Tuesday, September 13, 2011
From our Synodical President...
As an example, I point to this from Pres. Harrison's website:
Where J.T. Mueller’s translation has de-catholocized the original, the original has been restored. Thus for instance where Luther states “the priest says the mass” is restored where Mueller translated “the minister conducts the service.” In other places Mueller removed references to private confession, or made changes in other texts he evidently regarded as too Catholic. This tends to mitigate the conviction of Luther and Walther that the orthodox Lutheran Church is simply the catholic church gone right.
I was reminded of a great and well published theologian who listened as someone was characterizing his theological position. At the end of it all, the theologian addressed the man who had summarized him with this: "And who is this man of whom you speak?" Walther, like Luther, often suffers at the hands of his interpreters. In the end, the man no longer recognizes himself in the characterizations of his position and theology. Harrison has worked to distance the translator from such characterizations and let Walther be Walther. He put it this way:
The issue of church and office is too often a muddle among us, and Walther can be most helpful if he is allowed to speak with the precision he intended.
Any clarity that can be brought to bear upon the muddle of church and ministry among Lutherans, especially Missouri Synod Lutherans, is welcome at a time when it seems so much of what we face, so much of what the Koinonia Project will have to cover, and so much what divides us are issues of church and ministry.
We in Missouri have laid claim to Walther (for good or bad) and it is high time we heard him in his own words. Interestingly, at a recent Ft. Wayne Seminary Symposia, I heard a Wisconsin Synod teacher claim that their Synod was the rightful heir of the Walther legacy. So it is high time we had a nuanced translation that will assist us in finding out what Walther said, so we can determine what he meant, and how it bears upon what we say and mean today as a Synod!