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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A Missourian died… but lives — C.H.R. Lange (Pieper's address in 1892)


      As I was going through my Der Lutheraner table of contents, I ran across the publication of Concordia Seminary President Franz Pieper's address at the funeral of one of its early professors - C.H. Rudolf Lange, or R. Lange.  It was published in the November 8, 1892 issue as the lead article.  I was interested to read this as Prof. Lange is lesser known among his colleagues... what did he teach?... was he strong in his teaching and defending of Christian doctrine?  But the still new and youthful President did what he does best – Franz Pieper brought out a true faith that leaves one praising God for such a teacher as...
Prof. Carl Heinrich Rudolf Lange 
(† 1892)

What follows is my translation of only the first paragraph of Pieper's address:
Address
held on the day of the funeral of the blessed
Prof. R. Lange in the seminary
by Prof. F. Pieper.


In Christ, beloved mourning gathering!
A teacher of our institution has been called up by God from this life, and the one gone home was the oldest teacher of the Collegium. And not only was he the oldest teacher, but he was also one of the men whose public effectiveness extends into the early days of our Synod, to the men who had participated in the mighty struggles, but also in the rich blessing of the beginnings. The blessed Prof. Lange had already come to faith in Christ in the old Fatherland. But to the clear knowledge of the Christian doctrine as a theologian should have, he was first led here [in America] by God.  In private talks, he has repeatedly made the doctrine well-known of which the clear knowledge came to him. This was the doctrine of objective justification, the doctrine clearly revealed in the Holy Scriptures, that God is completely reconciled with the whole world of sinners through Christ. Thus the Gospel was not to him the message of a reconciliation that had yet to be achieved, but of the reconciliation which had already taken place, and to be accepted by faith. The Word and the Sacraments were now the means by which God offered and sealed to the individual sinners the salvation acquired by Christ. The Church was the fellowship of those who believe in the grace of Christ purchased and presented in the Gospel.  In this light he was changed as a teacher. In the light of this knowledge he served with the gifts of the Church given to him.

What Pieper stressed at the beginning of his address was that Prof. Lange believed the Gospel, or Universal, Objective Justification.  And where did Lange find this light?  In America.  And who was it that brought this doctrine to the New World?...  C.F.W. Walther.

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