Full Text for The Contribution of Kenneth Korby to a Renewed Reception of Wilhelm Löhe's Pastoral Theology (Text)

Concordia Theological Quarterly Volume 732 April 2009 Table of Contents The Contribution of Kenneth Korby to a Renewed Reception of Wilhelm L6he's Pastoral Theology John T. Pless ................................ ........ .................................................. 99 The Liturgical Shape of the Old Testament Gospel Alan Ludwig ....................................................................................... 115 Its End is Destruction: Babylon the Great in the Book of Revelation .................................................................................. Peter F. Gregory 137 Another Look at Luther's Battle with Karlstadt Richard A. Beinert .............................................................................. 155 Theological Observer ...................................................................................... 171 Kenneth F. Korby -A Teacher of Pastors Richard John Neuhaus (1936-2009) Work and Reality in Latvia The Doctrine of Christ in Theological Education Lohe Studies Today ................................................................................................... Book Reviews 187 Books Received ................................................................................................ 192 + Kenneth Frederick Korby t May 5,1924 -July 11,2006 Readers of this article on Korby and Lohe udll alsojind ofinterest the contributions in the Theologicnl Observer section by Peter Render (on Korby) and John Pless (on Lihe Studies). The Editors CTQ 73 (2009): 99-113 The Contribution of Kenneth Korby to a Renewed Reception of Wilhelm Lohe's Pastoral Theology' John T. Pless In a letter dated August 4, 1853, Pastor Wilhelm Lohe wrote poignantly to the colonists in Michigan's Saginaw valley: Dear friend. . . . Not only because of the death of my dear mother in her 84th year on July 6 do I write this letter on stationery bordered in black, but also because this letter, in another sense, is for me a kind of farewell letter or death notice. Recall if you will how things gradually developed in the Saginaw colonies and you will be aware how close these colonies were to my heart and hand. Today my hand, but not my heart, is taking leave of these colonies. . . . My stance toward you remains as it always has been. You are and continue to be my near relatives with repect to the doctrines of the Church; I am happy about your Synod, about your life, and I pray that nothing untoward may befall you because of your unjust, unholy and ugly attitude towards us, that you may be preserved and become a blessing to many. May the Lord and His holy pace be with you."' Nearly twenty years later, the February 15,1872, issue of the Missouri Synod's Der Lutheraner would provide an announcement of Lohe's death with minimal comment: "From Lutherische Zeitur~g we learned the shocking news that Pastor Lohe of Neuendettelsau, 'after a brief illness' died at five forty-five on the evening of January second."i For much of the Missouri Synod's history, the sigmficance of the pastor from Neuendettelsau has been only partially appreciated. At worst, 1 This study was presented as "The Lively Use of Lahe: Kenneth Korby's contribution to a Renewed Reception of His Pastoral Theology in The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod at the 2. Intermtionale Lbhe-Tagung. Augustana- Hochschule, in Neuendettelsau, Germany, 23 July 200R. 2 Cited in Gerhard Mundinger, "Wilhelm Lahe," Concordin Hisloricol institufr Quarterly 70 (1997): 19. 3 Erich Heinken, M'mslm belle and the Missouri Synod, 1841-1853 (PhD. diss., University of Illinois-Urbana, 1%). Preface. John T. Pless is Assistant Professor Pastoral Ministry and Missions as well as Director of Field Education at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indtar~a. 100 Concordia Theological Quarterly 73 (2009) Lohe was characterized as guilty of "Rornanizing tendencies."%ore generous assessments recognize his early assistance in providing human and financial resources that would be crucial for the development of what would become the Missouri Syn~d.~ Yet as we come to celebrate the bicentennial of Lohe's birth, there is significant and positive appreciation of Lohe in the church body that he had a hand in establishing as a "father from afar." Evidence of this is seen in that both seminaries of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) hosted conferences to commemorate the 200th anniversary of his birth. The February 2008 issue of The Luthernn Witness, the Synod's official magazine, carried an article on Lohe.6 The Holy Trinity 2008 issue of Login: A Journal of Luthernn Theology was published as "the Loehe bicentennial issue," featuring essays by North American and European scholars.' Concordia Pulpit Resources noted Lohe's contributions to preaching and included the hanslation of one of his sermons on the Lord's Supper in a recent issue.8 Concordia Publishing House published David C. Ratke's Confession and Mission, Word nnd Sacrament: 771~ Ecclesinl Theology of Wilhdm Iihe in 2001.9 In 2006, LCMS World Relief and Human Care commissioned a translation of Lohe on Mercy: Six Chapters for Everyone, the Seventh for the Servant:: of Mercy and has widely distributed this booklet throughout the congregations of the church body.10 John Stephenson, a professor of the Lutheran Church-Canada has Wanslated Lohe's 1849 Aphorisms," which were published in 2008 by For example, Fram I'ieper, Christian Dogmtics, vol. 3, hans. Walter W.F. Albrsht (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1953): 447; and Diedrich Henry Steffens, Doctor Corl Ferdinand I~illwlm Walther (Philadelphia: Lutheran Publication Suciety, 1917): 285. 5 For an analysis of Ihhe's influence in the early years of the Missouri Synod as well as the present, see John T. Pless, "Wilhelm Loehe and the Missouri Synod: Forgotten Paternity or Living Legacy?" Currents in Theology ond Mission (April 2006): 122-137. 6 John T. Pless, "The Missionary Who Never Left Home," Lutheran U'itness 127 (February 2W8): 11-13. Included in this issue are articles by Dietrich Blaufd3, Craig Nessan. and Walter Conser, as well as hanslations of a sermon by Lahe on Trinity Sunday and his Preface to the Agendpfir christliche Gemiden &des lutherish Bekmtntniss. 8 Wilhelm Loehe, "Historical Sermon: A Sermon on the Lord's Supper," hans. Jason D. Lane, Gncordia Pulpit Resources 18 (August 24-November 27, 2W8): 34. * David C. Ratke, Confession and Mission, Word and Sacrompnt (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2W1). '0 Wilheh Lahe, Uhe on Mrrcy: Six Chaptersfi,r Everyone, the Seunlih for the Srmantr of firm, hans. Holzer Sonntaz (St. Louis: LCMS Board for World Relief and Human -, &e, 2627) Wilhelm LBhe, Aphorisms of the New Testnmenl Ofices and 711e1r Relationship to the Gngregntion. trans. John Stephenson (Rynum, D(: Repnstination Press, 2W8). 102 Concordia Theological Quarterly 73 (2009) central city congregation. As in Chicago, Korby found himself implementing what he had learned from Lohe in congregational lie and tutoring young pastors to do the same rather than writing on Lohe. Ultimately it would be the example of Korby's own pastoral practice and his mentorship of seminarians and pastors that would open a way for a renewed appreciation for and usage of Lohe's legacy in the LCMS in a significant way. This paper will seek to examine key themes from Lohe that emerge in Korby's published works and how these themes were creatively used by him in charting a way for contemporary pastoral care and church life within the LCMS. While Korby did not publish any additional works specifically on Lohe after the completion of his dissertation in 1976, themes from the dissertation would engage his writing and speaking for the remainder of his career. Like Lohe, the subject of his study and the object of his emulation, Korby found the congregation rather than the academy to be the most fmitfuI context for his life's work. To be sure, the years at Valparaiso witnessed a constant literary output of scholarly as well as popular sermonic and devotional pieces, but it was the later part of his career, spent in congregations, that pressed him to write and speak in a way that would give him a hearing among the clergy of the LCMS, and through him they would hear Lohe. I. Korby's Interest in Lohe A number of factors converged to attract Korby to the study of Ldhe. His maternal grandfather was a Neuendettelsau Sendlinge who sewed in northeastern Nebraska. The congregation of his Kith and childhood, Zion Lutheran Church in Wellington, Colorado, had its roots in the Iowa Synod before joining the Missouri Synod. As a seminarian and a young pastor, Korby was associated with Una 5ancta14 and drawn by its emphasis on a churchly ethos marked by every Sunday celebration of the Lord's Supper and the restoration of private confession. His friend, Walter Bouman, produced a Heidelberg doctoral dissertation on nineteenthcentury Lutheran ecclesiology that would invite a reconsideration of Lohe.15 A portion of a sabbatical year in 1968-1969 was spent in Neuendettelsau, Uno Soncta provided English-speaking readers with a glimpse into Liihe's pastoral theology. See Johann Conrad Wilhelm Liihe, "The Sacrament of Repentance" trans. Delvin E. Resxl, Uno Sancto 10 (St. Malthias, Apostle and Martyr, 1951). 1-9 and 10 (Sb. Philip and James, Apostles and Maws, 1951). 10-23. '5 Walter H. Bouman, ThP Unify of Nte Church in 19" Cmtuy Confessionnl Ltrtheronisrn (unpublished dmtoral dissertation, Heidelberg. 1962). Pless: The Contribution of Kenneth Korby 103 where Korby immersed himself in archival research and benefited from close contact with Martin Wittenberg.16 Korby's work on Lohe is not only marked by a careful reading of the original sources but also engaged with key scholars of the period involved in Lohe research: Hans Kressel, Friedrich Kantzenbach, Georg Merz, and Martin Wittenberg (all from Germany); Siegfried Hebart (Australia); and James Schaaf (United States). Korby's own interest in Lohe was not simply to provide another historical study of his life or systematic investigation of his theology. Korby focused on the usefulness of Lohe for Lutheran pastoral theology in the late twentieth century." Critical of approaches to pastoral theology that exchanged the churchly setting for that of the clinic and the language of the Christian faith for the vocabulary of the personality sciences, Korby saw in Lohe a pastoral theologian who could not envision spiritual care apart from the context of the living congregation where the language of Holy Scripture, the Catechism, and liturgy were used for diagnosis and cure of troubled and tormented souls. Korby discovered in Lohe one who thought theologically about pastoral care and sought to practice it as a theological discipline in contrast to the growing trend of the middle and late twentieth century that reduced the care of souls to counseling and relied deeply on psychological theory rather than traditional theological categories.'R Korby anticipated the rising tide of voices such as William Willimon, Thomas Oden, E. Brooks Holified, Paul Pruyser, and more recently Andrew Pu~es,'~ who would make similar polemical assessments of pastoral theologies dominated by social ideologies or psychological views. 'b Martin Wittenberg's "Wilhelm Lohe and Confession: A Conhibution to the History of Seelsorge and the Office of the Minisw within Modem Lutheranism" was subsequently translated by Gerald 5. Krispen and published in the fest~hrift for Noman E. Nagel, And Evey Tongue Confess: Essnys in Honor of Norman Nngel on tire Occosion of His Sixty-Fft11 Birthday, ed. Gerald 5. Krispin and Jon D. Vieker (Dearborn, Michigan: The Nagel Festwhrift Committee, lW), 113-150 This essay proved an important source for many of Korby's students who sought to catechize congregations toward the recovery of the practice. 1' Korby's work was also reflected in a chapter on Lohe written by Herbert Mayer, one the readers of his dissertation, in Mayer's book, Pastoral Care: It5 Rtwt~ oud R~rtniwl (Atlanta; John Knox, 1979). 195212. '8 See Kenneth Korbv, "Pastoral Theology in Ecclesiological Perspective," Tl~r Cresset (April 1970): 17-19. '9 See, for example, William Willimon, Worship ns Pnstorol Cnre (Nashville: Abingdon, 1979); Thomas Oden, Pastoral Theology (New York: Harper and Row, 1982); E. Brooks Holifield, A Histoy of Pastoral Cnre in America (Nashville: Abingdon, 1983); Paul 104 Concordia Theological Quarterly 73 (2W) Korby was of the opinion "that whoever wills to enter the thought of Wilhelm Lohe on the matter of the cure of souls must enter via his understanding of the church."20 Noting that Lohe did not develop his views on the church systematically in the way of a classical dogmatics text, Korby echoed the observation of Walter Bouman that "[Lohe's] whole life and thought, his correspondence, his parish duties, his world-wide concerns revolved around the nature of the Church so that a biography of him can at the same time be an ecclesiology."2' lI. Korby's Analysis of Liihe's Ecclesiology The real weight of Korby's contribution is treatment of elements in khe's ecclesiology that are drawn together in a focus on pastoral care. Korby finds in Lohe a theologian who is both a theoretician and practitioner of pastoral care." Three strands of Lohe's ecclesiological thinking relative to pastoral care emerge in Korby's work.= First, there is the unity of the church. Drawing on Ephesians and the creed that "1 believe in one holy Christian and apostolic Church," Korby sees Lohe as providing a corrective to the conceptuality of the church as "visible and invisible" inherited from Lutheran Orthodoxy and widely used in the nineteenth century." Lohe did not abandon this distinction as can be seen in his Agende of 1844 and his Three Books About fl~e Church. In the foreword to the agenda, Lohe writes that the church is the "marvelous creation of her one and only Lord and Master, which has demonstrated and will demonstrate herself independent of everything except Word and Sacrament. In her totality the church is and remains invisible and appears visibly, sometimes here, sometimes there, as her banners wave in the Pruyser, The Minister as Dingnoshmn (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1976); and Andrew Pun-es, Pastorn1 Theoloyy in the Clnssical Tradition (lauisuille: John Knox/Westminster, 2001) For a h+Iplul in