Dear Saints of Grace congregation,
In this month's article, the Words from Lutheran leaders encouraging God's people to stay steadfast IN orthodoxy (that which is right and true) continue to be delivered to you. The following comes from the Rev. Dr. Francis Pieper's book entitled Christian Dogmatics (in which he quotes C.F.W.Walther):
"Again, only he is a fit minister of the Church who is able to refute false teachers.That is listed [in Holy Scripture] as one of the necessary qualifications of an elder [pastor] or bishop: "Holding fast the faithful Word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers...whoes mouths must be stopped."
The popular demand that the public teacher [pastor] refrain from polemics is not supported by Scripture. Scripture admonishes pastors to "avoid foolish questions and genealogies and contentions about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain" (Titus 3:9)...It is also to be noted that in Titus 1:9 the words "able by sound doctrine to exhort" precede "able to convince the gainsayer." That means that the clear presentation of the true doctrine must come before the refutation of the false doctrine.
The hearers will thus be in a position to see that the polemics are justified and will be able to make the condemnation of the false doctrine their own...The duty of refuting false doctrine and rebuking false teachers is laid upon the teachers of the Church in Titus 1:9-11 and many other passages of Scripture. All Prophets and Apostles and Christ Himself have proclaimed both the true doctrine and condemned the false doctrine.
Walther does NOT go too far when he writes: "A man may proclaim the pure doctrine, but if he does not condemn and refute the opposing false doctrine, does not warn against the wolves in sheep's clothing, the false prophets, and unmask them, he is not a faithful steward of God's mysteries, not a faithful watchman on the walls of Zion, but, as the Word of God says [he is], an unfaithful servant, a dumb dog, a traitor. The terrible consequences of the ministers failure to use the [logical refutations] are before our eyes -- many souls and the Church deeply hurt.
Polemics are absolutely needed. Not only because a doctrine is more fully comprehended in the light of its antithesis, but mainly because the errorists so craftily mask their error behind a show of truth taht the simple Christians, if not forewarned, are despite their love of the truth only too easy deceived. The pastor cannot wash his hands in innocence, pleading that he has always preached the full truth, if he did not at the same time warn against the error and, when necessary, identify it by naming the errorist; if his sheep, either while he is still serving or after he had to leave them for another field, become the prey of the ravenous wolves in sheep's clothing, he is guilty of their blood."1
I pray that MANY would read this - so that many would understand the Gospel-generated love that God is carrying out through a protective under-shepherd.
With you IN Christ Jesus,
1Pieper, Francis, Christian Dogmatics, (CPH,
St. Louis, 1950), page 49-50.(emphasis mine)
"The Inspired and Inerrant Word of God
in the English Language"
The Bible has been translated into many languages since the New Testament era began. One of the oldest and well known translation is the Latin Vulgate of Jerome, with the New Testament translated from the Greek into Latin around 380 A.D., and the Old Testament translated from the Hebrew into Latin by 390 A.D.. By 500 A.D. multiple languages were translated including Egyption, Coptic, Ethiopian, Gothic and Armenian. By 600 A.D. the Roman Church declared that Latin was to be the "official" language of the Scriptures. That did not stop Christian scholars from translating the Bible into the other languages. They bnelieved that the people should be permitted to read the Bible in their mother tongue.
After Wycliffe and his associates defied this Roman Catholic Church mandate, another Englishman rose to the challenge 100 years later. His name was William Tyndale. In a book written by Stephen J. Lawson, the life of Tyndale is carefully and accurately recorded. Here's some of what Lawson shares about his life.
He was born around 1494 in rural Western England. His ancestors settled in the Gloucestershire area and become landowners. They were industrious and respectable farmers who flourished in this prosperous area. This prosperity allowed William's parents to send him to Oxford, England's most prestigious university. He entered serious studies at age 12 and spent 10 years, beginning with preparatory grammar school at Magdalen Hall which was located inside Magdalen College and attached to Oxford University. He studied grammar, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, music theory, rhetoric, logic and philosophy. By the time he officially entered Oxford University, he demonstrated great aptitude in languages and studied under the finest classical scholars.
While there, Tyndale was ordained into the priesthood but never entered a monastic order. After graduating in 1512, he continued his goal of a Master's degree from Oxford. It was then, after his eighth year of studies, that he was actually allowed to study theology. But it was only a speculative theology that gave priority to Aristotle and other Greek philosophers, rather than the Bible. Tyndale was greatly disappointed and declared that "The Scriptures are locked up with...false expositions, and with false principals of natural philosophy."
Tyndale graduated in July of 1515 with a Master of Arts as a university-trained Linguist from the highly acclaimed Oxford University. Not much is known of his life for the next few years, but in 1519 he went to study at Cambridge, regarded as "Oxford's foremost intellectual rival in England". While some historians have written that he studied under Desiderius Erasmus, Lawson records that Erasmus had taught here from 1511-1514 and that while Tyndale was at Cambridge, Erasmus was traveling around Europe, compiling his famous Greek New Testament.
By 1519, Cambridge had become a hotbed for the teaching of Martin Luther and many of Luther's works were broadly circulated among instructors and students alike. Under the influence of the Lutheran understanding of Scriptual Truth, Tyndale embraced a deep commitment to the core truths of this movement. In 1520, a group of truth-seeking students gathered at a local pub on the campus of King's College, called the White Horse Inn, to debate the ideas of Luther. This group became known as "Little Germany". Many believe William Tyndale was included as well as another important figure, Miles Coverdale.
In 1521, Tyndale concluded that he needed to step away from the academic life and give more careful thoughts to the truths of the Reformation. Moving back home and taking on the duties as chaplain and tutor of children, he also preached regularly to a small congregation in St. Adeline. Realizing that evangelizing England could never be accomplished using a Latin Bible. He concluded, "It was impossible to establish the lay people in any truth, [unless] the Scripture [be] laid before their eyes in their mother tongue."
Submitted by George B. Melke, lay member of Grace Lutheran Church, San Mateo, CA