Hyper-Euro/Sacerdotalist and Hyper-Waltherian Insights Needed

(from Pastor Rossow) I need your help. On July 24 I will be addressing the monthly meeting of the Texas Confessional Lutherans. One of the lesser goals of this website is to help bring confessional Lutherans from all different stripes together in greater unity of purpose.

One of the widest gaps I see in our midst is between those accused of being hyper-Euro sacerdotalists (giving more authority to the office of the ministry than Scripture does) and those accused of being  hyper-Waltherians (giving more authority to the voters assembly than scripture does). BTW – the “Euro” in hyper-Euro refers to the European infIuence of high church, clerical garb, etc. I  think bridging this gap is one of the keys to bringing confessional Lutherans together.

I have some clear insights on this matter but I am convinced that my presentation will be much richer and more effective if I can have your insights. So I invite folks from three distinct groups to provide some insights in the comment section of this post. 1) Those accused of being hyper-Euro/sacerdotalists: please give me a good defense of your position and more importantly provide me and the readers with  some food for thought on how you can draw closer together in theological spirit to the hyper-Waltherians; 2) those accused of being hyper-Waltherians: please give me a good defense of your position and more importantly provide me and the readers with some food for thought on how you can draw closer together in theological spirit with the hyper-Euros; 3) those of you in neither camp provide any general insights you might have on this topic.

I look forward to your insights and will keep you posted on my trip to Texas and also look forward to bringing you a report on the status of BJS in the great nation of Texas. While there I will be taking photos of confessional churches such as Pastor White’s and Pastor Murray’s in Houston, for future editions of Elaine Gavin’s column “Steadfast Parish of the Month.”

The meeting is at Grace Lutheran in Brenham Texas,  Thursday  July 24 at 11 AM. The Texas Confessional Lutherans write a regular post for this website.

About Pastor Tim Rossow

Rev. Dr. Timothy Rossow is the Director of Development for Lutherans in Africa. He served Bethany Lutheran Church in Naperville, IL as the Sr. Pastor for 22 years (1994-2016) and was Sr. Pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran in Dearborn, MI prior to that. He is the founder of Brothers of John the Steadfast but handed off the Sr. Editor position to Rev. Joshua Scheer in 2015. He currently resides in Ocean Shores WA with his wife Phyllis. He regularly teaches in Africa. He also paints watercolors, reads philosophy and golfs. He is currently represented in two art galleries in the Pacific Northwest. His M Div is from Concordia, St. Louis and he has an MA in philosophy from St. Louis University and a D Min from Concordia, Fort Wayne.

Comments

Hyper-Euro/Sacerdotalist and Hyper-Waltherian Insights Needed — 48 Comments

  1. This is my neck of the woods. Is this meeting open to the public/laymen?
    Thanks,
    Sam Lewis

  2. Sam,

    Yes it is. There are both pastors and laity that come to the meetings. I hope to meet you there.

    Pastor Loeschman – (the program director for the Texas Confessional Lutherans) if you want to chime in with any more details go right ahead.

    Pastor Rossow

  3. Thanks I will do that. Will there be any BJS specific business goin on at this meeting?
    Thanks again,
    Sam Lewis
    Elgin/Coupland Texas

  4. Pastor Loeschman says that there will be time to talk about what’s going on with BJS. I will bring plenty of promotional material including chapter start-up kits for those who are interested.

    Pastor Rossow

  5. When will you (or others) be bringing this type of conference to the confessional diaspora in the saltwater districts. There are some of us laymen here in Virginia who would relish hearing this kind of teaching.

  6. You might want to go take a look at the church in Serbin. Beautiful! Grew up not too far from there.

  7. Neely,

    I cannot answer your question directly since there are no explicit plans to do such at this point but let me offer this encouragement indirectly. We asre pleased with the volunteer work that Cantor Stephen Johnson is doing in the Northeast. He is organizing a regional chapter in the Conneticut/New York area.

    In time we hope to do smaller regional gatherings (as well as a larger national gathering) which may fill this gap for you.

    We have already started to brainstorm our first gathering which we hope to have this fall.

    We wil certainly do what we can to help fill this gap.

    Pastor Rossow

  8. Anonymous,

    Do you know if the church in Serbin is confessional, i.e. would be the type that would support Issues, Etc.? If so, we would be happy to consider it as a possible steadfast parish of the month.

    Pastor Rossow

  9. This is just a small exerpt of my many posts from LutherQuest on the subject. I believe the issue is overblown….

    >>There is a broader bandwidth of Lutherans than people realize who could bring about orthodoxy (small o) in a general sense, but somehow the categorizations such as hyper-euro and bronzie have to stop.

    Lutherans who are of the high-church variety are by and large not out to dismantle voter’s assemblies. There is a big difference between saying other forms of polity are valid and saying get rid of the voters. On the other hand I think there are Lutherans that are afraid of too much ritual and afraid of “Rome rule” to steal a phrase from the Irish independence movement of the early 1900’s.

    We need to pull together and do some clean up in Lutheranism and it starts with the Church Growth movement, then Latent Calvinism, then American Evangelicalism – we have a huge list to deal with before we fight about European style Episcope vs. Walther. Walther holds the field right now and probably will until Christ returns.

    And pastors on a case by case basis need to be dealt with for tyranny, be it CEO style or Middle Age Bishopric style.<<

  10. Dear Pr. Rossow:

    As you know, the answer to your query is balance, understanding, and Christian love and patience. The fact that we who count ourselves to be “confessional” come up short in all of these categories is sad proof of our sinfulness. Everyone of us should surely agree that God has instituted the Office of the Public Ministry (Pastors, not all of the other man- and synod-created “offices”)for the proper preaching of the Word of God and for the public administration of the Sacraments per their divine institution.

    There is a proper place for the Voters’ Assembly which we should acknowledge and which will be for the sharing of the divine Gospel. The Voters’ Assembly should see itself as serving the Gospel. This goes haywire, of course, when the Voters’ Assembly loses its respect for and understanding of the divinely-given Office of the Holy Ministry. This is sometimes due to the fact that the pastor has not properly taught his congregation. It is also sometimes due to the fact that the congregation has refused instruction in the Word of God and has become full of sinful hubris and ego. It is becoming more and more common in our day and age, that a circuit counselor or a district pres. or some other “official” has mistaught the congregation. Grrrrrrrrr to false teachers.

    Where both pastor and congregation can keep their Biblical focus on both their divine institution and their divine service, there the proper balance will exist. Where either pastor or congregation becomes full of self and begins to look upon the God-given gift of the other with disdain, it is there where everything unravels.

    Want to get ready for your presentation in TX? Do an exegetical study of 1 Corinthians 13 and present that to the group there. I have come to preach on 1 Cor. 13 when I get to preach at ordinations or installations — 1 Cor. 13 was written to a disfunctional congregation in order to set them straight by showing them that their love was totally inadequate, and teaching them that they could only depend upon (and then rely fully upon it!) the perfect love of Christ!

    As aforesaid, I know that you know all of that, and I know that I am only discerning the obvious. But, sinners that we are, the obvious must often be discovered over and over again!

    Peace!

  11. This Hyper-Euro blather of the Cascione-Otten is ignorant and misplaced. Despite the PR that goes along with fellows going a few going to Rome or the Eastern “Orthodox” the more slippery slop is Methobaptistocostalism.

  12. I would say that placing too much authority with the pastor is one of my major concerns with Confessionals (which I just recently found out I was).

  13. Based on the comments so far it may be a false alternative or even a non-existent alternative to think in terms of hyper-Euro and hyper-Waltherian.

    However, I have already had some behind the scenes comments made to me that this is a problem. I do not have any sense of the extent of the issue, but it is out there to some extent or another.

    The solution, if indeed there even is a problem, lies in getting both sides to sit down around our Lord’s word and seek to understand fully what Christ has to say about this and then build the confessional cause on the sure foundation of that true Word. Hopefully this comment string can contribute in a small way to that. Keep those comments coming!

    To Jon’s point, we do not want to waste time on archaic discussions but “anonymous” says it is a real issue. More to come…

    Pastor Rossow

  14. I am a pastor from the Lutheran Church-Canada, your sister synod to the Great White North. While we are not in the same political mess you folks appear to be in, we still have our problems, too.

    I have been recently dealing with the issue of Church and Ministry a la Walther’s Kirke und Ampt and the incoming “Loehe-ism”. One of the issues that I have been looking into was whether a vicar can commune the remote congregation at the congregations request and the district president’s okay. The truth is it has been done before but does presidence make it okay? Some have said our Waltherian polity makes it possible, yet as I looked into Wather via both Church and Ministry and his Pastoral Theology, he is fairly clear that every congregation of believers needs a pastor in its midst for the public preaching of the Word and public exercise of the Sacraments. He also agreed with Luther that there really should be no exceptional circumstance that would allow for a layman to commune someone else in contradistinction to baptism and absolution which should be done in any emergency situation by a layman.

    What does this mean? In my limited reading I am beginning to think Walther does not say what many Waltherians believe he says, and many use him as an excuse to go around the Office of the Ministry’s existence in every congregation.

    One of the troubling questions which has bothered me for a while was, “If a remote congregation with little to no funds could not call a pastor, is that congregation still Church?” A bare reading of Walther’s first thesis on Church would say that she is because the Church is merely the sublimation of all those called by the Gospel of Jesus Christ from the fallen world. Yet that is not all I believe Walther would say in our day and situation with an increasing pressure from evangelicalism to say that ‘Everyone’s a minister’. I believe, having read more than just his first thesis that Walther would say something like, ‘Yes, it is, but she is hurting and in dire need of Christ’s servant in her midst.’

    I am sorry for the long post. I am still looking into all this as it troubles me that God-fearing, people-loving pastors are falling away on both sides of this issue, some loving the people too much and giving them more work & responsibility in the congregation than they need or are supposed to have (I mean spiritual authority in teaching, like small group bible studies), and other’s loving their own position and high authority of God’s interpreter to love the people of God as Christ loves them, sacrificially.

    Please keep posting your results as I would love to hear more, and it will certainly help your brothers and sisters in Christ north of the border.

    God bless you!

  15. Rev. Kuhl,

    Thanks for your meaningful post. Long is fine when it says something and your post does.

    I have not tipped my hand much but one card that I do have is in your hand as well. You are right about the abuse of Walther. Just because the church is still the church without a pastor does not negate the need to immediately set about calling a pastor as you rightly point out. Also, Walther says that when there is a vacncy the congregation is to immediately bring in neighboring pastors to help them get a new pastor.

    Here is another little gem. In his “Pastoral Theology,” Walther suggests that the best candidate to be the chairman of the voter’s assembly is the pastor! Heavens to murgatoid C. F. W., how could you suggest such a thing that violates your own priniciples – or at least what we thought were your principles.

    Pastor Rossow

  16. Pastor Rossow,
    We’re hashing out some of this same stuff over on Wittenberg Trail in the group, “What Walther Really Said.” I think we actually stumbled onto one or two insites along the way.
    Pastor Walter

  17. Jody,

    I would love for you to post a summary if you wish.

    Pastor Rossow

  18. Maybe the best way for us confessional Lutherans to handle our differences is to be hyper-Christ and hyper-Cross. Holy Scripture teaches us how Jesus leads His church by laying down His life for the sheep. Pastors are covered by Jesus, as their white vestments symbolize, and they are free to put Christ’s flock before themselves. This may mean saying difficult things that need to be said for the good of a fellow Christian knowing the hardship and displeasure they may endure for saying it, or it could mean staying up all night with a dying parishioner. Lutheran pastors don’t need to lord it over Christ’s sheep because they know that there is only one Lord, the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Pastors practice the office of keys, they proclaim the Law and Gospel of Christ and serve His Sacraments.

    As Christian laymen we can do as our names say and lay our lives down for each other and our pastors as well. We aren’t laying our lives down to save anyone, but simply to serve our neighbor. Laymen don’t lord it over each other or their pastors through voter’s assemblies or any other means, because it would be unheard of to lord it over one of our Lord’s servants. The servant deserves the respect of the Master who owns them.

    Of coarse we still have old Adam stuck to us, so we are apt to be hyper-Self and hyper-Sinner. We are still likely to fight among ourselves like the sons of Adam, yet Christ is never far from us ready to forgive us and show us we still belong to Him.

  19. But from a purely pragmatic view-CFW et al found themselves without a Bishop and yet wanted to maintain the Confessions. Since the Confessions were written before the experience of such a lack of priest/pastor and or Bishop the folks were in need of a new polity that could be extrapolated from the Scriptures and the Confessions without relying too much on the Fathers (even though the Confessions make a clear point of saying we teach the whole catholic faith). So maybe the combo of Loehe-ism and Walther-ism is the way to go.

  20. “So maybe the combo of Loehe-ism and Walther-ism is the way to go.

    How does one combine heterodoxy and orthodoxy on the doctrine of church and ministry?!?

  21. This Hyper-Euro blather of the Cascione-Otten is ignorant and misplaced.

    As too is the blather about the blather.

    In the meantime, the real concerns about Hyper-Euro-Lutherans (i.e., Lutherans who rejects the Scriptural doctrine of church and ministry as summarized in the Lutheran Confessions and explained in C.F.W. Walther’s Kirche und Amt, and instead promotes the beliefs of church and ministry espoused by Wilhelm Loehe) continue to be a valid topic for discussion and concern as they were in Pres. Barry’s CTS Visitation Summary Report

    As for the alleged label of hyper-Waltherian (“giving more authority to the voters assembly than scripture does”), the term is nonsensical. If one goes beyond the Scripturally-based doctrine of church and ministry as understood by Walther, then one is not “hyper-Waltherian” but non-Waltherian, or maybe hyper-congregationalist (like Hoefling). Throwing out hyper-this and hyper-that only provides red herrings to avoid dealing with the real issue of whether members of the Missouri Synod honor, uphold, and teach (with no fingers crossed) Walther’s understanding of the doctrine of the church and ministry, or the erring views of Loehe and Grabau.

  22. “There is a big difference between saying other forms of polity are valid and saying get rid of the voters.”

    And in between the difference is a neglect, ranging from benign to blatant, to instruct congregations in Missouri Synod’s understanding under Scripture and the Confessions on the doctrine of church and ministry, as explained in C.F.W. Walther’s Kirche und Amt.

    And sprinkled on the neglect is some fawning over the rejected views of Wilhelm Loehe.

  23. This is from a layman that didn’t even know this issue existed two months ago. I have read posts from other sites that surprises me in its vitriol. I have been a bit shocked that this could divide otherwise confessing Lutherans to such an extent. As Pastor Preus’ latest post wonderfully highlights, this has caused me to study. Wonderful things always seem to happen when you do that!

    What is a poor layman to do? Shut up and listen to his pastor? What if he is going astray? Go to the voters assembly? Many don’t know the Smalcald Articles from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. I say go to the Word and the Confessions. Put the best construction on everything and receive the Word and Sacraments – Gods gifts to all – through your pastor. Laymen should test everything against the Word and Confessions.

  24. About the church in Serbin, I know very little, since now I live three states away. Might be worth the trouble to dig a little and find out though.

  25. Here’s something to get you started:

    In 1854 the Rev. Jan Kilian and 600 Wendish Lutherans emigrated from Lusatia, in eastern Germany (in an area that spanned parts of what was then Prussia and Saxony), in part to avoid the ongoing pressure from the Prussian Union to join the unionistic German Reformed Church, and in part to preserve their own Wendish (the Wendish were also known as Sorbs or Lusatian Serbs) heritage and language.

    However they immigrated to Texas and eventually settled in an area they named Serbin which is east of Austin, among a large group of German Lutherans who soon flocked to the new Lutheran church to hear the Gospel preached. Rev. Kilian, of course, had to preach in German so that all could understand. This caused some tension between the Wends and Germans, so Rev. Kilian wrote to an old German classmate, now here in America, and pleaded for additional pastors to help. That classmate was C.F.W. Walther, president of the newly formed Deutsche Evangelisch-Lutherische Synode von Missouri, Ohio und anderen Staaten (later known as the Missouri Synod).

    Additional history can be found in Pause to Ponder: A History of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod in Texas, by Robert J. Koenig (The Texas District, 1980).

    Pictures of St. Paul’s, Serbin are at:
    http://www.four-eight-four.org/2006/12/21/st-paul-lutheran-church-serbin-tx/

    Exterior and interior photos, and links to related sites of St. Paul’s, Serbin, TX:
    http://www.lutheransonline.com/servlet/lo_ProcServ/dbpage=page&mode=display&gid=01032013600973303708574949

    There’s also pictures on the Concordia University-Texas Wendish web page:
    http://www.concordia.edu/html/wendish/wendish.htm

    Clickable photos of the log cabin at St. Paul’s:
    http://www.stpaulserbin.org/stpaulserbin/churchphotos/logcabin/index.php?RW3SID=dc673a8d7392e09c8b149a055ecd35ec

    BTW, according to Wend traditions and celebrations:

    “The bride wore the traditional Wendish black gown which symbolized the sufferings of the new life ahead of her. During the 1890’s gray was substituted for black, and after 1900 the traditional white wedding gown became the acceptable fashion. In Lusatia the bride was crowned with myrtle. In Texas the headdress was adorned with available flowers.”

  26. Is Serbin now out of vacancy?

    Whether the church is a topic for John the Steadfast publications may be determined by the influence the District is having/has had on the new Call.

  27. To understand Walther’s view of Church and Office, it would be of extreme benefit to examine the events that led to Walther’s articulation of Church in the Altenburg Theses. Martin Stephan’s abuses of clerical authority and the reaction by both clergy and laity in Perry Co., MO were the milieu in which Walther solidified his teaching on Church and eventually the Office of the Ministry.

    One figure who often gets overlooked is Carl Vehse (not our previous poster, but his namesake). His “Protestation” is a very systematic treatment of the Church and the relationship between clergy and laity. It is interesting to note that Vehse lists three heroes and regularly appeals to them: Luther, Johann Arndt, the proto-pietist, and the author of Pia Desideria himself, Philip Spener.

    Pietism influences Vehse in a way that makes him internalize the Church. For example:

    “6. The marks of the true church are not only the outward signs–pure Word and sacrament–but also the inward–the Holy Spirit, faith, and love.”

    “8. The true church, which we confess as the invisible church, is not to be superstitiously identified with the visible church.”
    (Carl Vehse, The Stephanite Emigration to America)

    This way of thinking of the Church emphasizes inward faith (which is indeed invisible), but to the exclusion (or at least marginalization) of the means of grace. And if the means of grace are downplayed, then certainly the Office by which the means of grace are administered will be marginalized.

    Walther did well to absolutely identify the Church with the pure teaching of the Gospel and the correct administration of the sacraments. But since he was forced to answer the question of Church as framed by Vehse, the language of pietism is still found in the first few theses of Altenburg.

    Sorry for the long post.

    By the way, Carl Vehse (the poster), is that your real name? If so, it would be quite a coincidence.

  28. Rev. Ehrhard,

    You wrote:

    “It is interesting to note that Vehse lists three heroes and regularly appeals to them: Luther, Johann Arndt, the proto-pietist, and the author of Pia Desideria himself, Philip Spener.

    Regarding the supporting quotes for the 55 theses in his 1839 “Public Protestation against the False, Medieval-Papal and Sectarian Stephanistic System of Church Polity” document, here’s what Dr. Vehse said:

    “Most of the quotations relating here to in the subsequent chapters are, after Luther, taken from Seckendorf, author of the renowned history of Lutheranism.”

    “Concerning the important subject of the rights of congregations over against the clergy, there are three writings of Dr. Luther which every evangelical Lutheran ought to read through at least once in his life…”

    Those three writtings are Luther’s “Treatise on a Christian Assembly and right to judge doctrine”, “Address to the German Nobility”, and “A Treatise on Christian Liberty”.

    Throughout his Protestation document, Vehse typically supported a thesis with Scripture, then excerpts from the Lutheran Confessions, quotes from Luther and Seckendorf, and also other Lutherans such as Arndt and Spener. If there is a quote from Arndt or Spener used in error by Vehse to support a thesis, please identify the thesis.

    “Pietism influences Vehse in a way that makes him internalize the Church. For example:

    “6. The marks of the true church are not only the outward signs–pure Word and sacrament–but also the inward–the Holy Spirit, faith, and love.”

    Yep, one has to be careful about ol’ Spener pietism sneaking in:

    “But the Church is not only the fellowship of outward objects and rites, as other governments, but it is originally a fellowship of faith and of the Holy Ghost in hearts. [The Christian Church consists not alone in fellowship of outward signs, but it consists especially in inward communion of eternal blessings in the heart, as of the Holy Ghost, of faith, of the fear and love of God]; which fellowship nevertheless has outward marks so that it can be recognized, namely, the pure doctrine of the Gospel, and the administration of the Sacraments in accordance with the Gospel of Christ.”

    Oops! That section Vehse referred to comes from the Apology, VII.5.

    “8. The true church, which we confess as the invisible church, is not to be superstitiously identified with the visible church.”

    Again, the Apology [VII 13, 17, 28] states:

    “If we will define the Church only as an outward polity of the good and wicked, men will not understand that the kingdom of Christ is righteousness of heart and the gift of the Holy Ghost [that the kingdom of Christ is spiritual, as nevertheless it is; that therein Christ inwardly rules, strengthens, and comforts hearts, and imparts the Holy Ghost and various spiritual gifts], but they will judge that it is only the outward observance of certain forms of worship and rites….
    “If the Church, which is truly the kingdom of Christ, is distinguished from the kingdom of the devil, it follows necessarily that the wicked, since they are in the kingdom of the devil, are not the Church; although in this life, because the kingdom of Christ has not yet been revealed; they are mingled with the Church, and hold offices [as teachers, and other offices] in the Church. Neither are the wicked the kingdom of Christ, for the reason that the revelation has not yet been made….
    “Wherefore we hold, according to the Scriptures, that the Church, properly so called, is the congregation of saints [of those here and there in the world], who truly believe the Gospel of Christ, and have the Holy Ghost. [Ap.VII.13,17,28]

    “The circle of the believers is not visible; the church is the circle of believers; therefore the church is invisible. … For the sake of confession the circle of the church is visible… By confession the church is recognized [Propter confessionem coetus ecclesiae est visibilis… Ex confessione cognoscitur ecclesia], according to the word of Paul: ‘For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation’ [Rom. 10:10].” (Martin Luther, a university disputation of 1542, WA 39II, 161; quoted in Lewis W. Spitz, “Discord, Dialogue, and Concord: The Lutheran Reformation’s Formula of Concord,” Concordia Theological Quarterly, Vol. 43, No. 1 [June 1979], p. 191)

    Walther also quotes Luther (Comment on Galatians 5:19, Halle Edition, 8:2745): “Therefore we rightly confess in the Creed and say: ‘I believe a holy Christian Church.’ For it is invisible and lives in the Spirit at a place to which no one can come.” [p.41], and Chemnitz (Loci theologici, part 3, p.117): “The true and holy church of the elect nevertheless remains invisible” [p.43], and John Gerhard (Loci thologici, ‘De ecclesi”, par. 151): “When we say: ‘I believe one holy Christian church,’ the word ‘believe’ shows clearly that we speak of the invisible church, which is proved also by the added adjective ‘holy’ [p.43].

    “But since he was forced to answer the question of Church as framed by Vehse, the language of pietism is still found in the first few theses of Altenburg.”

    Others have described the events differently. From Walter O. Forster’s Zion on the Mississippi, p.520:

    “It was in these dark days [prior to the Altenburg Debate] that C.F.W. Walther came forward with a series of propositions which were to prove the fundamental factor in saving the colonies. The idea he advanced was by no means a new one, for it was contained in more than an embryonic state in Vehse’s writings. Walther was ready to admit his indebtedness to the Dresden archivist. Keyl and Burger joined in this acknowledgment. Later writers with a less meticulous sense of fairness, however, have given Vehse little credit.”

    And Walther himself noted at that time:

    “With deep gratitude I must here recall that document which, now almost a year and a half ago, Doctor Vehse, Mr. Fischer, and Mr. Jaeckel addressed to us. It was this document, in particular, which gave us a powerful impulse to recognize the remaining corruption more and more, and to endeavor to remove it. Without this document — I now confess it with a living conviction — we might have for a long time pursued our way of error, from which we now have made our escape. I confess this with an even greater sense of shame, because I first appeared so ungrateful toward this precious gift of God. But although many with me handled with great unfaithfulness the light which was granted to us, yet God did not cease to cause ever more beams of truth to fall into our darkness; to tear us away from many a point which we, in our perverseness, sought to hold; to uncover to us great and perilous injuries, and to lead our hearts more and more in the way of truth.” (William J. Schmelder, “Walther at Altenburg”, Concordia Historical Institute Quarterly, Vol. 34(3), October, 1961, pp. 65-81, referring to Walter A. Baepler, A Century of Grace, CPH, 1947, pp.47,48, quoting from J.F. Koestering, Auswanderung der saechsischen Lutheraner in Jahre 1838, ihre Niederlassung in Perry-Co., und damit zusammenhaengende interessante Nachrichten, A Wiebusch u. Sohn, 1867, pp.43-45)

    There is probably things to nitpick about Vehse’s Protestation document, but there is far more that was good in it, for which the Missouri Synod should be grateful, but hasn’t been.

    “By the way, Carl Vehse (the poster), is that your real name? If so, it would be quite a coincidence.”

    “Carl Vehse” is an appropriate Lutheran nom de guerre against residual Stephanistic pietism within the Missouri Synod… on the left and the right. When Carl’s no longer needed, maybe I’ll switch over to… oh, say Ole Roemer, a Lutheran astronomer who needs to be recognized more.

  29. Seckendorf is indeed used extensively in Vehse (the orignal)’s work. However, my point is that Arndt and Spener were clearly as authoritative as Luther, perhaps even more so than the confessions for Vehse. In his own words:

    Whoever holds to these three sterling heroes of our Church [Luther, Arndt, Spener], whoever learns to know them intimately, and grows to understand them–will not go astray! They have helped us from the error of our ways!

    And again:

    The Pietists, in their controversies with those orthodox authorities which Stephan in later year ever more loudly invoked against the followers of Spener, were right in almost everything!

    Regarding ol’ Spener pietism sneaking in, it is found precisely in number 6, and it is very sneaky. He says, “Not only are the marks of the Church the pure preaching of the Gospel and the rightly administered sacraments, but also the inward–the Holy Spirit, faith, and love.” The quotation of Ap. VII shows where Vehse went wrong. The Church is indeed a fellowship of faith and the Holy Spirit in hearts, which is invisible. However, the marks are outward and quite visible–the means of grace.

    If the marks of the Church also include faith, the Holy Spirit, and love, then to find the Church, one must look inside himself. Then there becomes two Churches, one internal and one external (invisible and visible). And this is precisely what Ap. VII warns against later:

    “We are not dreaming of a Platonic state, as some wickedly charge. But we do say that this Church exists: truly believing and righteous people scattered throughout the whole world. We add the marks: the pure teaching of the Gospel and the Sacraments” (Ap. VII.20).

    The point I am trying to make is exactly what the Forster quotation says: Walther did not decide to sit down and write the Altenburg Theses one day. He wrote them in a context and the context was in large part framed by Vehse’s protestation document. The Altenburg Theses take what’s good from Vehse and leaves behind the bad (the nitpicky stuff), but leaves some wiggle room to retreat from the means of grace to the spiritualization the Church.

    On a different note, it is surprising that you (the new Vehse) call Stephan a pietist (or perhaps you are defining a new brand of pietism: Stephanistic pietism). From what I know of Stephan, he is a singular individual who defies labels. One can only call his theology or philosophy Stephanism. Also, I’d like to learn more about this Ole Roemer character.

  30. ”However, my point is that Arndt and Spener were clearly as authoritative as Luther, perhaps even more so than the confessions for Vehse.

    Probably not so much “clearly as authoritative as Luther”. Previously Vehse had compared Luther to “a great, precious country”, Arndt to a singular, isolated castle, and Spener as “not so powerful as the first and not as ethereal as the latter.” And “perhaps even more so than the confessions” is a little harsh, since Vehse uses Scripture and the Confessions, particularly in discussion the rights of a congregation.

    The quotation of Ap. VII shows where Vehse went wrong.

    Vehse’s “the Holy Spirit, faith, and love” corresponds to the Apology’s “ Holy Ghost, of faith, of the fear and love of God”. But I agree that Vehse’s reference to Arndt to identify these internal signs of the heart as marks of the church is wrong. That still leaves 54 theses.

    As for Vehse’s Theses 8 on the invisible church, his support is Scripture, the Apostles’ Creed, the Apology, and Luther.

    Rev. Ehrhard, you now state, “The Altenburg Theses take what’s good from Vehse and leaves behind the bad (the nitpicky stuff),”, but earlier you wrote, “the language of pietism is still found in the first few theses of Altenburg.”. Which is it? And where?

    “On a different note, it is surprising that you (the new Vehse) call Stephan a pietist (or perhaps you are defining a new brand of pietism: Stephanistic pietism).”

    It is surprising because I did not call Stephan a pietist. Moreover, I cannot accept the credit (or blame) for the reference to “Stephanistic pietism.” In his Servant of the Word: The Life and Ministry of C.F.W. Walther (CPH, St. Louis, 2000), August R. Suelflow notes (p.54) that Walther himself admitted that Stephan did not preach pure Lutheran doctrine, but one that had “a strong element of Pietism”.

    A brief explanation of Ole Roemer’s accomplishments (with references) are given at (http://mailer.uwf.edu/listserv/wa.exe?A2=ind0708&L=CHEMED-L&P=R13112). Google “Ole Roemer” for more.

  31. In all the posts so far to your request I see only one, perhaps, that speaks to the “middle ground” or balance. In my wondering around the Confessional landscape the past two years I have several times experienced the two extremes you mention, regardless of the hyper this and that label. One of the things I have noticed is there are confessional pastors having different interpretations of what some articles of the Augsburg Confession actually say, by reading more into it to bolster their views. In many cases these affect the role of the laymen in Christ’s Church. At these times, I look at what was happening at the time of the Reformation; what was their practice? Clearly, some confessional pastors of today would not allow a laymen such as Melanchthon to have had a role in the Reformation at all. While I don’t support his stands in his later life, he can’t be discounted as a great writer of Reformation doctrine in his early years. This extreme view of some would have us with one less book in the Book of Concord, if not more.

    Having said that, I believe there is a strong case for balance in this argument, as there is in many others, such as between Pietism and works righteousness. That balance can only be obtained by a well educated laity and that can in fact judge its shepherd in a fair and loving way, when neccessary. A well-founded confessional pastor would make it seem as though there was no visible balancing act gong on. Power among us is a real and present danger that is sin based and a negative force in the Church. We suffer mightily from it.

    I also believe our present difficulties in the church are from a lacking of Biblical and Confessional training/education, as has been demonstrated by some posts above and in other places. That lack of training and education has been going on for years, essentially my adult lifetime, we now are reaping what has been sown. I like to recall the words of C.S. Lewis, when he said, “Christianity is not an experience, it is an education.”

    We are all members of the Royal Priesthood, and as such, pastors are set apart by their calling as shepherd/servants, not above, as overlords. Laymen are what they are, sheep in the fold, not usurpers and wandering fools imitating the world and bringing those practices into the church.

  32. Gene,

    There is a lot of wisdom in what you say. i would fine tune it by not using language such as “middle ground.” Such a term suggests checks and balances.

    As you suggest, the scriptures do not pit the ordained against the laity. Insteada of terms like “middle ground” I like to speak in terms of “duties” and “responsibilities.” The scriptures give responsibility and duties to each calling.

    The calling of the ordained is to preach and the calling of the laity is to listen to that preaching. The ordained one is to preach not in a over-bearing way, but speaking the truth in love. When the laity do not hear the voice of the Good Shepherd (this requires the education that you speak of) they are to rebuke the pastor – again not in some over-bearing way but speaking the truth in love.

    Pastor Rossow

  33. Gene White writes:

    “Clearly, some confessional pastors of today would not allow a laymen such as Melanchthon to have had a role in the Reformation at all.”

    Mr. White, would you please point out for us exactly which pastors are going around condemning Gene Veith, Craig Parton, Mollie Hemmingway, and the like?

    Instead, I see Confessional pastors nearly universally *pushing* their laity to read what these folks write (just like we pushed “Fire and the Staff” and “Why I Am a Lutheran”). Indeed, it is the sort of over-the-top statement that you have made, above, that will make pastors extremely wary of exposing those in their care to some of what some Lutheran laymen are proposing (read: “that will make shepherds protect the flock of Christ as they are Called to do”).

    As to the over-arching issue, here, Pr. Rossow’s seeking to find the ‘meeting place’ of the Hyper-Euros and the Hyper-Waltherians, I pray the Lord’s blessings upon his endeavor because I have seen and been involved in that interaction since about the time it began–and am still quoted out of context by the Vehseites at every opportunity (cf. Jack Cascione’s recent ‘news release’ at Dan Woodring’s joining the church of the Antichrist). Pr. Rossow, any sensible person will come to the conclusion that even the bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America is not all that far from Walther…but that’s not what people aligned with Jack Cascione want: they want you to say that the Voters’ Assembly is ‘supreme’ and God-ordained. Whatever in the Confessions is stated of congregations OR of “The Church” is attributed by them to “the Voters’ Assembly,” as if there had always been such a thing. Pr. Cascione has even spoken against bishops in other Lutheran bodies around the world

    Had it been only I that had gotten fed up with the invalid arguments, the baiting, and the twisting of words that Pr. Cascione and company have done, I would conclude that his labeling me as a Hyper-Euro scum was fitting. However, when he and I argued about these matters back in 1999 and I had to conclude that he was neither reading what was actually written by me, nor fairly quoting John Wohlrabe’s doctoral dissertation, I asked Dr. Wohlrabe to step in and correct Pr. Cascione. After Dr. Wohlrabe went around in circles, he also concluded that Pr. Cascione was either unwilling or unable to read what had been written. This led to Kurt Marquart debating Cascione on these matters in Christian News…and concluding that Cascione was either unable or unwilling to read.

    This, sir, is what you are up against. C.F.W. Walther argued in his 1848 address to the synod that “we must preach to our congregations that the choice of polity is an inalienable part of her Christian freedom and that Christians are subjected to no authority in the world concerning the structure of the Church,” but even that quote of Walther is rejected by the Vehseites (showing that they are not Hyper-, but Pseudo-Waltherians). Some may now try to deny it, but it is that sort of thing–along with the incessant fear-mongering and accusatory tone (“More than 1200 LCMS Pastors Now Think That There Is a Sacrament of Ordination!!!” etc.)–that you will have to battle against.

    What can you expect as the result of your well-intentioned efforts? Jack Cascione’s congregation left the LCMS because they saw that after I followed Waltherian polity to a ‘T’, an LCMS district president entered my congregation without consulting our officers or Voters’ Assembly (much less, the pastor) and started a conventicle (and the Commission on Constitutional Matters said the DP had the right to do so). In fact, Pr. Cascione called me “a good congregationalist” at the 2004 LCMS convention…yet wants to implicate me and my alleged Hyper-Euroism of helping Dan Woodring into Rome. I sincerely hope that things go better for you, and so I urge you to the utmost of caution. I further urge you to acquire a list of alleged ‘Hyper-Euros’, so that you might actually see what they teach and practice; I reckon that once you get such a list, you’ll find that most of the names need to be crossed out.

    Fwiw,

    EJG

  34. Rev. Stefanski “hyper”-ventilated:

    “[I] am still quoted out of context by the Vehseites at every opportunity (cf. Jack Cascione’s recent ‘news release’ at Dan Woodring’s joining the church of the Antichrist).”

    … that quote of Walther is rejected by the Vehseites (showing that they are not Hyper-, but Pseudo-Waltherians).”

    It is unclear to what “Vehseites” or their use of his quotes Rev. Stefanski is referring, but the single example of Rev. Cascione’s news release on Dan Woodring did not rely, refer, or base any comments to anything attributable to Vehse.

    As for Rev. Stefanski’s claim that Vehseites reject the quote of Walther, that silly notion, along with his alleged label, can be dismissed by simply referring to the position espoused by the most rabid Vehseite of all, Dr. Carl Eduard Vehse, who wrote regarding church polity:

    “The choice of a bishop or adoption of an episcopal form of church government is a matter for the congregations, not for the pastors. The clergy may accept the office of bishop or an episcopal form of church government if the congregation decides to confer it upon them and if they find it to be for good.”

  35. Mr. Strickert, as usual, decides to make everything into a game, writing, “It is unclear to what ‘Vehseites’ or their use of his quotes Rev. Stefanski is referring, but the single example of Rev. Cascione’s news release on Dan Woodring did not rely, refer, or base any comments to anything attributable to Vehse.”

    Rick, please, a tiny bit of NOT proving my point would be helpful (to you). Please do not play like you don’t know what I’m talking about; other folks reading here may not know you or me that well, but I would think that your responses (and mine) ought well bear the marks of the fact that we have been typing to, at, and past each other for a decade or more.

    Cascione sees Woodring go to Rome, and he therefore brings up a quote of Woodring (in which Woodring was RIGHT) and my saying that Woodring was right as ‘proof’ of what Hyper-Euroism leads to. Such is always the case, and it stems from Cascione’s need to prove his Pseudo-Waltherian position correct pragmatically (since he cannot do so from Scripture and the Confessions–much less, from Walther). Vehse is ‘beyond Walther’ and Cascione is ‘beyond Walther’, so it has been easy to refer to Cascione’s followers as ‘Vehseites’ and better, imo, than using a term that falsely indicates actual adherence to Walther on his/their part.

    When you further write: “As for Rev. Stefanski’s claim that Vehseites reject the quote of Walther, that silly notion, along with his alleged label, can be dismissed by simply referring to the position espoused by the most rabid Vehseite of all, Dr. Carl Eduard Vehse,” I have to admit that I am shocked to hear you say that Vehse was his own most ardent follower, as it’s hard to believe that he read himself as thoroughly as you have read him. Nonetheless, I am hoping that you will continuously post that quote to Pr. Cascione, so that he might cease his condemnations of those who (like me) tend to agree with Vehse and Walther on this point. Unfortunately, as recently as 8/17/07, Cascione is on record as condemning the Rev. Paul McCain for being a “sacerdotalist” because McCain didn’t think “that one of Bishop Lytkin’s highest priorities must now be to establish ‘supreme voters’ assemblies.'” When McCain replied that “Voters’ assemblies are fine and good, if that is how a Lutheran congregation chooses to organize itself, but there is certainly nothing ‘divinely mandated’ about a voter’s assembly, anymore than there is anything ‘divinely mandated’ about the historic episcopate,” Cascione responded, “If Paul McCain wasn’t an LCMS pastor, his comments supporting Lutheran Bishops and questioning the necessity of supreme Voters’ Assemblies could be understood as uninformed rather than promoting Sacerdotalism.”

    Since I am more than comfortable allowing you to be Vehse’s spokesman in this era, if you tell me that you and Eduard disagree with Cascione’s statements, I will be happy to retract the term Vehseism and return to “Hyper- that is, Psuedo-Waltherianism” as the proper term by which to speak of what Pr. Cascione and his cronies wish to insist upon (since, I think, you have as ably demonstrated his position to be as contrary to Vehse as it is to Walther).

    Or, possibly, we could go with ‘Mundingerlings’…

    EJG (BTW…could you supply us with a page reference for that Vehse quote? I’d like to keep that handy.)

  36. Just a note to the website administrator: It would be handy if on the ‘comment’ form you would indicate what form(s) of text markup are available…that is, should a call to italics be made via regular html, using ” symbols or using ‘[‘ and ‘]’…or is it something else? I’m going to try both in this note, in the hope that one or both will work…italics or [i]italics[/i]. Little things like that help those of us who are more comfortable with more primitive means of communication.

    EJG

  37. “I have to admit that I am shocked to hear you say that Vehse was his own most ardent follower, as it’s hard to believe that he read himself as thoroughly as you have read him.”

    I didn’t say “Vehse was his own most ardent follower”. (Perhaps Fischer or Jaekel may claim that.) I said that he was “the most rabid Vehseite of all” as the writer of what was described at the time of the Altenburg Debate as “this most precious gift of God” (Does that make the describer an “ardent follower”?)

    “Or, possibly, we could go with ‘Mundingerlings’…”

    Perhaps, given the amount of space on this thread you have devoted against him, you could go with “Cascioneite”.

    “BTW…could you supply us with a page reference for that Vehse quote?”

    It’s on page 153 of Vehse’s book or p. 116 of Fiehler’s translation. You might also consider Vehse’s Thesis 16 and supporting evidence:

    In general, too much importance should not be laid on the outward polity of the church.

    Luke 17:20. “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation.”

    Luther, writing about the Council of Nicaea, strongly declares himself, Jena ed. VIII, 249: “Disputes about the outward temporal polity of the church are for the most part just monkish quarrels, involving more of honor, authority, and prestige than of God and his kingdom.”

    OTOH, Vehse had this to say in Thesis 37:

    Institutions that run to splendor and great authority for the clergy are not Lutheran, but papistic.

    Luther, writing of the papist Emser, quoted in Seckendorf, History of Lutheranism, translated by Frick, p. 222: “The splendid vestments and great authority of priests in the Old Testament were not to be the glory of the New Testament but were a foretype, which is now disregarded. Now we have a rule of the Spirit, which neither needs ornament nor is embellished thereby. Emser is disgusted by that kind of glory; therefore he seeks the shades of temporal honors in the Old Testament.”

    YMMV.

  38. I didn’t say “Vehse was his own most ardent follower”. (Perhaps Fischer or Jaekel may claim that.) I said that he was “the most rabid Vehseite of all” as the writer

    It’s all in the ‘ite’ suffix; I think that Vehse would be as against being known as a Vehseite as Luther would be against being called a ‘Lutheran’.

    Perhaps, given the amount of space on this thread you have devoted against him, you could go with “Cascioneite”.

    No, that would be ‘Cascionistas’; ‘Mundingerlings’, though, has a nice ring to it, and since he is the apparent source of Jack’s theology, it seems to fit. Or, are you saying that Mundinger is also in agreement that bishops are okay?

    Wrt “the amount of space on this thread,” perhaps you might want to recall what this thread is about: Pr. Rossow’s attempt to deal fairly with the claims of ‘both sides’–and, in reality, those sides are A) Pr. Cascione and those who associate with him and B) Nobody. The spectre of sacerdotalism lurking in every corner (or even beneath every chasuble) is the creation of Pr. Cascione’s imagination, which a decade of repetition has stirred into a fair bit of ‘mass hysteria’. Cascione and his followers make claims about these vast numbers of pastors, and no one is saying/doing what Jack says they are. Otoh, you have Jack doing exactly what I’ve said he’s doing…and you simply avoid speaking to that.

    That is: you and I both agree that Walther and Vehse say that bishops are okay…but Pr. Cascione calls Paul McCain a ‘sacerdotalist’ for not insisting that the Europeans institute ‘Waltherian’ polity…yet, Pr. Cascione is the ‘recognized leader’ of those who are fighting the evil Hyper-Euros. It would seem to me that a guy who would claim the name of a man who repudiated the excesses of Stephanism would want to also repudiate the excesses of Cascione’s brand of Pseudo-Waltheriansim.

    Oh, and btw: there has to be reference made to Walther in naming the ‘Cascione Party’. Why? Because he claims to be ‘Reclaiming Walther’! Rather, he has defamed Walther and made him repugnant…which is, I think, a horrible thing.

    It’s on page 153 of Vehse’s book or p. 116 of Fiehler’s translation.

    Thanks much!

    In general, too much importance should not be laid on the outward polity of the church.

    Indeed!

    OTOH, Vehse had this to say in Thesis 37:

    Institutions that run to splendor and great authority for the clergy are not Lutheran, but papistic.

    Certainly…which is why even the only Confessional Lutheran body in this country with a bishop gives no “splendor and great authority” to him or any of its clergy. The Office of the Ministry is adorned, but only in that it is clearly marked as Christ’s own Office; it’s ‘royalty’ is simply in its being Christ’s Office, and the men who occupy it must do so most humbly, recognizing that vestments, etc., are to distinguish between the unworthy man in the Office and the glory of an Office through which the Lord of the Church works in spite of those unworthy men. The vestments, etc., add nothing to the ‘validity’ of the Office, but they serve to teach the people of God through all their senses just what that Office is.

    My MPG may, indeed, be different from what you intended with your quote, though I hope not, as it is consistent with the overall teaching of Luther and the Confessions.

    Anyway…are you of the opinion that Pr. Cascione’s teachings are beyond Walther, or not? And, do you agree with Walther and Vehse that an episcopal system is not necessarily ‘papistic’, etc.?

    EJG

  39. “It’s all in the ‘ite’ suffix”

    And the first Stephanite was Martin Stephan.

    “No, that would be ‘Cascionistas’”

    Well then, use that… unless you prefer “hyper-Cascionistas”.

    “Or, are you saying that Mundinger is also in agreement that bishops are okay?”

    I didn’t say anything about Mundinger.

    “That is: you and I both agree that Walther and Vehse say that bishops are okay”

    No, I didn’t agree that Vehse said anything like that. I agreed that Vehse said that congregations are the ones who decide if bishops and episcopal form of church government is their choice.

    “And, do you agree with Walther and Vehse that an episcopal system is not necessarily ‘papistic’, etc.?”

    Again, you are putting words in Vehse’s mouth that are not indicated by the earlier quotes. Vehse said that the choice of adopting an episcopal system is a matter for the congregations to decide. He didn’t say such an episcopal system would not be (or become) papistic.

    In fact Vehse quotes (Fiehler, p.75) Luther from a letter to the Christians in Erfurt in 1527 (Works, Altenburg ed. III, 808): “I am not minded–and may God keep me there from–to gain authority for myself to be judge and ruler over other preachers, lest I thereby begin another papacy; rather I would commend them to Christ, who alone shall rule over his heralds in Christendom.”

  40. Really, Mr. Strickert, more playing out of you?

    Based on what you wrote, I summarized:

    “That is: you and I both agree that Walther and Vehse say that bishops are okay”

    and then you wrote back

    No, I didn’t agree that Vehse said anything like that. I agreed that Vehse said that congregations are the ones who decide if bishops and episcopal form of church government is their choice.

    ? So, you are saying that Vehse believes that it is all right for the congregations to choose an unacceptable form of governance? What a truly bizarre teaching this is! It is up to the congregation to choose whether it wants the ‘right’ form of church governance or the ‘wrong form’ of church governance? Apparently he meant the exact opposite of Walther, then, his “In general, too much importance should not be laid on the outward polity of the church,” being nothing like Walther’s “we must preach to our congregations that the choice of polity is an inalienable part of her Christian freedom and that Christians are subjected to no authority in the world concerning the structure of the Church.”

    C’mon, Rick, play straight: did Vehse and do you admit that there is nothing wrong with a congregation choosing episcopacy? Or are Vehse’s (and Walther’s?) words about the choice of polity meaningless–or, worse, giving a congregation the ‘right to sin’ (ala, “a congregation has the right to remove its pastor even when there is no scriptural basis” or “a congregation has the right to adopt ‘open communion’ as long as the majority of the Supreme Voters’ Assembly says it’s okay”)? Surely it can’t pain you that much to say that Walther and Vehse had a preference for a non-episcopal system, but did not declare episcopacy ‘sinful’…and that, it not being sinful, it is a perfectly legitimate option (as long as the congregations choose it rather than having it forced upon them). That’s what their words, in their simplest sense, indicate…and I must confess that I am having great difficulty getting around that simple sense to see why you felt the need to answer as you did.

    Vehse said that the choice of adopting an episcopal system is a matter for the congregations to decide. He didn’t say such an episcopal system would not be (or become) papistic.

    Again–discarding the “or become,” because it is as irrelevant to the issue as whether or not the Waltherian system ‘could become’ ‘mob rule’; the question here is whether these things are acceptable or hideously defective by nature–you are making Vehse say that the congregations have the right to decide to adopt something evil…not the mere capacity to do so, but the right and I say that such a position is, in itself, sinful and, therefore, obviously not what Vehse (and Walther) meant.

    Thus, my questions to you remain.

    EJG

  41. Rev. Stefanski,

    For a person who has complained on this thread about “still quoted out of context by the Vehseites” (though only one example was referenced and it was from a Cascionista), your posts have devoted considerable space to treating Vehse’s quote in the same way.

    Dr. Vehse’s quote asserted that church polity was the congregation’s choice, not solely the pastor’s.

    Yet you have been trying, by rephrasing or rhetorical questions, to turn that particular quote into a statement about what Vehse believed were right or wrong forms of church government. One could just as facetiously ask whether the Gettysburg Address favored or opposed the Monroe Doctrine… or whether stating that a voter has the right to cast a ballot in an election means that it would be right decision to vote for a pro-abortion candidate.

    If you really want to know Dr. Vehse’s preferences for a church polity, then read his Statements concerning church polity (Theses 12-20). If you want to know Dr. Vehse’s position on the episcopal form of church polity, then read his Statements particularly against an episcopacy, against institution of rankings, or as also called, a hierarchy (Theses 32-38).

    In the meantime, leave Vehse’s statement on who makes the decision on church polity for what it says, nothing less and nothing more.

  42. My goodness…I thought that maybe, just maybe, there finally would be a straight answer, but, instead, just complaints about my questions.

    So, basically, you’re saying that when Vehse said that a congregation could choose an episcopal polity, he in that statement made no judgment as to whether that polity were acceptable, but elsewhere wrote against it…but..as what? As a matter of false doctrine/practice? Or as a matter of not being what he would consider the wisest practice? Why can you not straightforwardly answer that simple question?

    The follow up question is, I guess, the stumbling block: if Vehse thinks that an episcopacy is unacceptable, why does he allow that congregations should have the right to choose it?

    Again, when Walther says that the choice of polity must always be left to Christian freedom, are we really to take that as, “You have the choice…but episcopacy is evil”? That seems strange to me.

    It’s really this simple: is an episcopal system ‘allowable’ in the eyes of Walther and Vehse, or not? Do they consider Scripture to have established and mandated the system they proposed? Or are both forms of polity considered within the bounds of what Scripture and the Confessions would have or allow us to do? Or, if not, why do they say that congregations can choose either form?

    I’m not twisting anything; I’m asking simple questions and you are refusing to answer them. None of those questions approaches “Have you stopped beating your wife,” nor the questions you hypothetically posed.

    Are you not able to answer, simply and “with no horns and no teeth”?

    EJG

  43. Just to be absolutely clear, this is (and has been, for over a decade) my question:

    Is an episcopal system ‘allowable’ in the eyes of Walther and Vehse, or not? Do they consider Scripture to have established and/or mandated the system they proposed? Or are both forms of polity considered within the bounds of what Scripture and the Confessions would have or allow us to do? Or, if not, why do they say that congregations can choose either form?

    Without an answer to that extended question, there’s not really anything to talk about.

    EJG

  44. Comment by Rev. Eric Stefanski — July 18, 2008 @ 12:39 pm
    Comment by Rev. Eric Stefanski — July 18, 2008 @ 2:55 pm

    Even from the time of the second referenced post, more than three days have now passed…and instead of a ‘resurrection’ of Walther and Vehse that shows me why my simple questions are unreasonable, we have merely the sound of crickets chirping.

    Again:

    If Vehse thinks that an episcopacy is unacceptable, why does he allow that congregations should have the right to choose it?

    When Walther says that the choice of polity must always be left to Christian freedom, are we really to take that as, “You have the choice…but episcopacy is evil”?

    And, again:

    Just to be absolutely clear, this is (and has been, for over a decade) my question:

    Is an episcopal system ‘allowable’ in the eyes of Walther and Vehse, or not? Do they consider Scripture to have established and/or mandated the system they proposed? Or are both forms of polity considered within the bounds of what Scripture and the Confessions would have or allow us to do? Or, if not, why do they say that congregations can choose either form?

    Without an answer to that extended question, there’s not really anything to talk about.

    And the answer we have received is the answer we always must receive, because if the question is rightly answered (that Walther did not hold his polity to be divinely mandated and episcopacy to be necessarily illegitimate), those who pretend to be the modern spokesmen of a Waltherian position would have to answer the question, “If Walther did not so condemn this polity, why do you?” And, worse, “Why do you say that he did?”

    Pastor Rossow, have fun in Texas; I hope that nothing you say will be distorted and published against you.

    EJG (alleged Hyper-Euro, alleged teacher of concomitance, and who knows what all else…)

  45. Carl,
    “oh, say Ole Roemer, a Lutheran astronomer who needs to be recognized more.”

    Are you refering to Olaus Roemer? Wasn’t he the first to measure the speed of light in the late 1600’s?
    Sam

  46. Olé (Olaus) Christensen Römer (Roemer) (1644-1710), was a Danish Lutheran astronomer, who was invited in 1672 by Jean Picard to the Paris Observatory to determine the longtitude of Paris by observing the timing of the eclipses of Jupiter’s moons. Roemer noticed the eclipses were slightly delayed when the earth was on the far side of the sun from Jupiter compared to when the earth was on the same side. In 1676 Roemer correctly concluded the reason was that the speed of light was finite and not instantaneous as most other astronomers thought. This discovery turned the telescope into a time machine looking back into the past. Other than a few scientists like Issac Newton and Christiaan Huygens, most of Europe’s scientists rejected Roemer’s claim of the finite speed of light until James Bradley confirmed the finite speed of light, a decade after Roemer’s death.

    Roemer’s contributions to science and his native Denmark go well beyond his accomplishments in astronomy and his position as professor of mathematics at the University of Copenhagen, and ultimately Astronomer Royal to King Christian V of Denmark. Roemer was an important inventor of scientific and other equipment, e.g. the first oil street lights in Copenhagen. He served his country as the master of the mint, inspector of naval architecture, purveyor of harbors, and advisor on pyrotechnics and ballistics. He also reorganized and standardized the Danish systems of weights and measures. He headed a commission to inspect Denmark’s highways and helped make various trade agreements. In 1693 he was appointed first magistrate (similar to the U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice). He served as mayor of Copenhagen, improving the city’s water supply, sewers, and fire department equipment, and as Denmark’s chief tax assessor, Roemer revised the system for a more equitable taxation, and also made other social reforms. Later he was became senator, then head of Denmark’s state council. For many years Roemer urged that Denmark adopt the modern calendar (it was not done until after his death). And Roemer also invented the 2-point calibrated temperature scale that was used by Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit, a German Lutheran physicist, to make his temperature scale.

    With all his activities in so many areas, perhaps Roemer might be referred to as a hyper-Euro-Lutheran.

  47. Well over a week–and a Danish history of astronomy lesson–later, and still no answer to the simple questions:

    Is an episcopal system ‘allowable’ in the eyes of Walther and Vehse, or not? Do they consider Scripture to have established and/or mandated the system they proposed? Or are both forms of polity considered within the bounds of what Scripture and the Confessions would have or allow us to do? Or, if not, why do they say that congregations can choose either form?

    not even someone rising to the defense of those who make all sorts of attacks against alleged (i.e., make-believe) ‘Hyper-Euroism’ and telling me why the questions are ‘unfair’…

    EJG

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