Full Text for CTM Theological Observer 12-6 (Text)

Qtnurnr~tu m4tnlngital iln111lJlg Continuing LEHRE UND WEHRE MAGAZIN FUER Ev.-LuTH. HOMILETIK THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLy-THEOLOGICAL MONTHLY Vol. xn June, 1941 No.6 CONTENTS Page Verbal Inspiration - a Stumbling-Block to the Jews and Foolish- ness to the Greeks. Th. Engelder ____________ ____ __ ____ ______ _. ____ _ 401 Some Notes on the Life and Works of Catherine Winkworth Cad S . Meyer ___ __________ _ _ __ _____ _ 427 Studying Case Histories. Elmer A. Kettner ____ _______ 444 Outlines on the Wuerttemberg Gospel Selections _ ____ _______ 448 Theological Observer. - Kirchlich-Zeitgeschichtliches _ ___ _______ 461 Book Review. - Literatur ________________________ _ ____________ .________ ___ ._ 473 Ein Prediger muss nlcbt allein wei- den, also dass er die Schafe unter- weise. me sie rechte Christen sollen sein, sondem auch daneben den Woel- fen weh'TEm, dass sle die Scbafe nlcht angreifen und mit falscher Lehre ver- fuehren und Irrtum elnfuehren. Luther Es 1St kein Ding. das die Leute m ehr bel der K1rche behaelt denn die gute Predigt. - Apotogle, Art. 24 If the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? - 1 COT. 14:8 Published for the Ev. Luth. Synod of Missouri, Ohio, and Other States CONCORDIA PUBLISHING BOUSE, St. Louis, Mo. Theological Observer - . .ITitd)nd)~,(ldtgcfd)id)mcf)es 461 Theologit:al Observer - !thdjndj".8eitgefdjidjtlidje~ Summer-School at River Forest. - Dean W. O. Kraeft submits this information to the readers of our journal: "1. In th~ summer-school, Concordia Teachers' College, River Forest, offers courses leading to the bachelor's degree in elementary education. "2. The courses offered during the summer at River Forest are, to a great extent, duplicates of the curriculum offered in the training of teachers during the school-year. "3. The summer-school offers courses for lady teachers, which -l¥ill prepare them more definitely for teaching in Lutheran parish-schools. "4. Choirmasters and organists will find courses enabling them to take the leadership in beautifying the services by way of music. "5. St. Louis Seminary again offers courses in theology to pastors. "6. Some courses of the new Concordia Sunday-school Teachers' Training Series are also offered to Sunday-school teachers who were not able to get these in their home congregation." A. "Within the F'1:amework of Luthel·anism." - That is the caption of an article in the Lutheran Herald, Feb. 25, by J. Reini, which takes excep- tion to the views expressed in the article "Trends within Our Church," published in Lutherane?'en, Oct. 12, 1938. The author of "Trends," "a well-known pastor of our Church" "had observed many trends in our Church: high-church and low-church; pietism and antipietism; eome age:!!!!!! union~ .... , 'lthers ,.,,,t: some "~,,i"<;t lodges, others not: some especially advocating pure doctrine, others especially a holy life. Some members of our Church feel rather grieved because of them. But the author of 'Trends' takes a different view; he is rather in favor of them; they are for him a sign of spiritual life. His advice is: 'Allow everyone to believe, talk, and work according to his own view, provided that it is within the frame of the Word of God and our Con- fessions. Do not judge others who may favor opposite views.' . . . He declares that a Church either entirely without any or with only one trend is both dead add orthodoxistic: 'Only a dead and orthodoxistic Church can be built and kept without trends.' ... " "This review of the Lutheran churches, however, cannot be finished vvithout hLqU::ring at. __ ~!.!e stan.l~ ... Jf the =~_Jri Sy~J. We mi..;.'1.t wonder whether the author of 'Trends' really by his description of the dead and orthodoxistic Church could have in mind the Missouri Synod. That Church has now for nearly one hundred years been noted for its God-fearing zeal for pure doctrine and Christian living. For many years it has also enjoyed unparalleled blessing in being free from annoying trends and discords. And we certainly would have to apologize most humbly if we ever thought anyone familiar with the history and work of the Missouri Synod could characterize her as 'orthodoxistic' and 'dead.'" The important part of the Herald article is this: "But the author's advice to give room for different trends and views is not in harmony 462 Theological Observer - ml'd)!id)'{jeitgefdJid)tlia)es with the Word of God. Of the Church founded on the day of Pentecost by the apostles we read that they were all of one accord, 'of one heart. and of one soul,' Acts 4:32. . .. If the rule, adopted by both our church organs, that all the various spiritual trends remain strictly within the framework of Lutheranism always and everywhere could be ob- served, no doubt many offenses would be avoided; but there is no leader of any party that will admit that his erroneous ideas are not in accord with the Word of God, and it appears to us that even the author of 'Trends' does not follow his own regulation. He reproves not only what is blameful but also finds fault with orthodox teaching. He touches lightly tendencies to unionism and the 'sin of lodgery,' as if such trends perhaps could be compatible with our Confessions, and does not find it needful to give earnest warnings against them. We may meet 'Lutherans' who accept the Bible as the Word of God but deny the saying of the apostle that 'all Scripture is given by inspiration of God,' 2 Tim. 3:16. And there are even members of our congregations that are unwilling to see that the religion of the lodges is repugnant and hostile to Christianity and to take note of the fact that the big United Lutheran Church, even among its clergy, has numbers of its leading men who not only take part in the religious services of the lodges but who also are active members of such organizations. . .. When we recall that even the apostolic churches were admonished to 'walk circumspectly' and to be on guard against 'diverse and strange doctrines,' can we then say that such warnings are not needed or timely at present? ... " E. The Kingdom of God. - Under this heading the Jom-nal of Theology of the American Lutheran Conference (February, 1941) publishes a timely article, directed against the Ritschlian view that the kingdom of God represents a "social order or economic or political concept," which is being reemphasized today by E. Stanley Jones (Christ or Commlmism) , who "outlines a social system or form of government on the basis of Christ's text at Nazareth [Luke 4: 18, 19?] and calls that the kingdom of God." The writer (Rev. Mikkel Lono) arrives at the following final conclusions: "The kingdom of God is not a social order but the will of God operating in the hearts of those who believe. Its blessings are apart from circumstances of life, the rich [as such?] having no advantage but rather the contrary; yet the kingdom influences powerfully all of life. The kingdom of God is the only effective force for social better- ment operating in the world. The Gospel of personal salvation is the most effecti-ve means of promoting general welfare. Because of ignorance and the blindness caused by sin, even sincere Christians need en- couragement and admonition in letting their light so shine that men may see their good works. The preaching of social justice and other ideals of the social gospel has a definite place in the Christian message, but this not the 'Gospel of the Kingdo=n.''' We are glad that this important truth again receives emphasis, especially in a periodical like the J oumal, which is not confined to a single synod, but reaches many and diverse theological groups. Just now when Dr. E. Stanley Jones, under the auspices of the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America, is again preaching the "new social order of Christianity" as the realization of the kingdom of God, Lutherans • 463 ought to be united in the testimony that the social gospel is not the "Gospel of the Kingdom." When the writer declares that the "preaching of social justice and other ideals of the social gospel has a definite place in the Christian message," this applies, of course, to the inculcation of Christian sanctification, and that intra ecclesiam, for the Church is not the State's moral police agent enforcing in regno mundi social justice and other ideals. As Luther correctly says, the Church rules only by the Word which it proclaims, and this within its 'proper spiritual sphere. This fact the writer himself suggests in his article. In his article, however, there is a lack of clarity with regard to the expression "the kingdom of God," and this is disturbing to the reader. He defines the kingdom of God as the "will of God operating in the hearts of those wh0 believe." Properly understood, this description is correct. In Schirlitz's WoeTterbuch zum Neuen Testament the king- dom of God is described, in its Messianic sense, "als das, in dem Gottes Wille gilt." More comprehensive and adequate perhaps is' the definition of the kingdom of God as "the rule of Christ in the hearts of believers." God's kingdom must be limited in this way, in order that its spiritual nature may be stressed in contradistinction to the divine regnum potentiae, in which God rules by His sQvereign will, or Law. If, ill an absolute sense, the· kingdom of God is simply called the Kingdom, this is done because it is the preeminent kingdom, the kingdom xu:r;' iH;ox~v, all earthly kingdoms being merely temporal and temporary, existing only within God's kingdom and serving His kingdom. It is called the "kingdom of God" because it has God for its author and goal. It is called the "kingdom of heaven" because it is substantially heavenly and spiritual. It is called the "kingdom of (" : ':" be -- ~ our bl.essed Savior is the Lord and Mediator of this kingdom. All these assertions can be supported by clear Scripture-passages. There is in the article also a lack of clarity with regard to the question whether the terms "kingdom of God" and "Church" are synonymous. The writer says: "At first thought it would seem that the kingdom and the Church are almost synonymous." Then, after havin :; ~0inte{l emt. that the word "Church" is used in the New Testament with various meanings, causing theologians to distingUish between the visible and the invisible Church, he writes: "In the minds of these theologians the invisible Church and the kingdom of God are the same." However, he objects that "in all but a few passages the terms 'Church' and 'kingdom' are evidently not interchangeable." "Yet," he concludes, "they are related. I have merely indicated their distinction." We admit this distinction, for while the expressions "kingdom of God" or "kingdom of Christ" or "kingdom of heaven" essentially describe God's [Christ's] spiritual rule in the hearts of believers, the term "Church" refers to the communio, or congregatio, sanctorum, in which the Lord has estab- lished His rule, properly speaking, the ecclesia invisibilis, in a wider sense the ecclesia visibilis, either in one place or in the entire world. But this does not mean that the two are fundamentally distinct, so that the kingdom of Christ exists in a different place than where the Church is, and vice versa. As Dr. F. Pieper rightly puts it, the two actually coincide, so that 'wherever the kingdom of Christ (of God, of 464 Theological Observer - ,ITirdjlid)~3eitgefd)id)t1id)eiJ heaven) is, there also is the Church, and vice versa. More definitely, Dr. Pieper writes: "The Kingdom of Grace and the Church of God upon earth (eccZesia militans) are synonymous." (Cf. Christliche Dog- matik, II: 461 ff.; III: 458 ff.) It is only when we speak in this way that we can ciearly understand the Scripture references to the kingdom of God and the Church. So also Luther and our Lutheran dogmaticians have expressed themselves, and both their modus concipiendi and their modus loquendi are clear and Scriptural, so that we cannot improve on them. Luther writes: "The kingdom of God is the Church of Christ, which is ruled by the Word of God." (St. L., XXI a: 452.) That Luther regarded the terms "kingdom of Christ" and "Church" as practically synonymous, is clear also from such expressions as these: "Wherever the Gospel is preached in its truth and purity, there is Christ's kingdom; and this mark of the Church or the Kingdom of Christ, cannot deceive you." (St, L., VI: 30.) J. T. M. A V.L. C.A. Writer on Predestination.- Writing in the Lutheran of February 12, Dr. J. Wm. McCauley of Salem, Va., has this to say on Pre- destination: "If it is 'the will of God that none should perish but that all should be saved' (1 Tim. 2: 4), why need we worry about it? An 'Ironside' Baptist preacher said to me in positive terms: "1 am predestined to be either saved or lost. God knows best and will do what is right.' And he added: 'Even if 1 am predestined for hell rather than for heaven, God's will be done.' That is the rankest sort of predestination, with free will of man ruled out. Many Presbyterians have given up the old absolute predestination for a limited kind, including a measure of free will. It is claimed that Martin Luther once believed in predestination, or foreordination, but later substituted foreknowledge, that is, God fore- knows but does not foreordain. Man has the free will to reject salvation but not to secure it, for salvation is of God only. 'By grace have ye been saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God' (Eph. 2: 8) . "The other day a young person asked me, as have many others not acquainted with theological terms, if I believed in 'predestination.' That word seems to be in general use and popularly understood. Be that as it may, everybody knows what 'a worm' is and what is 'a man.' When some one was referred to as being 'a jellyfish and not a man,' the audience understood and laughed. 'A worm' is what David called himself when he said, '1 am a worm and no man' (Ps. ~2: 6). Poe vITote a gruesome poem on how man will be vanquished at death by 'the conqueror Worm.' The psalmist asked, 'What is man that Thou art mindful of him, and the Son of Man, that Thou visitest him?' But he gave the triumphant answer, 'Thou hast made him but little lower than God [R. V.] and crownedst him with glory and honor. Thou makest him to have dominion over the works of Thy hands. Thou hast put all things under his feet' (Ps. 8: 4-6) . In the seeming contradiction of his groveling, crawling, helpless, earthly life in the flesh and His soaring, triumphant life of the spirit in the image of God is the problem and the answer. In His free will, the power to choose the better way, to mount on the wings of language and faith and spiritual communion into the Theological Observer - .Ritd)1id).8dtgefd)id)tlid)e~ 465 eternal and holy, is the key to the solution of the age-old problem. Yes, the worm will have wings and fly!" This is confusing language. Note the fog in which the figure of Luther is left and abandoned. When the writer says, "Man has the free will to reject salvation - but not to secure it, for salvation is of God only," he correctly expresses a great Scripture truth. But what does he mean when in conclusion he says, "In His free will, the power to choose the better way, to mount on the wings of language and faith and spiritual communion into the eternal and holy, is the key to the solution of the age-old problem"? Is the writer speaking of Christ? His use of a capital initial in writing the pronoun "His" would seem to justify such an assumption. But how strange is the language if a reference to the Savior is intended! And if merely man is spoken of the espousal of synergism is unblushingly direct and manifest. A. Concordia and Culture.-That is the heading the Christian Century of March 5 gives the following communication: "EDITOR, 'THE CHRISTIAN CENTURY': "Sir: I note that in a recent issue of your paper some brickbats are tossed at the Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Church. I am not a mem- ber of this religious group, but, being a historian, I feel that I should correct these erroneous statements. You say that the Missouri Synod Lutherans are descended from peasants. As a matter of fact, the fore- bears of the Missouri Synod Lutherans were far removed from 'peasants.' Among them were skilled artisans, writers, lawyers, teachers, physicians, and theologians. Indeed, it is hard to find any pioneer group that had as high an intellectual ~.m~age <'C +"h~se G