Saturday, February 16, 2008

Did Walther really say this?

I need some help. I could be entirely wrong in what follows, so please direct me to my errors.

I've been using the book God Grant It (Gerhard Grabenhofer, Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, 2006) for a my devotions for a few months. These devotions are based on sermons by the prominent theologian C. F. W. Walther, translated from the German by Grabenhofer and compiled by August Crull. Many of the devotions have been great, but I have to admit that I have felt that there are statements here and there that disagreed with Christian teachings. However, they were all superceded by what I read this morning. On page 259, I read this:

The Spirit of God continually drives the converted children of God forward to pursue sanctification, without which no one will see the Lord.
As I read this statement, it seems to be saying that sanctification is a requirement for salvation (i.e. seeing the Lord). In other words, unless one improves himself, lives a better life, he will not be saved. This understanding would be opposed to the teaching that we are saved by Christ's sacrifice on the cross alone. It dramatically opposes it!

Note, you will get a better feel of the context by reading this devotion as a whole. This sentence is not an erratic one by itself but fits into the whole.

Now I am left wondering if Walther really made such a statement in his original? These devotions were translations from his sermons. Is the translation accurate? Did it start from Walther's manuscripts or from notes taken by a parishioner listening to the sermon being preached?

So, the question is: Did Walther really say this?

1 comment:

Hauge Lutheran Church said...

I know this is way after the fact but here goes.

I'm not sure if Walther said it, but scriptures does. If we are not pursuing holiness (sanctification) it might mean we are lost.

Heb 12:14-17
14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord : 15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; 16 lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. 17 For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.

Grace and Peace