So why would I take a whole blog post to publish this article? Because C.F.W. Walther saw in it a wonderful spark of life in his native country of Germany... a spark that excited him enough to include portions of it in his essay on The Lutheran Doctrine of Justification, in footnotes to pages 66 and 67 of the 1880 book (pages 48 & 49 of original 1859 report). After downloading Eberle's article and researching it a bit, I believe that Walther would have gladly included almost all of it if he had the time and space to present it to his dear Missouri Synod. So with the advantage of the Internet at my disposal, I, BackToLuther, will publish a great German pastor/theologian's essay as it relates to
the difference between John Calvin and Martin Luther.Who was Christian Gustav Eberle (or Chr. G. Eberle):
- He wrote several theological books... most are related to Martin Luther – Walther pointed to his expertise – see WorldCat listing here, Luther's Galatians in German here. You can find a few books to view on Google Books and Archive.org
- He described himself as a pastor from a "small country parish little touched by the Church's modern questions".
- The Cyclopaedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, Vol. 12 (by McClintock, and Strong, 1894) says this about him on page 317:
Eberle, Christian Gustav, a Lutheran minister of Germany, was born in 1813, and died Dec. 9, 1870, at Ochsenbach, in Würtemberg. He published, Luthers Glaubensrichtung (Stuttgard, 1858): — Luther ein Zeichen dein widersprochen wird (ibid. 1860): — Luthers Evangelien-Auslegung aus seinen homiletischen und exegetischen Werken (ibid. 1857). See Zuchold, Bibl. Theol. i, 302. (B. P.)Because of its importance to C.F.W. Walther, I have taken a few weeks to translate the entire essay, 14 pages. The subject matter is of no small significance. Eberle deals with
- certainty of salvation
- how Luther's theology developed different than Calvin's
- objective versus subjective, a heart faith versus a head faith
- how modern theology loses its way
- Germany's struggles with unionism
- Communion fellowship issues
Some quotable quotes:
- ...so many these days, of which you can hear the remark: they are not able to decide between Luther and Calvin in the doctrine of Communion, but feel attracted to Luther
- Luther was "... as one who came immediately from the prayer chamber or from the battlefield: while the works of modern theology are for the most part taken in on the very first page entirely in the study and the library room
- This more artificial way to win the truth can but not place Calvin as an equal alongside Luther, as a reformer beside reformer.
- [the Union, or unionism] deprives objective certainty for those that search for certainty of their salvation in Christ and puts it on the vacillating ground of subjective conviction.
- it is a hundred times easier to believe a general truth [i.e. the Gospel] than to personally appropriate to oneself what it says
Indeed, Württemberg Germany, you can point not only to the famous follower of Luther, Johannes Brenz, but also to