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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Syn Conference Caught Knapping - Origin of Missouri's Enthusiasm, WELS Cloning, ELS Me-Tooism

Matthew Harrison's book leaves out the most important LCMS father,
George Christian Knapp

Halle University is the Rosetta Stone of Lutheran history in America. The school was founded in 1694 to promote Spener's Pietism, in an era where Biblical studies were neglected. Spener's influence was unionistic because his ideas came from Labadie, the Reformed churchman who had been a Roman Catholic. Anyone familiar with the emotional intensity of Roman Catholic small group piety can see why this phenomenon came to the Lutheran Church via Pietism.

Like the other Lutheran leaders in America, Walther was a Pietist. I doubt whether people saw that as a denominational difference. Many Syn Conference leaders today think they are fine Lutherans, even though their favorite schools are Fuller, Willow Creek, Trinity Divinity, and Gorden Conwell. They bristle at any criticism of Church Growth, but mouth the right platitudes about Reformed doctrine. Like Spener, they are union theologians, or at least unionists.

Knapp (1753 – 1825) was the last believing theologian of Halle, and he was considered a fossil of Pietism once the school had turned rationalistic. Tholuck, who was Adolph Hoenecke's mentor at Halle, was a Universalist.

Knapp, as shown in this link, created the concept of double justification, and the English definition (OJ and SJ) was penned by his equally famous (in America) translator - Leonard Woods.

Knapp began lecturing on this book in 1789, the year our Constitution was ratified. The Woods translation was published in 1831.

Note these words about the fame of Woods and his translation:

Leonard Woods (1807-1878), was born in West Newbury, Mass., on the 24th of November 1807, and graduated at Union College in 1827 and at Andover Theological Seminary in 1830. His translation of Georg Christian Knapp's Christian Theology (1831-1833) was long used as a text-book in American theological seminaries.

And see this link about Woods and Bowdoin College.

Walther did not land in America until 1839.

According to the UOJ Stormtroopers, their fantastic formulation--universal grace without the Means of Grace--is Biblical, Lutheran, and ancient. They have to admit that all their favorite terms are really quite new.

Of course the terms OJ and SJ are new - they came from the work of Knapp and the translation of Woods. One can find in the English translation of F. Pieper the same wording used in Woods' translator note, which was published to explain the verbosity of Knapp in a few words.

1789 - Knapp lectures completed.

1831 - English translation of Knapp - used throughout the 19th century in all denominations and still in print today.

Lectures on Christian Theology, p. 318.

1833 - in English!

By Georg Christian Knapp (Halle University), trans. Leonard Woods.

Translator's note• [This is very conveniently expressed by the terms objective and subjective justification. Objective justification is the act of God, by which he proffers pardon to all through Christ; subjective is the act of man, by which he accepts the pardon freely offered in the gospel. The former is universal, the latter not.]

1839 - Walther landed in New Orleans with the Stephan group.

1924 - F. Pieper's Dogmatics completed.

1932 - Brief Confession of the LCMS, 1932, canonized UOJ.

1953 - F. Pieper's Dogmatics translated into English.

1987 - Justification Theses of the LCMS mixed up OJ and SJ into one foul stew.

1997 - Robert Preus repudiated UOJ in Justification and Rome.

The term General Justification (same as UOJ) was used by Burk, who was also a Pietist. He was the son-in-law and close collaborator of Bengel. Hoenecke quoted Burk favorably but did not get into a UOJ fever. Hoenecke studied under Tholuck (Halle), and Tholuck followed Knapp. At this point I would find it schocking if Hoenecke did not mention this concept in his book.

The terms used--OJ, UOJ, GJ--have been understood as representing the universality of the Atonement. However, the core of UOJ is something apart from the Atonement. UOJ means that God has declared every single person absolved of sin. Therefore, everyone in Hell has the status of guilt-free saints.

The Syn Conference, by neglecting the efficacy of the Word, fell into a subtle form of Enthusiasm, its toxins masked by the apparent upholding of the Word and Sacraments. The Syn Conference has been caught knapping.


bruce-church ( has left a new comment on your post "Syn Conference Caught Knapping - Origin of Missour...":

One can tell right away what the main issue of Harrison's synodical presidency will be. The LCMS et al, and especially Rev Rolph Preus, will have to go through a five-step Kübler-Ross process to deal with Walther's knapping. Of course, with alcohol abuse so rampant in the Midwest, some will have to go through a 17-step process: first the 12-step AA program, and then the Kübler-Ross steps: 1. Denial and Isolation. 2. Anger. 3. Bargaining. 4. Depression. 5. Acceptance.


GJ - So far they refuse to deal with the concrete evidence of UOJ being kelmed from Knapp by the Conference. I imagine, based upon unwarranted optimism, that someone at a seminary will discover the facts in about 20 years. Few will accept that unless a Synodical expert says so.