Full Text for CTM Theological Observer 21-6 (Text)

Concoll ia Tbeologica Monthly JUNE • 1950 A.RCHI Conco123io Theological Monthly Published by The Lutheran Church -Missouri Synod EDITED BY mE FACULTY OF CONCORDIA SEMINARY ST. LOUIS, Mo. Address all communications to the Editorial Committee in care of the Managing Editor, F.E.Mayer, 801 De Mun Ave., St.Louis 5, Mo. EDITORIAL COMMITTEE PAUL M. BRETSCHER, RICHARD R. CAEMMERER, THEODORE HOYER, FREDERICK E. MAyER, LoUIS J. SIECK CONTENTS FOR JUNE 1950 THE NEW CREATION IN CHRIST. W' aller Bartling STUDY ON 1 TIMOTHY 1: 3-11. Otto E. Sohn THE CHRISTIAN AND GOVERNMENT. A. M. Reh10inkel A SERIES OF SERMON STUDIES FOR THE CHURCH YEAR BRIEF STUDIES THEOLOGICAL OBSERVER BOOK REVIEWS PAGE 401 419 429 441 451 454 472 Leupold. H. C.: Exposition of Genesis. -Barnes' Notes on the Old Testament (Job. Psalms). -Brunner, Bmil.· The Christian Doctrine of God. -Huggenvik. Theodore.' We Believe. -WisloD. Predrik.· I Believe in the Holy Spirit. -Cull­mann: Christ and Time. -Warfield, Benjamin Breckinridge.· The Person and Work of Christ. -Paslors 0/ Btl. tuth. Church: We Beheld His Glory; What Seek Ye? By the Obedience of One; Unto a Living Hope; In Whom We Live; Teach Me Thy Paths; For This Cause. -A/bus, HtZTry J.: A Treasury of Dwight L. Moody.-Erdman, Charles R.,. Blackwood. Andrew W.: Great Pulpit Masters (Moody and Spurgeon). -Great Gospel Sermons 0: Classic; II: Contemporary). CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL MONTHLY is published monthly by Concordia Publishing House. 355S S. Jefferson Ave., St. Louis IS, Mo .• to which all business correspondence is to be addressed. $3.00 per annum, anywhere in the world. payable in advance. Entered at the Post Office at St. Louis, Mo., as second-class matter. AcceptaQce for mailing at special rate of postage provided for in SeCtion 1103, ACt of OCtober 3, 1917, authorized on July 5. 1915. pRIlf'm) Dr v. S. A. THEOLOGICAL OBSERVER IS THE JOINT CONFESSION OF FAITH NOW BEFORE THE CHURCH A COMPROMISE? Dr. Ruff, editor of The Lutheran (ULeA) , thinks so. In the issue of his paper of April 5 he adverts in several paragraphs to this confession and uses the expression "Missouri compromise." Fortunately the mere fact that the document is called a compromise does not make it a compromise. If the members of the two cornmittees who drew up the document were asked whether it is a compromise, they would, I believe, unanimously deny that such is its character. When the document was planned, the thought that was expressed was not to write a compromise statement, covering up the differences between the two church bodies, but to present to the Church a declaration which would set forth the convictions of conservative Lutheranism in our day and age. There was no intention of hiding anything. But there was the desire of course to express thoughts and convictions and to use language relevant in 1950. If Dr. Ruff looked for expressions like intuitu fidei and Cur alii prae aliis? and the "first trope" and the "second trope" of the doctrine of election, we can somewhat understand his reaction. Those expressions are not used, not because a compromise document was planned, but because the terms no longer represent issues on which controversy is carried on in our church circles. God be praised! the predestinarian controversy has been concluded, and what is needed is merely a statement of the basic truths, not a survey of the old battle. Another fact which must not be overlooked was the wish on the part of the committees to write a document which would be brief and couched in simple terms so that the laity, too, could understand and appreciate what is presented. Hence technical terms were rather studiously avoided. The use of such language must not be attributed to the endeavor to produce a compromise document, but rather to the desire to place into the hands of our people a confession of faith which would be serviceable to the occupants of both the pulpit and the pew. -A few details from Dr. Ruff's article should be mentioned. He thinks that the doctrine concerning the Antichrist "is played down." Let the reader judge for himself whether that strict'..l!e is tenable. The docu­ment reads: "Among the signs of Christ's approaching return for judgment the distinguishing features of the Antichrist, as portrayed in Holy Scriptures, are still clearly discernible in the Roman Papacy, the 454 THEOLOGICAL OBSERVER 455 climax of all human usurpations of Christ's authority in the Church," This does not strike us as a "playing down." If anybody thinks the little word "still" represents a weakening, let him look at the matter calmly. The word tells him that not only were the marks of the Antichrist visible in the papacy in the sixteenth century when the Lutheran Confessions were written, but they are still to be seen in that stupendous institution. Thus the verdict of 1537 is put into the context of A. D. 1950. Concerning the doctrine of conversion, Dr. Ruff says that the new doctrinal statement "clears up the conversion question in two sentences." He apparently finds that strange because of the "heavy skirmishing" (his phrase) that had been going on with reference to this point. But we ask: Is it not fully sufficient to state the simple truth, that our conversion is entirely the work of God the Holy Spirit, without any co-operation whatever from sinful man? Similarly in the paragraph on the Word of God, while it is brief, the main points are mentioned. It is true, the expression "verbal inspiration" is not used, but the new statement contains the significant words : "We there­fore recognize the Holy Scriptures as God's inerrant Word." Here is the point on which there is controversy. Let our readers not think that because this new statement uses different language from that to which we have been accustomed the thoughts are new ones, that the old truths are not professed, that difficulties have been neglected, that errors have been hushed up. Nothing was farther from the minds of the committee members when the joint confession· was drafted. W.ARNDT SIX QUESTIONS OF THE WISCONSIN SYNOD On August 4, 1949, the Wisconsin Synod resolved to address six questions to the convention of the Missouri Synod to be held this year in Milwaukee. Because we believe it important for our readers to be informed in this area, we here reprint the questions. 1. Does the Missouri Synod approve of the participation of its pastors in the programs and in the joint worship of intersynodical laymen's organizations, specifically Lutheran Men in America? Hnot, only a public disavowal of the offense will remove it. 2. Does the Missouri Synod approve of the co-operation of some of its welfare agencies with Lutherans with whom it is otherwise not in fellowship, in view of the fact that such welfare work is inseparabiy associated with spiritual implications? If the Synod does not approve, what will you do to clear yourselves of the responsibility for the offense that has been given? 456 THEOLOGICAL OBSERVER 3. Does the Missouri Synod approve the co-operation of its repre­sentatives with the National Lutheran Council in matters which are admittedly no longer in the field of externals? (e. g., "Building a New Lutheranism in Great Britain," Lutheran Witness, March 8,1949, p. 76). If not, what will be done to correct the impression that has been given? 4. Does the Missouri Synod approve the position taken by its representatives at the First Bad Boll with regard to the program for devotions and worship? If not, what will be done to remove the offense? 5. Does the Missouri Synod approve of the arrangement whereby prominent members of its official committees are serving with repre­sentatives of other Lutheran bodies as sponsors of the book Scouting in the Lutheran Church, published by the National Scout Organization? If not, what will you do about the offense that was thus given? 6. Does the Missouri Synod still hold to its former position that Rom. 16: 17 applies to all errorists, whether Lutherans or not? (See Stoeckhardr, RoemerbNef, pp.641 and 642; also Pieper, Dogmatik, III, p. 474, Sec. 5; Brief Statement, Art. 28.) If so, what will be done to correct the growing impression tha.t this is no longer the case? The trained reader will at once observe that here we are dealing with questions of casuistry. Thank God, the differences that are pointed to by implication are not of a directly doctrinal nature, they have to do with church practice. Our theologians have always insisted that one must distinguish between doctrine and practice and that while our doctrine has to be right and Scriptural, the practice will always be found to be lagging behind the ideal on account of human weakness. The question does arise, however, whether after all there are not two sharply differentiated views contending for supremacy here. At any rate, let the reader ponder the following. There is a practice which one may call a practice of consistency. It has established certain principles derived by inference from the Scriptures, and it holds that these prin­ciples must be adhered to at all hazards and under all circumstances. It contends that the principles do not permit of exceptions. On the other hand, there is a practice which, while it prizes principles, holds that there is a higher thing than literal consistency, and that is the principle of Christian love. It does not wish to violate the principles, but it holds that when there is a clash betvleen one of these principles and the law of Christian love, the latter must have the right of way. Let us illustrate. We point to a case which actually happened. A clergyman of a synod not in fellowship with us resided among Mis-THEOLOGICAL OBSERVER 457 souri Synod Lutherans. When he was away, his child took ill and died~ He was called home. None of his synodical brethren being available,. he requested the Missouri Synod pastor to conduct the funeral. The latter did it. Afterwards a prominent critic chided the pastor for' having been unfaithful to his principles. The principle that apparently had been violated was that of fellowship. The principle says that nO' church fellowship must be practiced with people who are not of our own communion. Did the pastor commit a sin? He did not follow the principle just mentioned, but he followed what he called a "higher law," the law of Christian love. The critic suggested that the father of the child could himself have conducted the funeral, being a clergy­man; the Missouri Synod pastor should not have officiated. Here you have consistency. Would it have been God-pleasing? Let the reader decide. The question that arises is whether there is not a conflict here between a legalistic and an evangelistic course. The legalist is bound by rules, the evangelical man thinks of rules as a means to an end, he will follow them where he can., but he will recognize that there may be times when they should not be followed. Did not our Lord Jesus settle this whole question for us in Mat­thew 12, where He points out that David violated the law of the sanctuary and still did not offend against God's will because there was a higher law that had to be followed, the law of love? In a class by itself one has to place No.6 because it deals with a matter of interpretation. We merely wish to say that whoever desires to take Stoeckhardt as his authority in the interpretation of Rom. 16: 17 f. will have to include what this renowned exegete says touching v.l8. "Warum man von falschen Lehrern weichen muesse, zeigt Paulus V. 18. Dieselben dienen unserm Herrn Jesu Christo nicht, wie es sich doch gebuehrt, und wie sie etwa vorgeben, sondern dienen ihrem Bauch. Ihnen liegt nichts daran, dem Herrn Christo Seelen zu gewinnen, sondern sie verfolgen ihren eigenen Vorteil, ihr eigenes Gelueste, suchen sicn selbst nur grossen Anhang ZIl verschaffen, urn W ohlleben und gute Tage zu haben." In general the suggestion is a propos that all concerned reread the theses on unevangelical practice commonly ascribed to Dr. Schwan and printed in the English translation' of P. T. Buszin in the May, 1945 (Vol. XVI, No.5), issue of the CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL MONTHLY. Thesis 5 is of special importance, "It is not evangelical practice to cast the pearls before the swine, but much less is it evangelical practice to keep them in one's own pocket." W. ARNDT 458 THEOLOGICAL OBSERVER WHAT STANDS BETWEEN? Looking around in the theological world, a Lutheran cannot fail to notice a pamphlet which in 1949 was issued in a revised edition. It has the title What Stands Between? that is, between the Evangelical Lu­theran Church (the large Norwegian body in our country) and the Evangelical Lutheran Norwegian Synod, affiliated with our church body in The Synodical Conference. The author, J. A. O. Preus, Jr., is pro­fessor at Bethany College, Mankato, Minn. Having come to the con­viction that much of the teaching in Luther Seminary and in the church body it serves is at variance with the Word of God and the Confessions of the Lutheran Church, and that in its practice the Evangelical Lu­theran Church is not loyal to Lutheran principles, he has left the ELC and joined the Synod of our brethren. His aim in the essay under discussion is to show that the ELC is guilty of false doctrine and unscriptural practice. Whatever view an impartial investigator will reach on the question whether the criticisms here uttered are justified, we hope that many members of the BLC will read what one of their former brethren has to say about conditions in their church body, and that they will do so with an open mind, 5llppressing all feelings of bitterness. If the charges made are true, action should be taken to have the evils mentioned removed; if they are not true, there is cause for rejoicing. No one who reads the pamphlet will doubt that the author endorses and espouses the theology of the Brief Statement of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, and of A. 1. Graebner's Doctrinal Theology and F. Pieper's Christliche Dogmatik. In addition, we wish to say that we admire his zeal and ability. His pamphlet is nothing if not polemical; it bristles with charges and condemnatory judgments. While we are in full agreement with the author's underlying theology, we often cannot endorse his procedure and the verdict he pronounces. The chief method which he employs in submitting evidence for his charges appears to us highly questionable. He relies mainly on statements of professors heard by him and presumably other young men in class­rooms of the ELC Seminary in St. Paul. But everybody knows how precarious it is to evaluate a teacher's or anybody else's doctrinal or .