Full Text for CTM Theological Observer 4-6 (Text)

er die Scbafe ull terweise. wi. 5ie rfcbte Cbri,ten sollen soin. sondern auch dnnebcn den Woollen w.hr .... dass ie die Scbafo nicbt angrelfen und mit fnIscher Lohre verfuehren und Irrtum ein· fllehren. - Luther. Es i,t kein Ding. das die Leute mebr bei der Kirche behaelt denn die gute Predigt. - Apo/Ollie. Art. 2.+. II the trumpet give an uncertain Bound. who 'hall prepare himself to tbe battle! 1 Cor. L+. 8. Published for the E v. Luth. Synod of Missouri, Ohio, and Other States CONCORDIA PU:BLISHI NG HOUSE, St. Louis, Mo. 458 Theological Observer. - Stitd)lid),,seitgefd)id)tHd)es. Theological Observer. - ~irdjHdj~8eitgefdjidjmdje~. I. Aml'rikll. The Lutheran Church and the Federal Council. - Or, what is the Lutheran attitude towards unionism? The two concepts are equivalent. So we take them, and so Charles S. Macfarland, General Secretary emeritus of the Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America, takes them, the only difference being that what we call unionism he calls the practise of Christian unity. In his recent book Olwistian Undy in Pmot'ise and P1"opheoy he discusses, on pp. 188-191, the attitude of "The Lutheran Bodies. The several Lutheran bodies constitute striking exceptions to other Protestant churches in their attitudes. Here, however, we iind an in- teresting exception to the exception. While in the United States the Lu- theran bodies are but consultatively associated with the Federal Council, in Europe they are often among the leaders in the movement for unity. "In earlier days, as we ha\'e recorded, Samuel Schmucker was a great American leader. The former General Synod of the Lntheran Church in the United States was a eonstitllent body of the Federal Council until merged in the United Lutheran Church in America. which now sustains the more limited 'consultative' relationship. "Inasmuch as the Lutheran churches throughout the worlcl, because of their size and their own unity, are an important factor in our problem, it is of value in our study to record the utterance of the United Lutheran Ohurch in America as set forth in 1920 (Appendix V), which doubtless ex- presses present attitudes. This statement is characterized by the exactness which accon1s with the genius of Lutheranism. It is an interesting study in theology, polity, and practical affairs. It insists upon unity in 'con- fession' for any organic union. Desire is expressed 'to cooperate with other Christians in works of serving love in so far as this can be done without surrender of its interpretation of the Gospel, without denial of conviction, and without suppression of its testimony as to what it holds to be the truth.' Broadly interpreted, the utterance would seem to be consonant with many or most of the principles underlying federal unity, at least in possible implications. "The Lutheran churches are concerned with the uniiication of their own bodies, both in the United States and in the world, and regard this as the most important contribution they can make to any larger unity. So far as the writer's observation and experience are concerned, any assumption that they become more effectively united among themselves by magnifying their separatism from others is faulty, hoth in theory and fact. The spirit of unity is, on the whole, a pervasive force, acting and reacting in such manner that unity tends to inspire ullit~'. In any e\'ent, a loyalty that is thus created is not likely to endure. If the Lutheran churches in the United States should assume a more whole-hearted sympathy with other bodies, it may well be believer1 that this would bring a.bout, not a decrease, but an enlarging measure of Christian service on their part. There is perhaps a lack of faith in the opinion expressed by the late and highly esteemed Dr. M. G. G. Scherer that Christian unity is ever to be something hopcei for, Theological Observer. - ~itd)lid)~.Beitgefd)id)tHd)e~. 459 but never to be attained; and it may be frankly stated that in the United States the present seemingly unsympathetic and at times critical attitude of some Lutheran leaders eonsitutes an obstacle to unity both among others and within their own house. We may well believe that this will disappear with more understanding and closer association. "Reference h3.s been made only to the United Lutheran Church, as it would be difficult to interpret the mind of the other Lutheran bodies, several of which are composed of the descendants of European Lutheranism, nationally constituted or connected, and one of which, the Missouri Synod, keeps oeparate from the other Lutheran bodies. The United Lutheran Church sent representatiYes to the Stockholm Conference on Life and Work, whose report was rather critical of the meeting. This Church was also represented at Lausanne. There are 1ll1dollhte(Uy reasons for the conserva- tive Lutheran attitude, not easily understood by other groups, which make it more difficult for these churches to express an innate sympathy with unity through formal organizations. While the relation of the United Lutheran Church is consultative, its president has serYed as chairman of one of the committees of the Federal Council. Very often in local fields Lutheran pastors and laymen participate in the leadership of local councils. "Viewing Lutheranism as a world body, it should be observed that in i IS s8ycral parts there are wide differences in government, some being episcopal and others free; in liturgy and in other ways, all, however, hold- ing to what is termed the confession. In several respects they aTe the least unified of all the larger bodies or families of churches. President Frederick H. KImbel, however, recently prophesied complete Lutheran re- l111ion. It may well be hoped that this will he an influence in the direction of larger unity rather than toward exclusiveness, the latter having been the result when the General Synod in thc united States united in the present United Lutheran Church, the General Synod having been previously a con- stituent body of the Federal Council. This latter course might do no more than to delay ultimate enlargement." Those members of the United Lutheran Church who have been hoping that their Church would withdraw from the Federal Council altogether have again been disappointed. President Knubel announced in the Luthm-an of March 2 that "the Executive Board at its last meeting took favorable action to the effect that our consultative relationship to the Federal Council is to continue." He also announced the names of those who are "to rep- resent us in a consultative way" on the Executive Committee and other committees and in two departments of the Federal Council. From the "Recommendations" of the visitors to the Council, at its meeting in In- dianapolis, December 6-19, 1932, we quote the following: "There is some sentiment in our Church for the severance of all relationship with the Federal Council. This, we believe, would be unwise beea usc there is less reaSOll for withdrawal and more reason for adherence now than there was in 1922, when our consultative relationship was established." Has, then, the Federal Council peradventure been approaching the Lutheran, the Scrip- tural, position since 1922? The "Recommendations" state further: "There is some sentiment in our Church also for full membership with the Federal Council. This, we believe, would be unwise at present because, in addition to tIle increased financial burden that would be involved and in addition to 460 Theological Observer. - .Rird)lid)~,seitgefcf)id)tncf)es. the uncertainty of the future, the reasons that in 1922 moved the Executiye Board to establish consultative relationship in preference to full member- ship are for the most part still cogent." Those members of the U. L. C. who argue that, since nothing stands in the way of consultative relationship, which is a real relationship after all, nothing should prevent the establish- ment of full relationship, have a great advantage over those members who must show that the doctrinal reasons, the Lutheran consciousness, the Lu- theran loyalty, which forbid the relationship of full membership do not fol'- bid the membership of consultative relationship. Dr. Macfarland is not disposed to draw a hard and fast line between the two relationships. He would rather have the full membership; but did not the president of the U. L. C. sen'e on one of onr committees? Do not U. L. C. pastors participate in the lea(lership of local councils? Does not the consultative membership form a tie that binds us together? After an, ultimate enlargement is only, we hope, delayed. Dr. Macfarland, the cham- pion of unionism, is much pleased with the relationship existing between the U. L. C. :lllcl the Federal Council, the exponent of unionism. The visiton, protest tbat the 'consultative' relationship of the U. L. C. with the Feueral Council does not involve it in unionisl1l. They say; "vVe conclude ... 4) that, in general, our present relationship with the Federal Council does not encroach upon the independent position of our Church as fC \\itness to the truth of the Gospel which we confess, because both our experience am1 the present f;ituation and general trenus prove that this relationship does not involve the surrender of our interpretation of the Gospel or the denial of our convictions or the suppression of our testimony to what we hold to be the truth." vVe may remark here, first, that all of this applies also to those bodies who hold full memJJership in the Federal Council. TIle Fe(leral Council does not ask any of the constitutent bodies to snrrender their "interpretation" of the Gospel and to deny thdr con- victions. In this respect nothing is gained by sustaining only a "con- sultative" membership. Secondly, the fact that the U. L. C. is not asked to sunender its "interpretation" of the Gospel or to deny its convictions does not clear it froll! the guilt of unionism. Unionistic federations and or- ganizations do not ask their members to yield up their convictions. That is the very essence of unionism; each party may retain its doctrinal posi- tion anel believe in it to their hearts' content, permitting the other party to confess anel maintain the contrary doctrine. The Reformed churcl1cs which joined the Prussia,n Union were not asked [0 deny tbeir convictions. The Lutheran churches that entered the union were not asked to surrender their "interpretation" of the Gospel. Surely the Federal Council has no objection to letting its Calvinistic bodies deny universal grace. And it has no objection to letting the U. L. C. confess universal grace. And that exactly is what constitutes the Federal Council a unionistic body. Thirdly, if it has been Ole experience of the visitors that this rela.tionship (loes not involve "the suppression of our testimony to what we hold to be the truth," the visitors are asked to make the experiment of bearing Lutheran testi- mony against the offenses the Federal Council is guilt~v of. When the :Federal Council in its othcial utterances, for instance, in its Len ten M edi- tations, dissemillates gross Pelagianism; when it prays: "Free us from cherishing the memory of ancient quarrels and unite us in the love of Thy Theological Observer. - Jthd)Hcf;,{)eitgejd)ic1)tlid)cs. 461 eternal huth lest we be divided by the pride of various opinions and manners" (Prayer for Reformation Sunday); and when it confers honors upon outspoken ::vrodernists, - let the visitors utter their protest, as they are bound to do by their Lutheran love of the truth and hatred of false teaching; let them bear their testimony, consultatively or otherwise, and they will promptly he called to order. Let the various bodies making up thc Council refuse for but onc session to suppress their testimony to what they hold to be the truth, and the Council will be split wide open. Fourthly, the phrase "our 'interpretation' of the Gospel" belongs to the native speech of unionism. E. Roman Catholics Complaining about the Curtailment of Re- ligious Liberty. - A Roman Catholic 11'110 sets himself up as a champion of religious liberty is rather an odd spectacle. Recently the Oommonweal, a well-known Roman Catholic weekly, delivered itself of these sentiments: "With the right of religious liberty being completely denied in our country by such active workers and agitators among others as the Communist party - who have taken over the perennial struggle to abolish this right from the now happily defunct Ku Klux Klan - and with the right in fact being successfully suppressed by violence and forced indochina tion in numerous countries in the world to-day, the friends of this fundamental human right, this VC1T arcanum of refuge for the harried human soul, must realize that they lleed to exert themselves to defend their heritage as free lUell and WOmbl. Fortullately we are noc .V"et a beleaguered people ill the united States, and while we are not, it is certainly appropriate to take decent and positive occasions to celebrate and to identify in the public mind the positive value of the great principle of religious liberty." In the same issue the Oommonweal states that, when the anti-Semitic outlmrst in Germany is spoken of, it must be rememhered that "far greater and more destructive and even bloody outrages have heen, and still are, directed against Catholics and their human Tights of personal freedom and against the rights and liberties and property of their Church in such countries as Mexico and Spain and Russia." \Ve by no means wish to approve of religious persecution directed against Roman Catholics, but ,,-e ask, How will the Commonweal harmonize its glorification of religious liherty with the ex-catheMo, pronouncements of Popes Pius IX and Leo XIII on this subject? A. The Catholic Press Month. - Under this heading the Lutheran Herald writes editorially: "vVe may learn many things from the Catholics. One thing is loyalty to the Church. They have their annual Press Month when all the priests stress the importance of keeping informed on the doings of the Church and urge every family to subscribe for at least one Catholic paper and magazine. In this way they will know what is going 011, and there will be a yvell-informed and enthusiastir group opinion on the part of the Catholic laity to support what the CllUrch stands for on religious, moral, social, and other questions continually discussed in the secular press. Speaking over a Catholic radio station Dr. Daly of New York referred to the Catholic Press Month as an event of great importance and declared 'its success will be a barometer of the interest on the part of our people in the larger aspects of the Church's life.' 'It is in perpetuating the good work done on the air and in the creation of a new and greater 462 Theological Observer. - .reitdjlidj~.seitgefd)idjtlicf)e~. Catholic consciousness that a strong, virile, active Catholic press is an ab- solute necessity.' They quote Pope Pius X as saying: 'In vain will you found missions and build schools if you are not able to wield the offensive and defensive weapons of a loyal Catholic press.' Pope Benedict XV is quoted as saying: 'The work of the Catholic church-papers has been most praiseworthy. They have been an effective auxiliary to the pulpit in spreading the faith.' " The lesson which the Lutheran H emld wishes to impress upon its readers by its timely and vital editorial is of course obvious. While the He1'ald has much to say in praise of the loyalty of its readers, it cannot be denied that only too many are inclined in this time of depression to discontinue their subscriptions. But just because of the prevailing de- pression, Christians, for obvious reasons, should be most diligent in study- ing their church-papers. J. T. M. Death of Dr. Doermann. - Dr. H. K. G. Doermann, dean of the Luther Seminary at St. Paul, Minnesota, died February 10 at his home there. He had been suffering from heart trouble, and the end was not unexpected. Henry Karl Gotthilf Doermann was the eldest son of Pastor .John Henry Doermann and Maria, nee Allwardt. He was born on New Year's Day of 1860 in Olean, New York. He received his first schooling in the parish-school of his father's congregation, then in Bremen, Randolph County, Illinois. There he was confirmed and after confirmation entered Concordia College at Fort Wayne, Indiana. Upon being graduated, he re- ceived his theological training in Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. In the spring of 1882 he was ordained and became pastor of his first parish, Zion Church, South Chicago. In the fall of 1888 he accepted a call to the theological professorship of the practical Seminary at Hickory, North Carolina. For ten yeaTs he led the affairs of that institution. When his father retired from the active ministry in Blue Island in 1898, he accepted the call to Blue Island, Illinois, and served the congrega- tion of the First Lutlleran Church until 1906. Then he was called to the theological professorship of Luther Seminary at St. Paul. There he served until the end as professor and clean of the institution. Of his fifty years in the ministry thirty-six were spent as a theological professor. He also served his synod in various capacities. He was District President of the old Wisconsin District and later of the Minnesota District. Also, he was Vice-PTesident of the Ohio Synod for some years. Lutheran Standard. Dr. Sayce Deceased. - On February 4 a well-known scholar died, Professor Archibald H. Sayce, known for his researches in the field of Egyptology and his learning in the sphere of Semitic languages. From 1891 to 1919 he taught at Oxford as professor of Assyriology. He reached the high age of eighty-eight years. Generally speaking, he was a con- servativc. A. II. 2lu~;ltln~. "Is a Union of Churches Desirable?" - We arc glad to reprint the following excellent editorial from the paper of our brethren in Aus- tralia, the Australian Luthemn: "It is sometimes claimed that it never was Christ's intention that all His followers should adopt the same form Theological Observer. - .Ritd)tid)~3eitgefd)id)mcI)el!. 463 of worship and that, therefore, the division of Christians into various denominations is perfectly legitimate. Moreover, since the saying is true that competition is the life of trade, this must, it is said, apply also to the work of the Church, and, as a matter of fact, it has been found that a far greater interest in church-work is manifested where there are various denominations vying with each other than where there is one denomina- tion embracing the whole of the Christian community. Whilst it must be admitted that just the competition among various denominations has contributed to church activity in many instances, it must be gainsaid that the division of the Church into various factions is quite in accord with the unity of the spirit. When Christ prays for those that will be believers in Him 'that they all may be one,' that certainly indicates unity also in external organization. Divisions should be foreign to the Church. St. Paul besought the Corinthians by the name of the Lord Jesus Christ 'that ye all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you, but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.' But what is it that causes divisions in the Church to·day? Just the fact that Christians are not all of one mind and of one judgment, for what the one denomination proclaims as divine truth the other denounces as fallacy and heresy. .And why this difference in mind and judgment? They do not all scrupulously continue in the Word of Jesus. Who, then, is responsible for the rift in the Church? Those who do not base their theology solely on the Bible, who teach otherwise than God's Word teaches, whom we are to mark and avoid. Not Luther is to be blamed for the schism caused in the Church by the Reformation, but the Pope, who deviated from the Bible and made Luther's continuance in his fold impossible. The blame for division in the Church always rests with those who proclaim, and tenaciously stick to, error. Attempts that are made to weld together into one denominations that differ in doctrine usually lead only to the establishment of one denomination more; for there will be those who miss in the united conglomeration something that was dear to them in their own communion, and they will ultimately seek to reestablish the form of faith they were accustomed to. At Belgrave in Victoria the Methodists, Presbyterians, .Anglicans, and others thought they were too deficient in numbers to carryon their respective churches in- -dividually, and they therefore established a united congregation, which was to be a spiritual home for them all. But very soon Methodists, Presby- terians, and .Anglicans were establishing their own worship in opposition -to the united congregation, which soon had a very precarious existence. The union had not been on the basis of unity of faith, but of expediency . .And such a union is wrong. Let the various church-bodies first seek agree- ment on the article of faith, and external union will soon follow without much effort." A. Hitler and the Lutheran Church in Germany. - On this subject the editor of the Ohristian Oentury, Dr. Morrison, wrote a lengthy article, from which we quote a few paragraphs. "German Protestantism has never been willing to make itself felt in politics and social life. This has been -the most acute difficulty arising in such a conference as that at Stockholm -on Christian Life and Work. The German and Scandinavian delegates 464 Theological Observer, - .Rit~licf)~3eitgef~id)mcl)es, could not share in the British and American feeling for the social gospel. At the Jerusalem Mission Conference the German delegates almost pre- cipitated a division because of their fears lest world Protestantism commit itself too explicitly to a social conception of missionary responsibility. This same hesitation explains, as no other single factor explains, the aloofness in America of the great Lutheran bodies from other Protestant groups in united efforts and organizations. The Lutheran tradition has never becollle aware of the kingdom of God as a social and lllundane reality. As a resnlt it has never developed the kind of social conscience which would now pmverfully resent the demands of Hitler. It should not surprise us therefore if it lends itself far more pliably to the Hitler program of Caesar-worship than Anglican or American Protestantism, if confronted with a similar crisis, might be expected to do. "But we must not be too sure. Nationalism is not confined to those countries which have adopted dictatorship. On the contrary, the whole world is in the grip of it - from Russia and Germany to Japan. Dr. Fosdick calls nationalism Christianity's supreme rival. And Dr. Shil- lito has just written a book entitled Nntionnlism: ]Jon's OtheT Religion, in which he contends that the doctrine of the supremacy of the State is the nullification of the Christian faith. How far post-war and depression psychology may carry the American people toward the apotheosis of the State does not yet appear, but it is clear that it has already carried us far. 'When the Supl'eme Court renders a decision in which it declares that Congress is the authoritative interpreter of the will of God for the Amer- ican citizen, we have surely gone far toward the apotheosis of the State. And how far we have gone may be measured hy the fact that no one of the leading Protestant denominations in the United States has regarded the Supreme Court's decision with sufficient seriousness to declare its defiance of it. Our churches are already nationalized far more than we recognize. The whole Protestant movement llas, from its beginning, fallen in behind the chariot of the political State. What is happening in Ger- many is nothing at which the Protestantism of other nations may with consistency throw any stones. It only brings out to the light the forces that cripple and bind spiritual religion thoughout Christendom." 'l'hese statements arouse a number of sentiments in a confessional Lutheran. That the American press thoroughly misunderstands the status of Lutherallism in Germany became apparent in the discussions when it Tms announced that Hitler would attempt the nationalizing of the Church in Germany. Our brethren of the Lutheran Publicity Bureau through Pastor F. Lindemann, Long Island City, New York, issued a statement which, we hope, helped to remove many of the false impressions prevail- ing in American minds concerning Lutheranism in Germany. Pronounce- ments coming from prominent men in the U. L. C. emphasized the need of caution in giving credence to newspaper information on this topic. It is interesting to see how absolutely Dr. Morrison misjudges the Lutheran Church in its attitude toward political matters. He says: "The Lutheran tradition has never become aware of tIle kingdom of God as a social and mundane reality. As a result it has neyer developed the kind of social conscience which would now powerfully resent the demands of Hitler." Theological Observer. - itircljHcI)'2eitgcicI)icI)HicI)C5. 465 He entirely fails to see that the unawareness whic11 he complains of is the great rock on which the whole Hitler problem may suffer shipwreck. If the ideals wllich Dr. Morrison champions were governing the Luthei'an Church in Germany, we should not be surprised if Hitler did accomplish the nationalization of the Protestant Church in Germany. Where Lu- theranism has remained true to its fundamental teachings, it will not permit Hitler or a117body else to huild up a national Church similar to structures which he formerly saw in Spain and other Roman Catholic countries. A. :tete ~i1ff{;f\.1rnd)c im fntl)oHfu)cn (:}Jottc;gilicnit. ,,05in 05rei[1ltiB bon rirdjengcidjidjtIidjer ~ebelltllug" neUltt bie ,,2[. 05. Q. St" "bie 05iufuqrllng cineB neuen ffiituaIB in ber of±errcidjifdjen ~i03cfe @5t. \j5orten." 5illir Trfen bariibcr tociter: ,,~ll biefcm l1Cllen ~li±uaT toirb bet SUoU{;;pradje im @ot±eB~ bien;± ein bebeutcnber ffiaum geiDiilJr±.~ie{; neue ffiituaI, ba{; in bet toeit~ geljenben 2lnerfcnnung bet ~onBfpradje im beutfdjen