Full Text for CTM Theological Observer 21-4 (Text)

Concou()io Theol 'gicol Montbly APRIL 1950 THEOLOGICAL OBSERVER THESES ON THE SCRIPTURES An intersynodical group of Lutherans in Alberta, comprising several synods of the National Lutheran Council and The Lutheran Church­Missouri Synod, is currently studying the Brief Statement and the Doctrinal Affirmation. In a recent meeting this group adopted the following theses on Inspiration, submitted by Prof. Arnold Guebert of Concordia College, Edmonton: "1. The Holy Scriptures, that is, the original text of the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments, differ from all other books in the world. They are of divine origin and divine character, because God's Holy Spirit employed the writers and gave them the Scriptures by inspiration according to their content (Realinspiration) and accord­ing to their phraseology (V erbalinspiration) . Acts 2:4; 1 Cor. 2: 3; Rom. 3:2; Matt. 22:43-45; Gal. 3:16; 1Peterl:1O-12; 2Peter1:21; 2 Tim. 3:14-17 (Trigl.} Nicene Creed, p. 31; Augsburg Confession, p. 90, par. 49). "2. This inspiration was not a mechanical process or a mere dicta­tion, as though there was no inner participation on the part of the writers. Nor was only the intellect of the holy men influenced. Rather inspiration was an act of God whereby the writers' entire personality with all its psychic functions was governed by the Holy Spirit so that these living, thinking personalities were His instruments in recording His truth for man. "3. This doctrine of verbal, or plenary, inspiration, understood in the sense that God not only illuminated the persons and revealed the facts but also inspired the words, is not a theory or a 'theological deduction' but is taught by direct statements of the Scriptures, 2 Tim. 3:16; John 10:35; Rom. 3:2; 1 Cor. 2:13. "4. Withal inspiration is a unique act of God and remains a mystery. Just how it was accomplished we cannot fathom, which means that it must be accepted by faith, as we accept other miracles of God. "5. Furthermore, the Holy Scriptures are given by God to the Christian Church for the foundation of faith, Eph. 2: 20. Hence the Holy Scriptures are the sole source from which all doctrines proclaimed in the Christian Church must be taken and therefore, too, the sale rule and norm by which all teachers and doctrines must be examined and judged. -With the Confessions of our Church we teach also 303 304 THEOLOGICAL OBSERVER that the 'rule of faith' (analogia fidei) according to which the Holy Scriptures are to be nnderstood are the clear passages of the Scriptures themselves which set forth the individual doctrines (Apology, Triglotta, p. 441, par. 60; Mueller, p. 284). The rule of faith is not the man-made so-called 'totality of Scripture' (Ganzes der Schrift). "6. The doctrine which under the name of science has gained wide popularity in the Church of our day, that Holy Scripture is not in all its parts the Word of God, but in part the Word of God and in part the word of man and hence does, or at least might, contain .error is to be rejected. This erroneous doctrine is horrible and blasphemous, since it flatly contradicts Christ and His holy Apostles, sets up men as judges over the Word of God, and thus overthrows the foundation of the Christian Church and its faith. "7. Since the Bible is the Word of God, His permanent revelation, aside from which until Christ's return in glory to judge the quick and the dead no other is to be expected, it remains for all time not only the sole source, rule, and norm for faith and life, but also the ever fresh and inexhaustible fountain of all comfort, strength, wisdom, and guidance, John 5: 39; Rom. 1: 16; its specific purpose being to make men wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus, 2 Tim. 3: 15." F. E. M. THE WEIMAR AUSGABE OF LUTHER'S WORKS There had been rumors abroad in Germany during the past few years regarding an effort under way on the part of the Roman Catholic Church to obtain control of the Weimar Ausgabe of Luther's Works and the republication of certain volumes with newly revised text under this new management. Considering the strength which Catholi­cism is putting forth now in Germany, the rumor was not to be taken altogether lightly. We have made it our business to find out what element of truth there might be in it. It now develops that there is a certain project under way which might under circumstances permit the enemies of Luther to falsify the records and confuse the world's scholarship regarding the character of Martin Luther. There is today an organization in Muenchen headed by a former Lutheran Pfarrer, Meissner by name, the Reformationsgeschichtliches Institut, in which also Catholics hold membership. The members of this organization have weighed the possibility of completing the Weimar edition and to work over certain sections of it. The Lutheran authorities which control the publication of the work have taken a negative stand, definite and final, on this proposal, and the official Lutheran. Church in Ger-THEOLOGICAL OBSERVER 305 many, the VELKD, has the index to the entire work at present in process of completion, hoping to finish the job in another year. There will probably be three index volumes. While we are on this subject, it will not be amiss. to 'say that the Weimar edition of Luther's works, while the only edition which reproduces the original text of the Reformer's literary work and of his letters and conversations, is in no sense the last word in this field. From its initiation as a national project in connection with the Luther anniversary of 1883, only Luther specialists of the first rank have contributed to the editorial work. Attention has been given, however, to various writings of Martin Luther on the basis of newly discovered manuscripts, and a much closer approach to the original text has in some cases been achieved. Mention might be made in this con­nection of Erich Vogelsang's Die Anfaenge von Luthers Christologie (1926), which supplies many corrections of the text of the highly important "Lectures on the Psalms," dating from Luther's work at the university before 1517. The emendations affect not only matters of spelling or punctuation, but involve new arrangements ,of the text which shed unexpected light on the manner and the date of Luther's discovery of the meaning of justification by faith. Even the work of so magnificent a scholar as Karl Holl, who added many sidelights on Reformation history and on the development of Luther's theology, has been superseded by later research. The Muenchen edition of selected works of Luther, begun in 1922 (second edition in 1938), contains improvements over the text of the Weimar edition. For the compre­hensive study of the great Reformer's work, however, there is as yet no substitute for these splendid 87 volumes, and the index now in course of preparation will crown the usefulness of W A. TH. GRA.EBNER JOHN THE BAPTIST'S BAPTISM In Theologische Zeitschrift, published by the theological faculty of the university of Basel (November-December, 1949), Professor Joachim Jeremias of the University of Goettingen contributes an article in which he compares the Baptism of proselytes with the Baptism administered by John the Baptist. The article is directed against Wil­helm Michaelis, professor of theology at the University of Bern, who had, in several articles, expressed the opinion that the Baptism of proselytes may not be introduced for an understanding of John the Baptist's Baptism and that the latter's Baptism must be regarded as a uniqUe phenomenon. In opposition to Professor Michaelis, Professor Jeremias, who reviewed the evidence presented by Professor Michaelis, 20 306 THEOLOGICAL OBSERVER comes to the conclusion that the Baptism of proselytes does suggest remarkable affinities with that of John the Baptist. He attempts to show that the Baptism of proselytes has the two aspects of forgiveness and eschatology. Professor Jeremias even sees in John the Baptist's Baptism the antitype of the Baptism in the wilderness referred to by Paul in 1 Cor. 10: 1 ff. In examining the New Testament materials dealing with John the Baptist'S Baptism, one is impressed by the fact that nowhere do the sacred writers establish any kind of relationship between the Bap­tism of proselytes and the Baptism administered by John the Baptist, just as little as they indicate that John the Baptist was an Essene. Furthermore, the people who came to be baptized by John were not pagans who applied for admission to the Jewish communion, but Jewish people from Jerusalem, Judea, and all the region roundabout the Jordan. Finally, one may not overlook that John the Baptist received his commission to baptize directly from God (Luke 3: 2) and that the most peculiar feature of his Baptism was that it was a "re­pentance Baptism" ft~ a