Thursday, December 31, 2009

House of my Fathers/Harrison/Walther

I have exactly 265 pages left (from page 212 to 477).

Reading Walther makes me think about how gentle and generous he is always trying to be, as much as is possible--unyielding as iron and gentle as a dove. We sometimes chafe that since the Gospel is the power, not we, we don't like to use the word "winsome". Since most of all the speech needs to be honest, authentic, humble, straight, un-syrupy..., we may forget that there is this gentleness that is very, very good and helpful. By God's grace the right combination always needs to be found.

He is also very descriptive but kind in introducing persons in his trip report. Maybe next time, we'll quote him on that several times.

This is how Walther corrects a Pastor Otteson, who had come up with some theses (now lost), presumably sounding too rigid and legalistic, regarding parish boundaries. Walther wrote a number of corrections hurriedly and he does not want to offend.

"It is quite right that you especially posit and claim Luke 10:16 and Matthew 18:15-17. But if you want to develop everything from that, then it gives the appearance that you are urging and pressing these passages in order to subvert all objections. Then your argumentation is somewhat brief, and the whole thing gets a legalistic taint. The mind is captured, but the heart easily remains unwilling and remains discontent and unconvinced [literally, "rattles in its cage"].

In my humble opinion, especially the following sentences need further exposition or development [and I am hereby providing it]. I obviously do not present these to you because I think your solid essay has to be reworked, but only to put before you my opinion in a very concrete way." (p. 156-157)

Then follow several pages of suggestions (corrections, mostly to make things more palatable, evangelical, for the congregation members).

Then he addresses himself again to Otteson.

"I implore you now, finally, that you would not see what I have written as proof of my hypercritical nature (Kritikasterei) or learned conceit (Besserwisserei), but as a demonstration that I happily desire at your request to serve you with what I have, poor wretch that I am. If you can find something therein which is usable, that will please me. Where not, still you will not be angry with me that I at least would acknowledge my good will to you. The matter is certainly important enough for everyone to come to a deeper understanding." p. 161

In the Post Script we see again, how unyielding he is:

"I note with distress what problems Pastor Clausen is causing. I must admit, as positive an impression as he made upon me personally, so problematic did the wobbly basis appear to me upon which his understanding appeared to stand. God will assist you, not only to remain steadfast in the truth, which is God's foolishness, in these times of improving civilization, but also see you through. In war, a few of the brave always fall.

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