Friday, October 21, 2011

Another great quote and wisdom from Löhe via Pres. Matthew Harrison

Löhe: "Every question has its own time."

My friend Rev. Wolf Knappe, student at Erlangen under Sasse, Elert, Althaus et alia, has graciously translated a significant document by Löhe in which he renders his opinion at some length on the debate between the Saxon/Americans and Grabau on church and ministry. It is my intention to include this document, along with Grabau's Hirtenbrief and the Saxon response all as addenda in the forthcoming revised edition of Walther's "Church and Ministry." These documents will greatly assist in helping us to understand the Missouri Synod's own public position on these matters, namely Walther's great "Kirche und Amt," while also allowing the principal players to speak for themselves, as it were. Matt Harrison.

Every question has its own time, when it can no longer be repressed, but becomes so important that it has to be solved with dignity. There has always been a blessing on such developing struggles. If the fight was often heated because of the injustice of the parties, at the end there always was the peaceful fruit of justice, the pure teaching concerning the point in question. Blessed Pastor Loeber says very correctly...: “This is the blessing of all the struggles and conflicts in the Christian Church, and the hidden wisdom of our God, that he can bring about a very sweet fruit of more mature knowledge and firmer faith for all those who open their ear to the truth, even from the bitter roots which the nasty devil allows to grow among Christians.” Perhaps the example of our American brothers makes it more clear for us; perhaps God will grant us a unity based on the Scripture for the good of the whole Church. In any case we can learn to understand that the American Church, as young as it is, because of its greater independence, is way ahead of us in practical questions, even though many among us think that we give some undeserved honor to our American brothers when we consider them equal in comparison with our confused churches.


Carl Vehse said...

Given the reference to Pastor Loeber and "American brothers," this is an appropriate time for the questions - when, where, and in what context did Pastor Wilhelm Löhe make this statement?

Was it made prior to the formation of the Missouri Synod in 1847? Was it prior to or after Löhe's description of the Missouri Synod polity as "amerikanische Poebelherrschaft" (American mob-rule)? Was it after the 1851 visit to Loehe in Germany by C.F.W. Walther and F.C.D. Wyneken to try resolving their doctrinal disagreements, and to publish the synod-approved Die Stimme unserer Kirche in der Frage von Kirche und Amt? Was it after 1853 when Löhe wrote his black-bordered letter severing his relationship with Walther and his Sendlinge who had joined with Walther in forming the Missouri Synod? Was it after 1859, when Löhe conceded that the doctrine of the Missouri Synod was the doctrine of the ministry held by Luther and the Lutheran confessions?

Anonymous said...

If it was a choice between looks alone, Lohe presents a rather dashing figure compared to Walther's less than handsome appearance.

Carl Vehse said...

It's probably not a good idea to weigh theolgical arguments on the attractive physical features of the theologians. In any case, here's the earliest known image of C.F.W. Walther in 1843 (age 32) taken from a pencil miniature by Gustav Pfau, a Missouri Saxon emigrant who was an engraver. It is in Walter O. Forster's Zion on the Mississippi, after page 384.