Friday, August 12, 2011

This Just In...

Go to Cyberbrethren to find out what's new at CPH... the first look at the cover mock up for the Lutheran Study edition of the Apocrypha (not Scripture but not unimportant to understanding Scripture and included in Lutheran Bibles from the earliest of Lutheran history.... and soon to return to us). 

Cheers to CPH!!

This edition of the Apocrypha is set up just like the Lutheran Study Bible so it will be familiar in appearance to those already using TLSB.  I hope that it will help to clarify something that has become something largely unknown and largely misunderstood to Lutherans for more than a hundred years.  I personally cannot wait for this to be listed for sale!


Carl Vehse said...

This edition of the Apocrypha is set up just like the Lutheran Study Bible...

Except of course, the Apocrypha is not God’s own Word and Truth without error (inerrant), that is Holy Scripture, the Old and New Testament, that is the Bible.

Anonymous said...

Luther did consider the Apocrypha useful reading but did not put it on the same level as the Jewish canon which Lutherans and most Protestants/Evangelicals find in their Bibles.

Interestingly, Roman Catholics and the Orthodox, with some minor variations, accept some or all of the Books of the Maccabees but only Rome developed the doctrine of purgatory from them.

Oh well. As Sister Maureen, OSU, my spiritual director when Itold was in RCIA, "purgatory" and some other Roman teachings were the church's way of trying to answer the questions of the laity as to "why" something was this or that way in the RC.

Very handy.

Anonymous said...

The publishing of the Apocrypha by
CPH is a business decision to make
money as well as an academic decision
to whet the appetite of the laity.

Time and money could be better spent
reading the Holy Bible in large print
with the goal of knowing Christ
instead of knowing about God.

BrotherBoris said...

Actually, the Jews DO make use of the Apocrypha, a fact rather unknown amongst most Gentiles. The Jews have a standard Prayer Book, which they call the Siddur. It contains the liturgical services for every Jewish feast and holiday. If you look up the Feast of Hanukah you will see reading appointed from the book of Maccabees, reading about the story of Judas Maccabeus and his victory over the pagan Greeks that defiled the Temple in Jerusalem. All the Jews read these texts from Maccabbes.

However, while the Jews do read from the Apocrypha at times, they do not put it on the same level as the Torah of the Psalms. But they do make use of it liturgically. Saying the Jews "reject" the Apocrypha is simply untrue.

Anonymous said...

SET UP like the Lutheran Study Bible! Not IS the Lutheran Study Bible! Pastor Peters made is abundantly clear at the beginning that we do not consider the Apocrypha to be the Word of God. What is the incessant need to make an issue over what was made perfectly clear at the start. Di you read what he wrote?????

Lurker said...

If CPH were so interested in making money they would hawk the lastest crap from the happy clappy churches and sell the stuff by Rick Warren, Mark Driscoll, Joel Osteen, etc. This was more churchly decision than marketing ploy.

Carl Vehse said...

Thanks for repeating the warning again, Anonymous. It seems that it can not be noted often enough. Even after clear statements by Martin Luther and other Lutheran theologians like Chemnitz, Walther, Pieper, and Mueller, as well as the LCMS FAQ there is at least one LCMS pastor today who teaches that the Apocrypha are part of the Old Testament of the Bible (Holy Scriptures), although of secondary rank (deuterocanon), analogous to the distinction in the New Testament canon of homologoumena and antilegomena.

According to this pastor, and his Bible study course, Pieper is wrong. The pastor claims, "The reason the Apocrypha is considered of value today is because it was included in the Greek translation of the Old Testament called the Septuagint (LXX), the primary Old Testament during Jesus' day, the Apostles, and the early Church." The pastor also states, “Jesus Calls a Book of the Apocrypha 'Scripture'." Furthermore the pastor offers Apocrypha readings to be included in the church lectionary (a book containing Scripture readings as lessons for the church year).

One hopes this pastor's infatuation with the Apocrypha is an aberration rather than a part of Lutheran seminary koinonia? Are there other Lutherans who promote the Apocrypha to try and shift the Missouri Synod’s public position on the Apocrypha? Will Lutherans be taught to accept that there are more books in Scripture (the Bible) than just the canon, or that the Apocrypha are indeed (albeit secondarily) canonical? That is why it cannot be repeated too much that the Apocrypha is not God's Word, not the inerrant Holy Scriptures, not part of the Bible.

Terry Maher said...

Great canonical Judas H Priest OSB, I read Walther and Luther usw all the time because they are useful and good to read but not equal to Scripture -- just as Luther characterised the Apocrypha.

Sirach was so commonly used in teaching what we call the Third Use of the Law (guide) that its Latin translation was called "church book" (Ecclesiasticus) by the Latin Fathers and the few readings from it in the lectionary (the real one) were not excised by Lutheran Reformers.

There is no more reason to not avail oneself of their good and use because they are not Scripture than to quit reading, or CPH to quit publishing, Walther and Luther because they aren't Scripture either.

I look forward to the volume too; just hoping the shipping cost isn't half the price of the book!

Carl Vehse said...

When books by Luther and Walther are "set up just like the Lutheran Study Bible" in look and form, and when excerpts from such books are also being recommended in a church lectionary for lesson readings during a Divine Service, then warnings about such actions will also be made.

Chris Jones said...

How can you be so sure that the so-called apocryphal books are not canonical Scripture?

As far as I know, neither the Lutheran Confessions nor the Scriptures themselves contain contain an authoritative list of books that belong to the canon of Scripture. So if I claim that the so-called apocryphal books are in fact canonical Scripture (which I do), I do not see how, on purely Lutheran grounds, you can tell me that I am wrong. You may, of course, disagree with me as a matter of opinion, but you cannot offer anything that is authoritative for Lutherans against my opinion.

The deuterocanonical books were used by the Church as Scripture (that is, they were (and are) read in public worship just like the other Scriptural books) for 1500 years before the Reformation. I think we need some pretty iron-clad reasons for deciding that they are not Scripture.

Terry Maher said...

Great Caesar's Ghost, among those who consider them canonical, there isn't even agreement on what is on the list of deuterocanonical books, or what the word deuterocanonical even means.

God bless me sideways, books by Luther and Walther are already published in a look similar to TLSB in TELL, and if we can place alongside the lectionary a new one that's a version of the RCL that's a version of the novus ordo one, who knows what some bunch of clowns, I mean scholars, might come up with next??

Carl Vehse said...

"How can you be so sure that the so-called apocryphal books are not canonical Scripture?"

Wrong question! The burden of proof is on you - Why are you so sure that the apocryphal books are canonical Scripture?

Chris Jones said...

Dr Strickert,

Why are you so sure that the apocryphal books are canonical Scripture?

Because historically they were treated as canonical in the Church. What that principally means, as I noted in my first comment, is that these books were read in public worship in the Church's liturgy, in the same manner as any other book of the Old Testament.

You are wrong about the burden of proof, because you did not read my post carefully. I am asking for clear teaching from authoritative Lutheran sources -- and that means the Bible and the Book of Concord -- that specifically defines the canon of Scripture or clearly states that the deuterocanonicals are excluded.

If you cannot show me that from the Bible or the Book of Concord, then I can maintain my opinion and remain a Lutheran in good standing.

Carl Vehse said...

"these books were read in public worship in the Church's liturgy"

Wrong answer! The Apocrypha may have been read in Church or used as the basis for hymns, but that does not make the Apocrypha canon. The Church, including the Lutheran Church, has not recognized the Apocrypha as inerrant canon and Holy Scripture. The Antichrist and his minions have declared the Apocrypha as canon and declared those refusing to do so as anathema. Luther and other Lutheran theologians from Chemnitz to Walther, Pieper, and the Missouri Synod today do not regard the Apocrypha as inerrant Holy Scripture.

You, of course, are free to maintain your opinion, but it is not that of the Church.

Chris Jones said...

Luther and other Lutheran theologians ...

Fine. They are entitled to their opinions, but their opinions are not the teaching of the Lutheran Church. You have still not shown it to me in the Confessions.

You, of course, are free to maintain your opinion, but it is not that of the Church.

The opinion of the Church (or, properly, the Church's teaching), for Lutherans, is contained in the Lutheran Confessions. Show it to me in the Confessions. Until you do, you are only offering opinions, not the teaching of the Lutheran Church.

Carl Vehse said...

"Show it to me in the Confessions."

Again. The burden of proof is on you to show that the Apocrypha is inerrant Holy Scripture.

The idea that any old writings are canonical unless proven otherwise is not going to fly in the Evangelical Lutheran Church.

BrotherBoris said...

I probably shouldn't enter this discussion, but I will. One of the unique things about the Lutheran Reformation is that it never (to my knowledge, at least) produced an official list of books to be considered as the Lutheran Canon of Scripture. This is most astounding and actually makes the Lutheran Reformation more conservative than any other Protestant group. Every other Protestant confession (except the Lutherans) has an official list of Books that it considers inspired and books that it excludes. Not so the Lutherans. In the 39 Articles of the Anglicans and in the Westminster Confession of the Presbyterians, a list of canonical Scriptures is delineated, and the Apocrypha are official excluded from the Canon of Scripture in those confessions.

You will look in vain for any listing of canonical books in the Lutheran confessions. It simply isn't there. In fact, sometimes the Lutheran Confessions actually quote the Apocrypha as Scripture. In fact, the well known Lutheran hymn, "Now Thank We All our God" was based on a text from the Apocrypha, Eccelsiasticus 50:22-24, and is so noted as Hymn 36 in the 1941 Lutheran Hymnal. Such knowledge is often simply too much for modern Lutherans, who want to make their church into a liturgical version of Calvinism or Methodism. But you cannot argue with history. Now through custom, the Apocrypha were placed by Luther between the Old and New Testaments. And in the old German bibles (even those published by Concordia) the Apocrypha were always included.

It is my opinion that the original Lutherans had a quite mild attitude toward the Apocrypha and did not disdain it and reject it as the latter Calvinists and Puritans did. True, they did not elevate it to the level of the Holy Gospels. Nor did they view it as highly as they did the Pentateuch of the Old Testament. But to imply that they spurned it and snubbed their nose at it as a relic of some "superstitious Catholic" past is quite erroneous. In fact, I think one could make a good case, if arguing solely from the Lutheran Confessions, that the Apocrypha have never been officially rejected by the Lutherans. There is not one single article in the Lutheran confessions anywhere condemning them. Sometimes the Lutheran confessions even appear to quote them as Scripture. Lutheran hymns are based on them. Some of the older Lutheran lectionaries included readings from them. Leaving the Apocrypha in the Lutheran Canon of Scripture would certainly be in harmony with this statement from the Augsburg Confession:
"This is about the sum of our teaching. As can be seen, there is nothing here that departs from the Scriptures or the catholic church or the Church of Rome, in so far as the ancient church is known to us from its writers." (Augsburg Confession, Article 21, paragraph 1).

I am convinced that militant opposition to the Apocrypha, especially militant opposition to it being put in Lutheran Bibles and in Lutheran lectionaries is a Reformed creature, a Reformed troll of sorts, who has, without authority and without invitation, infested himself in Lutheran dwellings, and who tries to convince the children of Luther that they are really children of Calvin.

Chris Jones said...


Thank you. That is exactly what I was trying to say. Not to convince Dr Strickert (or anyone else) that the Apocrypha are canonical, but to say that one cannot, on purely Lutheran principles and according to the Lutheran Confessions, say that they are definitely not canonical.

I very much agree with what you say about AC 21, and agree even more with your last paragraph: a Reformed troll of sorts -- spot on!

Carl Vehse said...

"I am convinced that militant opposition to the Apocrypha, especially militant opposition to it being put in Lutheran Bibles and in Lutheran lectionaries is a Reformed creature, a Reformed troll of sorts"

Ahhhhh. Now the ad hominems are flung out, a sure sign the bottom of the sophistry slop pail has been reached. But even such neo-Tridentine dregs will not make the Apocrypha into the inerrant Word of God, the canon, the prophetic and apostolic Scriptures of the Old and of the New Testament alone, the norma normans, from which all dogmas are judged.

BrotherBoris said...

Carl: Oh please. Don't pretend that you are being persecuted or insulted.

Can you show me, from the Lutheran Confessions, where the specific books of these "prophetic and apostolic Scriptures" that you refer to are listed?

Can you also show me, again, from the Lutheran Confessions, where these so-called Apocryphal books are condemned and rejected?

Can you explain, Carl, why the venerable Dr. Martin Luther quotes from these "neo-Tridentine dregs" as you call them, not once but three times in his explanation of the Third Article of the Creed in the Large Catechism?

I refer specifically to Luther quoting II Maccabees 11:6, II Maccabees 15:23, and Tobit 3:8.
Luther specifically uses the example of Judas Maccabeus calling upon God to send down an angel to protect the Israelites. Luther further uses this as a scriptural example of how we can, too, can ask God to provide us with such angelic protection. In fact, I daresay this verse from Maccabees may have been the inspiration for the last sentence of Luther's Bed time prayer, "let Thy holy angel be with us that the wicked foe may have no power over us."

I am quoting from the Tappert translation of the Book of Concord, page 415, if you want to read the reference yourself.

In the Apology of the Augsburg Confession (Article XXI), Melanchthon is discussing and debating the Invocation of Saints with the Roman Catholics. It is interesting that in their defense of the invocation of saints, the Romanists quoted the books of Tobias and Maccabees. It us most interesting that Melanchton does NOT tell his Roman opponents that these books are not Scripture and that he will not hear what they say. Rather, Melanchthon goes on to quote more of those books back to the Romanists, and he tells them that they are misinterpreting it. Nowhere in the Apology does Melanchthon reject those books outright or even criticize them. He seems to share the assumption of the Romanists that those books are Holy Scripture.

You can look up this reference on page 230 of Tappert's translation of the Book of Concord.

Carl, you need to relax and breathe deeply. Luther and Melanchthon were far more comfortable and at ease with these books than you are. And they didn't demonize these books either.

The demonization of the Apocrypha comes from Calvinist sources, especially the English Puritans. This Calvinist hostility to the Apocrypha is why the Apocrypha were eventually dropped from English language Bibles in the United States. Since Lutherans aren't Calvinists, Lutheran Bibles published by Lutherans in Lutheran languages (German and others) continued to contain the Apocrypha, as my old German Bible published by Concordia does. They were placed between the Old and New Testaments and were called "useful and good to read".

Get over it Carl. Be a son of Luther and not a son of Calvin.
Make Luther proud. And don't let your Romophobia make you prejudiced against a priceless part of your Lutheran heritage.