Tuesday, August 30, 2011
I read Luther's sermons to Mrs. Ichabod almost every day. We use the Baker edition I bought many years ago. I also have the house postil set. Now they are combined for a low cost.
I have given up on shaming the shameless - not that I will stop posting news. The process is so deeply embedded in WELS and Missouri that few will do anything about it. Luther wrote, "When bad is good, and good is bad, nothing can be done." The inevitable effect of natural law will do its work, as it has so many times before.
If the clergy and laity actually care more about the Gospel than they do about balancing the budget, the pension fund, and tamping down scandals, they will devote themselves to Luther's sermons. Quotations are good. I even like the ELCA edition of Luther, called Day by Day We Magnify Thee. But nothing substitutes for Luther's sermons.
Luther always believed in the efficacy of the Word and put his complete trust in preaching the Gospel. We cannot call ourselves Luther-ans (deliberate dash) unless we know Luther's sermons as well as the Packers line-up.
The bad news will occur to most people as soon as they read a few sermons. There is such an abyss between the Lutheran leadership of today and Luther's sermons that we have to ask, "What happened?"
One answer is clear enough. Walther has been turned into an idol, with a shrine, a statue to buy from Christian News, and a medal being fashioned by Pope Paul the Unlearned. The irony abounds with McCain and his Walther medal. According to Ferdy hisself, McCain is not a pastor, but McCain poses as one while deftly dodging calls to serve a congregation.
The last word on everything is Walther, who certainly trumps Luther and the Book of Concord. Moreover, Walther clearly lusted for power from the beginning, willing to do anything to get what he wanted, from kidnapping his niece and nephew, to organizing a mob against Bishop Stephan. The society already had procedures set up for dealing with such issues.
Walther had to be top dog in everything and appointed his clones to positions of power, to continue his legacy. He should be an embarrassment to all Syn Conference Lutherans, but the mention of his name is raw meat tossed to the base. Oooh. Aaah. If only we could follow Walther lockstep today! The planet would begin to heal and the oceans would stop rising. (Obama stole that line from the Waltherians.)
The biggest problem in WELS is from the Wauwatosans trained at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. They decided they did not need Luther or the Confessions. They would invent doctrine on their own, from their surpassing knowledge of the Scriptures. At this point, all loyal WELS pastors will ooh and aah. And what qualified the Wauwatosans for this vanity, pride, and self-centeredness? They had degrees from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, and studied under the Walther-Pieper-Stoeckhardt team.
Naturally, people in love with their own ideas will simply re-invent old heresies. Luther taught there are three main heresies: 1. Against the divinity of Christ. 2. Against the humanity of Christ. 3. Against justification by faith.
Walther was a product of Pietism, not Lutheran Orthodoxy. Future research, to be revealed, will show that he was more interested in his own amalgamation of doctrine than in being orthodox. Thus Walther taught Pietism in the guise of Lutheran doctrine. The triumph of UOJ in the 1932 Brief Statement was the beginning of the end for the Syn Conference.
I am going to publish a Luther sermon each week, in both blogs. Google Blogger is having problems with graphics and design, so you may see the format disappear from time to time, only to emerge again from the muck and mire of HTML code.
Luther's sermons are Gospel-centered and always teach justification by faith.
Posted by Gregory Jackson at 11:03 AM