Q: In Bible class the New Testament Commentary of R.C.H Lenski was mentioned. It was commented by someone that they thought Lenski was Reformed. Could you please comment on his New Testament Commentary as well as on his denominational/synodical affiliation? I love using his commentary in my personal devotions, but I would like a bit more info on where he came from and what his various doctrinal/theological biases (read quirks) were.
A: R.C.H. Lenski was trained as a pastor at the old American Lutheran Church seminary in Columbus, Ohio, and eventually became a professor there. This was at the time when the ALC was still fairly conservative and before it joined with the more liberal LCA and AELC to become the ELCA.
Lenski's commentary was for the most part very good. Most WELS pastors acquired a set of Lenski's commentaries and used them as one resource for NT study since these commentaries reflected a conservative Lutheran theology. One major drawback of Lenki''s commentaries was his rejection of universal justification - a belief shared by most ALC pastors of his time.
GJ - The Wisconsin Synod, like Missouri, likes to pride itself on its ability to study the Bible. For both synods and many in the ELCA, Lenski is the ultimate 20th century New Testament scholar. No one else provided extensive exegesis for the entire New Testament. There are some shorter commentaries, but nothing like Lenski.
Lenski knew the history of dogmatics quite well, as shown in his comments on various passages.
Notice that AnswerMan did not address the real issues, but danced around them as maladroitly as Rolf Preus and Wilken did on the radio show.
AnswerMan should have said,
- "We think God declared everyone free from sin, whether they believe or not. Lenski refuted us with Biblical scholarship.
- We think everyone in Hell is a guilt-free saint, but Lenski showed that was impossible.
- We think everyone is already saved, but Lenski undermined our opinions with scholarship.
- We think Lenski is a great Biblical scholar, but we prefer the decision theology of J. P. Meyer, because J. P. taught at The Sausage Factory."
rlschultz has left a new comment on your post "The Expert in New Testament Scholarship Got Justif...":
"This was at the time when the ALC was still fairly conservative and before it joined with the more liberal LCA and AELC"........"
There was a time when the WELS was still fairly conservative before it joined Willow Creek, Fooler Seminary, and some of their pastors became card carrying members of the Ed Stetzer Fan Club. Back then, there was hope because there was much opposition to false doctrine.