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Monday, January 9, 2017

Delitzsch 8b: great chasm — supermen to stragglers

      Concluding from Part 8a the series on Delitzsch and German church conditions from Franz Pieper's Christliche Dogmatik, volume 1.  (Table of Contents in Part 1) …
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      I have put considerable time into this final presentation (page 225).  It shows Pieper's passionate defense of the Missouri Synod and those who stood with it against the world... just as Luther stood.  Ah, but he was fighting against “theological supermen”.  —  Again, the reader will note below how much text is shaded green and so is being presented for the first time in English translation.

Translation by BackToLuther; all green shaded text was omitted in the 1950 English edition and is first published here in English; all underlined words emphasized in the original German; red text and/or red bold text is my emphasis, all notes inside square brackets [ ] are mine; many items hyperlinked for reference; hyperlinked page numbers in square brackets [ ]; all unshaded text was included in English edition but re-translated to avoid copyright complaint by CPH.

—————————  Part 8b  ———————————
[225  >]

And on the other hand they [Germany's theologians] have quite carefully observed and spread abroad the evil things which the opposing [American] camp informed the world about our “strictly confessional direction”, such as our supposed Calvinism, our idolizing the dogmatists, and our desecration of the dogmatists, about our unity and our mutual hostilities, about the democratic bondage of the pastors on the part of the congregations, etc. 659)  
Krauth

The theologians of Germany unfortunately advanced toward the same bitterness presented to us — to the great regret of Dr. [Charles Porterfield] Krauth — by the representatives of the liberal “American Lutheranism”.  And we can understand that.




We are theologically divided by a chasm
so broad and deep that it can not be bridged.


We hold
the Holy Scriptures
for God's
infallible Word
and therefore for the only source and norm of theology, so that we reject any thought which,
as Luther says, does not have its “advent” [Ankunft] from Scripture, whether the thought may refer to the content or the context of Christian doctrine.  Modern theologians, on the other hand, regard the “identification” of Scripture and “God's Word” as a point of view long dismissed, which only has its representatives in lay circles and among theological “stragglers.”  They therefore see their profession as offering the product of their "pious self-consciousness" to the Church and the world, and then to correct the fallible Scripture. We could communicate with “lay circles” and theological stragglers. But with the theological supermen who have taken their stand above Scripture, an understanding is impossible because the common Christian foundation is missing.  But God’s grace can create change under the tremendous shocks that are now going on in the world. [post-WW I, pre-WW II]
Will the “strictly confessional direction” of the Lutheran Church as represented here in the United States by the Synodical Conference be asserted here and in other countries?  The question of the viability of the Church of the Reformation in its unchanged and unchangeable doctrines has recently been widely considered in Germany and elsewhere.
Johann Heinrich Kurtz
—————————

659) [252] Kurtz, Kirchengeschichte für Studierende [or Church History for Students], 1890, II, 2, p. 262 [not on web?; 1874 edition here] ; RE.2 IX, 85 f.; partial correction RE.2 XVIII, 687 ff. [see here or here or here (pgs 413-414) for 1890 English translation of Kurtz]

- - - - - - - -  End of Delitzsch Series  - - - - - - - - -

      The reader will note the amount of green shaded text in this segment.  With the great interest that the world now shows in “German theology” today – with its fascination with Bonhoeffer – I think editor Prof. Engelder misjudged in omitting these green shaded sections from his English edition.  Indeed, I hold up Franz Pieper's Church History above all other Church Historians since his time. —
      The “tremendous shocks in the world” that Pieper refers to in 1924 were certainly not over, as the world knows of perhaps the greatest “shock” – World War II.  It is in the shadow of the effects of World War II that you and I live in, a world that largely repudiates all things German, including its language here in America.  Even the Nazi Third Reich repudiated the Fraktur font that was used in its traditional publications.
      The charges brought against the Old Missouri Synod practically knew no bounds, ultimately calling it an “evil in the church”.
church historian – “theological superman”
In the 1890 English translation of a book by the prolific German Lutheran church historian Johann Heinrich Kurtz, he said this of the Missourians and those with them:
“These Missouri separatist communities, though everywhere quite unimportant, …”
Hmmm.... that sounds suspiciously like what the 1910 Roman Catholic encyclopedia said about those Old Lutherans.  Should I not call Kurtz one of those “theological supermen”?

Yep, I'm one of those “Missouri separatists”, a “theological straggler”, standing on the other side of that “chasm so broad and deep”, but with the Holy Scriptures... and with the true Church Historian for today, Dr. Franz Pieper.—
      The later Dr. Franz Delitzsch helped foster the “theological supermen”, the “theologischen Übermenschen”.  But I would end this series with the words of the early Delitzsch as he extols Holy Scripture to those on the other side of the “great chasm”:
It alone is the foundation…, the touchstone
 To this Word it [the Church] must submit itself with reverence, with humility, with self-denial. – Delitzsch

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Delitzsch 8a: whither is Lutheranism bound?; Missouri's church literature

      Continuing from Part 7 the series on Delitzsch and German church conditions from Franz Pieper's Christliche Dogmatik, volume 1.  (Table of Contents in Part 1) …
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      I now skip a few more pages, to pages 224-225, in Pieper's narrative of Church History, to where he assesses the damage in World Lutheranism and how Walther, not Delitzsch, brought the Lutheran Reformation back to life...

Translation by BackToLuther; all green shaded text was omitted in the 1950 English edition and is first published here in English; all underlined words emphasized in the original German; red text and/or red bold text is my emphasis, all notes inside square brackets [ ] are mine; many items hyperlinked for reference; hyperlinked page numbers in square brackets [ ]; all unshaded text was included in English edition but re-translated to avoid copyright complaint by CPH.

—————————  Part 8a  ———————————
[224  >]

As to the influence of the “strictly confessional direction” of the American Lutheran Church on the Lutheran Church in other countries, General Superintendent [Hans Heinrich Philipp Justus] Ruperti wrote on the death of Walther: 656)With Walther one of the greats in the Church of Christ has gone home, a man who was an epoch-making personality not only in the ecclesiastical history of America, where he was the outstanding guide and collector of the Lutherans, but his effectiveness in the Lutheran Church for all parts of the world was felt to be a powerful stimulus. The success of his effectiveness is almost unprecedented in the modern history of our Church.”  Here again, as regards the influence on the German Church, there is a qualifying remark.  The fathers of the Missouri Synod certainly did not hasten to break off dialogue with the Church of Germany.  As they were continuously endeavoring to communicate with the various Lutheran synods here by offering preliminary talks, 657) they also repeatedly sought an agreement with the ecclesiastical circles of Germany and other countries.658) Admittedly, the alienation by the Church of Germany advanced gradually, of which Delitzsch refers to in the above-mentioned writing.  We, on our part, have kept the connection in so far as we have carefully taken note of the ecclesiastical events in Germany, especially of the literary output.  
Der Lutheraner
Lehre und Wehre


Perhaps the 68 years of Lehre und Wehre and the 78 years of Der Lutheraner offer the richest, all-encompassing contemporary church history covering the whole world that exists at the present time.  Against this the world of German theologians on the one hand has almost completely ignored our not insignificant church literature.


—————————
656) [250] Allgem. Ev.-Luth. Kirchenzeitung of July 22, 1887 [vol. 20; not on web?; see Christian Cyclopedia entry].
657) Presently there are talks between representatives of the Synodical Conference and representatives of the synods of Iowa and Ohio. Negotiations are not futile, even if a complete agreement has not yet been reached in doctrine. [see Christian Cyclopedia here, #4]
658) It should also be pointed out that Lutheran church congregations which are in agreement with the Synodical Conference in doctrine and practice exist in other countries: in Germany, the Evangelical Lutheran Freikirche of Saxony and other States (with congregations in Denmark) [see here #5], Australia and New Zealand the Ev.-Luth. Synod in Australia [ELSA, see #4 here], in Alsace the Ev.-Luth. Freikirche in Alsace [see here, #15].
- - - - - - - continued in next Part 8b  - - - - - - - - -

      This blog is dedicated to bringing to light “the richest, all-encompassing contemporary church history covering the whole world that exists at the present time” – Lehre und Wehre and Der Lutheraner, bringing them out of their forced obscurity.  One may note that Pieper did not include in his list of church literature the English language publications of his Synod:


Why?  Could it be that Pieper's exclusion of these publications was not because they were in the English language, but because they were not the chief organs for the foundational teachings of the Old (German) Missouri Synod?  Unfortunately these English publications are now sometimes mistaken as such and causing some confusion on what was taught by the fathers of the Old Missouri – see herehere and here for examples.  At their best, these English publications only echoed the greatest teachings of... Walther and Pieper, Stoeckhardt and Bente.  But I would also say that Pieper did not highlight these 2 German language publications because they were in the German language, but because they proclaimed the purest Lutheran doctrine.  Even Dr. Robert Kolb was likely fooled by the English publications. —
      In footnote # 657 above, Pieper speaks of ongoing talks with the Iowa and Ohio Synods in 1924.  This is referenced also in the 1927 Concordia Cyclopedia, pg 365 (or digital page 379, column 2, half-way down) where it says:
“In recent years the points of difference [between Missouri and Iowa on Election, etc.] have been under discussion by an inter-synodical committee, and the prospects for a mutual understanding are good.”
It appears that these reported “good prospects for a mutual understanding” are actually a harbinger of the disaster that happened after Pieper's death in 1931, as Prof. Theodore Graebner (with his “breakthrough”) and others in the LC-MS commandeered the theology and direction of the Missouri Synod as it morphed into today's LC-MS, as it made shaky agreements with the merged Iowa and Ohio Synods, the ALC. —
      In the concluding Part 8b, Pieper lays out a great distinction between the true Church and the false Church, and the “old path” that the Church Universal needs to be following.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Delitzsch 7: a grieving Delitzsch; Hofmann & Frank

      Continuing from Part 6 the series on Delitzsch and German church conditions from Franz Pieper's Christliche Dogmatik, volume 1.  (Table of Contents in Part 1) …
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      Pieper looks on in sadness over the fall of Germany's theologians.  But a greater sadness is displayed in the grief also in the later Franz Delitzsch, who did not separate himself from the “dazzling science” of his fellow German scholars.  How the separation of Delitzsch and Walther magnifies the differences between true Christian teaching (“orthodoxy”) and “scientific theology”.  At the end of his footnote # 645, Pieper relates a most chilling end of Germany's “Lutheran” scholars: apostasy, the ultimate grief.

Translation by BackToLuther; all green shaded text was omitted in the 1950 English edition and is first published here in English; all underlined words emphasized in the original German; red text and/or red bold text is my emphasis, all notes inside square brackets [ ] are mine; many items hyperlinked for reference; hyperlinked page numbers in square brackets [ ]; all unshaded text was included in English edition but re-translated to avoid copyright complaint by CPH.

—————————  Part 7  ———————————
[217  >]
It is a pity that the American Lutheran Church’s “strictly confessional direction” and the church in Germany have come apart!  As a reminder of the original unity of spirit between Walther and Franz Delitzsch: through Walther the nature of Christianity and theology came to full development, which once connected the youthful friends in Leipzig, and which Delitzsch — we cannot escape the impression — in a certain sense grieved over to the end of his life. 645)
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645) This seems to us to emerge from the letter of condolence which Delitzsch, on the death of Walther, addressed to his remaining family.  It is dated “Leipzig, Whitsun Monday 1887” and contains, among other things, the following words about Walther: “There is hardly a man living who has lived through the years of first love for the Savior and then also the labor pains under which the emigration was brought about, as I with him — God has steeled him in this fire of opposition, so that he has for our Lutheran Church become a pillar of iron and as walls of bronze (Jer.1:18) —, a miracle in my eyes in which my weak faith has often strengthened itself.  In some things we two old friends could not agree lately, [218  >] but my love and admiration did not thereby suffer, and in the foundation [Fundament] we remained one, for I live and die in the bloody merit of the Lord Jesus. … In a small way I hope to see my dear friend again, where there is no sea separating us. …  The whole Lutheran Church [on the occasion of the death of Walther] has cause to grieve with you.” (This letter is reprinted in full in L. u.W. 1887, S. 289 f.)  In the same sense, Delitzsch wrote to the author of this Dogmatics book in 1887.  The fact that the two old friends had not been able to communicate “in some things” lately came about because, under the pressure of “science,” Delitzsch changed his earlier point of view. As a “scientific theologian”, he pushed “science” as the determining principle between himself and the Holy Scriptures.  He deserted the inspiration of Scripture. That Delitzsch as a Christian adhered to the satisfactio vicaria, as we also assume in love, is a “happy inconsistency.”
von Hofmann    —   von Frank
denied vicarious satisfaction
(apostasy)


The fact that the denial of inspiration leads to the denial of the satisfactio vicaria was already realized in his time (Hofmann [J.C.K. von], Frank [Franz Hermann Reinhold von, (see pgs 332 & 267 in 1927 Concordia Cyclopedia)]), and has since been seen as an almost universal fact.

- - - - - - - continued in next Part 8a  - - - - - - - - -

There is a biography of von Frank in the ADB by a later German theologian, Reinhold Seeberg.  In one of the last paragraphs, Seeberg states (translated):
The fact that the restored Lutheranism of our century [1904-19th or 20th century?] has not sunk into a repristination of the theology of the Formula of Concord and the dogmatics of the seventeenth century, will be emphasized once more by the merits of the two great Erlangen theologians, Hofmann and Frank.
Germany gloried in its apostasy!  If this sentence does not show the reader why the German American Lutherans of the Missouri Synod had to fiercely battle against the “great” theologians of Germany, then nothing will.  There was (and is) an outright repudiation of the Lutheran Confessions by this so-called “restored Lutheranism”, this “scientific (wissenschaftlich) theology”.  And Pieper shows that it started with “the denial of inspiration”, and ended in apostasy.  This is the Germany that Franz Delitzsch was a part of – “He deserted the inspiration of Scripture”.  None of the horrors of political Nazi Germany that Dietrich Bonhoeffer lived through can compare to the deadly theology of Germany's top “Lutheran” theologians.  The judgment by Pieper that Delitzsch did not fall to total apostasy gives a Christian no right to go down that same road thinking a little “scientific theology” won't hurt.  No, God emphatically warns against this – as a “shipwreck of faith”, 1 Tim. 1:19.  —  For my part, I'm having a hard time distinguishing between Hofmann & Frank and Kloha & Herrmann of today's LC-MS...
R. Seeberg
      And did you know?... According to the Wikipedia article on Seeberg, he...
“... had a number of important students, including Werner Elert in church history and dogma, Hermann Sasse in Lutheran studies, and most famously Dietrich Bonhoeffer in theology and ethics.” 
  Dietrich Bonhoeffer   
It is reported of Bonhoeffer that he loved the hymns of those “‘who had lived and suffered through the Thirty Years' War’, especially those written by Paul Gerhardt” (Marsh, Strange Glory, pg 233), yet when he drove through St. Louis in 1931 (p. 129), Bonhoeffer drove right past Concordia Seminary, the seat of Lutheran orthodoxy, where Franz Pieper had also extolled those old hymns of Gerhardt and the Thirty Years' War.  Why Germany's hatred of “orthodoxy”, the heart of those old hymns?   
      Oh yes, Delitzsch corresponded directly with Franz Pieper by letter.  But that did not cause Pieper to tone down his severe warning regarding the fall of the later Delitzsch who essentially repudiated his own early writings.  That warning applies to all Christians!  —  We haven't heard the last of the “grieving Delitzsch”.  But in the next Part 8a, Pieper discusses the influence of the Old Missouri Synod on World Lutheranism, and lack of it.