We continue our survey of Church History from the book of Professor E.A.W. Krauss from our St. Louis seminary of a century ago. Last month we started a look at Pietism—a movement that would gut confessional Lutheranism. Here we see part of its beginning. It began with the good intention of growing deeper in the faith and living a life of good works. But as Professor Krauss points out: However, as they admonished their hearers to holiness of life, they did not preach very often or much or richly and comfortingly about the justification of a poor sinner before God alone through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ—even though there can only be holiness of life where justification by grace through faith is preached.
38. 1b SPENER AND FRANCKE EMERGE
That same month in which Spener moved to Dresden, a society was begun in another part of Saxony. This society’s work went even further than did Spener’s society in Frankfurt. A pair of young teachers in Leipzig, namely August Hermann Francke and Paul Anton opened at the university a so-called “Teaching association of the Friends of the Bible among the students.” There was less and less Bible study in Leipzig. Only very rarely were there lectures on complete books of the; there were no lack of lectures in which only the proof passages for doctrines of faith were discussed exegetically. By explaining complete books of the Bible in a simple and understandable way, Francke and Anton met a true felt need among the students. They began with Genesis and then Matthew’s Gospel. This was met with approval. 300 students would often gather around Francke. These associations were organized under the auspices of headmaster Val. Alberti. Although they were mostly held in Latin, even people from the city attended them—but this became the first reason for opposition to it. Spener kept an eye on this work from Dresden and showed much interest in it.
These lectures began to influence the lives of the students so that they no longer engaged in the vulgar activity of other students. Instead, these students lived modestly and studied diligently. But rumors quickly sprang up everywhere and the students were looked upon with suspicion. On top of that, those who participated in these associations believed that the older professors were upset by the academic successes of these two young teachers. In fact, Johann Benedict Carpzov publicly confronted them. He himself had encouraged Bible associations: with as many associations as there were, how come none of them were Biblical? But he never started one and in any case was dissatisfied with the ways of Francke and Anton.
Then one of Francke’s hearers died. In the funeral sermon Carpzov held for him, he vented his displeasure over these pious associations, which, as he said, sprang up from uneducated students. However, for the same occasion, the professor of poetry in Leipzig at the time, Joachim Feller, composed a funeral poem in honor of that deceased student. It was published and, among other things, it says:
The name of the Pietists is now known throughout the city,
What is a Pietist? One who studies God’s Word
And also lives a holy life according to it….
Feller was the first to print the word that had already come into usage and with it had coined the term that, from then on, the group would be called--Pietists. The poet had turned what had been intended as mark of ridicule into a name of honor and then it even became a positive term for the group. Meanwhile, the unrest that resulted led to Francke’s associations being banned even though an investigation brought nothing to light that could have led to the accusation that was made. Francke and Anton saw their work being hindered and after some time had to leave the city.
Soon afterward we find August Hermann Francke in Erfurt, where he joined his friend Joachim Breithaupt. Both insisted on a living faith and holiness in life and walk instead of a dead faith merely spoken by the mouth and a holiness consisting of dead works. However, as they admonished their hearers to holiness of life, they did not preach very often or much or richly and comfortingly about the justification of a poor sinner before God alone through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ—even though there can only be holiness of life where justification by grace through faith is preached. Nevertheless the crowd at this “serious” preaching, as it was called, was exceedingly large. Even many Catholics in Erfurt attended these sermons and some even turned to the Evangelical confession. But there was also all kind of offense here.
“When Francke tried to bring New Testaments and Arndt’s True Christianity to the people, which he ordered from Lunenburg and other places, it was said that he was spreading heretical books. Strict orders were given to the post office and at every gate to seize every package that came for Francke and to hand them over at the town hall. Soon such a package was actually delivered and Francke was summoned. Why, contrary to the prohibition did he dare to order heretical books? Francke denied doing this but was told that he would be handed over because he so boldly denied his action. When the package was opened before his eyes, there were no heretical books in it, only New Testaments. The town officials were ashamed of themselves and honorably released Francke. Yet his opponents did not rest until Francke was relieved of his office, without examination and pay, and given strict orders to leave the city within 48 hours. In vain, the school children delivered up a sad petition and prostrated themselves; in vain also many citizens interceded for him. They were arrested and on 27 September 1691 Francke had to leave Erfurt.” [Hagenbach, Volume IV, 217]
Soon afterwards, though, he was called to the new University of Halle as professor of Greek and Oriental languages and he was immediately entrusted with a pastorate at the Church of St. George in Glaucha, a suburb or Halle. He arrived there on 07 January 1692. He found a congregation that was running wild and an endless amount of work but was helped by the Pietist hymn writer, Anastasius Freylinghausen, who also later helped him at the Ulrich Church.
Halle then became the permanent seat of his rich activity. In his academic lectures he would often heartily exhort his hearers to godliness. He watched over their souls; he reprimanded in them all unchristian behavior, insisted on diligent Bible reading, order and a secluded life. Card playing, vulgar student songs and loose idle-talk were not tolerated. He declared that it was absolutely necessary to separate from other students, who did not want to avoid such things. He said that a true Christian was bound to this “true separatism” that God commanded. His like-minded colleagues at the university were even more insistent on it than he was; and their lectures, which were later printed, showed that there were many speeches in which the students were admonished. They were often helpful, but also often went far beyond the healthy limits.
Every Thursday the plentiful poor would be found in front of Francke’s parsonage or on the corridor where alms were distributed. He soon thought about helping them also spiritually. He had them come in and examined the younger ones among them in the catechism. He soon noticed how terribly ignorant they were. Like a bolt of lightning, the thought occurred to him to establish a school for the poor. But where would he get the resources? In 1695, he fastened to the wall in the sitting-room of the parsonage a box for the poor with 1 John 3.17: “But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?” written above it and beneath it the words of 2 Corinthians 9.7: “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.”
The box had hung about three months when a benevolent hand all at once put in four Taler [a larger silver coin] six Groschen [a smaller silver coin]. For Francke, this was enough. “This—he said—is a respectable amount. Something proper must be established with it: I will start a school for the poor with it.” He then began. Books were purchased for two Taler and a poor student was found who for six Groschen a week would instruct the poor children daily for two hours. Francke gave up his study to be a room for this school for the poor. A second cash-box was placed in this room with the superscription: “For educating the poor children, for the books and others supplies necessary for it,” and with the caption of Proverbs 19.17: “He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, and He will pay back what he has given.”
There were larger and smaller contributions. In the fall of the same year Francke went from the thought of the school for the poor to the further thought of an orphanage because he saw that when many talented orphans left the school they were again led away from what they had been taught in the school. A Christian heart was then motivated to give 500 Taler so that the interest from it would be used for this orphanage. Francke wanted to start with one orphan but four were right away brought to him. He welcomed them all; soon even more came so that in November 1695 there were already nine. Francke’s energy aroused confidence. The same person who earlier had given 500 Taler gave twice as much at the beginning of winter. Plentiful sums also flowed in from other sides so that soon a separate house could be gotten for the school for the poor which could also accommodate the orphans. Then, at the same time, in order to support poor students, Francke entrusted the instruction and the supervision to such young men who were being educated as theologians and teachers under his direction and in his spirit. Thus next to the orphanage he laid the foundation for a teaching seminary. A year before this, he had laid the foundation for what would be the Royal Padagogium in Halle by undertaking the education of youths from the upper class. All these institutions were so intertwined that the charge was incorrectly made the founder was guilty of squandering his time. Of course it was a great burden that he took upon himself, but his trust was greater and God’s blessing was even greater.
When a second house was bought in addition to the first, and there still wasn’t enough room, Francke got the bold idea to erect a building of his own. He sent a young theologian named Neubauer to Holland in order to see the most famous orphanage of the time. When he returned, the cornerstone for the present main building of the Halle orphanage was laid in July 1698. The story of this building is the story of the power of an unbroken reliance on God. He was advised at the time to build the building only out of wood, but he ventured to have it built out of stone. And afterwards, when not only stones were lacking but also everything else, sometimes sand, sometimes lime, sometimes workers, sometimes money, he sought out his quiet closet and lamented his distress to the Lord; and at the right time and hour, and when the need was greatest, He had always helped.
On Easter 1701 the building was finished inside and out. A whole host of hands had contributed to this building, not only stones but also great and small gifts. Frederick I, King of Prussia, sent for the building 100,000 stones for the wall, 30,000 stones for the roof, 2000 Taler in money and bestowed the institution with valuable privileges; but certainly just as great to the good Lord was the gift of the chimney sweep, Klemm, who pledged to clean the chimneys of the institution free of charge his entire life.
At the time of Francke’s death in 1727, 430 orphans had been supported and brought up in this institution, several hundred other poor children, besides many poor students, were fed and in all 2125 children were taught by 136 teachers, for the most part free.
The prosperous von Canstein Bible Society partnered with the orphanage. The pious Baron Hildebrand von Canstein, who died in 1719, used all his wealth to spread the precious word of God among the people and even to bring it into the hands of the poor. Therefore he had the Bible printed in the orphanage on raised characters in various formats. Since 1710, millions of Bibles and New Testaments were printed in the orphanage’s printing-works and distributed from there. It goes without saying that the print shop also printed all the books the orphanage’s school needed, and by this it found also great circulation elsewhere. Also when the Halle orphanage, in union with the Danish crown, began mission work to the heathen in the East Indies; and when missionaries prepared at Halle—Ziegenbalg first and foremost—began an evangelical Lutheran mission among the Tamils in and around Tranquebar, the printing presses of the Halle Orphanage printed the first missions newspaper. It also printed the missions reports of H. M. Muehlenberg, the Patriarch of the German Lutheran Church of North America. By this “Halle News” the European Lutherans were informed of the condition of their brothers in the faith in North America.
Thus even far away Francke worked in blessing; and one still stands, with amazement at the divine grace and the power of faith, before Francke’s institutions that formed a small city.
Yet we must now again take up the thread we left hanging.
So far Professor Krauss
EASTER ALTAR FLOWERS: Since we have had such a beautiful display of flowers at Easter the past few years, we will again ask you to bring flowers with you to Easter Service to help beautify our sanctuary for our celebration of our Lord’s resurrection. After service, you will bring your flowers home with you to enjoy at home and be reminded of the Easter service.
We had a good meeting the 22nd. There is always more room if more ladies would like to join us.
Instead of a 5th Sunday dinner on March 29th we are having a reception for our confirmands. They have worked so hard.
Please remember our Craft & Bake Sale on April 26th. As you bring and/or purchase items remember that this is our fundraiser to purchase cakes for special occasions and the monies we collect also help support our quilting mission project.
Have a good month and spring is coming.
From our Missouri Synod--Stewardship Newsletter Article
“And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? . . . I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you? Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?” (Matthew 20:11–15).
Entry into the Kingdom of heaven is by grace not by works. And this is the point of the parable. Those hired first received the same wage as those hired last. Those hired first, even though they bore the heat of the day, received the same wage as those hired last. Entry into the kingdom comes by grace, by the gracious call and invitation of the owner of the vineyard.
And we chafe against this. We, like those hired first, object to the master’s decision. We begrudge him because of his generosity. We think that those who labored longer should receive a greater wage. And we protest that it’s not fair. But that is precisely the point. It’s not fair. It’s by grace. It’s given from God’s undeserved love and kindness, not by merit. So we should rejoice. For to ask for fairness, to ask to be treated by what deserve and have earned, is simply to ask for hell.
For God owes us nothing. For by grace you are saved, by his underserved love and mercy. And even though it was undeserved, that doesn’t mean it was cheap. It wasn’t cheap, but costly. It cost God the Father His own Son. It cost the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, His very life. God’s grace is costly grace. It costs us nothing but the cost for God was great. For it was achieved by the shedding of the holy and precious blood and the innocent suffering and death of Jesus. And it is by that shed blood that God by grace calls us to be His own. It is by that death that God by grace gives us entrance into His kingdom.
He doesn’t owe us. We’re not entitled to anything from God. He is not indebted to us. We are indebted to Him. For we have not lived as He mattered most. We have not loved Him with our whole heart, body, mind, and soul, with all that we are and all that we have. We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We justly deserve his temporal and eternal punishments. But unlike us, He doesn’t hold this debt over our heads. He has instead place our debt upon the head of His Son, and His Son has taken it willingly so that we would be forgiven and free.
For reasons all His own God has determined to love us. He has taken the punishment we deserve upon himself. He has given gifts to those whom He knows would take it for granted. This is grace. He is kind, forgiven, steadfast. He is slow to anger and abounding in love. For the kingdom of heaven is entered by grace, by His giving not our earning.
He is allowed to do what He chooses with what belongs to Him. But it doesn’t work the same way with us. For what belongs to us? Nothing. We belong to Him, by water and His Name. He purchased and won us from sin, death, and the devil by His holy, precious blood and His innocent suffering and death, so that we would be His own special possession. Thus, we have nothing of our own, it all belongs to Him. We are stewards of what He has given to us. And so we give of ourselves, all that we are and all that we have, to those whom God has placed us to care for in our vocations of members of a family, society, and the church.
And if He has done all this for us, how can we not do with everything that He gave us likewise?
SUMMER SUNDAY MORNING BIBLE STUDY:
This summer before service, we will look at the books of the Apocrypha. When we read the Apocrypha—those books that are placed in between the Old and New Testament—we join a long line of Christians who have valued these works. They are not to be regarded as equal to Scripture but are still worthwhile and good to read. Luther included them when he translated the Bible. In the early days of our Synod pastors would preach sermons based on texts from the Apocrypha. If you are interested in joining our summer study and don’t have a bible with the Apocrypha or would like a copy from CPH of their Apocrypha that has study notes like the Lutheran Study Bible, let pastor know before the end of April so he can order you a copy for $37.
PALM SUNDAY IS CONFIRMATION SUNDAY as two young people from our congregation will confess their faith and pledge lifelong faithfulness to our Lord. Confirmation is a also a good time for those already confirmed, not only to rejoice in the promise made by these young people and the grace and gifts the Holy Spirit has given them but it gives us pause to ponder how our faith and confession stand.
As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught... [Colossians 2.6-7]
May the secure false Christians who boast much about faith see to it that they do not deceive themselves with such a false, vain boast: I am baptized and a Christian so I don’t need anything else… May they instead strive to see to it that their faith is rightly rooted and grounded and so try and prove that it stands firm and can overcome the blows and storms of terror. Otherwise your boast and your security will soon be laid low and disappear like smoke in the air and will not help you when you want to rely on it and think that if you only have a little spark of grace and faith that is enough for salvation. Instead beware that if you no longer have such a little spark and let it lie in ashes that the devil is not there and pours on it a bucket full of water so that it extinguishes faith and everything. [Luther]
Part of the Communion Liturgy is the Preface. It begins with: It is truly, meet, right, and salutary that we should at all times and in all places give thanks unto Thee, O Lord, holy Father, almighty, everlasting God. Then following it comes the Proper Preface. The Proper Preface changes with each Church Season and reflects the theme of that season [You can read them on page 25 in the hymnal].
The Proper Preface for Lent is especially beautiful and rich in imagery. It is:
On the tree of the cross You gave salvation to mankind that from where death arose, from there life also might rise again and that he who by a tree once overcame likewise by a tree might be overcome, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Notice that tree is the point of comparison. The cross is called a tree—the tree of the cross. It then mentions the tree from which Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit—from where death arose. Just as sin and death came into the world via a tree [the tree with the forbidden fruit], so now it is changed and reversed. Salvation and life come into the world—from a tree—the tree of the cross of Christ. In the same way, by a tree the devil overcame, that is, brought sin and death into the world; but now by a tree—the tree of the cross of Christ—the devil has now been overcome.
On Maundy Thursday we remember our Lord giving His Church the Blessed Sacrament of His Body and Blood. Here is a devotion from Luther tying these thoughts together.
But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat. Genesis 2.17
Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life. John 6.54
Sin and death came from the wood; righteousness and life from dry wood. Therefore it is said: Do not eat from the green tree or else you die; but here eat of the dry one or else you remain dead. You will indeed eat and nibble from one tree; I will prepare for you a full one, which you never consume. But as difficult as it was to keep yourself from that green tree, just as difficult is it here to savor or eat from the dry one because there was the form of life, desire and good things, but here is the form of death, suffering and affliction because this tree greens up, but that other is dried out. Therefore it is still deeply rooted in the heart that a person seeks life where there is certain death and flees death, where there is certain life. [Luther]
THIS YEAR, OUR GOOD FRIDAY SERVICE WILL FOLLOW THE STATIONS OF THE CROSS. The Way of the Cross, or “stations” came into prevalent use in the churches during the Middle Ages.
The original Way is the one Jesus followed on His journey to the cross through the streets of Jerusalem, the Via Dolorosa. Just when it became a practice for pilgrims to walk that Way when they came to Jerusalem is not known, but it was very early in the Middle Ages.
When the Turks occupied Palestine, they prevented pilgrims from visiting these sacred sites. So the custom arose of making simple replicas of the stations and erecting them either outdoors or inside and the faithful could then follow the Way while remaining at home.
There were many different stations used, but by the 16th century the present fourteen were adopted by nearly all churches, although some variations are still found here and there. Our service will focus on 10 stations.
Following the Stations of the Cross as we will do on Good Friday is a spiritual exercise through Word and prayer which strengthens the faith of all who participate.
So let us take up our Cross and follow Christ on the Way of the Cross!
EASTER: It is right that Easter we thank the Father who set His Son to our head by the raising Him from the dead so that we might seek and find all comfort from Him; that we thank the Son, who has prepared for us the way to eternal blessedness by overcoming our sin and death; and that we thank the Holy Spirit, who by the proclamation of the resurrection of Christ kindled in us joy and eternal life.
THE SECOND SUNDAY AFTER EASTER IS CALLED “GOOD SHEPHERD SUNDAY” BECAUSE THE READINGS FOCUS OUR ATTENTION ON JESUS, THE GOOD SHEPHERD:
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” [John 10.11]
When you know this Shepherd, you can protect yourself against devil and death and say: I have, sadly, not kept God’s commandments but I crawl to this dear Hen, my dear Lord Christ, under His wings [Mt. 23.37] and believe that He is my dear Shepherd, Bishop and Intercessor before God who covers me and protects me with His innocence and gives me His righteousness; for what I have not kept, He has kept and, in fact, where I have sinned, He has paid for it with His blood. Since He did not die and rise again for Himself but for me, as He then says here, He does not give up His life for Himself but rather for the sheep. Thus you are then secure and the devil with his hell must leave you in peace, for he will, of course, not be able to find any fault in Christ, who already conquered him and who protects you and preserves you as you, as His sheep, believe in Him. [Luther]
Faith Lutheran Voters’ Meeting 08 March 2015
Meeting called to order @ 12:06p after prayer by acting President Mike with 11 members present.
REMEMBER: EARTH DAY IS 22 APRIL— WHICH IS ALSO LENIN’S BIRTHDAY. COINCIDENCE?
Actually, Christians are the first and proper environmentalists. We recognize that the holy Triune God created the earth and everything in and on it and He gave the earth to provide for us [Genesis 1.26-30] and that we are His stewards to take care of it [Genesis 2.15]. We do not worship “mother earth” but recognize it as a gift of God to us and we treasure it as that gift remember Who it is who gave it to us and Who is working through it to provide for us.
Our Synodical catechism answers the question [#112] What do we owe our heavenly Father for all His goodness in part with: It is our duty to be good stewards of His creation. It then goes on to note: We are good stewards when we avoid polluting air, land, and water; carefully dispose of waste; use rather than waste natural resources; conserve rather than waste energy; recycle or reuse materials whenever possible; and value and take care of all God’s creation.
Here is again another example of how our faith influences us in our daily lives and how Christians are way ahead of the rest of the world—and with the right understanding.
SOME EXAMPLES FROM THE HISTORY OF THE CHURCH AND TREASURING CREATION:
In the 5th century, Saint Gerasimus of the Jordan lived as a hermit in the solitary stillness of the open desert. One day a large lion came with a thorn in its paw, which Saint Gerasimus removed for him. On his own free will, the lion stayed to live with Gerasimus and became his faithful servant and a guard to St. Gerasimus’ little donkey.
When the holy hermit passed away, the faithful lion lay down on the saint’s grave, closed his eyes and died as well.
There are many examples of such miracles in the lives of those who did not oppose the animals. They loved not only the Creator, but also all of His creatures.
A much loved Russian Saint Seraphim of Sarov, hieromonk of the 18th century ventured to live in a small cabin in the forest by himself and was frequently visited by wild animals.
One day two nuns from a convent came to visit him. Suddenly, a bear ran out of the woods and frightened the two guests. “Misha (in Russian language Misha is a diminutive form of saying the Bear),” – said Father Seraphim, - “why do you frighten the poor orphans! Go back and bring us a treat, otherwise I have nothing to offer to my guests.” The bear then proceeded to go back into the woods. He reemerged two hours later into the holy elder’s cell giving him a fresh honeycomb of the purest honey. Father Seraphim took a piece of bread from his bag, gave it to the bear, pointed to the door – and the bear left immediately.
The holy elder was seen many times feeding animals as great and powerful as bears from his hands.
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