Full Text for Walther, the Third Use of the Law, and Contemporary Issues (Text)

Concordia Theological Quarterly Volume 75:3-4 July/October 2011 Table Contents Walther and the Revival of Confessional Lutheranism Martin R. Noland ................................................................................ 195 Grabau Versus Walther: The Use of the Book o/Concord in the American Lutheran Debate on Church and Ministry in the Nineteenth Century Benjamin T.G. Mayes ......................................................................... 217 C.F.W. Walther's Use of Luther Cameron A. MacKenzie ..................................................................... 253 Mission through Witness, Mercy, Life Together in Walther and the First Fathers of Missouri Albert B. Collver ................................................................................. 275 Eduard Preuss and C.F.W. Walther Roland F. Ziegler ................................................................................ 289 Wilhelm Lohe: His Voice Still Heard in Walther's Church John T. Pless ........................................................................................ 311 Walther, the Third Use of the Law, and Contemporary Issues David P. Scaer ..................................................................................... 329 The King James Version: The Beginning or the End? Cameron A. MacKenzie ..................................................................... 343 Theological Observer ...................................................................................... 367 Dean Wenthe: An Appreciation An Old Seminary, a New President, and the Unfolding of Divine History The Sacred Character of Human Life Book Reviews ................................................................................................... 372 Books Received ................................................................................................ 381 Indices for Volume 75 (2011) .......................................................................... 382 Observing Two Anniversaries Carl Ferdinand Wilhelm Walther was born on October 25, 1811, in Langenchursdorf, Saxony, Germany. It is appropriate that this issue honor C.F.W. Walther on this 200th anniversary of his birth because of his significant influence as the first and third president of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (1847-1850 and 1864-1878) and also president and professor at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis (1850-1887). Most of the articles below, which were first presented at the 2011 Symposium on the Lutheran Confessions in Fort Wayne, reflect his influence in many areas of biblical teaching, confessional subscription, and the life of the church in mission. These historical and theological studies are offered here so that Walther may be understood in his context and continue to be a blessed voice in our synod as we face the future. This issue also recognizes one other anniversary. The venerated King James Version of the Bible, first printed in 1611, is now 400 years old. The article below on the King James Version was originally given as a paper at the 2011 Symposium on Exegetical Theology in honor of this anniversary. The importance of this translation for the English-speaking world is widely acknowledged. Although many may think that its day has passed, this article demonstrates the ongoing influence of the King James Version through other translations. The Editors CTQ 75 (2011): 329-342 Walther, the Third Use of the Law, and Contemporary Issues David P. Scaer Carl Ferdinand Wilhelm Walther's 24 theses on the law and the gospel do not easily lend themselves to a developed doctrine on the third use of the law, an insight already made by Scott R. Murray.1 Werner Elert and Gerhard Forde proposed that the third use of the law outlined in Article VI of the Formula of Concord was not held by Luther and hence had no place in Lutheran theology.2 Confusing the Reformed view that law in its third use prods the regenerate to do good works with that of the Formula may be one reason for its rejection. For Walther, the Reformed position of applying the law to produce good works is a confusion of law and gospeL which is what his theses are all abouP Since Article VI has do with the law in all three uses, especially the second or accusatory function, it might be better entitled "The Three Uses of the Law." Article VI is really an ex­ tension of Article IV, "Good Works" and Article V, "Concerning Law and Gospel." According to Article VI, good works flow from a free and merry spirit meeting the law's specification (17, 23), but at the base of the article is the Lutheran anthropology that the believer is more sinner than saint and hence it speaks of the law's second use that the sinful flesh needs to be 1 Scott R. Murray, Law, Life, and the Living God (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2002), 25-26. 2 For a fuller discussion, see Murray, Law, Life, and the Living God, 26-30. This position has been convincingly rebutted by Ed Engelbrecht, "Luther's Threefold Use of the Law," CTQ 75 (2011): 135-150. 3 Carl Ferdinand Wilhelm Walther, Law and Gospel: How to Read and Apply the Bible, ed. Charles P. Schaum, John P. Hellwege Jr., and Thomas E. Manteufel; tr. Christian C. Tiews (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2010), 5. "Thesis XXIII. You are not rightly distinguishing Law and Gospel God in the Word of God ... if you use commands of the Law-rather than the admonitions of the Gospel-to urge the regenerate to do good." Walther's lectures on the law and the gospel were given from September 12, 1884 to November 6, 1885. A German edition was published in 1901, an English edition in 1929, ed. W.H.T. Dau, and condensed editions under the title God's No and God's Yes: The Proper Distinction between Law and Gospel, condo Walter C. Pieper (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1973, 1981). David P. Scaer is the David P. Scaer Professor of Biblical and Systematic Theology and Chairman of the Department of Systematic Theology at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana. 330 Concordia Theological Quarterly 75 (2011) threatened and compelled by the law (9, 18-20).4 Christians, as believers, are driven by the Spirit of Christ to do good according to the law of Christ, that is, the gospel (17). Apart from a reference to the Spirit of Christ, a christological component is missing. 1bough the law has three functions, it has only one meaning as "the unchanging will of God, according to which human beings are to conduct themselves in this life" (15). So the law's first and third functions result in the same outward behavior in the perform­ di ance of good works (16), with the proviso that deeds done according to the n( first use are driven by fear of the law's penalties and the desire for reward. in Good works done according to the third use come from the Spirit. First pi and second uses of the law resemble each other in that failure results in H penalties. Caught between the Reformed position that the third use is a fa reimposition of the law's threats in how the believer as believer lives and in the Lutheran concentration on the second use, some theologians have tl1 found good reason to deny the third use altogether. This is exacerbated by tl1 a less than fully defined third use of the law in the Formula, a matter st addressed below. b1 The law-gospel paradigm by which Lutheran theology is usually de­ fined and the Formula's lack of a fully developed definition of the third d~ use may have provided a basis among some Lutherans for ordaining te women and, more recently, homosexuals. Should any regulations or pro­ d~ hibitions about these matters be identified in the Scriptures, they would be rE superceded by the gospel, or so the argument goes. A less than fully R developed doctrine of the third use in the Formula and Lutheran theology tt in general is rooted in the Lutheran concentration on original sin from oj which even in doing good works believers remain sinners. In spite of their it faith in Christ, believers are constantly going back to square one. So per­ vi vasive is the reality of sin that discussion on the third use with its positive b aspects soon reverts to the second use. Gilbert Meilaender addresses this la Lutheran dilemma: C If I am an inattentive thoughtless, or even abusive husband and father-and my neighbor is just the opposite, an exemplary husband VIi iC and father-what Lutheranism too often has to say to us is exactly the C4 same: that before God we are sinners in need of justifying grace. And C if I want help to become more like my exemplary neighbor, the mes­ al sage is likely to be precisely the same: that I am sinner in need of G grace. All of which is, of course, true. But it is not the only theological 4 The Book of Concord: 117e Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, ed Robert Kolb and Timothy J. Wengert, tr. Charles Arand et at (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2000). References in the sentences are to the paragraphs in Solid Declaration of the s.! Formula of Concord. E Scaer: Walther and the Third Use of the Law 331 truth, nor the one that always best suits our condition. A theology that has le,ulled to speak in sllch a monotone about grace-always as pardon but not also as power-gives no guidance or direction to tht' serious Christian. The Christian life, engaged only in instant return to pardoning word, goes nowhere.o VValther's Law al1d Gospel informs classical Lutheran homiletical tr.1­ dition thatlilw and gospel are diametric(]lly opposed to each other. Law not only serves but virtu.1lIy exh,msts its purpose in condemning sinners in preparation for hearing the gospel." His theses do not develop the law's positive aspect in providing specifk guidance in how Christians are to live. He speaks of renewal and love, but only in the sense that thev along with faith are not causes of one's salvation. A third Llse of the law may be implied in Walther's exegesis of Romans 3 and 4 in which he savs that first the la"v threatens with the wrath of God and then the gospl'1 announces the comforting promises of God. Then he adds, "This is foHmved in­ struction regarding the things "'ie are to do after becoming ne\v people/';' but he does not elucidate what these things are. Walther regards law as divine threat and gospel as divine comfort, definitions that serve his ultimate purpose in showing that the two an:' not to be commingled. Believers converted by the gospel are not to be bur­ dened '",ith other requirements. \Nalther's concentration on the second use reflects Reformation thought, but he probably was also reacting to Rationc1lism with its positive apprais theological terms he writes: "Ccnuine sanctification justitic<1tiol1, and genuine jllstiiiGltion comes repentam:e." [mpb1sis original. '" . "..,'p'":.. :f: ,~: - rr ,~ , ~ "r 332 Concordia Theological Quarterly 75 (2011) revelations of God. Compared to promises of the gospel with no con­ ditions attached, law with its conditions, prohibitions and condemnations comes across as one big "no." This characterization is so persuasive that many a Lutheran sermon predictably closes with an executive pardon for all transgressions. A discussion on the law in its three uses would have remained the purview of the theologians had it not been for decisions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) that were based on the law-gospel paradigm that the gospel is God's last word-though it should be quickly added that recent events would have taken place even without theological arguments.8 False doctrine is not as easily recognized as aberrant practice, and reactions to the ELCA's decisions prove the point. Trinitarian issues have surfaced along with these decisions. Much trinitarian discussion is so abstract as to remain beyond the interest of many clergy and the grasp of the laity, but the introduction of an alternate form of the Lord's Prayer addressing God as Mother could not pass unnoticed, even by those who worship infrequently. At this point theology kicks in. If the first person of the Trinity can be known as Mother, then child can be substituted for Son and, we ask, why could the second person of the Trinity not be known as the daughter? In use already is the trinitarian alternative of Creator­ Redeemer-Sanctifier that allows for the ancient heresy of Modalism. For those who lived through discussions leading up to the intro­ duction of women clergy persons in the 1970s, recent ELCA decisions are a deja vu experience-been there, seen that, heard that. Then as now, argu­ ments center around two fulcra. First, Old and New Testament citations, traditionally understood as disallowing these recently approved behaviors, are reinterpreted. Second, even if traditional prohibitions are acknowl­ edged as correct interpretations of the disputed passages, they have been abrogated by the gospeL Gospel is God's last word, and law has outlived its purpose. This argument is a form of dispensationalism, though it is rarely recognized as such. Arguments for ordaining women in the 1970s were more diverse and prolonged than those for ordaining practicing homosexuals. In one moment it was proposed and another accepted, or so it seems.9 Since regularizing the ordination of women, officially sponsored ELCA discussions on the matter have ceased. Ordination of homosexuals 8 Murray, Law, Life, and the Living God, 26, goes as far as saying that "Walther's work set the agenda for discussion of Law and Gospel in America until the present." 9 Giving the primacy to the gospel may lead to this absurd opinion that homo­ sexual behavior is allowed for those who find themselves under the gospel but not for those under the law. 333 Scaer: Walther and the Third Use of the Law is already incontestible practice matching incontestable dogma. These disruptive controversies might show that while Lutherans were absorbed with the law's second or accusatory function, they should have been examining the law's third use in its application to the private and corporate lives of Christians. Since its formation, the ELCA has moved away from its Lutheran heritage by establishing fellowship with the Reformed, Episcopalians, Moravians, and Methodists and has signed an accord on justification with the Catholics. Female theological students are approaching a majority in the ELCA. Homosexual unions can be given marriage blessings. During the radicalization of church practice, a sense of what it means to be Lutheran amazingly remains and has given birth to protest movements calling for reform and the formation of new synods. A revival of the Lutheran spirit was evident in a gathering at Gethsemane Lutheran Church, opposite the campus of Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, on the after-noon of Sunday, October 17, 2010. The speaker was Paull 1. Spring, former bishop of one of the ELCA's geographic synods in Pennsylvania, and interim bishop of the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). Objections raised there to the recent ELCA decisions might be described as intuitive rather than theological. One lady expressed dismay at allowing divorced persons to remain as pastors. A lay person asked for the definition of the word "orthodox," a question unlikely to be raised at similar LCMS gatherings. One pastor asked whether natural law could be taught at the seminaries, a question with profound theological significance. They were groping for reasons to counter the newer practices. Most clergy are patient with deviations in practice and doctrine, but it is another matter when an entire church body regularizes a deviation. Regularized devia­ tions in practices in the ELCA bring to the surface doctrinal aberrations that would have otherwise remain unnoticed. In Bishop Spring's opinion, ELCA decisions to ordain practicing homosexuals were motivated more by cultural fluctuations than by agreed upon biblical conclusions. He did not mention that cultural forces were at work decision to ordain women in the 1970s. In both cases, the goals of ordaining women and homosexuals were in view by their proponents before and apart from the retrieval of biblical evidences and catholic practice. Decisions and the ensuing discussions about ordaining women in the American Lutheran Church (ALC) and the Lutheran Church in America (LCA), the major constituting churches of the ELCA, can best be explained by the cultural climate of the debate over the Equal Rights Amendment to the American constitution. Rights that women had in society were seen as 334 Concordia Theological Quarterly 75 (2011) rights they also had in the church. Voila, ordained women pastors. A malformed understanding of the universal priesthood of believers served this agenda well, as did the law-gospel paradigm in which the gospel as God's last word trumped the law. Recent decisions reflect and correspond to current cultural values expressed in judicial, legislative, and executive actions allowing gays to enter into contractual unions, marry, and serve openly in military. When the church absorbs the prevailing culture into its practices and then adjusts its theology to justify these practices, the church becomes so undistinguishable from society that it is no longer recognizable as church, a point Bishop Spring made in his lecture. Friedrich Schleiermacher constructed a form of Christianity from the German culture of the early 19th century. American churches may be constructing a religion out of the standards of Western culture but without historic Christian components that were still available in the early 19th German culture. Also lacking today is a noteworthy theologian like Schleiermacher. Present innovations look for support in the law-gospel paradigm that characterizes Lutheranism and the denial by some Lutheran scholars of the law's third use. These two things converge. So we go back to the question of what role the third use had for Walther. His Pastoral Theology sets down standards for pastoral conduct and procedures for exercising discipline.lO Christians not living up to church standards could be expelled from the congregation. This looks like law but perhaps not in its third function. Walther's edition of Baier's Compendium offers no section on the third use, but a definition may be extracted from the section on sanctification. ll Good works are described as spontaneous, an argument advanced in Article IV of the Formula on good works, but not in Article VI on the third use.l2 For Walther, justification precedes sanctification, the life of good works, but it is pre-cisely in the discussion of sanctification where the law's third use has a place. Current confusion about the third use may have been tempered, if it had been combined with the Formula's article on good works and the sections of Lutheran dogmatics on sanctification. Ordination of women and homosexuals, practices that find precedence in ancient Gnosticism and not early church catholicism, were taking place 10 C.F.W. Walther, Americanish-Lutlzerishe Pastoraltheologie, 5th ed. (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1906), 338-354. American Lutheran Pastoral Theology, tr. and abr. John Drickamer (New Haven, MO: Lutheran News, Inc., 1995), esp. 247-25L 11 Chapter VI, "De Renovatione et Bonis Operibus," Compendium, 299-336. 12 Johann Wilhelm Baier, Compendium Theologie Positivae, ed. C.F.W. Walther (St. Louis: Lutherishe Concordia Verlag, 1879), 330. 335 Scaer: Walther and the Third Use of the Law aI's. A in the Episcopal Church and the ELCA before either church legitimated served them. Arguments offered for these changes were not ,vithout biblical sup­ ;pel as port, but the prevailing one offered by Lutherans was that the gospel is 'spond God's last word. Hence any prohibitions concerning such behaviors are no :cutin' longer applicable. Even though the law-gospel paradigm as articulated by serve Walther and Elert was not intended to support these practices! it did. Call nto its it unintended consequences, a phrase that is eminently useful in theo­ :hurch logical discussion. This interpretation of the law-gospel paradigm in which dzable the gospel has the last iNord finds collateral support in the now widely edrich held view that Luther did not hold to the law's third use. This has proved erman to be a recipe for ethical disaster and ecclesiastical collapse. Yes, the law, :ting a depending on the circumstances, can be divided into functions! but there is istoric only one lav\'. ::'rman Hence! an abrogation in one function of the law contributes to or re­ acher. flects a parallel malfunction in the other two. Practitioners and supporters l1 that of homosexual behavior no longer have to face the law's accusations from of the the pulpit They are no longer called to repentance and then faith. Confes­ sion in the confessional booth is adjusted by abridgment to the new ld for standards. Only at one's own risk does a person of a church ,nduct allowing women and homosexual preachers and the blessing of same sex up to marriage preach against these practices. He will inevitably run afoul of (s like church officials and comprise his political future. In the state-affiliated laier's churches of Scandinavia, some pastors have already been subject to ay be ecclesiastical censure and civil penalties. In regard to the law's first use! x,d as ELCA decisions are in line ,'lith what is allowed by governments of good countries in the West and, in a kind of perverse way, demonstrates the :ation Formula's view that the law in its first and third uses results in or at least in the allows the same behaviors. This is not the case in Islamic countries and Jrrent African countries with significant Christian populations, where such het:n behaviors are frowned upon and have led some lutheran churches to ms of contemplate breaking communion with the flCA. Compared to Roman Catholics and the Reformed, Lutherans are less politically active! but this may prove to our detriment. What is allowed under civil law, the law'sdence first use, becomes more easily accepted under the third use and soplace redefines the doctrine of Christian sanctification. Seeing things in historical perspective helps. Saxon and Bavarian luth­ Louis: erans! who arrived first into the Midwest in the 1830s, understood that the JgI/, tr. Rationalist and Pietist theologies from which they fled found a poor sister :31. in the Lutheranism that sprang up a century before in colonial Pennsyl­ vania and New York. Early American Lutheranism had multi-varied roots .er (St. 336 COl/cordia Theological Quarterly 75 (2011) in Lutheran Orthodoxy and Pil'tism and WelS SOOIl overcome bv German Serr Rationalism v",ith an assist frum New England Congregationalism, which fIov turned into the unitarianism of Harvard where the president of tlw New fror York Synod Frederick Quiln.an had studied. The contagion of revivalism 11112 that Illomed up in Jonathan Edward's New England and was advanced in fess the IVlethodisrn of George Whitefield found its way on to the prairies adn where the new arrivals were settling. All this was brought together bv LSI Samuel S. Schmucker's American Rt::'cl:nsion Df the Augsburg Confession. adn To make sure that they \·vere not trading Europmn products for inferior kitc American OlWS, leaders of the Lutheran immigration established their O\yn tha] sVllods, among which The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) still nor surviyes. shil sho Jumping out of the devouring flmnes of Europeclll Rationalism into the American Protestant frying pan was not an option for the LCMS's fathers, and so the lines were quicklv and sharply drawn betwet~n established per Lutheranism and till' bourgeoning Lutheranism of the Had the cui, older AmL·rican Lutherdnism found entrance among the arrived her immigrants, they would have one devil to meet another olle with age duller, less theologically honed horns. Zion on the Mississippi had to resist spr being overwhelmed the waters that flmved from the Hudson, Delaware, (md Susquehanna westward oyer the Appalachians to the resl Mid,vestern Zion's inhabitants sandbagged their fortress on ord Mississippi eastern floods (Is R:6-R). In this complex of metaphors ant lurks <1 composite parable that scientific principles arc not hardwired. Take pDi for example the principle that all rivers flow dl1\vlHvard. This might be 201 true, unless it \V,lS Fort Wayne in Melrch of 191)2, when the waters of the st. ant Joseph River met the s\-\ift flowing waters of the St. River coming J.Afrom the south and the St. Ioe began to flow upstream. If commonly tim Braaten is 110t the nllly one pointing the finger at the LCMS for ELCA problems. At his Octoberl!. 2m 0, Bishop Spring located the cause of what he caJi('d the antinomianic;1ll in the ELCA in "Gospel reductionism" and commended J.A.O. Preus for recognizing it for whdt it really w"s.'- C\)sppl n:duc­ tionism extends the law-gospel pClradigm used in preclChing, eS}~t'ciallv as it was set forth by Walther, into biblical inlerprdation ill pro\'iding the only required meaning of <1 biblical text. If the biblical tl'Xt birth~ law and gospel, l'\'(·rything else in the text is up for 120-121 1'- Bnlc1tt'l1, Bee/I!!.';c 120. H. TidJl·]). Mt'lIiuir" III Exile Fortr<,~, Prl"~ .. I 9LJ\!). 299. ,lttributl'd the phra~e to the lal<' LC~15 prl',idCl1t ]aCl)b Pn:u" tll(lugh ih popularity (,111 bl' tmced to John \,\',lrwicK MOl1tgunll'n,'~ ~l'rie~ of k-:lurt" <.'Iltil],'d "L1\v/C;o~pel rl'ductioni'l11"~\l1d (,1111<' 10 be known ill ib ,1bbrl'li,llcd form ,1" reductionism." Sce Murra\', LilIl'. lIild tile Cud, 103 I' \luITc1:, Lilil'. oild tilt' Li"lll.l( Cod, 103, 215. 338 Concordia Theological Quarterly 75 (2011) The subtitle of Walther's Law and Gospel, How To Read and Apply the Bible implied that law and gospel was more than a preaching technique, but that it was a hermeneutical one also, and so it was taken. For self-styled confessional minded preachers, the core meaning of a biblical passage is exhausted if, after bringing the people to their knees, they are lifted up by the gospel. In certain and perhaps most cases, the imposition of the principle curtails rather than helps determine what was on the mind of the inspired writer. Walther did not preach like this, as is obvious from his robust engagement with the biblical texts, but the law-gospel principle carne to form the basis of "Gospel reductionism." Preach law and gospel and the preacher has license to say whatever he or she wants about the biblical text. How to Read and the Apply the Bible said too much about Walther's book or, for that matter, any book. The next step is that ethical matters are up for grabs. Applied unilaterally, "Gospel reductionism" results in antinomianism, as both Bishop Spring and Carl Braaten observe, and compromises the law in all three functions. Bishop Spring said that culture and not Scripture is determining the ELCA's agenda. Meilaender speaks of "Lutheranism's decline into antinomianism."19 In the mores of society a century ago, mainline churches had no thought of ordaining women. This was some­ thing Pentecostal churches did. Two generations ago the blessing of a gay marriage was unheard of. Had the culture not lost its moral bearings, what is understood as the first use of the law, problems now affecting church life, matters of the law's third use, would not have arisen. When the sense of right and wrong binding a society together is eroded, it becomes difficult for the church to bring people to an awareness of their sin in preparation for the gospel. Reformed theologian Michael Horton has said that if the church does not change culture, culture will change the church, a theme constantly reappearing in First Things. Though the task of im­ proving the culture has more of a place in Calvinism, culture has changed the church and we are suffering the consequences. After his lecture, Bishop Spring told a circle of people gathered around him that current ELCA problems were traceable to those LCMS clergy who, as members of the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches (AELC), were later involved in the formation of the ELCA, the same point Braaten makes in his autobiography.20 When two points are located on the circumference of a circle, the center can be located. Spring and Braaten serve as those points and the lines to the center converge on the LCMS, 19 Meilaender, liThe Catholic I Am," 30. 20 Braaten, Because of Christ, 120. ..L 339 Apply the echnique, self-styled )assage is ted up by >n of the ind of the from his principle ld gospel about the :ch about .at ethical mianism, ~s the law ripture is ~ranism's :ury ago, as some­ ;of a gay 19S, what g church the sense becomes ~ir sin in has said ~ church, ;k of im­ changed :I around :5 clergy :hurches me point ~d on the Braaten e LCMS, Scaer: Walther and the Third Use of the Law particularly gospel reductionism as it emerged from the law-gospel paradigm. Along with the intrusion of a foreign theological element into the body politic, Bishop Spring pointed out that a merger of the LCA and the ALC may not have taken place without the persistent instigation of the dissident Missourians. At least this was the vision of Tietjen before the union of the three synods. 21 Bishop Spring claims that had a merger taken place without the one-time Missourians, the results would have been different. A bit of historical revisionism may be at play here, since already in 1972 the ALC had introduced the ordination of women and the LCA soon followed suit. Plans to ordain women without synod approval were already afoot at that time at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, under the Tietjen administration, so on this issue there was prior agreement. With one Lutheran church in view, a spirit of triumphalism may have overtaken the three uniting synods that did not allow them to recognize potentially disruptive practices. Matters among ELCA dissidents will be resolved only when they recognize that arguments used for the ordination of women were resurrected in regularizing homosexual clergy. Claims that emerging synods will be no different from the parent ELCA, except for disallowing homosexual clergy, overlooks the serious attention by their theologians being given to defining the law. The antinomianism that surfaced in the August 2009 ELCA decisions was already at work in how the former Saint Louis faculty members were organizing the Chicago seminary. All were equaL Leaders in the egali­ tarian movement, as identified by Braaten, were Robert Bertram and Edward Schroeder, who are described as "founders of Crossings, an educational institution whose purpose was to relate the gospel to daily life. They followed Elert in rejecting the third use of the law." So Murray's assessment that Elert's denial of the third use of the law was a factor in disruptions in American Lutheran theology is confirmed. 22 Even if antinomianism cannot be laid at Elert's feet, his theology provided the soil for its growth.23 The egalitarianism at work in organizing LSTC and later 21 Tietjen's vision of a union of the three synods is found in chapter 14 of his Memoirs in Exile, as the title, II A Yeast in Flour," suggests (289-315), and particularly in this sentence: "1 had been wondering for some time if one purpose God may have had in mind for Seminex and the AELC was to serve as yeast for a larger Lutheran union" (299). He goes to recount a meeting with E. Clifford Nelson in which both men saw a recapitulation of the formation of the Anti-Missouri Brotherhood in the 19th century leading up to the union of all Norwegian Lutherans in the events later leading up to the formation of what would be organized as the ELCA. 22 Murray, taw, tife, and the Living God, 178-179. 23 Reinhard Hauber argues that Elert was antinomian. "Werner Elert, Einfuehrung in Leben und Werk eines 'Lutheranismus,'" Neue Zeitschr~ft fuer Systematische 111eologie 340 Concordia Theological Quarterly 75 (2011) the ELCA was followed by libertarianism, which I suppose is a synonym fathl for antinomianism. Braaten says that for the new line of thought to "offer creal any rules or restrictions regarding the sexual behavior of a Christian ... is thos, to legalize the gospel, that is, to make the gospel of God's love and for­ do a giveness what the law is designed to do."24 Braaten's vilification by the of lil LCMS conservatives adds to the value of his appraisal. Spring's and thirc Braaten's appraisal of the ELCA is confirmed by Letter #673 circulated by Para Edward Schroeder in which a certain Peter Keyel says that the Scriptures the I do not require anyone understanding of marriage or codes for sexual beo behavior. Setting up sexual standards, in Keyel's opinion, sets aside faith as a and the gospel as the rule by which Christians live. One has to ask why in hi gospel freedom is not applicable to the other commandments in the second long table and only to the sixth, or perhaps it is? The fifth has already been trins infringed upon by ELCA insurance plans funding abortions, an action justi probably taken without recourse to theological argumentation. Then there time is the Eighth Commandment. ELCA officers have made unkind remarks about those who take exception to the new measures.25 After his lecture willBishop Spring said, "We live in interesting times." Agreed! Rightly or dise. wrongly, the LCMS is being held responsible, at least partially, for another will church's problems. Waters do some times flow upstream. grea Systematic theology serves to clarify church doctrine, but at times its fore' structures may be too restrictive. This may have been the case with the God second use having monopolized the definition of the law so that ignoring Yes the third use of the law allowed for its denial. A solution might be found in life 1 expanding the definition of the third use in seeing it as a replication of disCi what the law was in the paradise of Genesis 2 and then fast forwarding cati( into the paradise of the end time. What Adam did by nature corresponded him to what God required. For him, imperative and indicative were one thing. Interrogative was the grammatical form of the serpent. Adam's offense law was not merely the abrogation of this or that commandment, but in his offel attempt to take the place of his creator, his was an act of "unfaith," if we signdare speak like this. He believed the promise of the serpent's gospel that chrilhe and his wife would be like gods and soon discovered that Satan is the gosl don und Religionsphilosophie, vol 28 (1986), 113-146. Lowell C. Green refutes the allegation. "Gn The Erlangen School of Theology: Its History, Teaching and Practice (Fort Wayne, IN: frier Lutheran Legacy, 2010), 249. As Green points out "the order of creation must 'build not upon the rules of nature as created by God.'" tern 24 Braaten, Because of Christ, 12l. 25 Bishop Spring claims that the editor of The Lutheran, the official ELCA publica­ tion, called Spring and his group "a boil to be lanced" and "ludicrous." When asked to resign, Spring replied, "Hell's going to freeze over before I resign." song ~ 341 Scaer: Walther and the Third Use of the Law 10nym father of lies Un 8:44). Adam inverted the image of God in which he was , "offer created so that he and not God defined the relationship between them. In 1 ... is those fleeting moments when we love God and the neighbor more than we ld for­ do ourselves, the paradise understanding of the law reemerges as flickers by the of light in an otherwise dark place in which the law accuses us. Just as the 's and third use of the law allows for a brief, temporary and sporadic return to ted by Paradise Lost, so it anticipates the final paradise when the second use of ptures the law with the first use will pass away. Then the redeemed will no longer sexual be confronted by the law's accusations and Moses will be seen with Christ e faith as a redemptive figure. 26 From a cheerful and willing spirit, each will live kwhy in harmony with God and his neighbor. At that time justification will no ;econd longer be forensic, a declaration that sins are forgiven, but it will be in­ ( been trinsic. We will be made righteousness, as the etymology of the word action justification suggests. Christ will completely envelop our existence. At that 1 there time a complete theosis will be realized. marks In brief, the third use of the law is nothing else than sanctification that ecture will in the resurrection reach and exceed the perfection of the first para­ttly or dise. In the first paradise God was the lawgiver and in the final paradise he nother will be both lawgiver and fulfiller and so the law will be endowed with a greater magnificence. Not only will the law's prohibitions and penalties be nes its forever silenced, but law shall be recognized as the perfect description of tl1 the God. It will no longer be "God's No and God's Yes," but it will be God's loring Yes and God's Yes! All this is an anticipation of what will be and comes to lInd in life here when brothers and sisters live in peace with one other. We might ion of discover that Luther's doctrine of vocation is nothing else but the appli­ lrding cation of third use of the law, because each performs the work assigned to onded him or her, a principle that Adam did not understand. thing. Recent ELCA decisions can be seen as offenses in the light of naturalIffense law and specific biblical prohibitions, but ultimately must be seen asin his offenses against Christ. Again, this leads to the conclusion that the mostif we significant deficit in Lutheran definitions of the third use of the law is the~l that christological component. Current crises bring up the question whether theis the gospel is God's last word. Yes, perhaps in the sense that what Christ has done comes alive in the lives of Christians. Consider these words of Jesus, !gation. "Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his ne, IN: friends" Un 15:13). That's gospel and the third use altogether. Now, I am . 'build not so sure that the first and third uses of the law produce the same ex­ ternal results. At the end time the first and second uses of the law will pass 'ublica­ ;ked to 26 Rev 15:3 states, 1/ And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, Great and wonderful are your deeds, 0 Lord God the Almighty." <:, 342 Concordia Theological Quarterly 75 (2011) away and only the third will remain. Maybe this is what Paul meant: "So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love" (2 Cor 13:13). I ! 1 L