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Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:10-13 KJV

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Friday, August 9, 2019

Walther Was Not the American Luther - He Was the American Calvin

Walther has been portrayed as the American Luther, but that is a convenient lie. He was - and is - the American Calvin, a dishonest man who associated himself with Luther in order to establish his dogma, not exactly new but borrowed from another. Calvin built his dogma upon Zwingli, and Walther built his upon Calvin. The Missouri-Wisconsin sect is currently based on the new Calvins, Karl Barth and his mistress, Charlotte Kirschbaum, via Fuller Seminary and Christian News.

Begin with Double Predestination - Calvin's Chief Dogma
Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion was based upon his core belief, and that was repeated in every edition of his textbook. God has predestined a certain percentage of mankind to everlasting life and the majority to everlasting hellfire.

Everyone needs to grasp what this means before any comparison is made. For Calvinists, everyone is born either saved or damned to Hell. There is nothing that can change this dominating "truth." The preaching and teaching of the Gospel do not mean anything, because both depend on the Sovereign Will of God. If the Spirit chooses to be there on a particular day, preaching and the sacraments have an effect. Of course this is contradictory, but contradiction is the essence of Calvinism and its clones.

Because of Double Predestination, Justification by Faith never enters the discussion. Abraham is important because of the covenant, and covenant is dominant in Calvinism.

 Martin Stephan's healthy son became an architect and a pastor, but Walther made his life miserable. Afraid of competition? The stolen land, money, and books were never returned to the family.

Walther's Election without Faith - 
Removing the Non-Cult Opposition
Walther always taught Objective Justification, but the dogma of Halle Pietism did not catch on with people who read German and knew Luther well. Thanks to some serious scholarly work by another person, The Path To Understanding Justification has proven that the Missouri Synod and the WELS taught Justification by Faith, not OJ, in its early official publications.

Groups associated with the Synodical Conference were similarly wise to Luther and deaf to Calvin. Walther got rid of the Norwegians and the Ohio Synod by his series of predestination claims.

The controversy created by Walther accomplished two goals, one immediate and the other long-term.

  1. Getting the Ohio Synod to leave in 1881 and the Norwegians to depart in 1883 turned Walther's opponents into "false teachers."
  2. As WELS, Professor John Sparky Brenner has conceded, this round of attacks was intended to shore up Walther's Objective Justification, which gained ground from F. Pieper's slavish devotion to Walther's dogma.

Everyone who disagreed with Calvin was an "Arminian," and everyone who questions Walther is now - a "false teacher" or a "Calvinist" or an "Arminian" or a "Pietist."

Without Faith
Walther's Election without Faith is another version of his Justification without Faith. Are these two Walther dogmas more like Luther or more like Calvin?

Luther emphasized faith in Christ, which is created and nurtured by the Holy Spirit in the Gospel Word. He clearly taught the Biblical efficacy of the Word and demonstrated the separation of the Spirit and the Word to be the foundation of all false doctrine. Therefore, Justification by Faith is the clear teaching of the Scriptures, from Genesis 15:6 onward, the Chief Article of the Christian Religion.

Calvin's central teaching of Double Predestination makes these Biblical teachings irrelevant:

  • Faith - because being elect just happens;
  • Sin - because "once saved, always saved;"
  • The Sacraments - because Holy Baptism and Holy Communion are just ordinances;
  • The efficacy of the Word - because the Word itself has no power, since it only points to Christ.

Walther Is Much Like Calvin, 
Very Little Like Luther
Calvin was the first significant smart-aleck theologian, with his own dogma. His attack on the Real Presence in Holy Communion was not Biblical. Instead, he indulged in mockery, much like Zwingli, leaving his followers without that Sacrament.

Luther was humble about teaching the Scriptures. He believed that preaching the Word alone would accomplish God's will. Instead of creating factions, as Zwingli and Calvin did, Luther stayed in place (even as a monk in a robe) until Rome moved away from him, excommunicated him, and drove entire nations away by their persecution of the truth.

Walther and his circle followed an Enthusiast, Martin Stephan, knowing all about 
  • the man's pursuit of young women, 
  • the bishop's syphilis, 
  • the guru's family dying with that horrible disease. 
In America, Walther signed the papers created by Stephan, making the leader their bishop-for-life. When the time was right, Walther organized and led the mob that kidnapped the bishop, sent him to Illinois at gunpoint, and robbed the man of gold, books, personal possessions, and land. They even stole Stephan's chalice, a personal gift for the 300th anniversary of the Augsburg Confession.

Returning the Favor, 
Calvinism Kidnapped Missouri
A little reading shows that LCMS pastors were deeply involved in Calvinism, especially the early battle for the Bible. The Germanic bund, instead of learning the Bible from Luther, emulated the English-speaking scholars of Calvinism. One of their famous editors published against this habit of running to the Calvinists. But they were only staying on the path established by Walther's Calvinism.

The 20th century errors of Missouri can be traced to Calvinism. They swooned over the chance to be a huge, mainline denomination and began persecuting those who stuck to Luther's Biblical Means of Grace teaching. For a glimpse at this hatred of Justification by Faith, read Scaer's venomous autobiography.

So fast! Pietism turned rationalistic in one generation at Halle University, the General Motors of that fad - education, charitable industries, world mission societies. That same university was soon the Harvard of anti-Biblical skepticism, making fun of the Scriptures and calling it "scholarship." If someone looks over the current attacks on the Bible, looking for the sources, most of them trace back to the Halle faculty.

Biblical inerrancy is a sharp instrument, like a brand new single-edged razor blade or a surgical scalpel. A few mistakes later and the blood is dripping, not likely to stop soon from those precise but accidental cuts. The Calvinist style is to say, "I can prove the Bible is true," and unleash a powerful blend of facts and claims, absent such essentials as:

  1. The efficacy of the Word through the Spirit's work.
  2. The unity of the Scriptures.
  3. The clarity of the Bible.

They clobber the obvious opponents of the Bible but set up the survivors for the rationalistic exsanguination.

  • "Here's a book from Zwingli Press, proving that King David really existed." 
  • "You have to start with these commentaries. I know they are not Lutheran, but they cover everything."
  • "Fuller Seminary is conservative. It was started to teach inerrancy." (Very weak inerrancy and boatloads of Calvinism)
  • "Studies have shown why we are losing members so fast. We have to make up some graphs and study our numbers. The Free E's are growing like gangbusters doing this."
  • On Creation, Rev. Dr. Matt the Fatt says, "I believe, help my unbelief."

The Lutheran Church is not dying in America - it no longer exists. The Synodical Conference is happily joined at the wallet with ELCA, through Thrivent - shamelessly walking the road of abortion, trafficking baby body parts via Planned Parenthood, and promoting Calvinist Bible paraphrases (NIV, ESV).

However, the Church of the Augsburg Confession will continue, wherever people agree - with Luther and the Formula of Concord editors - that the 1530 confession of faith defines them.