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CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY Volume 42 Number 1 JANUARY 1978 An Evaluation of the Australian Lutheran .... "Statement on Homosexuality" Robert W. Schaibley 1 Obse~ations and Reflections on the .................... Giant Psalm Raymond F. Surburg 8 eighlights of the Lutheran Reformation .......................... in Slovakia David P. Daniel 21 Theological Observer .................................. 35 Homiletical Studies ................................... 39 ........................................ Book Reviews 80 Books Received ....................................... 99 Theological Observer LUTHER IN LUND It is one of history's remarkable facts that the giant of the Reformation continues to excite world-wide interest and reapect. The Fifth International Congress for. Luther Research brought an imposing array of nearly 200 scholars from every continent to Lund, site of Sweden's second oldest university (founded in 1666). The Luther Congreaa has been meeting on a six- year cycle. The last time it convened at Concordin Seminary, St. Louis. It ie scheduled for Wittenberg in six years, behind the Iron Curtain, if enough space for a couple hundred Luther scholars can be found there. The Congress is a motley gethering - many nationalities, denominational loyalties (including Roman Catholics), and political leanings (including Marxists) - but joined together by a scholarly interest in Luther. Noteworthy in the business of the Congress were the reports which told of Luther research. For example, the Weimar edition is being updated under the direction of Gerhard Ebeling, now living in Zurich, Switzerland; Jepaneee Luther scholars annouced that they are working on approximately one-third of a projected 36-volume edition of Luther's works; Prof. Erico Sexauer of our own LCMS Brazil District reported that volume 8.of a translation of Luther's works into Spanish is already in process, with 9 and 10 planned. Sexauer ie himself responsible for most of this translation. The American edition will reach completion when an index has been prepared. The completion of the more than one hundred volumea of the Weimar edition is scheduled for about 1998 with the appearance of a definitive index. Prof. Eelmar Junghans, of Karl-Marx-Universitiit, Leipzig, editor of the Luther Jahrbuch, info+ the delegab of certain policy changes in future editions of this important annaal,. account of all notable publications on Luther. In the future, publications making a mdy incidental reference to Luther will receive no mention in the Jahrbwh. Major essays, each with respondents, and in-depth seminars, occupied the morning, afternoon, and evening sessions, *om Sunday, August 14, to Friday, August 19. Delegates could choose any of ten seminars. Bernhiird Lohee led the seminar on "theologia crucis - theologia resurrectionis"; Otto Peach on "Luther's Doctrine of the Two Realms"; Leif Grace on "Luther and Latomue"; Marc Lienhard on "Luther's Religious Anxiety and the Doctrine of the Lord's Supper"; Heiko Obermann on "Luther and Staupitz"; and Ben@ Hiigglund on "Law and Gospel in the Antinomian Controversy ." Such scholars as Ebeling, Albrecht Peters (Heidelberg), Jokes Boendermaker (Amater- dad, and Lauri Haikola (Helsinki) attended this last seminar. The discussion on Luther's six disputations against the Antinomiam (especially Agricola) led quite naturally to a spirited discussion concerning the wes of the Law as Luther understud them. In the aefninar, as well as in the phary meetings, it was evident that a considerable block of delegas would nut recognize the ocqpmme of the third use of the Law in Luther's theology. The denigd, Hiigglund, Peters, Boendemaker, et 42. found themselves arrayed in support of Luther's use of the concept against Ebeling and Karin Bornkamm, the daughter of recently deceased Heinrich Bornkamm. Theirs is a strange, really antinomian, sort of opposition, in view of the fact that Luther ia ao explicit in upholding the concept of the Law's special use for the Christian as a guide and norm for godly living. The iesue is not w-r Luther ever tabbed it the ww tertiw, or "plrerilis, " or "pasdago&al," or whatever. Brilliantly plain ia his use of the concept in his catechisms and the Galatian commentary. Prof. Gustav Wingren, of Lund, president d the Congress for the past six 36 CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY years, gave the opening address on Sunciay evening on "Luther and the Situation of the Church Today." He made an appeal for a Luther who would touch more nearly on the present church situatiorz, on the grounds that "the church institutions of today display in general a great similarity with the Church against which Luther directed his criticism in the sixteenth century." Wingren rightly averred- "In every single statement he (Luther) makes, he draws from the Biblical writings. In every sentence, he hurls the message of these writings into the midst of his times." But then he went on brashly to assert that "in no church is he really at home, not even in those which bear his own name." According to Wingren, this is so because we have not entered "as intensely into our own society" as Luther did into his, The emphasis came down on a "gospel" for an alienated soclety. Wingren disavowed "social- gospelism" but in the end he called for that kind of "liberation" of the human situation which is integral to the social gospel. For Luther, on the contrary, the emphasis was always on the Gospel of the forgiveness of sins through Christ's meritorious suffering and death. Of course, such Scriptural "blood- theology" is not popular in scholarly circles today. Prof. Eberhard Jungel of Tuebingen, delivered a massive essay on "The Significance of Luther for Contemporary Theology. " He err;phasized that theologq always has the task of presenting accurately the truth about God. man, and the world. These perceptions arise not out of theology itself, but as theology engages ~tself with contemporary issues in the world ' only with the guidance from the Bible texts," as Luther contended. It was a good and a true emphasis. ' 'l'heological discernment develops exegetically (from Scripture) or not at all." Faith clings to God who reveals himself in His Word: Needless to say, the kind of Biblical authority with which a congress like this works is one in which historical-critical methodology is always implicit. Thus, locating the Word of God is a slippery matter. This became especiaIly evident in the programmed disputation between the Roman Catholic scholar Prof. Albert Brandenburg and Prof. Eric Gritsch of Gettysburg Lutheran Seminary on "Luther's Sucess and Failure as a Reformer of the Church." As disputations go, it was more polite and harmless theological chit-chat than real grappling with issues. Brandenburg admitted that the Gospel occurs but rarely in Rome's decrees and councils, though Luther has it on every page. He in- sisted. nevertheless. that this Gospel "most certajnly (was) never lost in our chu~h" and is not now. Weijenborg, a coIIeague in the Vatican, was closer to the facts with his frank statement that "Luther's gospel was not the gospel of Rome. " A number of speakers. such as Erwin Iserloh, Wilhelm Dantiue, Otto Pesch, Albrecht Peters, and the reviewer joined the fray in the discussion. It was my contention that Luther was immovable on any point of doctrine, since all doctrine was given by God clearly. This was especially true of his plain identification of the Holy Scriptures as the Word of God. "Luther-research will run dry and sterile, if it does not now face up to the fact that the Reformer was always bound by the text of Scripture; he knew no other authority; and it is this same stance that the formulators and signers of the Formula of Concord also took unabashedly and unequivocally." Gritsch was quick to counter: "As to Herr Klug- we have seen each other before at the LCUSA April meeting on the Fornlula of Concord in Chicago. He belongs to the hlissouri Synod. What he stated concerning Scripture is so close to fundamentalism that I cannot and need not distinguish between them. That should suffice." Of course, it was no answer, but a put-down, the kind which scholarly circles find embarrassing. Regin Prenter, the Danish dogmatician, now a parish pastor, had not been at the previous sessions but came to deliver the last lecture of the sessions, "Luther As Theologian." With artless simplicity, outstanding brilliance, and measured strokes. Prenter drove home one basic theme, namely, that "1,uther is never able to detach the Gospel, that needs to be proclaimed and defended, Theological Obsenrer 3 7 from the individual Biblical texts that witness to it, so as to develop it into a reasoned system of doctrine." It was without question, at least in this ob- server's opinion, the crowning climax of the Congress. In citing Prenter as a theologian who openly recognizes Luther's commitment to Scripture and its authority, one cannot claim that Prenter operates entirely with the kind of theological commitment that Luther had to the verbally inspired prophetic and apostolic text. In fact he jibed at orthodoxy for its stance on this point, claiming a gulf between Luther and men like the authors of the Formula of Concord on the doctrine of Scripture. Re this as it may, Prenter at least acknowledged that for Luther there is no Word that establishes doctrine other than the Biblical Word. Prenter's concluding statement is worth noting: "Luther, as theologian, is a Biblical theologian, who is aware of the limitations of all theology, and this not merely theoretically, and who permits everything he produces as an interpreter of Holy Scripture to be determined by this awareness. ' Prior to the Congress' sessions, there was also a thre-day meeting of the Luther Academy. This little group of about fifteen Confessional scholars is distinctly Lutheran in its membership and goals. These men have all taken a stand against such a compromise document as the Leuenberg Concord, as well as against phiiosop hical-theological trends in European theology ( from Schleiermacher to Barth and Bultmann, etc.) which have damaged Christian theology in European uni\~ersities. This they have done in spite of opposition within their own territorial churches and the Lutheran World Pederatlon. It was a distinct privilege and pleasure to converse with men like Prof. Dr. Bengt Hiigglund, of Lund; Professor and Territorial Superintendent Dr. Joachim Heubach, of Schleswig-Holstein; Prof. Dr. Karl Heinrich Rengstorf, of Muenster; Pastor Dr. Ulrich Asendorf, of Hannouer; Prof. Dr. Tuomo Mannermaa, of Helsinki. A useful dialogue is stirring through the efforts of the Ratzeburg Luther-Academy, in much the same way ay through the Kirchliche Sammlung urn Bibel and Bekenntnis, the parent, originating body. E. F. Klug THE EVANGELICAL TI-IEOLOGIC:AI, SOCIETY The Evangelical Theological Society (ETS), a group of Protestant scholars committed to the concept that "The Bible alone and the Bible in its entirety is the word of God written and therefore inerrant in the autographs," has a greater influence than its membership of a thousand or so might indicate. Its presidents, for instance, are men whose books and articles have been required reading at our seminaries: John Walvoord, Harold Kuhn, Roger Nicole, Laird Hams, Gordon Clark, J. Barton Payne, Kenneth Kantzer, Carl F. H. Henry, Harold Lindsell, Richard Longenecker, Brue Waltke, Samuel Kistemaker, and Walter Kaiser, Jr. The ETS has provided a significant impetus to consenrative scholarship in America. The major American Protestant denominations lost their Biblical moorings in the consenrative-liberal controversy of the 1920's. Like dominoes falling in succession, each church body came under the influence of newer Biblical ap- proachers and eventuaIly surrendered its Reformation heritage. The Missourian Lutherans and Southern Baptists may be the only exceptions to chis historical process. Within the past two or three decades, however, consen~ative theology has made some significant advances in American Protestantism. Members of the ETS have been in the vanguard of the advances. Noteworthy contributions have come from successful conservative publishing ventures. Christianity Today, whose two editors were ETS presidents, has shown in a popular way that the liberals are not the only ones entitled to intellectual respectability. Previously conservatives, a a group, were seen as simpletons, while liberal 38 CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY theologians in all denominations wem regarded as the scholars and in- tellectuals. Christianity Today has helped to dispel that negative image. Certain publishing houses have also made possible the dissemination of con- servative theology - Moody, Eerdmans, Zondervan, Baker, Intarvarsity . The revivalistic caricature of conservative Proteatant publishers has proven to be erroneous. From these presses come the dissertations of scholars who are generally members of the ETS and who have studied at some of the moat prestigious European and American universities and seminaries. ETS members have aho contributed to the stature of conservative seminariae. Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, for example, established about fifteen yeam ago, proved that conservative theological schools could not only survive, but ao prosper that students had to be turned away. Most liberal seminaries wieh they had enrollment problems of this sort. As a group of scholars, the ETS has been in no position to venture forth into the great enterprises which only a denomination or corporation could accomplish. Its activities are atill limited to annual national and regional meetings and the quarterly production of its journal. The society provides a place for the exchange of ideas among echolam committed to Biblical inspiration and inerrancy. These concepts, of courae, have likewise been at the heart of the Misaauri Synod's theology since its inception. The recent change in theological dimction within the Misaouri Synod is probably the most significant reversal of the trend toward liberalism among American Fhhstant denominations. Variom authors have traced the causes for this reversal from their individual per- spectives. Adams in Preus af MMisuri focuses on the personality of one man as a major cause; Dder of Seminex in No Room in the Brotherhood favora a political interpretation; Marquart of the Seminary in Anatomy of an Explosion sees the seeds of reform in the history of the Missouri Synod itself. The rise and success of conservative American Fktestant theology in the past three decades may also have been a contniuting factor. Conservative theologians of the Missouri Synod have had to rely for current scholarly support on the works produced by so-called "evangelical" authors - while disavowing the Calvinistic and Axminien leaven in such works. Christianity Today, for example, helped to alert Missouri Synod pastors to the grave dangers to the church poeed by such neo-orthodox theologians as Barth, Brunner, and Bultmann. With any great historical upheaval it is difficult to pinpoint any one cause. What has happened in the Missouri Synod certainly ia not simply the result of the greening of the intellectual respectability of coauretrvative Protestant scholarship in America. Stiu, membera of the ETS have pmvided many of the intellectual tools used to accomplish the reform. In a letter of October 14, 1977, to the membership, ETS president, Dr. Walter C. Kaiser, professor of Old Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, slates that "evangelicals (conservatives) are still wnnLPnt in creetive contriiutions to ex-tical, Biblical, and eyetamtic theology." He finds conservatives bogged down in "surveys, histary of interpretations, or defensive apologetics." Hesitatingly he agrees with the inherit of G. Erneet Wright: "One of the most striking charackriatica of the coneervative wings of the chGh during the amtury hae been the weakneea of their Biblical echolar- ship . . . with rare exceptions . . . " The ETS, then, hae provided a neceesary impetus to coneewvative theology in American Protestantiem and haa been of much value to the Missouri Synod. The call of the ETS preeident to more intense and creative Biblical and systematic scholarship should likewise eeave ae a challenge to Miseourian Lutharane to start making more oontributiom to contemporary theological scholarship.