Author Topic: Marva Dawn +  (Read 12609 times)

George Rahn

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Re: Marva Dawn +
« Reply #120 on: May 14, 2021, 06:19:43 PM »
During my time at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Prof. Robert Bertram was not teaching
any systematic courses. In my first year I had Bertram for a required church history course.
He was still a rookie on the faculty and was teaching rookie courses. However, he was a
sharp dresser, so he had that going for him.

During that period of time, Bouman and Lueker were in the twilight of their faculty career
at St. Louis.  They were almost part-timers as they taught elective classes and not many
seminarians were electing to take their courses.

Dave,
I think you may be misremembering what Bob Bertram actually taught in the years you were a student at the seminary. While he did teach courses that leaned more in the direction of "historical theology," he himself never made such a sharp distinction between "historical" and "systematic" theology. He certainly taught courses in systematic theology each academic year he served on that faculty. He wouldn't have become chairman of its systematics department in 1966 if he had never taught "any systematics courses" between 1963 and 1966. What would be some other examples of what you label as "rookie courses" that Bertram taught during your years there? He had been teaching philosophy and theology at Valpo for fifteen years before he started teaching at St. Louis, and in his first year at the seminary he had a brand new Ph.D. degree from Chicago, which he had completed by writing a dissertation in systematic theology on Luther and Karl Barth (under the direction of Pelikan and Tillich), hardly "rookie" material, if you have read that dissertation. The historical material in it is always aimed at a contemporary, systematic telos.

Bob himself told me that in his first year of teaching systematic theology at Concordia Seminary, in 1963, he further developed a course he had developed at Valpo, namely, one that was titled “The Biblical Message and the World Today.” While its starting point was the biblical lectionary, the method used was entirely systematic, as at Valpo, i.e., distinguishing the working of God's law in the contemporary world from the working of God's gospel promise in that same contemporary world, and systematically translating biblical terms/concepts into terms/concepts that contemporary human beings could understand in their contemporary context. That systematics course, which Bertram had developed over the fifteen years he taught theology at Valpo, was offered every year at Concordia SL, starting in 1963. He also regularly taught a systematics course called "Current Church Controversies" and another one on the philosophy/theology of history. Although his course on Luther's lectures on Galatians, which he also regularly taught in his initial years at Concordia SL, might be thought to have been strictly exegetical and historical in content, his 1964 dissertation on those same lectures indicates his approach was largely systematic (in critical dialogue with the theology of Karl Barth and other contemporary systematic theologians, e.g., Bonhoeffer, Brunner, Aulen). Indeed, he taught that course in the historical-systematics department, not the exegetical one.

I know that others on this list were also students at Concordia SL in those years. I wonder if they share your memories about Bertram's early seminary teaching, i.e., before he became chairman of the systematics department in 1966, that Bertram taught "no systematic theology courses" in those years.

M. Becker

I had Bob for a second year course (in 1963) which was a combination of philosophy and systematics. I cannot remember the title. Classic Bertram - Law/Gospel; highly skeptical of Barth (popular then), biblicism, and legalism of all sorts.

Peace, JOHN

"The theology that backed up the 'paradigm shift' at LSTC was either antinomian or a close relative. Robert Bertram and Edward Schroeder were founders of Crossings, an educational institution whose purpose was to relate the gospel to daily life. Both were greatly influenced by the law/gospel theology of the German Lutheran theologian Werner Elert of Erlangen University. They followed Elert in rejecting the third use of the law. Elert maintained that the title of Article VI of the Formula of Concord, 'Third Use of the Law,' mislabeled what it really affirmed. The question was debated among first-generation Lutherans whether the law applies to regenerated Christians; that is, whether they are to live in obedience to the Ten Commandments...

Many modern Lutherans have set aside the third use; thereby, they have jumped from the frying pan of legalism into the fire of antinomianism...

The ideology of Crossings moved in a straight line from the rejection of the third use of the law to the support of the gay/lesbian agenda that has since taken the ELCA by the throat. Does the gospel by itself offer any rules or restrictions regarding the sexual behavior of Christians? To say that it does is to legalize the gospel, that is, to make the gospel of God's love and forgiveness do what the law is designed to do. Antinomianism is thus pernicious in theology and the church, not only because it truncates the law but also because it subverts the gospel."  [Carl E. Braaten,  Because of Christ: Memoirs of a Lutheran Theologian]

Elert could affirm 3rd use but not without the law’s accusatory function.  There is no place in history where the law acts upon the person ONLY for informatory purposes.  We are redeemed, yes, but still completely sinners and so we are faced with the law’s accusations constantly and thoroughly until death.  The law can never be affective exclusively as informatory in order to tell the “redeemed” what to do.  St. Paul and Romans 3:  “...through the law comes the knowledge of sin.”  Always
The law always accuses, but it also always informs. One need not always be applying it any given instance for both functions. I think your view (and Elert’s and the Valpo school’s) mishandles the whole concept of sanctification by reducing any possible focus on other uses of the law.

Sanctification is strictly through using Christ who is both Lord and Savior.   Since Jesus’ death has rendered the law ineffective (in Him alone Jesus’ Lordship in one’s life becomes the guide since in this case the guide is a living Person) the law is useless as a guide because Jesus’ death has rendered it both fulfilled in His death and now set aside for living as a disciple both dead to sin and alive to God in Jesus Christ, as St. Paul writes.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2021, 06:21:23 PM by George Rahn »

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Marva Dawn +
« Reply #121 on: May 14, 2021, 06:56:24 PM »
Sanctification is strictly through using Christ who is both Lord and Savior.   Since Jesus’ death has rendered the law ineffective (in Him alone Jesus’ Lordship in one’s life becomes the guide since in this case the guide is a living Person) the law is useless as a guide because Jesus’ death has rendered it both fulfilled in His death and now set aside for living as a disciple both dead to sin and alive to God in Jesus Christ, as St. Paul writes.


How is Jesus' lordship manifested in believers' lives? I think Jesus gives us a hint.


John 14:15: "If you love me, you will keep my commandments."


John 14:21: "Whoever has my commandments and keeps them loves me. Whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them."


John 15:10: "If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love."


John 15:14: "You are my friends if you do what I command you."


John 15:17: "I give you these commandments so that you can love each other."
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

George Rahn

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Re: Marva Dawn +
« Reply #122 on: May 14, 2021, 07:24:33 PM »
Sanctification is strictly through using Christ who is both Lord and Savior.   Since Jesus’ death has rendered the law ineffective (in Him alone Jesus’ Lordship in one’s life becomes the guide since in this case the guide is a living Person) the law is useless as a guide because Jesus’ death has rendered it both fulfilled in His death and now set aside for living as a disciple both dead to sin and alive to God in Jesus Christ, as St. Paul writes.


How is Jesus' lordship manifested in believers' lives? I think Jesus gives us a hint.


John 14:15: "If you love me, you will keep my commandments."


John 14:21: "Whoever has my commandments and keeps them loves me. Whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them."


John 15:10: "If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love."


John 15:14: "You are my friends if you do what I command you."


John 15:17: "I give you these commandments so that you can love each other."

Yes.  For me John 17 also develops the points He makes in chapters 13-16.  The Father is drawn into the picture as Jesus prays they be sanctified in truth...”Thy word is truth.”  Good points, Pr. Stoffregen.