Full Text for The Reunion of Christendom, part 5 (Text)

QTnurn:r~iu UJl1rnlngirnl !lnutlJly Continuing L EHRE UNO VVEHRE MAGAZIN FUER E v .-LuTH. HOMIl ETIK THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY-THEOLOGICAL M ONTHLY Vol. XIV November, 1943 No. n CONTENTS The Rewlion of Christendom. Th . Engeldcr Page ___ 745 Outlines on Old Testament Texts (Synodical Conference) ____________ 777 Outlines on the Old Standard Gospel Lessons ________ ______________________ 784 Miscellanea ________________________________________________________________________________________________ 187 Theological Obl>erver ___________________________________________________________________________________ 795 Book Review ______________________________ ________ _ ____ ______ ______________________________ __ ____________ 810 Ein Prediger nlusa ntcht allein wel- den, also dass er die Schate unter- weise. wie sle rechte Christen sollen srAn, sondern nuch daneben den WoeI- fen wehren, dass sle die Schafe nicht angrelfen und mit falscher Lehre ver- fuehren und Irrtum einfuehren. Lutller Es 1st keln Ding. da!l die Leute m ehr bel der Kirche behaelt denn die gute Predigt. - Apolugie, Arl. 24 If the trumpet gIve an uncertain sound. who shall prepare himself to the battle? -1 COT. 14 :8 Published for the E\ Luth. Syno I of Misso u-i, OluJ, and Other States 'ONCOJl.DIA PUBLISHING HOUSE, St. Lot is 18, Mo. PR:cnmJ IN '0'. s. £ . Concordia Theological Monthly Vol. XIV NOVEMBER, 1943 The Reunion of Christendom (Continued) No. 11 "Interim hat den Schalk hinter ihm!" When the attempt was made to reconcile Lutheranism and Catholicism by means of the Augsburg Interim, the Lutheran laymen rose in their might and declared: "Selig ist der Mann, Der Gott vertrauen kann Und wil- ligt nicht ins Interim, Denn es hat den Schalk hinter ihin!" "Of the Interim beware, For a knave is hiding there." (Hurst, History of the Christian Church, II, p.217.) When Melanchthon and others offered the Church a modified form of this union document in the Leipzig Interim, 1548, the Lutherans at once detected the same knave hiding there. And whenever and wherever unionism works on the Church, in whatever form or shape, there is knavery at work. - No discussion of unionism would be complete without a chapter on the dishonesty of it. Unionism likes to work (1) with ambiguous formulas . One party will draw up a doctrinal statement which plainly expresses its teaching but is so skillfully worded that the other party finds its own, the contrary teaching, therein expressed and fondly be- lieves that agreement in doctrine has been effected. Or - and that is usually the case - both partners are practicing the fraud. Their formula of concord expresses the doctrine in controversy in such general, such vague, such equivocal terms that each side can easily find its own particular teaching there expressed and confessed. Thus the conscience of all is salved; nothing has been denied. That is the first fraud. The second one is that they pretend that the common acceptance of such an equivocal formula, a formula which permits each side to retain its own particular teaching, con- stitutes a real reunion. They are deceiving themselves and want to deceive Christendom. A reunion of Christendom effected by such dishonest methods is not worth having. The Formula of Concord refuses to work along such lines: "We wished to make a 746 The Reunion of Christendom pure, clear, distinct declaration concerning all the disputed articles . . . in order that everyone may see that we do not wish in a cunning way to dissemble or cover up all this or to come to an agreement only in appearance." (Triglotta, p.1097.) The use of ambiguous formulas is so transparently dishonest that certain groups of unionists absolutely refuse to have any share in -it; they prefer a form of union which frankly and honestly avows the doctrinal disagreement. But as a rule the unionists want to create a show of unity, and the use of ambiguous formulas well serves this purpose. The Augsburg Interim was a rather crude affair. "In regard to the doctrine of justification, although this was conceded to take place through the merit of Christ, nevertheless the Roman Catholic doctrine asserted itself." (Lutheran Cyclopedia, by H. E. Jacobs and J. Haas.) The camouflage "through the merit of Christ" could deceive only those who wanted to be deceived. Melanchthon's Leipzig Interim went about it more craftily. It plainly asserts justification by faith and explicitly denies justification by works; but not only does it omit the "sola" of the sola fide, which "sola" is, in any discussion between Lutherans and Catholics, absolutely necessary, but it presents the whole matter in such an equivocal way that the Romanists could accept it with some little manipula- tion. The Lutheran Cyclopedia states: "No evangelical doctrine was directly abandoned; yet the chief doctrine, that of justification, was expressed in an indefinite formula." The knave was there! H. E. Jacobs states in The Book of Concord, II, p. 53 f.: "It clothes the articles of faith on which there was difference in language so ambiguous that those who did not hold the evangelical f~ith, while putting upon it their own interpretation, could be induced to sub- scribe them." "It was," says F. Bente, in the Historical Introduction, Triglotta, p. 99, "a unionistic document sacrificing Lutheranism doctrinally as well as practically. Throughout the controverted doctrines were treated in ambiguous or false formulas." (The full text of the Leipzig Interim is given in Jacobs, op.cit., p. 260 ff.; excerpts in Bente, op. cit., p 107.) An ambiguous formula of the first water is the notorious formula of distribution in use in the Prussian Union. "Our Lord Jesus Christ says: Take and eat, this is My body." The Lutherans believe that they receive the true, the real body of the Lord in Holy Communion; the Reformed believe that the real body is not present. So, if a union between the Lutheran and the Reformed Churches was to be effected, this difference must be hushed up. And the unionists agreed to hush it up by agreeing to use a formula which evaded the issue. It seems incredible that for the sake of an external union men would be willing to introduce evasive, lying propositions into the holy of holies. The Reunion of Christendom 747 They have been about that these many years. Is there any- thing wrong with the statement "De coena Domini docent, quod cum pane et vino vere exhibeantur corpus et sanguis Christi vescentibus in Coena Domini"? That is the absolute truth. But when you compare Article X of the Augsburg Confession with the form of it in Melanchthon's V Ckriata, you will see that it is a dis- honest proposition. It omits the words "are truly present," "they reject those that teach otherwise" and substitutes for "distributed" the vague term "exhibited." It hides the difference and permits both the Lutherans and the Reformed to find their doctrine ex- pressed in it.55) Melanchthon, the father of unionism in the Lu- theran Church, was willing to have his re-united Church playa farce at the altar of the Lord: playing at being united and despis- ing one another for their hypocrisy. Melanchthon need not have bothered to delete the "truly present." The unionists are ready to accept even that term as a compromise formula. Zwingli was ready to do so at Marburg. He was perfectly willing to teach that the body and blood are "truly" present, i. e., spiritually present, and to let the Lutherans teach that they are "truly" present, i. e., bodily present. Luther: "Sie versprachen aber mit vielen Worten, sie wollten mit uns so weit einerlei Rede fuehren: Christi Leib sei wahrhaftig im Abend- mahl gegenwaertig (aber in geistlicher Weise), nur damit ,vir uns herbeilassen moechten, sie Brueder zu nennen und so eine Ein- tracht zu erheucheln." (XVI: 2305. - See also Walther, Law and Gospel, p.165.) CONe. THEOL. MTHLY., 1930, p.421, has this to say on the matter: "Der Zweck der von den Schweizern vorgeschlage- 55) In an essay on Melanchthon in Tercentenary Monument in Commemoration of the Three Hundredth Anniversary of the Heidel- berg Catechism, J. H. A. Ebrard (Reformed, unionist) writes: "The sole intention of the modification of the tenth article was that it might, according to the sense of the Wittenberg Concord, be made possible for the Tetrapolis to subscribe the Confession, and thus, with the other Protestant powers, as an organization having one faith, press forward with their cause in opposition to both Emperor and Pope. For this reason the doctrine of the Lord's Supper was expressed in a form which in no wise conflicted with the genuine Lutheran theory, nor yet with Bucer, Calvin, and Melanchthon, without, however, bringing out either to a full expression." Ebrard was an admirer of Melanchthon. His essay begins with the statement: "Melanchthon ... is rightly claimed by the Reformed Church, beside Zwingli and Calvin, as the third of her Reformers." (Pp. 89, 106.) Joseph Stump: "Although Melanchthon claimed that the alterations affected only the words and not the substance of the confession, this was not strictly true. No doubt the changes made did not conflict with Melanchthon's interpretation of the original reading. But at the same time the wording of the tenth article was so altered that the Reformed as well as the Lutherans could read their doctrine of the Lord's Supper into it. He desired to make it easy for the Reformed to unite with the Lutherans." (Life of Ph. Melanchthon, p. 175.) See CONe. THEOL. MTHLY., 1931, p. 594 ff. on Melanchthon's treatment of Article X. 748 The Reunion of Christendom nen Unionsfonnel war, die Welt und die Kirche zu betruegen. Die innere Uneinigkeit der beiden Kirchen sollte durch ein Heuchel- und Luegenwort verdeckt werden. Die Schweizer nahmen es nicht genau mit der Wahrheit. Und mit dieser Luege wollte man vor dem Angesicht Gottes erscheinen, bei der Feier des heiligen Abend- maWs bei Gottes Namen luegen und truegen." And they are doing exactly the same today. The Report of the Edinburgh World Con- ference declared: "We all believe that Christ is truly present in the Eucharist, though as to how that presence is manifested and realized we may differ. Every precise definition of the presence is bound to be a limiting thing, and the attempt to formulate such definitions and to impose them on the Church has itself been the cause of disunity in the past. The important thing is that we should celebrate the Eucharist with the unfailing use of bread and wine and of prayer and with agreement as to its essential and spiritual meaning." (See Christendom, 1937, Autumn, p.670.) Stating that the Lutheran and Episcopalian members of the World Conference differ indeed from the Presbyterians and Bap- tists as to the nature of the Presence, but that in spite of that "we all believe that Christ is truly present" is following the tactics of Zwingli. The purpose is to simulate an agreement where there is fundamental disagreement. We do not attack the honesty of those Presbyterians who insist that their Church teaches a "real presence" and explain at once that they mean a "real spiritual presence" of the body and blood, or, preferably, a real "presence of Christ." But we denounce the dishonesty of the unionists who want the phrase "real presence" used for the purpose of hiding the difference and deceive the world and the Church with a show of unity. The cause of the Church is not served by glorying in a counterfeit union.56) The unionists apply their tactics of equivocality to any doctrine on which "agreement" is sought, not only to non-fundamentals, but also to fundamentals, and not only to the important doctrine of the Lord's Supper, but also to the all-important doctrines of the deity of Christ and saving grace. Will the unionists really operate with ambiguous formulas in the all-important matter of the deity of the Savior? Yes, if that is necessary to bring about their fonn of the reunion of Christendom. Recall W. A. Brown's statement: "Such a federal unity is the prosposal for a World Council of Churches. This is a fellowship open to all churches which accept Jesus Christ as God and Savior, each church being the judge of 56) Rudelbach: "The more careless we are in stating the differences and the more anxious to hide the sores, the farther removed we are from the unity of the Spirit, which is the innermost essence of all true union." (Reformation, Luthertum und Union. See Concordia Cyclo- pedia, p. 775.) The Reunion of Christendom 749 the meaning it puts into these words." (A Creed for Free Men, p.250.) "Jesus is God" is a good, honest confession, but since any body joining the World Council is permitted to put any kind of meaning into it, it has become an ambiguous formula. And it is accepted by the World Council as a sufficient statement. If any member-church would call for a more explicit declaration, the World Council would tell it: "Don't quibble about the godhead of the Savior." From the very beginning the unionists have been engaged in this dishonest business. At Nicea they offered the Arians, who would not accept the "of one substance with the Father," the compromise formula: "God of God." Anything wrong with that? Only this, that the Arians were willing to accept it because they could hide their heresy behind it. Others proposed to settle the controversy by saying nothing about OUcrLU at all. (Council of Sirmium, 357.) Do not quibble about OI-lOLOVcrLOS and OI-tOOVCJLO~! And the times have not changed. The Unitarian groups have been using ambiguous formulas in order to keep peace in their church family. The Universalists, for instance, accepted the "Winchester Profession of Belief" (1803), and "it was so framed as to be acceptable both to those of unitarian and to those of trinitarian leanings." (The Christian Century, Jan. 37, 1943.) It confesses: "We believe that there is one God, whose nature is love, revealed in one Lord Jesus Christ, by one Holy Spirit of Grace, who will finally restore the whole family of mankind to holiness and happiness." And there are Trinitarian groups who, in order to remain on good terms with Unitarians, couch their confession of the Deity of their Lord and Savior in ambiguous terms. The Fed- eral Council refused to confess belief in "Jesus Christ, the Son of God, our Lord and Savior," but accepted the formula: "Jesus Christ, the divine Lord and Savior" - Unitarians could subscribe to that. 57l The Preamble reads: "Whereas, in the providence of God, the time has come when it seems fitting more fully to manifest the essential oneness of the Christian Churches of America in Jesus Christ as their Divine Lord and Savior, and to promote the spirit of fellow- 57) Sasse: "In the original draft of the constitution of the Federal Council, the preamble referred to churches which confess belief in 'Jesus Christ, the Son of God, our Lord and Savior.' The words aroused very hostile criticism, as involving adherence to a trinitarian conception of God and to the Christology of the ancient Creeds. Therefore, in order to facilitate the inclusion of unitarian minds, the formula was changed, so as to speak of 'Jesus Christ, the divine Lord and Savior.' Th'at change won over those who sympathized with the Unitarians, but alienated the Anglicans and Lutherans, who naturally enough were quite unwilling to join a union movement of such a character." (Some Prolegomena to the 1937 World Conference on Faith and Order, p.lO.) It did not alienate all Episcopalians. At the present writing a leading Episcopalian heads the Federal Council- H. St. George Tucker, pre- siding bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church. 750 The Relmion of Christendom ship, service, and co-operation among them .... " This pre-.rnble, says Macfarland, "was a masterpiece of artlessness. Simplicity is often the mark of spiritual guidance." (Christian Unity in Practice and Prophecy, p.56.) Artlessness? A knave is hiding there! The knavish formula permits men who openly deny the deity of Jesus to have fellowship with Lutherans and Presbyterians. Bishop Francis J. McConnell declares: "Is not the tendency to deify Jesus more heathen than Christian? Are we not more truly Christian when we cut loose from a heathen propensity and take Jesus simply for the character he was and for the ideal that he is?" (The Christlike God, p.15.) And Dr. McConnell was a president of the Federal Council. Dr. H. E. Fosdick preached a sermon on "The Peril of Worshiping Jesus," and he stands high in the councils of the Federal Council. McConnell and Fosdick might hesitate to call Jesus "the Son of God," but they will call Him "their Divine Lord." Dr. E. E. Reinartz writes in The Luth. Ch. Quarterly, 1942, p. 220 f.: "Unitarians, denying as they do the deity of Jesus Christ, can so interpret the words 'divine Lord and Savior' as to accept them and join the Federal Council without any change in the Pre- amble. If they were required to dot the i and cross the t, they would not do it. . .. The Executive Board [of the U. L. C. A.] believes that for the United Lutheran Church to subscribe to such a statement as that contained in the Preamble referred to would be to show itself willing to speak in terms which are equivocal." (Underscored by author.) 58) The Federal Council might just as well have put into the Preamble: "Jesus Christ, Son of God." The Antitrinitarians and Arians are willing to call Jesus "Son of God." It has become an ambiguous formula. The Lausanne World Conference's "common Confession of Faith" declares: "We members of the Conference on Faith and Order, coming from all parts of the world in the in- terest of Christian unity, have with deep gratitude to God found ourselves united in common prayer, in God, our heavenly Father, and His Son Jesus Christ, our Savior, in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit." "His Son Jesus Christ" - could anything be more explicit? Well, Le Chretien Evangelique, as quoted by The Presby- tel'ian, reported: "'The Message to the World' [statement of Lausanne Conference] carries in it the affirmation of some of the fundamental verities of authentic Christianity: the divinity of 58) Bishop McConnell has toned down the formula on which he entered the Federal Council still moreo See page 333 aboveo He and his church ask those who would become members of the Methodist Church: "Do you consider Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord?" Not a word here about the deity or divinity of Jesus. If the candidate for membership believes in the eternal godhead of Jesus, well and good; if he believes that Jesus is a mere man, he can come in under the same formula: "Savior and Lord." The Reunion of Christendom 751 Christ, His pre-existence, the expiatory sufficiency of His death, His glorious resurrection, all the orthodoxy of the Apostles' and the Nicene Creed. How such and such theologians, well known for their horror of dogmatism and for their rationalistic personnel, came to subscribe to any such formula or at least recommend it to the attention and study of contemporary Christians, their brethren, these dogmas which they regard as defunct and contrary to simple good sense - this is quite beyond comprehension. . .. The mem- bers of the conference, at least many of them, do not believe that Christ is God, the Son of God, the Word made flesh; they do not believe that He has come 'to give His life as a ransom for many'; they do not believe that the Bible is written uniquely, distinct from all other books, clothed with a special, inspired authority; they do not believe all this. Every time they express their own views freely, they deny these verities; and in this they do well, for they do not believe them." And The Watchman-Examiner re- ports: "Dr. W. E. Barton, who was very sympathetic with the Lausanne Conference, gives in The Congregationalist his view of what was accomplished there. He says: 'I do not think the churches will pay much attention to our findings. I cannot imagine our National Council wasting much time parsing and analyzing our timid and compromise declarations. . .. If we had agreed to recite the multiplication table together as an act of agreement, that would have meant something; and what was said was perhaps not very much more!" (See THEOLOGICAL MONTHLY, 1928, p. 2, 112.) "Jesus, Son of God" has become a compromise formula. The Fed- eral Council, again, might just as well have put the stronger term "Jesus is God" into the Preamble. Any Church joining the World Council is at liberty, W. A. Brown told us, to give these words a new meaning.59 ) For the Reunion of Christendom agreement on the articulus fundamentalisimus, salvation by grace, justification through the merit of Christ, by faith, is of first importance. And here, too, the unionists achieve "agreement" by the use of ambiguous 59) One more remark on the inadequacy of the doctrinal statement of the Federal Council as a basis of church fellowship. It is inadequate because of the ambiguous formula concerning the deity of Christ. But when one compares it with the Preamble, say, of the American Council of Christian Churches, a second significant deficiency is seen. The American Council has this in its Preamble: