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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Stoeckhardt 5: Missourian! On Conversion & Election; Part 4e

      This concludes from Part 4d a sub-series (see Part 4a) of a wider series (Table of Contents in Part 1) of Franz Pieper's addresses at the "going home" (funerals) of  Old Missouri's earliest teachers.  This Part 4x sub-series presents the address at the funeral of Dr. George Stoeckhardt.
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      In the previous installment, Pieper included Stoeckhardt as one the chief defenders at his side against the synergism of other American Lutherans, chiefly the Iowa Synod (#6-7) and the Ohio Synod.  He pinpointed the two doctrines: Conversion and Election of Grace.  But he was not finished highlighting these doctrines.  He ties this great battle in America to the Father of the Missouri Synod, C.F.W. Walther.  And we find out that he, of all people, would know… the heart of Walther. — Now I present the conclusion of Franz Pieper's address, a milestone in the History of the Missouri Synod, at the funeral of "our dear George Stoeckhardt" (from 1913 Der Lutheraner vol. 69, p. 20, bolding, highlighting are mine):
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We have always been accused as so-called Missourians, that we made too much of our dead and also living public teachers, that we put their authority in place of Holy Scripture. This is not so. We keep in mind through the grace of God that even our most gifted teachers are fallible human beings, and that we have the duty, imposed on us by God, to examine all that they speak and write according to God's Word, whether it is so. Even more: when we do this test, we find that they, too — including Walther — have not met it in every word in individual arguments and occasional remarks. "Whosoever fails not in any word, he is a perfect man."  To be lacking in no words is confined to a small class of men in the Church, to the holy apostles after Pentecost, and the scribes of the Holy Scripture.  All the other teachers of the Church are right teachers because and in so far as they teach the Word of Scripture and, where they once have their own thoughts, they let them go, and return to the Word of Scripture.  We are, as Luther expresses it, true teachers, inasmuch as we are pupils of the Apostles and children of the Prophets, who do not speak their own, but the doctrine of the Apostles and the Prophets.  So we may also say of  ourselves and our fathers: we are the true teachers because we remain by God's grace in the Word of God in all the articles of Christian doctrine.
Twenty-six years ago, at about this time of the year, I was sitting at the sickbed of Dr. Walther.  We discussed what primarily filled our hearts, our struggle for the doctrine of Conversion and Election of Grace. Walther then expressed himself with these words: “You know, the dispute was hard, very hard. We have experienced a lot of opposition. But I could not help it. When the Lord Christ asks me on the Last Day why I taught thus, I will answer: Thou, O Christ, with your clear Word hath taught me and seduced me.”  —  These are the teaching gifts which God has bestowed on us in our fathers and brethren who have gone home.  For this we give thanks to God, sincere thanks!  Who are we, that God has considered us in grace?
But how will it be in the future?  Will God deprive us of His gifts?  We would have deserved it with our manifold ingratitude. But we humble ourselves before God and flee to his grace. And God has never denied the humble, crushed and broken heart a request. Besides, it indeed concerns the Church. The Church is very close to our Savior. It is His body, His own spiritual body. He can give her everything she needs, for He has everything in heaven and on earth in His hand. And He will give her all things, for He is a Savior to His body. Therefore we ask with the confidence of being heard:
Oh, stay with your grace
With us, Lord Jesus Christ,
That we should not be sorry
The evil enemy’s deceit.

Oh, stay with your faithfulness
With us, my Lord and God!
Lend us constancy;
Help us from all need!
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Missourians – Infallible teachers?
      One of the consistent charges made against Old Missouri by its enemies was that it claimed infallibility for its teachers.  This would go something like: "You think you are the only right teachers"!  Today many of those enemies of Old Missouri are the teachers of the LC-MS:

Dr. David Scaer's charges against Old Missouri/Pieper
(2003 Logia, 12-1, p. 37):
Scaer Charge #1:
“…the edited version of 1932 [Brief Statement] do(es) not even reference the Lutheran Confessions once, as Sasse noted.”
False: The Brief Statement of 1932 references the Book of Concord in 9 places.

Scaer Charge #2:
“… this thinking is that the synod’s position is ipso facto identical to that of the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions. This was hardly Pieper’s intention in his A Brief Statement of the Doctrinal Position of the Missouri Synod”…, though it could be understood this way.”
False: Pieper is quoted saying exactly what Scaer says he did not intend, and makes Pieper appear the fool. (Scaer then goes on to claim that the Brief Statement contradicts the Confessions on the the teaching of "ordination", but he does not know the intent of the Confessions on this point.)
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Pieper flatly denies this charge of "infallibility", saying that even Walther can be included among those where some of their words did not meet God's Word.  The only infallible teachers were the Apostles and Prophets in their writings of Holy Scriptures.   I must repeat Pieper's claim for those "so-called Missourians":
“We are the true teachers because we remain by God's grace in the Word of God in all the articles of Christian doctrine.”
Prof. David P. Scaer speaks as the opponents of Old Missouri, the Iowa and Ohio Synods. — Compare Pieper against Scaer on who each one humbles themselves before:
Franz Pieper: “…we humble ourselves before God” –  1913
David Scaer: “It is humbling to discover that someone [Herman Sasse] half a century ago was saying the things you thought original.” – (2003 Logia, 12-1 p. 39)
Scaer humbles himself before Sasse – Pieper humbled himself before God.  (Anyone who thinks Dr. David Scaer is like Old Missouri should read what he writes in 2003 Logia 12-1 – his full article is here.)

Conversion & Election of Grace
      There those two doctrines are again!  Just as Pieper praised "dear Stoeckhardt" on his prominent defense of these doctrines in the controversies with the opponents of the Missouri Synod and the Synodical Conference, he ties this again to Walther, to "our struggle", the "hard, very hard dispute" with "a lot of opposition".   And part of Stoeckhardt's legacy as a true defender of Christian doctrine is written into… the Brief Statement of the Doctrinal Position of the Missouri Synod.

Pieper: Walther's successor
      Pieper reveals part of the reason why he, at such a young age, would succeed Walther, the founding father of the Old Missouri Synod, as President of Concordia Seminary.  Some wondered that the successor would be George Stoeckhardt – Walther had in earlier times indicated a strong preference for Stoeckhardt.  But we now see Walther speaking so closely with the much younger (~35) junior associate. Some might have thought even then that Stoeckhardt should have been Walther's successor, for he too ministered to Walther at his sickbed.  But he wasn't.  It was Franz Pieper.  Why?  We can see here that Walther knew in the "hard, very hard" doctrinal controversies, that that young man at his bedside was the one that God had sent for the future of his dear Missouri Synod!

What about "here and now", and the future?
Dear God! We are a stiff-necked and stubborn generation, have mercy on us!  For your mercy's sake, grant us teachers as Walther, Pieper, and George Stoeckhardt!  In Jesus name, Amen!

(The next blog post begins my polemic against the misuse of "exegesis".)

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Stoeckhardt 4: Now our dear one, a true Exegete! (Pieper's address, Part 4d)

      This continues from Part 4c in a sub-series (see Part 4a) of a wider series (Table of Contents in Part 1) of Franz Pieper's addresses at the "going home" (funerals) of  Old Missouri's earliest teachers.  This Part 4x sub-series presents the address at the funeral of Dr. George Stoeckhardt.
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      Up to this point in his address, Pieper showed how Missouri was blessed with Christian teachers.  This led him to present his brief summary and praise of the greatness of the teacher for whom this funeral address was given (continuing Pieper's address from Part 4c; enlargement, bolding is mine):
George Stoeckhardt
(servant of the Word)

And now our dear Stöckhardt! He came in October 1878 from Germany to St. Louis and was first pastor of the local church at Holy Cross for nine years, and during his pastorate he served as a lecturer in exegetical lectures, and at the same time entered the front ranks in the struggle for the right doctrine of Conversion and Election of Grace. [Cp. Brief Statement, 16-19, 35-40] In the autumn of 1887, the full exegetical professorship was then transferred to him.  He is known to us for all the excellent gifts he has rendered. With language skills absolutely equal to the most prestigious exegetes of our time, he had one advantage over all exegetes of modern times. And this is what makes an exegete a true exegete.  He believed with us all, in his heart, the so-called verbal inspiration, that is, the truth that the Holy Scripture is not to be the word of man, but the majestic, infallible Word of God given by God and to be treated accordingly. Thus his exegetical method was not the method which mastered the Word of God, but the method which serves God's Word merely by setting forth what is expressed in Scripture, and leaving God's sole reign in the Church. These are the glorious teaching gifts which God gave to our synod, and especially to our theological institution. [S. 20, col. 1]

Pieper highlights the following strengths of Stoeckhardt:

Conversion & Election of Grace
      These two doctrines were the focus of much contention in the American Lutheran Church.  And Pieper includes Prof. Stoeckhardt as one of the top defenders for the truth, and so rooted out all vestiges of synergism.  I have wondered why Pieper did not include the doctrine of Universal Justification as Stoeckhardt was an outspoken defender of this doctrine, but then I remembered that with the other two doctrines, it was actually UOJ (Universal, Objective Justification) that was at the heart of the matter. Pieper will again draw attention to these same doctrines in the final comments of his address on Stoeckhardt – see Part 4e.

A True Exegete
      Pieper asserts that "absolutely" no other exegete, German or otherwise, had better language skills than Stoeckhardt.  This judgment comes from one of the greatest masters of theological languages in the world – Franz Pieper.  But Pieper puts even this aside and claims for Stoeckhardt the higher ground of a true exegete – as a defender of "verbal inspiration".  But if the words of Scripture are divinely inspired then one bows to Scripture, for who would presume to be the master over God? — For some time, I had a bad taste for "Exegetical Theology" because it seemed that all those who claimed proficiency in it actually perverted the meaning of the bare words!  But then I discovered the exegetical writings of George Stoeckhardt, and now I know that there is indeed a place for this branch of theology, because Stoeckhardt restored it to its rightful place – as a servant of the Word, not a master over it.  Any exegete who perverts the plain meaning of the words of Holy Scripture is not a true exegete, but an eisigete.
      Exegetical Theology was the focus of much of Stoeckhardt's attention and he produced several books.  Much of his legacy is in remembering his work in this area.  I recall that as I was returning to my Christian faith 20+ years ago, I had discovered the works of Stoeckhardt in the CTS-FW bookstore and snapped up all the many titles they had then.  I wondered why these were only available from the CTS-FW bookstore, and not from CPH?  Stoeckhardt's writings (true exegesis, Biblical History) built up my faith, taught me that the Bible is absolutely true, set my faith on a solid Rock.
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      However there arose during Stoeckhardt's later years a faction among some teachers of the Synodical Conference who elevated the importance of "exegesis" of Scripture to the detriment of dogmatics or the teaching nature of Scripture.  The instigator and leader of this movement was Prof. John Philipp Koehler of the Wisconsin Synod (WELS).  He would come to, essentially, drive a wedge among the teachers of the Old Synodical Conference by his new emphasis, his claim of superiority, of "exegesis".  But was it superior?  I am preparing a separate blog post from this series that is quite polemical against the legacy of Koehler... I will take this up soon... (I found a surprising "benefit" to the agitation of Koehler.)
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      The above few words from Pieper were the greatest testament ever to the legacy of George Stoeckhardt.  In final installment of Pieper's funeral address for "our dear Stoeckhardt" he reveals a close conversation with Walther, in the next Part 4e.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Stoeckhardt 3: 4 teachers of Old Missouri; Lange's gem; Part 4c

      This continues from Part 4b in a sub-series (see Part 4a) of a wider series (Table of Contents in Part 1) of Franz Pieper's addresses at the "going home" (funerals) of  Old Missouri's earliest teachers.  This Part 4x sub-series presents the address at the funeral of Dr. George Stoeckhardt.
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      After putting Walther in his proper place, next to Martin Luther, Pieper moves on to comment on 4 other teachers of Old Missouri.  We are still several paragraphs into the funeral address for George Stoeckhardt, yet Pieper takes more time to show his Missouri how blessed it has been by its earlier faithful teachers.  These would compliment Walther's strong leadership in teaching and defending pure Lutheran/Christian doctrine (continuing Pieper's address from Part 4b):

Schaller used to say in our smaller circles: “God has not made me a warrior.” But he was an extremely valuable gift from God in our faculty meetings. In his silent manner, and with his deep and profound recognition of the Christian teachings, he has strengthened our hearts and hands through counsel and instruction, especially in the contentious points. Lange was rightly said to have a philosophical nature. But in all theological matters, God's Word was his only wisdom.  His preface to Lehre und Wehre in 1884 is an immense exposition of the the "sola Scriptum", the truth that in theology all man’s thoughts are nothing and God's revealed Word has its own validity.  I do not know if ever anything more glorious has been written.   He used to sit in our meetings somewhat apart, listening attentively and covering his face with his hand. But then he often spoke words to us all that were at once teaching and refreshment.  Günther was one of the first students of our institution, when it still was located in Perry County. He had grown up entirely in the spirit of our fathers. He was especially given the gift of distinguishing between truth and error, and with this gift he had served the Church especially in clear, concise written expression, as his years of editorship of our Der Lutheraner proves.  Gräbner, combined an amazing diligence with his extraordinary general knowledge and the clear recording of Christian doctrines. He has worn himself out prematurely by his diligence. His special field of work was the history of the Church; but in the last major doctrinal controversy he also fought in the foremost ranks.
What struck me in this summary was the special compliment he paid to C.H.R. Lange that he had not done in his earlier address at his funeral – on Lange's "Foreword" ("Vorwort") to the 1884 Lehre und Wehre journal.  My blog has concentrated mostly on presenting Walther and Pieper, but Pieper's immense praise of Lange's "Foreword" caused me to take some time in the Google Books copy, with Google "plain text" and Google Translate to skim over this highly regarded essay.  Would to God someone would take on the project of carefully translating this article into English!  What was it the Pieper said again?
“I do not know if ever anything more glorious has been written.”
Indeed, pure Lutheranism!  Because of Pieper's high praise, I have now also gone back to Lange's periodical, the St. Louis Theological Monthly, the earliest English language Missouri Synod doctrinal journal, a forerunner of the Lutheran Witness and Theological Quarterly. It is freely available in Google Books.  This journal contains the best English writings that give an overview of the “Predestinarian Controversy” and present the clearest defense of the truth, by Rudolf Lange and others.  It shows that Lange was a true pupil of Walther.  It was quite a treat for me to again skim through the many articles, and such good doctrine in so easy-to-read ENGLISH!! Thank God that Prof. Lange produced this wonderful journal... in... English.  Too bad that it only ran 2 years, from 1881 to 1882.  —

      In the next Part 4d, Pieper reaches the point in his address where he highlights perhaps his closest colleague at that time, George Stoeckhardt.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Stoeckhardt 2: Walther- 2nd only to… ? (Pieper's address, Part 4b)

      This continues from Part 4a in a sub-series (see Part 4a) of a wider series (Table of Contents in Part 1) on Franz Pieper's addresses at the "going home" (funerals) of  Old Missouri's earliest teachers.  These Part 4x posts are on Dr. George Stoeckhardt.
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      When I translated the next brief section, I paused in amazement.  Franz Pieper asserted something that even I would hesitate to do – and it will put most modern LC-MS teachers in a tailspin:
C.F.W. Walther – 2nd only to Luther
The American Luther!

Walther, in great humility, called himself a lowly pupil of Luther and the old Lutheran theologians. According to my knowledge of Walther and the old theologians, I must say that Walther, in regard to the clear knowledge of the Christian doctrine, and to the gift of clear representation, is to be placed immediately after Luther, and far surpassed most of the theologians of the later time.”  – Franz Pieper

Oh!  Pieper places Walther, essentially, second only to Martin Luther as a teacher of the Lutheran Church.  I had earlier placed Walther in the top 3 teachers of Lutheranism.  And Pieper had in 1890 apparently ranked Walther behind Martin Chemnitz of teachers of the Lutheran Doctrine of Justification..  But it appears that Pieper, upon further reflection, now in 1913, in the address at Stoeckhardt's funeral, places Walther above both of these two other highly regarded teachers of the Lutheran Church.  I had been thinking to do much the same thing, except for my deep respect for Martin Chemnitz and his authorship of the Formula of Concord in the face of near disaster for the Lutherans. But I knew in my heart that it was Walther who applied the Formula of Concord's teaching on the Election of Grace for the first time in a Church dispute against erring American Lutherans ("intuitu fidei").
      Yes, that is how I will celebrate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, by honoring also the one who practically single-handedly restored and "repristinated" the Reformation in our modern times!  Let the scoffers scoff and go their way!  I know it is so, for Franz Pieper is the best judge of all Lutheran teachers up to… himself.  He is The Twentieth Century LutherThe Second Walther. —  In the next Part 4c, we hear Pieper's brief comments on 4 other early teachers of Old Missouri.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Stoeckhardt 1: Best modern exegete goes home, Pieper's address, Part 4a

      This continues a series of blogs (from Part 3, Table of Contents in Part 1) presenting Dr. Franz Pieper's words of comfort at the passing of fellow teachers of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. -- But this begins another sub-series…
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      Because Pieper was so young when he first became President of the seminary, he was called on to give an address at the funerals of most of Old Missouri's first teachers.  One of the most important of these was the last one to pass away who was pictured at the right, Dr. George Stoeckhardt, on January 9, 1913.
     How these addresses spotlight the Christian's hope in the time of death!  Pieper always referred to the deceased as one who has "gone home".  I have often re-read my quote of the famous Russian scientist Vitaly Ginzburg who said “I envy believers.… I cannot believe in resurrection after death.” Poor, unbelieving scientists!  But this is not the case with the dear teachers of Old Missouri, no envy among them, only this, a longing for "home".
      Pieper's address contains some especially notable statements that have caused me to break it up into a 5-part sub-series.  It was taken from Der Lutheraner, vol. 69-2, January 21, 1913, p. 18-19.  The translation (only the indented text blocks below) is by BackToLuther, highlighting is mine:

† Prof. Dr. G. Stöckhardt. †
Commemorative address, held in the aula of the theological seminary.
By F. Pieper.

In Christ, cordially beloved funeral assembly, especially honored colleagues and dear students of Concordia!
The Holy Scripture, in which God speaks to us, reveals to us God's heart. It reveals to us in particular how God's heart is toward us in all adversity which we have met with and still meet. How is God so worried about our salvation and well-being? The great God is, so to speak, altogether caring for of our salvation, for no man could reconcile God, He Himself took reconciliation into His own hand. He has reconciled us with Himself through the death of his Son. Then He has given the Word of the existing reconciliation, the Gospel, by which He gathers a Church, a Christendom, on Earth. All Christians are wise, spiritually understanding people. They are all taught by God, they know Christ, their Savior, and proclaim the virtues of Him who has called them from darkness into His marvelous light. [1 Peter 2:9]  But even more! [S. 19, col. 1] The Savior, exalted to the right hand of God, also gives his Church special teaching gifts in individual persons. He equips individual members of the Church with special gifts, with which they serve the Gospel and thus the Church. The exalted Savior has set some to apostles, some to prophets, some to evangelists, some to shepherds and teachers.
We are especially reminded of these teaching gifts, which God gives to His Church, where we stand before the fact that God has called from our midst a most excellent teacher. Our dear Dr. Stöckhardt has been transferred from the Church of teachers of the Word and Faith, to the Church of Sight. We stand still for a moment and ask ourselves what we have to retain from the teachers which the risen Savior of his Church has granted to its service. According to God's Word, we recognize it as a gift of His grace, and thank Him heartily for it; and we ask Him, with the confidence of being heard, that He will not refuse such gifts to us.
Indeed! We recognize teachers of the Church as a gift of God. No one, not even all men taken together, can make a Christian teacher. Luther rightly says: “Doctors of art, medicine, law, etc., can the pope, emperor, and universities make; but be assured, a doctor of the Holy Scriptures will make no one but only the Holy Spirit from heaven.”  In the Christian Church, there is nothing at all that is made, here everything is God's gift and work. Only God's gift and work is the faith of Christians. Only God's gift and work are also the right teachers of the Church. What is not God's gift and work is useless.  Then what belongs to a true Christian teacher?  First of all the basis is the personal heart of faith. But the Scripture says, "We believe according  the working  of His mighty power.” [Eph. 1:19]  This includes secondly the facultas docendi, the special gift of public teaching.  On this the Scripture says again, “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.” [2 Cor. 3:5]  To a true teacher belongs, thirdly, a great inner power and strength, the power and strength to subordinate all his own thoughts and the thoughts of all other men to God's Word, and to hold fast to God's Word, in spite of the enmity of the devil, the world, and his own flesh. No man can do that by himself. This is God's gift and work in us, as St. Paul reminds Timothy: "Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." [2 Tim. 2:1]

The reader will note that for several paragraphs, Pieper has said little of the deceased.  He uses considerable time to teach first from God's Word, the true source of all comfort.  He said the first qualification of a true Christian teacher was faith in the heart, or what he elsewhere calls a fides divina or the testimony of the Holy Spirit, a divine faith worked by God. (Pastor Martin Noland stumbles on this.)  But now, he begins to name names:

Such gifts of teaching have been given by God to our synod, and especially to our theological institution. I need only name the names: Walther, Schaller, Lange, Günther, Gräbner, and now also Stöckhardt. All were glorious gifts of God to His Church. It is permissible for me to dwell on the memory of these men for a moment. I have been allowed to work with all of them over a long period.  Five of them I may from this place, where I stand now, in the name of the institution and the church, call words of grateful remembrance.  

Pieper introduces the names of several men, teachers who have gone before George Stoeckhardt.  It is quite a list and it includes the first teachers of Concordia Seminary-St. Louis, men that Pieper worked with personally.  Since Pieper lived well into the 20th Century, he is the best church historian of Old Missouri for our time.  In the next Part 4b, Pieper makes an assertion that will put most modern LC-MS teachers and leaders into a tailspin, especially in this year of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation.  What would Pieper say about… Walther?
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Part 4a – Stoeckhardt goes home: Pieper's preliminary teaching (this blog post)
Part 4b – Walther is 2nd only to… who?
Part 4c – 4 past teachers of Old Missouri, Pieper's thoughts (Lange complimented)
Part 4d – And now our dear Stöckhardt! Who is a true exegete?
Part 4e – Missourian! On Conversion & Election; at Walther's sickbed (Pieper closes address)

Thursday, July 20, 2017

A.L. Graebner, passing of a true teacher- Pieper’s address; Part 3

[2017-07-24: This address was also translated by M. Harrison in his At Home in the House of My Fathers, pp. 617-619.]
      This continues a series of blogs (from Part 2, Table of Contents in Part 1) presenting Dr. Franz Pieper's words of comfort at the passing of fellow teachers of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.
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      After Prof. Günther's passing, it would be another 10+ years before President Pieper would again have to speak to an assembly of mourners for a fellow colleague.  This time, in 1904, it was for Prof. A.L. Graebner.  Pieper's address was taken from Der Lutheraner, January 3, 1905, p. 3-4.  Translation by BackToLuther.

Memorial address at the funeral Dr. A. L. Gräbner,
held in the Aula of the Concordia Seminary by F. Pieper.
A teacher has been called by God from our midst. A man has been taken by God out of our midst who was first placed here in our institution as the teacher of the future ministers of the Church, and then served the Church with teachings in wide circles, beyond the borders of our country. God has put an end to this active life. He called his servant that his work  was at an end.  We think that this call came too early. But we Christians also know that our thinking is not the measure by which things are measured in the kingdom of God. Thus we submit ourselves to God's will, but we listen to the reminder which God in His Word (Heb. 13:7) calls to the Church:
Remember your teachers who have spoken the Word of God to you.
Teachers are one of the gifts of God to His Church. The Son of God has devoted much to his Church, and His care is still directed to His Church. He has first redeemed them, that is, purchased with His own blood, from death and condemnation. Then He also gave her His Word through His Prophets and Apostles, which she now possesses in the Holy Scriptures. But even more! He has also arranged a personal teaching office in the Church, whereby His Word is to go forth, and He gives to his Church, up to the very Last Day, men who are capable of teaching not only himself, but others as well. Thus the teachers belong to the gifts of Christ to his Church. Teachers of the Word of God are not a gift which can be bought with gold or silver, but they are a gift which the Son of God has acquired with His blood, and are distributed now to His Church as the exalted Lord of the Church at the right hand of God. This is what the Scriptures teach. St. Paul writes to the Ephesians, (Eph. 4:8): “When he ascended up on high, ... he gave gifts unto men.” And in the enumeration of gifts are expressly named the teachers: “He Has put some to apostles, some to prophets, some to evangelists, some to shepherds and teachers.” (Eph. 4:11.)  The Church is well served when she is amply supplied with teachers of the Word. Thus, in the description of the prosperity of the Church of the New Testament (Psalm 68:11): “The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it..” And the Church goes bad when [page 3, col. 2] the right teachers of the Word are missing. Where the teachers of the Word of God are absent, the of Word of Christ is fulfilled: “They fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd,” Matt. 9:36. Therefore, the Christians should deal with their teachers well during their lifetime. “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.,” 1 Timothy 5:17.  And when they are dead, let them remember.  “Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God.” [Hebrews 13:7]
It is true that not all of us, who appear within the Church as teachers, are to be counted among the gifts of God. In the Church there are, under God's approval, teachers who teach not the Word of God, but their own Word, as the Holy Scriptures describe such teachers in Jer. 23:16. “They speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD.” Such teachers are not a blessing, but a plague for the Church. Such teachers do not praise God, but He threatens them with his wrath, Jer. 23:31: "Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that use their tongues, and say, He saith.” The Christians shall not hold themselves to such teachers, but flee after the Apostle’s exhortation Rom. 16:17: “Mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them..”  Such a teacher was not the one who has gone home. He was a true teacher, a gift from God. He was one of the teachers who, with great care, carried forward the Word of God pure and unadulterated, and with all sincerity, rejected all false doctrine, which rises above and without the Word of God in the Church. In the hot struggle for the divine truth which our Church had been destined for the past twenty-five years, in the struggle for the Gospel of grace, he was at the forefront of the struggle.  Thus, the one who went home belonged to the gifts of God to his Church, and therefore the Word also applies to him: "Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.” [Heb. 13:7]  God has given the orthodox Lutheran Church of our country loyal and proficient teachers and preachers in large numbers. What is in abundance, that is easily respected lightly. It should not be so. Let us beware of the contempt of the gifts of God, for that is the way you lose it.
A true teacher must wait out his office under  self-denial, in disinterested spirit, in the profession of God. Neither good rumors nor nasty rumors, neither praise nor reproof, neither abundance nor want, should alienate him from his office, or make him weary.  Such teachers are rare. They were rare even in the apostolic church. The Apostle Paul complained in the letter to the Philippians (Phil. 2:21) of a number of teachers who were working next to him: “For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's..”  We must now confess with gratitude to God that God has given a great number of preachers and teachers to our synod, as far as people can judge, who have not the ruling manner of themselves, but look to Christ Jesus and His Church. To these also belonged the one who has gone home. He was prepared for service for others, without asking: What is in it for me? He has served the Church [page 4, col. 1] for 25 years – nine years in the Wisconsin Synod, and sixteen years in our Synod – as a theological teacher and has been satisfied with food and clothing. He could leave no earthly property. That is why we are reminded of the following: “Remember your teachers which ...  have spoken unto you the word of God.”
Luther, in his last sermon, which he preached at Wittenberg in January, 1546, [AE 51:377; SL 12:1168-1177] asked his hearers to ask God with all their heart for right teachers of His Word. This request is also very necessary for us, since God has taken such a tried and tested teacher from our midst. Indeed, God does not look at our sin and ingratitude, but acts with us according to His great grace and mercy.  He gives us and our children pure, faithful, self-denying teachers of His Word for the sake of Christ our Savior. Amen.
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      For myself, I have found the most edifying teaching from Prof. A.L. Graebner to be his presentation of the 1886 essay to the Synodical Conference on the "Divinity of Holy Scripture".  This essay proclaimed to all the world that the Synodical Conference stood on Holy Scripture, and defended against all attacks on the doctrine of Verbal Inspiration.  —  Pieper mentioned that Graebner had traveled outside the country in his work as a teacher.  I believe he traveled also to Australia for which the faithful Church in Australia continues to remember today.
      In the next Part 4, the last colleague of Pieper to pass away (or "go home") in the above faculty picture would be George Stoeckhardt.  And Pieper's address for him would include a grand tour of most of the previous teachers of Old Missouri.