Dear friends in Christ,
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. We continue our look at Pietism. We read the past few months of its emergence and also some of its good works. Although missions and orphanages resulted from the work of Pietists, Pietism, if taken seriously, was a turning away from Christ and the sure and certain forgiveness of sins and eternal life we have in Him, and a turning toward the uncertainty of feelings and works. That’s why it was on a collision course with true orthodox confessional Lutheranism. This account from Prof. Krauss also has a warning, as St. Peter [1 3.15] puts it: “Always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” May we always defend and explain our faith/ tell the Good News about Jesus humbly and in love for the erring.
38. 2. THE PIETISTS IN HAMBURG AND THEIR OPPONENT, JOHANN FRIEDRICH MAYER [part 1]
The Pietistic movement stirred up great waves in the ecclesiastical waters of many cities and towns of Germany. Nowhere was it greater than in Hamburg where one man led the struggle against it. However, all too often he only used his rich human talent. This particular segment of the history of the struggle between orthodoxy and Pietism shines a bright light into the life of the church and the theology that was being disputed at that time. That’s why it is told here.
Among the preachers in Hamburg in 1609, who all called themselves Lutheran, were three men inclined toward Pietism: Winkler, Hinkelmann and Horb, who was a brother-in-law of Spener. Johann Heinrich Horb followed Spener’s example and had already created conflict elsewhere because of his classes on personal edification. After he had been called to be pastor of the Nicholas Church in Hamburg, he started them up once again. He was a beloved preacher and zealous in the care of souls.
Horb’s main opponent was Johann Friedrich Mayer, head pastor of the Church of St. James in Hamburg. Spener, who was not on good terms with Mayer for reasons that do not redound to Mayer’s honor, said that Mayer was jealous of Horb because of Horb’s renown as a preacher and that’s why he began the dispute with him, because up until that time he alone got all the acclaim. This speculation, though, came from Spener’s sinful, distrustful thoughts and do not match the picture that most have of his dove-like innocence. There was no reason for Mayer to be envious and jealous of Horb’s reputation as a preacher. The people did not stay away from him and his preaching because of Horb. Because of his truly outstanding gift of preaching, he was still called the “Wittenberg Chrysostom.” This went all the way back to when he was a theology professor in Wittenberg; and no one less than Abraham Calov had given him this praise. No one doubted his scholarship; he had written 278 works, among them many polemical pamphlets, but also many larger edifying, homiletical works. His love of work and his vitality were unequalled. However many people besides Spener, even the orthodox, doubted his piety. But it was the Pietists who criticized his careless lifestyle. The Pietists had always answered the question of worldly dance correctly: it is sinful because it lures a person toward unchastity; and, in fact, it is often already unchaste itself. In a funeral address that was later published, Johann Fr. Mayer had, during his time in office in Wittenberg, glorified a young Wittenberg teacher, Vogel, who keeled over dead during a dance at a wedding after heavy beer drinking.
I copy several portions of this funeral address. They are an example of how Mayer had used his gift of preaching in the service of a truly evil matter. The text was 1 Thessalonians 5. 9, 10: “For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.” He began with 1 Maccabees 9.41: “So the wedding was turned into mourning and the voice of their musicians into a funeral dirge.” (NRSV) Mayer said: “What should I now say of you, you spiritual children and dear pastoral children, who at this wedding lost a faithful father and untiring shepherd, who provided you with the heavenly Manna of the Word of God and the holy Sacraments? If you love your God in heaven, you must also nurture a hearty love for His ambassadors and servants. Since you are robbed of your father and suffer such a great loss at this wedding, shouldn’t you also, cry out: ‘Oh, this wedding was turned into mourning?’ Now, we must also sing the same wedding dirge because the blessed teacher, Vogel has abandoned us. But we hear other songs out of his mouth, since this wedding turned out to be for him one of greatest joy when he was called from this wedding to the wedding of the Lamb. We unanimously seek in a faithful ‘Our Father’ the help of the Holy Spirit to seal such comfort in our hearts.”
2 Samuel 6.16 formed the introduction: “Michal, Saul’s daughter…saw King David leaping and whirling before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart.” J. F. Mayer then preached on that: “The dancer was the man, as God wanted him, the man after the heart of God, the great king of Israel and the prophet of the Lord, St. David. He…danced with all his might before the Ark of the Covenant and praised the Lord with drums and cymbals. But he also wanted to dance with joy to show everyone his joy, and in fact he danced with priestly garb, in a linen ephod. Arrogant Michal, Saul’s daughter, became angry with this. She despised him in her heart and could not condemn him enough with mocking. How many arrogant and scornful Michals do I see behind the windows and despising this faithful priest on account of his joy in the Lord! The papistic Michal should learn not look on this dancing priest with scornful eyes! They should not speak as Saul’s daughter would: How very inappropriate it is for a Lutheran priest and teacher to dance around and leap like the loose and immoral people of the world! The Calvinist Michal is always dwelling on her despondent melancholy because her terrible Gospel, that God rejects people no matter how godly they may live, always alarms her. Otherwise she would not feel such vile disdain, when she, who rejects all dancing, sees a dancing priest! But what I speak, I speak about those who are not part of us. Haven’t many in their heart despised the faithful servant of God because of his modest dancing, saying: Dancing and a priest, how does that fit together?!”
Certainly no one can read this sermon without being greatly alarmed at Mayer’s ability, evidenced in the last words that were quoted, to make a sin out of the simple Christian verdict that had been declared and to try to raise “the blessed teacher Vogel” into heaven. How many true children of God have been grievously vexed by this sermon; how many “wicked” hearers became even more “wicked.”
Not as bad in terms of effect, but also characteristic for Mayer, was the so-called “Collection Bag Sermon” that he once gave after his dispute with the Pietists. The occasion was this: instead of the Sunday offerings, being collected by the Oberalten (a sort of Deacon) with the collection bag, as they were before, they would in the future be gathered by being placed into the poor boxes at the church exits. Mayer thought—rightly or wrongly—that the Oberalten were too proud to do this. He then gave a very irate sermon on something that the congregation deemed to be good. With collection bag in hand, he ascended the pulpit on the Second Sunday after Trinity and already in the introduction spoke in connection with Leviticus 10.3: “So Aaron held his peace” the following words: “I see in this church a devil’s sacrifice; it is a sacrifice of pride when a person is ashamed to gather bread for his Jesus. As God is God, He will without doubt certainly punish it with a fire of vengeance. I have faithfully warned you enough but it did not help at all. What shall I then do? Like Aaron, I must put up with it. I must no longer preach to the Godless people who cast God’s word away from them. But it must be said of me: ‘Dr. Mayer held his peace.’”
In the sermon itself he completely ignored the Sunday Gospel (Luke 14.16-24) and came at once to the subject of his law sermon. “I stand here,” he says, “as a pastor and shepherd and must see how my beloved sheep have become butting goats and on the Last Day that is coming, will not be placed as sheep at Your right hand but as goats at Your left hand. I stand here as a spiritual father and must see my children bring You in Your temple a devilish offering of arrogance.”
He rebukes the members of St. James for not speaking to the Oberalten: “You Oberalten, what are you? You are only honorable citizens just as we are. We do not know any ‘Popes’ here. And since your ancestors did it, why should you not do it? Were you ashamed to collect bread for your Jesus?”
“I think, you people of St. James, that as much as you had learned from God’s Word, I think, that you would have given a correct answer. But I say, you are bewitched. Tell me, what is the advantage for the Oberalten to sit above and not to go with the collection bag? Will the excise tax, will the grave tax [the tax for the building, the fortification and the custody of the walls and graves] be less because the Oberalten sit above and not go about with the collection bag? Will the city’s debts be paid by it? Now, since there is no benefit, doesn’t the quarrel arise from the devil? Now I cannot understand how the government can say, “Yes! Yes!” to such matters. I ask them before the judgment of God if they can do such a thing with a clear conscience. Now, you sow quarrels; you will have a great harvest; you will harvest misery.”
He then picked up the collection bag, which rang, and held it before the congregation with these words: “Now here is the collection bag that has been forsaken by arrogant people; the bell sounds the bell of divine vengeance. Until now when you saw the coming for the offerings, you always heard the voice: ‘Your Jesus comes to you and says: I am hungry, feed Me!’ This time the coming of the alms calls: ‘O God, arrogant people are ashamed to gather bread for Your poor brothers and sisters!”
Setting down the collection bag: “Remain laying, you poor, forsaken collection bag. Jesus have mercy on the poor!” He lamented further in the sermon that even though he preached twice in one day and six times in a week, all his preaching didn’t help. Often when he would enter the pulpit, it was as if he were going into death. He said, “I order you because I heard that you meet on Thursday, let none of you who are able to go remain at home, but instead go to the town hall; let him see to it that he treads Satan under his foot so that the Lord Jesus might not be dishonored in the collection bag.” At the end he threatened to leave: “Now, Jesus, You know my heart, what I think. The dust is already on my feet. Give me only a nod and I will gladly follow. But what more should I preach? My misery is too great and the distress of my soul does not allow me any settled thoughts. I now say, Jesus, have mercy! and it is now said of me: ’So Aaron held his peace.’”
The powerful orator had at that time fired his strongest weapon, but it was in vain. The decision of the citizens was not rescinded. A year later Mayer left Hamburg.
That was 1702. But when Horb came to Hamburg, Mayer was still held in high esteem in the city. Later gatherings involving preaching could awaken a better performance from Mayer. The samples cited here involved a man who was less spiritual and more self-willed and dogmatic. Thus, it was easy to understand that as soon as the right opportunity presented itself he would have to come into conflict with the Pietists. Of the three Hamburg Pietists Horb, Winkler and Hinkelmann, Hinkelmann had earlier been in close correspondence with Mayer—when neither was in Hamburg. In March 1690 the dispute began.
So far Professor Krauss
OLD THEOLOGY, NEW TECHNOLOGY...Issues, Etc. is a radio talk show produced by Lutheran Public Radio in Collinsville, IL and hosted by LCMS Pastor Todd Wilken. This week's topics include: Inner-City Ministry, 4th Century Bishop Athanasius, Media Coverage of Religion, Jesus the True Vine, Paul & Timothy and more. You can listen at your convenience at www.issuesetc.org.
THIS MONTH’S LWML NEWS:
Good Day Ladies,
I pray we have a good craft sale today. I know I didn't get as much made as I would have liked to, but there’s always next year.
We have a meeting coming up May 03, after church. All ladies are welcome and encouraged to come.
May has 5 Sundays. The Sunday School children are having a spaghetti dinner on that 5th Sunday [in place of our usual Fifth Sunday meal] to raise money for their heifer project. We will be asking Thrivent for some assistance. I hope all will plan to attend. We will give out more details as the plans are finalized.
Our faithful group of quilters has made about 55 quilts this year for Lutheran World Relief. Ginny and Janet will be delivering the quilts to the drop-off site in Syracuse on 30 April. This is all for this month. Hope all have a blessed month.
God Bless, Carol, Pres.
NEWS AND UPDATES
SUNDAY SCHOOL NEWS: The children have done a great job with their Heifer project. The children have been collecting money since the beginning of the Sunday School year. They are planning on hosting a Spaghetti Dinner on 31 May. Please plan on staying after service, enjoying what’s to be a delicious meal and supporting them in this cause as they let their Christian love show mercy to those in need.
HELP HOSPICE AND BEAUTIFY YOUR GARDEN: Once again I will be selling geraniums for Care First (Hospice) for $3.75 each. Last year over $21,000 was raised to enable services to be rendered in the Schuyler, Steuben and Chemung county areas. There is a very real threat that a "Death with Dignity" or Physician Assisted Suicide bill will make this legal in New York State. To me this is all the more reason Hospices need to be supported, they are a viable, life affirming service allowing patient's lives to be as comfortable and meaningful for them as long as possible. I believe this is what Death with Dignity is really about. Please see me if you want to order flowers. Thank you in advance. Susan
PREPARING FOR THE LORD’S SUPPER
To understand Paul’s instruction “Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup” [1 Cor. 11.28] requires some background. Paul was not encouraging the mistaken idea that faith and religion are strictly private matters. He was calling the members to compare their own beliefs with the doctrine and practice he, as the Lord’s apostle, had taught them. Here are other places in 1 Corinthians Paul refers to teaching the congregation:
“I fed you with milk” [3.2] “Do you not know…?” [3.16; 6.9, 15-16; 9.13] “I sent you Timothy…to remind you of my ways in Christ” [4.17] “I commend you because you…maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you” [11.2] “What I also delivered to you” [11.23] “I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received” [15.1] “I delivered to you…what I also received” [15.3]
From these passages, we see that Paul had taught the Corinthians about right and wrong, Jesus’ person and work [the Gospel], and the proper understanding and practice of the Lord’s Supper. He had likewise administered Baptism and led them in prayer and worship. The term delivered implies a formal process of instruction and reception of the truths and practices, known as catechesis.
When you examine yourself before Communion, refresh yourself with the thorough teaching you received in the Lord’s Word. Ask yourself these questions:
• Have I confessed and repented of my sins?
• Do I believe that in the blessed Sacrament I am receiving the actual body and blood of Christ, under bread and wine, into my mouth, for the forgiveness of sins?
• Do I share the confession and unity of this congregation?
• Will I, with the Lord’s help, amend my sinful life?
• The Holy Spirit will assist you and pray for you in this faithful discipline.
[From: Lutheran Study Bible, CPH, page 1965]
PENTECOST SUNDAY IS 24 MAY THIS YEAR
While rejoicing that the Holy Spirit brought 3000 to faith in Christ that first Pentecost, let us not get a skewed, triumphalistic view and so beat ourselves that Christ’s Church is a “little flock”. Luther notes: Look at what happened at Jerusalem when the Gospel was first heard. People write that there were so many people there in that city at the [Pentecost] festival there were one million, one hundred thousand men. How many of them were converted? When St. Peter stood up and preached, they made a laughingstock out of him and regarded the apostles as drunken fools [Ac 2.13]. When they had preached most vigorously, the best they could, they brought together three thousand men and women [Ac 2.41]. What were they compared to the whole city? Compared to the other crowd, it was as if no one could perceive that it had worked anything, for everything continued to be done and governed as it was before. No one saw any change, and almost no one was aware that there were Christians there. It always remains that way. [LXXVII, 72-73]
LUTHER NOTES FOR MOTHERS’ DAY—A very fine example of the power of prayer is provided by Monica, the mother of St. Augustine. She asked for nothing in her prayer for her son except that he might be liberated from the [heretical group called] Manichaeans and be baptized… But the more she prayed, the more stiff-necked and stubborn the son became and her prayer seemed to her to have become a sin. But when the time for hearing her solicitous prayer had come (for God usually defers His help), Augustine is not only converted and baptized but devotes himself entirely to the study of theology and turns out to be such a teacher that he shines in the Church to this day, teaching and instructing the Church. Monica had never asked for this. It would have been enough for her if her son had been freed from error and had turned Christian… But God wants to give us greater blessings than we can ask for, as long as we do not weaken in our prayer.
THE GOSPEL READINGS DURING EASTER COME PREDOMINATELY FROM JESUS’ TALK WITH HIS DISCIPLES ON MAUNDY THURSDAY EVENING WHEN HE IS PRPARING THEM FOR THE UPCOMING EVENTS. HERE IS AN EXAMPLE:
A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice. [John 16. 21-22]
Luther notes: Every affliction is a birth by which the new self is born and the old dies, for the same exercises increase both faith and the regard for the word. Thus when prison or sword, plague or death stand before a person, he should say, “Behold, I am now being born. I must stand firm here and wait on God and endure the pains of birth until I am born.” When a person endures, there is a great work of faith; yet there is no other way of coming through it. This life should be nothing else but a hatred of the old self and a seeking and longing for life in the new self. The Gospel is such a word that does not beget children who lie in the wilderness, but rather, when they are born they are young men and ladies, fit for marriage, that is, to teach and to beget other spiritual children.
OUR COMMUNION WAFERS—CALLED “HOSTS”—ARE MADE WITH JUST TWO INGREDIENTS: PURE WHEAT FLOUR AND WATER.
There is a lovely reminder here to us with these two simple ingredients. With the “host”, made of flour we are, first of all, reminded of the unity of those who commune together at the same altar. [This is one reason we practice closed communion.] Think of the imagery: All those individual little kernels of wheat are ground together to make one loaf of bread. Then as we eat that bread, with which Jesus joins His body, we are united to Him and to each other. Union with Christ is union with each other. St. Paul writes: The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. [1 Cor. 10. 16-17]
What about the other ingredient, water? Here we are reminded of baptism, which unites us with Christ and with each other, His Church; and we are reminded of the Holy Spirit who is that life giving water from heaven and works in baptism.
An early Christian bishop of Lyons [France], named Irenaeus [135-202AD] wrote: The Lord promised to send the Comforter [the Holy Spirit] who would join us to God. For as a compacted lump of dough cannot be formed of dry wheat without liquid, nor can a loaf possess unity, so, in the same way, neither could we, being many, be made one in Christ Jesus without the water from heaven. [ACCOS, pg. 184]
JOIN US FOR STUDIES IN THE APOCRYPHA THIS SUMMER BEFORE SERVICE: The books of the Apocrypha were widely used by the early Christians for good reason: their Scripture was primarily the Greek Septuagint with the Apocrypha included. Many of the Early Church Fathers quote from the Septuagint in a manner exactly parallel to their citations from canonical Scripture….Early on, however…churchmen such as Origen of Alexandria noted a difference between the Apocrypha and the Hebrew Scriptures. Cyril of Jerusalem and Jerome also drew a line of separation between the two, using the term Apocrypha for the first time in reference to these writings. To be sure, Jerome included them in his Latin translation of the Bible, the Vulgate, but advised that the Apocrypha should be read for edification, not for supporting church dogma….Why [study the Apocrypha]? No reply could be better than the introduction to the Apocrypha in the German Luther Bible: “Apocrypha, that is, books which are not held equal to the sacred Scriptures, and nevertheless are useful and good to read.” [From The Apocrypha: The Lutheran Edition With Notes]
If you are interested in studying the Apocrypha with us this summer and want a copy of the Lutheran edition with notes, please let pastor know before 15 May so he can order you a copy on the cheap.
Since we have already heard in our newsletter from prominent Lutherans like Prof. Krauss and Martin Luther and the Lutheran Study Bible and do not want to be accused of stacking the decks with Lutherans, we ask a prominent Roman Catholic who now has time on his hands, Pope emeritus Benedict XVI:
Why don’t we applaud in church?
Wherever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment. Such attraction fades quickly – it cannot compete in the market of leisure pursuits, incorporating as it increasingly does various forms of religious titillation” (Ratzinger, Spirit of the Liturgy).
Faith Voters’ Meeting- 12 April 2015
Meeting called to order @12:10pm after prayer given by President Sutton with 12 members present.
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