Bayern, USA, Deutschland

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Pieper and the polemic of Scripture re. justification

Two more paragraphs from Pieper's Dogmatics


2. The polemic of Scripture against the indubitable false impregnation of works in justification.

5. The Scripture teaches not only that the justification is completely independent of works but it turns into a more abundant and sharp polemic against the introduction of the works in the justification before God calls the garments through works before God to do justice to be foolishness, they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge, the religion of the flesh, having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?; denial of Christ’s death for if 

justification were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose, with rejecting Christ and grace, You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. They say of all who want to be justified by works before God that they do not acquire justification, but rather the curse for all who rely on works of the law are under a curse, Galatians 3,10; and all the teachers, who mix works into justification, Paul twice speaks the anathema. The apostle used the characterization and proper assessment of such teacher with expressions that are our delicate to our ears and almost unbearable. He calls them in Philippians 3,2 „dogs, evildoers, those who mutilate the flesh“. The sharp expressions by the apostle, was needed at this point against the Jewish teachers of works, for some exegetes had made it a necessity. 


6. This „intense emotion expressions“ do not seem to fit the „delicate tone“, which characterizes the Epistle to the Philippians, and especially not where the apostle urges the congregation to rejoice in the Lord in the immediately preceding words. But the context is obvious. Seeing the magnificent results of the grace of God in the church at Philippi, the apostle violently erupted in holy wrath against the Judaizing heretics who threatened the whole foundation of the Christian faith and life with their doctrine of works. 

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Justification through faith

Posted below is the initial translation I have recently undertaken. I am working through Francis Peiper's Christian Dogmatics, Vol. 2, which is the second volume of a three volume set of systematic textbooks used at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. Pieper's original volumes were in German and used extensively, but as the seminary transitioned from German to English as the primary language, an English translation was needed. Work began in 1944 as Dr. Theodore Engelder began the daunting task of translation. Engelder died before he completed his work, but others finished the portions remaining in Volume 2 and a completed English translation of all three volumes was available by 1951. 

In search of a new German translation project, I decided to tackle Pieper's Dogmatics. We were always told that various paragraphs were not translated but summarized by combining them together. So it will be interesting to learn if this is indeed the case and, if so,  how much was paraphrased rather than translated. I have noted already in the three pages undertaken that Engelder did paraphrase together sentences to make the paragraphs shorter. 

Pieper's Dogmatics has copious footnotes (page 606 begins with footnote 1404!). I have omitted the footnotes for the blog post (which makes the pages seem rather short, but many times the footnotes take up half of the page in Pieper's volumes), I have translated most of his Latin phrases into English (I kept the Latin phrases intact where they are used as the Latin translation for Pieper's German phrases) and I also numbered the paragraphs (which were not numbered in the original or the translation) as I find it makes referencing easier in papers and essays.



Justification through faith. 
concerning justification
1. Justification is accomplished through faith, without the works of the law. 

1. At the very moment in which a person believes in Christ or in the gospel, that is, in the acquired Christ and proffered in the gospel forgiveness of sins, that believer is justified by that faith before God. This is the so-called subjective justification, as distinguished from the so-called objective justification that exists for the faith. Concerning the relationship between objective and subjective justification is later pointed out. From the subjective justification that occurs through faith, as Romans 3,28 says: »For we hold that man is justified by faith.« But Scripture is not satisfied arbitrarily to say that we are justified „by faith“, because this Divine method of justification well contradicts human intuition that looks and expects a justification by the works according to their natural terms of religion —, so the Scriptures are zealous to hone that every work of the law is completely excluded from justification. Romans 3,28: »For we hold that man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.« Galatians 2,16: »yet we know that man is not justified by works of the law.« Namely, every form of human works are excluded form of the justification. Excluded are 1. all external good works that people do and those done before faith such as the works of the Pharisees; 2. all spiritual good works  


flowing from faith, such as the works of faithful Abraham. Scripture also indicates reasons why God chose this strange manner of justification, namely He has completely detached justification from the law and the works of the law. God has chosen this method of justification: 1. thus giving people the certainty of the forgiveness of sins and salvation; 2. so that the object of human boasting is not man himself, but is God’s entirely unmerited grace in Christ. 
2. It is useful that we remain aware of what confronts us in the Scriptural doctrine of the justification through faith, namely, that it is a wonderful method of justification by faith. We may easily lose sight of its wonderful character, so that it fades into the background, because we’ve heard about justification by faith from our youth. But Luther was right when he says: „It’s a great thing that I should grasp and believe with the heart that all my sins are forgiven, and that through such faith 


I am righteous before God. That is certainly a wondrous justice and it is different from the justice found among all the intelligent and wise lawyers in this world (St. Louis XIII,2495). But a requirement for this „wondrous righteousness“ by faith is the „wondrous“ fact, that God reconciles all people unto Himself through Christ’s vicarious satisfaction, that is, in His heart He has forgiven their sins and this forgiveness or justification in the word of the gospel. This is to constantly point out the further exposition of the Biblical doctrine of justification. 
3. In the Scriptural proclamation of Romans 3,28: »one is justified by faith apart from the works of the law« is the article or clause through which the orthodox Church refutes the various errors over time that attempt to redefine the Christian doctrine of justification. Justification is „by faith without the deeds of the law“, and it is not based upon the „infused grace“ (gratia infusa), but is based upon the „gracious disposition of God in Christ“ (gratuitus Dei favor propter Christ), it cannot be found in man, but is found outside of man, namely, in the objective word of the Gospel (the means of grace are the means of justification), thus it is the act is not medicinal, but forensic, that is, one who is in himself unrighteous is declared righteous so it has no grace (does not allow fluctuations), as justification occurs by faith alone, and thus faith in justification can only be construed instrumental, not as a moral achievement, an ethical principle, etc., it is not a subject of conjecture (certainly is conjectural of the Romans), but the poor sinner is certain because it is precisely by faith in the gospel and completely separate from the law and its works occurs. All these clauses are articles, as I said, are already contained in substance in Romans 3,28: »by faith apart from the works of the law.« As we discuss each of the following particulars in more or less detail, we see the contrast to the various errors that confront the central article from outside the Christian faith. Also, we must never forget that we still bear our flesh,


with the opinion of the law, that is, we are afflicted with a tendency to believe that justification is by the works of the law. 
4 The 4. Article of the Augsburg Confession contains a simple but comprehensive description of justification: „Also they teach that men cannot be justified before God by their own strength, merits or works, but are freely justified for Christ’s sake, through faith, when they believe that they are received into favor, and that their sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake, who, by His death, has made satisfaction for our sins. This faith God imputes for righteousness in His sight, as St. Paul says in Romans 3 and 4.“ 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Löhe devotional for 10. January

Perhaps those involved in the events surrounding February 19, 1974 should have read more Löhe and less Elert. 

The following is from the blog "Wilhelm's space" http://kwaweber.org/2014/01/10/lohe-on-2-timothy-316/

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness. (2Ti 3:16 NAS)

The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament  are like the starry skies at night. Whoever lifts up his eyes from the dark earth up to the bright stars above sees the shiniest first – the big ones and those in the milky way. Yet as the eye is accustomed to the sight, it begins to see more and more. Finally even the dark blue of the night seems to be interwoven with light and shining brightness. So it also for the reader of the holy Bible. At first you perceive the strong and catchy verses, which are obviously clear and impressive at first sight. Yet as you continue reading more and more verses light up until you don’t just get the flow of the story, but rather comprehend the perfect harmony, which makes up the whole entirety.
So it’s not just a wise crack to get over the difficulties of some parts, if it is suggested to let the light and insight of the clear and main parts, which make up the rule of faith and guide all exegesis, light up the obscure and darker passages.
Holy Scripture has always proven itself as comprehensible and clear. All supposed obscurity and darkness is not so much its own drawback, but rather rests in the eyes and heart of the reader. All misconceptions, contradictions and heresies projected into God’s Word – and even the most drastic lie, that God’s Holy Spirit did not reveal his truth aptly and comprehensibly in the holy Bible – are not to be blamed against God and his Holy Spirit, but rather fair and square at the doorstep of our human blindness and sinful rebellion, which impede our insight into God’s will and prompt us to disobey his clear commandments and doubt his gracious promises. The holy Word of God suffers the same predicament as the Son of God himself: For the faithful it is faithful and true, for the holy it is holy and sanctified, with the pure it is pure and salvific; yet with the wrongful it is wrong and for the children of darkness it is utter darkness and obscurity. Praise be to God, the Lord, who is the living source of goodness and in whose light we see the light + Amen.
Lord, our God! We thank you for your most holy Word, which shows us the way to you and can save us eternally. Grant that we respect, honour and love your holy Word in such a way, that we trust and believe it, gladly hear, read and learn it and thus be guided from one truth to the other until we see you from face to face, hear you yourself and thus come to the blessed peace you have promised us. Amen.  
God’s Word is our great heritage And shall be ours forever; To spread its light from age to age Shall be our chief endeavor. Through life it guides our way, In death it is our stay. Lord, grant, while worlds endure, We keep its teachings pure. Throughout all generations. (Nikolai F. S. Grundtvig, 1783-1872 tr Ole G. Belsheim, 1861-1925)
This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for the 10th January during the high holiday of Epiphany. It is found on Pg. 51 in Lob sei Dir ewig, o Jesu!   (Eternal Praise to you o Jesus!) edited by A. Schuster and published in the Freimund Verlag, Neuendettelsau 1949.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

A paragraph from Löhe on Matthew 9 for Trinity 24

With all the snow we've been getting lately, I have had more time to devote to translating. I undertook a project several years ago to translate from German the sermons of Wilhelm Löhe on the Holy Gospels. I completed that project over a year ago, minus two Trinity sermons that rarely occur in the long season of Trinity. Honestly, I was worn out translating Löhe and needed a break. I had intended to finish the last two sermons at some point, so I am thankful for the rejuvenation and opportunity to tackle those last two sermons now.

One is now finished, and the other is near completion. Thankfully, Löhe's last few sermons in the Trinity season are briefer than his others.

Here's a sample from the last sermon I'm translating. The Gospel Reading is Matthew 9,18-26 for the 24. Sunday after Trinity. Löhe preached this in 1859.

1. (489) 1. So there were still some good people among evil Capernaum. The nobleman, who comes to Christ in Cana to gain his son's recovery — the paralytic, proved the Lord's power to heal and thus also forgive sins, — in today's Gospel of the chief teacher, the ruler of the synagogue and the woman with the issue of blood were found in Capernaum. Like many others, the heart beat for the Lord in "His city!" Yet it was enough for the Lord and we hear once again from His mouth a mighty woe spoken against Capernaum on account of their spiritual resistance, for they were opposed to His miracles and sermons! To whom much is given, of him much is required! The more seeds sown, the more bountiful harvest is expected! For what is much for one, is little for someone else, and and as the case may be God gives gifts, as the case may be He expects sacrifice! But nevertheless, the souls adhering to them believed the Lord in Capernaum, and they have been praying and sighing to God in addition to the Divine forbearance is the reason why the temporal punishment of God does not befall Capernaum, which had once befell upon Sodom and Gomorrah, and in other ways come across Tyre and Sidon. After all, the meek are considering ​​Jesus' judgment and woe right rightly upon Capernaum, which may be something not unlike a huge debt, even if they cannot be completely proven from the Gospel. A debt so blatant that it brings the Lamb of God to utter woe and measure such great threats from the wrath of Almighty God have challenged that a strong arm belonged to withhold God's abolished arm. But this strong arm — I find it in the faith and prayers of those mentioned above and indicated by the small flock of Jesus, and it has urged me to point out the strength of their faith and prayer, because I can prove to you a spoken example of the fact that sometimes only a few in a village and a city intercede for God's patience and long-suffering, perhaps  an unknown supplicant thanks the Lord, and may He also grant our congregation such a crowd faithful intercessors and protect us in mercy!