  It is also a mistaken view if one believes that the Lutheran church has lost so many members to the sects in this country in 17th and 18th centuries because she held too long and too tenaciously to the German, or Swedish or Dutch language.  The reason for this deplorable fact lay in the neglect of the youth in the higher education of pure Lutheran doctrine, particularly in the neglect of congregational schools, and in the unionistic direction of the majority of immigrant Lutherans.  We want to make nothing artificial of what concerns the language question, but allow the Lord of the church to lead us.  Where the Lord of the Church calls to our stated goal, namely the preservation and expansion of the Church of the Reformation, there we want to make use of the English language.  Among the English-speaking Negros we missionize in English language.  Also we enter with joy where a door opens to us among the English-speaking whites with the (page 5) English language.  Where, however, the aim put to us demands the retention of the German language, there we want to pursue this, and not to be deterred by the foolish accusation that we harbored "un-American" feelings.  That we are reduced to the necessity of having to understand two languages harms neither us nor our new fatherland.     F.P.
(continuation follows) [in February issue]
(continued in Part 3a)
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Yes, today's LC-MS, you are the "anglicized" version of the old (German) Missouri Synod... not so much because you now use entirely the English language, but you have given up the doctrine of the pure Lutheran church.  Franz Pieper could speak and write English fluently, so also C.F.W. Walther.  But they chose to stay with German language for spiritual reasons.
And it need not be hardly mentioned that the old (German) Missouri Synod had a heart for the black people as Pieper describes, to bring the Saviour to them.  Unfortunately most black people have been influenced by the Reformed doctrine, and Methodism.
Part 3a follows next where Pieper hammers home the importance of congregational schools.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Pieper – Foreword 1891 – Pt 1: Too American? Un-American?

Although I call Franz Pieper the 20th Century Luther, he was very active in the German Missouri Synod in the 19th Century.  In 1891, he wrote the Foreword to the journal Lehre und Wehre at the beginning of the year to assess how his church body stood.  And it provides a striking view of not only the Missouri Synod, but also Lutheranism in the world and in America.  He begins by detailing how other so-called Lutherans viewed the Missourians (LuW volume 37, pgs 1 - 5):
     From Germany has ever and always come the reproach to us Missourians that we have become too "American".  
Yes, Germany's theologians knew about the Missourians in America.  The fact that Germany's theologians hardly ever mention those "Missourians" is because they would not admit that they were the legitimate Lutheran Church.
In particular one has expressed the view that our doctrine of church and ministry, of church order and church government, etc. were modeled and designed to the prevailing love of democratic trends in our country.  Hence, we had to lead the proof towards the German theologians that what was called "American" of us is genuinely biblical and Lutheran.
     For several years, and particularly determined in the past few years, has the opposite accusation against us been raised from our own land. The accusation is namely that we are not "American" enough, but still cherished "foreign ideas" too much, in particular, yet too much of German ideas. This is suggested to our own detriment, to the detriment of the church, yes, even to the detriment of our Republic. We remember an article which was published a few years ago in the "Lutheran Observer". Initially great praise – effusive praise – was paid to us by them. The Saxon immigration to Missouri was compared with the immigration of the "Pilgrim Fathers" and it was thought the courage of faith and ecclesiastical work of our fathers in such a way that the latter themselves would have rejected such praise in their presence. But even in this article it was finally pronounced that we Missourians only had a future in America and would look to be quite a blessing to the church if we were more Americanized. Whenever since the "Lutheran Observer" had often rejected "foreign" Lutheranism for an "American Lutheranism", in view were us "Missourians" especially in those discussions.
     What have we to respond to this accusation? First, we must reject even the expressions "foreign Lutheranism" and "American (page 2) Lutheranism" as unseemly. These expressions lead to the idea that Lutheranism changes its ways depending on the countries in which it finds a church home. If this were the case, Lutheranism would thereby issue a testimonium heterodoxiae of itself before all the world. The religion which changes in the course in time or from the climate of the country is not the true Christian religion. The Christian religion is bound as we know well to God's Word, as it is revealed in the Holy Scripture. God's Word is only for the whole world and all peoples. The true Church of God sharpens one therefore everywhere and at all times, no more and no less than by God's Word. What is written, it always praises on earth; what is not written, a Christian shall never and nowhere believe or do with it. As surely now as Lutheran church is the church of the pure Word, so surely it stands with all its teachings on the clear unchanging word of God, so surely it is only one in doctrine and practice in all countries. The differences can only be minor things, indifferent things, related things that actually "belong not to the Christian church" as the Apology speaks of. 1) [Müller, pg 259, Triglotta, pg 399, Apolgia Confessionis paragraph 38] There is therefore no "American Lutheranism" in the sense as if here in America the Lutheran Church in its teaching and practice would differ from the Lutheran Church in other countries.
     But in what parts therefore does one find us "Missourians" missing in "American Lutheranism" and finds the reprehensible "foreign ideas"?
     We start with the main points. Above all is our closed church position called "Un-American", the practice that we want to foster church fellowship only with those who profess with us in all things true doctrine. How they get to this call of "un-American" is easily explained. The American Protestant sects are mostly unionist through and through. Although they maintain their special fellowship and even fight among themselves, nevertheless they carry no concerns, and they do not feel it a self-contradiction to maintain church fellowship at every opportunity. The General Synod also takes part in this way entirely. The Council has even not bothered further the pastor who explained at the meeting in Minneapolis that if he "feels" in such a way, he will invite pastors "from other denominations" to his pulpit and even preach in other pulpits. If it is thus almost completely with the American sects and also for a large part of the Lutheran fellowships, it is understandable if one cannot understand our church position and so calls it "un-American". (page 3)
     And how does such ones look to explain our position? Beside other explanations it also emerges again and again that we would still be controlled too much by foreign ideas. One therefore speaks of the hope that a more "liberal" Lutheranism takes place among us if we would take on a more American spirit by a long stay in the country.
     But the "special position" reprimanded to us may already therefore not be "foreign", i.e. "German", because the same unionism, which dominates the sects here and part of the Lutheran Church fellowships, is nothing unusual also in Germany. In today's German state churches, the Union is either officially proclaimed, or nevertheless is really in custom and practice. Also in the so-called Lutheran State churches one maintains safely, as is well known, church fellowship with the grossest false teachers. Therefore can our church "special position" not be of German origen. It will also not be supported or maintained by the immigration. On the contrary! The religious material that we are fed by immigration from Germany is for the most part of such a nature that it would result in something of a General Synod, at most a General Council fellowship if it would be left to itself.  But for a so-called "Missourian" fellowship, they must be educated only by us here in this country. Yes, this conviction that one may maintain fellowship only with the church which confesses the true doctrne and has the corresponding practice to this conviction, rather actually has her home on American ground.
     What one calls "un-American" has here in America its real cooker. The conviction that one should avoid religious fellowships leading to false doctrine was awakened here in America and received through our congregational schools, through our confirmation classes, through the teaching in our colleges, as well as by public preaching and teaching the catechism. Briefly, our church position is a result of the fact that here in America a true Lutheran Church emerged by God's mercy that in the matters of Christian doctrine and church practice is not changing by the fashion, but is determined by the clear and unalterable Word of God. So frankly the true Lutheran Church has always admitted that there are faithful children of God even in the heretical communities which still hold key parts of Christian doctrine, yet it decided to reject church fellowship with these sects. And this position is required by God's Word. False teaching should one – the word of God calls everywhere – not confirm, but punish. The Word of God commands all Christians not to visit the fellowship of those who have written on their banner false teaching, but to avoid, Romans 16:17. (page 4) Our church's "special position" is not "foreign", but Christian. If we were Americanized in this matter, we would fall in this teaching of God's Word.
(to be continued in Part 2)
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     How Pieper shows that the true Lutheran Church regained its footing here in America!... not in Germany, for the German immigration brought people who had been fed false teachings by German theologians.  It was in America that God had mercy on us to see His true Gospel again.

Yes, America, God did bless you.  He sent the American Luther, C.F.W. Walther!

     In Part 2, Pieper discusses the language question.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Pieper: Liberal vs "Positive" Theology? neither -> Confessions

Our "modern" world is so steeped in its own ideas of theology.  It seems whole libraries have been written on "theology".  Franz Pieper commented in May 1930 on these "theologies" in the following article about a German newspaper finding (CTM, vol. 1, pg 388):
Where the great need of Germany lies.  We read in the "German Teachers' Journal": "Without a doubt serious moral hazards lie in the industrialization of the masses; but we see the cause of our religious national emergency in the influences of theological liberalism dominated by the modern human spirit, which extends stones instead of bread to the people. Where God's Word is proclaimed loud and clear, it proves itself even today a divine force that brings salvation unto to every one that believeth."  This is an absolutely appropriate judgment.  “Theological liberalism” is maintained not only by the normally so-called “liberal theologians”, but also by the theologians going under the Lutheran name who deny the infallible divine authority of the Scripture and base man's conversion and salvation not only on God's mercy, but also on man's good behavior.  Ever has emerged in our time a misleading theological parlance.  We distinguish between "liberal" and "positive" theologians in the sense that we call those "liberal" who avowedly want to make the Christian religion a product of human reason, while those theologians who still want to retain parts of the Christian religion, the title attribute of "positive".  But this title comes properly speaking only to those who remain in all respects with what is set once and for all in Scripture.  Whoever is allowed deductions from it, carries no more "positive", but negative theology.  The same is true of the term "confessional theology".  Confessional Lutheran theologians are just that in their theology.  Knowledge is encouraged to the extent that they have recognized the doctrine of the Lutheran Confessions as scriptural and are able to teach effectively.    F. P.
Pieper picked up on the term theological liberalism coming from Germany.  He had been fighting this onslaught against Christianity for his whole life.  But Pieper knew how the devil works and so he commented on those who proposed to fight against "Liberal Theology" with half-truths and called it "positive" theology.  Today most theologians and commentators are falsely labeled with labels like those Pieper points out:
  • "positive" theology (not really positive)
  • "confessional" theology (but not teaching Confessions as scriptural)
  • Neo-orthodoxy (but not orthodox; neither is there new true orthodoxy – Scripture never changes)
  • Dialectical theology (supposedly like "neo-orthodoxy")
  • etc., etc, etc. (whatever modern theology dreams up)
Yes, Dr. Pieper, "Ever has emerged in our time a misleading theological parlance."
Dear reader, listen to the President of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis (in 1930).

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Don't call Pieper to be a teacher in old Missouri Synod

     Ah, the old (German) Missouri Synod... so long ago, so far away.  But Franz Pieper brings it to life again in his writings in Lehre und Wehre and the first two years of Concordia Theological Monthly.  Pieper revealed how teachers were selected in the following brief article in August, 1930  (CTM volume 1, page 620):
A list of Lutheran teachers for Lutheran schools has been sent to us by the treasurer of the National Lutheran Educational Conference. The letter reads: "Since the directory was last published of Lutheran teachers, more Lutheran teachers have asked to have their names listed.  Mr. Dorner Keyser has compiled this additional list, and I am pleased to enclose a copy herewith.  I trust that it will be of some service to you.  As you know, the conference has voted to discontinue the publication of a directory.  We hope however, to continue a bulletin service announcing from time to time the names of Lutheran teachers who are available for positions in Lutheran institutions.”  The list includes 46 names. The applicants specify their degree in most cases and name the institutions of which they were awarded.  The titles range from A.B. to Ph.D. inclusive. More examples of those titles registered are B.S., M.S., B.D. S.T.M.  The applicants indicate the salary they expect in almost all cases.  The salary varies between 1,500 and 3,000 dollars.  From this information, it follows that the list doesn't fit our circumstances.  The candidates for permanent employment in our Synodical higher institutions do not even contact us, but are nominated by the congregations. The election is performed by an electoral college appointed by the Synod, in which the local supervisory authority has only one vote. The appointment of assistant teachers from the local supervisory authorities is also limited by synodical regulations. The electoral college maintains a very responsible office. It's decision on the election is not based on academic qualifications, but on the basis of known or researched teaching ability in the relevant disciplines.  Above all things besides the gift of teaching, consistently Christian character and a particular youth-loving attitude will be considered. It is the nature of things that candidates are generally preferred who have proven themselves at least a few years in the ministry and in pastoral care.      F. P. 
Can the reader see Pieper's attitude toward those "Lutheran" teachers with high degrees?  They mean nothing to him without the other qualifications he outlines in his writing – consistent Christian character, love for the youth, and pastoral care.
     Walter A. Maier (WAM), a professor at Concordia Seminary (see my earlier blog posts), had received his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1929.  There was a celebration of this event when he came home to St. Louis.  A report of this was given by his son Paul L. Maier in his book A Man Spoke, A World Listened: The Story of Walther A. Maier:, page 93:
Seminary President Franz Pieper embraced him cordially...
It was a cordial embrace, not like the celebration that C.F.W. Walther gave Pieper when he first arrived in St. Louis to be a professor there.  For Pieper was not so much impressed by WAM's Harvard degree.

German pastor in 1931: Back To Luther! Part 2

This continues Part 1 in which Franz Pieper introduces a rare pastor in Germany who speaks like the American old (German) Missouri Synod...  in 1931.

Franz Pieper goes on to continue his lengthy quote from the Preface of a new (in 1931) 6-volume publication of Luther's works in Germany.  It was Pastor Ernst Herrmann that President Franz Pieper wrote of and Pieper was anxious to bring his message to America:
     But we will bring the greater part of the "Preface" to follow here: "Luther is and remains the German prophet and the Christian world's greatest teacher since the days of the Apostles, and whoever does not know his message and does not listen to him, brings in more than he knows.  The times in which the church did not allow Luther's voice to be heard any more have not been its best. She became impoverished internally.  Not only did she lose the connection with her history and splintered in the hunting of human pursuits, but she also forgot the simple baselines of sober and true Christianity as they were drawn by Luther, and was tempted to all kinds of fanaticism. She took on a new form that may have been finer, yet it was a much more dangerous form of man's righteousness that Luther had conquered in his fight against the papal and monastic nature.
    "Thus the slogan for our present times must be taken seriously: Back to Luther!  We must read him again and learn to contemplate; not as if his writings were the Gospel itself, but because he teaches us to understand as no one else the gospel purely; not as if we had to acquire him sentence by sentence, but because since the time of the Apostles to this day no one knew how to say as simply and clearly what it is about Christ and his kingdom, about faith, repentance and love, about law and gospel, about vocation and good works, about church and world.
     "Back to Luther!" That is what to say to all those whose pious searching has never led them to the door of peace. They are searching in man's life and in his own soul, but can never find it there.  They are looking to redeem themselves by increasing their inner strength, through performance of a particular work ethos, perhaps even by their own creation of a Christian 'faith'; and with it they never come out of the internal lie and never hold firm for life and death.  In Luthers school', one learns to refrain from himself completely and rest on what is outside us.  Luther is found by us not on our own reason but by God's Word which is given to us in the Holy Scriptures; he points us instead of our own works and skills on God's mercy in Christ, so that we are assured in this word and promise; he shows us the gift of a lively and creative faith, that comes from that word to us and saves and renews us.  Just because he had been a seeker himself on the wrong track, this is why he is capable after he had been allowed to find another signpost that brings one to certainty and peace.  And because there is no other way even today, so also no other fulfilment is possible for the religious longing of the present time as it witnesses Luther's message of Christ.
     "Back to Luther!"  Our church has much to say of this slogan as a whole.  From the topsoil of the Reformation has arisen a (page 311) varied and diverse wealth of church establishments.  For as Luther and his followers proclaimed the freedom in Christ, they were averse to any external entity; they left with joy free space for every country and every nationality to make accordingly the religious life of their own kind.  The more they put all the emphasis on the internal unity of the faith; for their sake, they were willing to be pursued and be scorned by all those who pay homage to the spirit of the times.  If we go to school through Luther, also we must again learn better that external really means external, and to risk everything that we remain obedient in faith in Christ of the Scriptures so that our fellowship is a fellowship in spirit and our unity is a unity in truth.  But to do this means to turn from all mere religious activity and overestimation of the organizational, and to turn to the essentials, to Christ and his Word, and in addition there is no one better than Luther, whose message even still is just that necessary to reflection on.
     “It will be a vital question for our evangelical Christendom whether she wants to allow herself today that same spirit become strong again in her from whom she was born four centuries ago.  Only in this way will she defend herself against disunity, that she reflects on her history and becomes what she should be.  If she ignores what the Holy Spirit has worked up to now in her, she forgets under what slogan she has freed herself of the papacy and has separated against fanatics, so may she then look on what spirit is then alive in her and what slogan she then follows.  If the church wants to not allow itself to be cheated on the Gospel, it must get bright eyes again to see the essential things and to judge the spirits.  She will nowhere find a better guide in the Gospel than with the doctor of the Holy Scriptures Martin Luther.  With a unique emphasis he has repeatedly pointed to the one thing needful.  Therefore, he is now again given as the collecting point for all those who want to hear the Christ of Scripture.  Thereby we would like to help by adopting again with this choice of Luther's writings, that what is given us in Luther, the tool of God, does not remain lying unused and also thereby to honor God.  If they may open here and there someone's eyes to the depth and magnificence of the biblical, Reformation Gospel, they have fulfilled their purpose.”
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Could it be that Pastor Ernst Herrmann of Germany got hold of some of Walther's writings from America and took them to heart?  I wonder that it is so.  May these blog posts honor this German pastor for all time!
But Pastor Herrmann's voice in Germany was largely drowned out by its modern "great" theologians.  And the voice of Pieper went silent in 1931 when he died.  His synod had enough of him.... and all hell broke out.  Not in the way the world sees it in World War II, but in the fall of the old (German) Missouri Synod.  All things German are practically spit on today, including Luther, the German language, and the Fraktur font.  But they contain the greatest message since the days of the Apostles.
Back To Luther!