26 April 2010

Pastor McCain drew my attention

this morning to Matt Carver's latest offering over at Hymnoglypt. The hymn O starker Gott celebrates the saints of God (mostly Old Testament, with a few New Testament ones). Most interesting is the stanza on the blessed Virgin:

32. MARIA allein,
ein Jungfrau rein,
empfing geistlich,
gebar leiblich
Christum auf Erdreich,
Gottes Sohn ganz heilig,
durch den wir selig
dem alle Ding m├Ąchtig
sie bleibt Jungfrau und Mutter Gottes ewig.

Matt rendered it as follows:

32. MARY, pure virgin, was by grace alone
Chosen to give birth to God’s Son
In womb so lowly,
Jesus Christ most holy,
Who alone could save—
To Him her flesh she gave,
Remaining ever virgin, God’s true Mother.

So the Lutherans of the 16th century sang about this particular saint. I cannot praise highly enough Matt's work in translating for us. Explore his site and feast on the goodies!

21 comments:

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

"I think that the Virgin Mary is rightly proclaimed blest if those things are attributed to her which are both in agreement with the Scripture and can be proved from there, so that the name of the Lord may be holy. No other celebration can be pleasing to her" (Chemnitz, Examination, Part 1, p.383).

When you can prove from Scripture that Mary "remains forever a virgin," you'll let us know, won't you?

Until then, I'll assume that, after the Christ was born, faithful Mary behaved in accord with the Word of God spoken through the Apostle in 1 Corinthians 7:3-5.

William Weedon said...

Oh, the delicious irony of quoting CHEMNITZ on the question... Do enjoy his writings in the Harmony on the topic! If he can't convince you, I sure can't. But he convinces me.

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

I've been trying to get my hands on a copy of the Harmonia, but haven't been able to locate one yet. (Have a copy you'd like to share?)

While I search for that, how about you keep looking for Scriptural proof?

William Weedon said...

You can get a copy from Repristination Press, at least the first volume. I'd suggest you begin reading at 150ff. Outstanding stuff, really.

Anonymous said...

Just pulled out Chemnitz's Harmony. I have to admit, he did give me a new perspective on the word "until" in Matthew 1:25.

Bethany Kilcrease

Anonymous said...

Just pulled out Chemnitz's Harmony. I have to admit, he did give me a new perspective on the word "until" in Matthew 1:25. I tend to be agnostic on this question.

Bethany Kilcrease

Anonymous said...

Just pulled out Chemnitz's Harmony. I have to admit, he did give me a new perspective on the word "until" in Matthew 1:25. I tend to be agnostic on this question.

Bethany Kilcrease

Anonymous said...

Oops. Sorry for all those posts. Clearly I'm not very technologically adept.

Bethany

Past Elder said...

Since when is Lutheranism a matter of if it ain't in Scripture we ain't doing it, rather than if it contradicts Scripture we ain't doing it? Not since I left WELS.

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

"Since when is Lutheranism a matter of if it ain't in Scripture we ain't doing it, rather than if it contradicts Scripture we ain't doing it? Not since I left WELS."

Hmmmm. I suppose we could attribute infallibility to Peter, too. It wouldn't directly contradict Scripture. It just ain't in Scripture. Or the Assumption of Mary. How about that? But then, that's what Rome does: builds whole doctrines (or hymns) around things that aren't found in Scripture.

I still have to read the Harmony (it's being shipped to me as I write), but I know Greek, too, and all the implications of the word "until."

I think Chemnitz did a wonderful job in the Examination writing against a belief in the Immaculate Conception of Mary. Not only is it not found in Scripture, but it contradicts what Scripture says about the sinfulness of all men, save one.

Mary's perpetual virginity seems to be along the same lines. Not found in Scripture, and contrary to what Paul says of husbands and wives in 1 Corinthians 7.

And my quote above about the need to prove these things from Scripture (not just not contradict Scripture) was not from a WELS pastor, but from Chemnitz himself. Let's not throw stones, heh?

Past Elder said...

The Immaculate Conception is not the best analogy. For one thing, as distinct from its status since 1854, it was not a binding doctrine on Catholics despite its feast (8 December) being put in the universal Roman calendar by Sixtus IV in 1476, and Trent re-affirmed that status.

Luther believed it, and that's good enough for me. American Edition, vol 43, p 40.

On top of that, you know how the story of the woman caught in adultery REALLY ended don't you? No more had Jesus said Let he who is without sin cast the first stone, than this huge boulder came out of bloody nowhere, and Jesus said Aw mom, knock it off!

(A little preconciliar Catholic humour for you, I got a million of them.)

It's good to be LCMS.

Dennis said...

With the perpetual virginity of Mary, I like the theology from the Orthodox Church in regards to her being the new Ark of the Covenant. That in her womb God became man and therefore Joseph being the faithful man that he was would have realized that it is not to be touched.

I agree that it is not implicity stated in Scripture however, when you look at the Ark of the Covenant and the care that was taken to not touch it, how much more the virgin's womb that bore God Himself.

Past Elder said...

That is why it is a good thing to leave as not proven from Scripture but not contradictory to it either.

Gabriel said, full of grace, gratia plena.

Bishop Sheen once said he didn't know why people had such trouble with the Immaculate Conception, since these days everyone thinks they are conceived without sin!

I don;t suppose you'll hear this much in the Brave New Church of Vatican II, but behind that comment was the idea that while the truth is ancient, God reserved its formal definition by his church until the Nineteenth Century, to contradict the errors of On the Origin of the Species (1859) and Manifest der Kommunistischen Partei (1848) that Man is not on and of his own, neither individually nor collectively, moving toward perfection, a higher state, or a paradise, but that only one human was born without sin, and even she was so born by the act of God and not her own.

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

"I like the theology from the Orthodox Church in regards to her being the new Ark of the Covenant"

Ugh. Welcome back to Rome (or Constantinople)!

The spirit of Antichrist got to work pretty early when he diverted the Church's attention from the inspired Word (and Christ) and suggested all these "cool" alternative "truths."

"Luther believed it, so it's good enough for me" is also straight from the spirit of Antichrist (or enthusiasm, since they're closely related). So much for the work of the Holy Spirit through the Word! As long as a man said it (as respected as he may be), it's good enough! That was Rome's argument against Luther, wasn't it? "Church Father Y believed it, so that should be good enough for you, Martin."

To hold the pious opinion that Mary remained a virgin is one thing. To start inventing doctrines out of thin air, and then begin making deductions based on those inventions? Antichrist.

God's name is not hallowed by such speculations. It is blasphemed.

Anonymous said...

Woof: the typology of the Ark fulfilled in Mary is an appeal to Scripture. What you are saying is that the Fathers reading of Scripture is the spirit of antichrist. I for one cannot accept that - not even entertain it, to be quite frank. Once you through out all Tradition to illumine Scripture, all things are open: Trinity, the Chalcedonean formula, well, everything.

The Traditional take is that Scripture does speak of Mary's ever-virginity: Ezekiel 44. Again, once you through out categorically this type of reading, all bets are off.

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

Well, there you have it. Even the doctrine of the Trinity can't be clearly adduced from Scripture, eh? We need to rely on fallible men to clarify that most basic Christian doctrine for us?

Out with the Holy Spirit. Out with the perspicuity and sufficiency and authority and efficacy of the Scriptures. Out with Scripture interpretting Scripture. In with Enthusiasm.

It is the allegorizing tendency of many of the Fathers that truly opened the door to any and every teaching. Hmmm. The "gate" must remain shut. Obviously! The "gate" of the Temple must mean the "womb" of Mary! I know that because I know that. I don't need God's revelation to back me up, because so-and-so agrees with me.

Tradition becomes the judge of Scripture. Welcome back to Rome!

Anonymous said...

If you think Cappadocian Trinitarianism or Chalcedonian Christology simply emerges fully formed from Scripture you must have been sleeping through Church history in seminary.

These are all old questions, to be sure: Why not throw out Scripture as the same fallible lot set the canon by exclusion/inclusion? Or why privilege your reading over theirs if they were reliable guides and led by the Spirit?

But how or why that leads to Rome is unclear to me: I'm sure plenty of readers here consider themselves catholic but are not in communion with Rome.

William Weedon said...

Pr. Rydecki,

I don't think you'd accuse Krauth of being a Romanist - furthest thing from it, of course - but in his Conservative Reformation he notes a difference between the Reformed and the Lutherans. For the Reformed the Scripture was more sole SOURCE; for the Lutherans it was more sole NORM. The practical result he saw from that was that the dogmatic/exegetical and confessional tradition of the Church held a higher position for the Lutherans than the Reformed. It also explains why the Confessions appeal to both - the Sacred Scriptures as the norm and rule AND the witness of the Fathers to how that norm and rule was subsequently confessed. It's well worth the read, if you're not familiar it.

Past Elder said...

To start inventing doctrines? Oy.

Generally I have to say this on RC blogs, not Lutheran ones, but, what did I say? That this is or should be a doctrine binding on the faith ful? No.

The traditional Scriptural basis is Genesis 3:15. There could be no enmity between the serpent and "the woman", between her offspring and his, if she were herself bound to the serpent. Thus the Song of Solomon, from which the idea takes its name, verse 4:7, macula (stain) non est in te. Thus the greeting of Gabriel, Ave Maria, gratia plena (full of grace)Luke 1:28. Luther was not just giving his opinion here, he was speaking of the words of Gabriel recorded in Luke, in which he also made clear, as does Luke, that this is not due to a merit on her part, but the same grace which, in our case after birth rather than before, blots out the stain She is no less in need of a Saviour than we, and no less saved by the Saviour than we.

It was not because the man Luther said ir, but why he said it, which uses Scripture as the norm, that it is good enough for me, which norm is not at all what Rome offered Luther or anyone else.

Now somebody say Amen to-night!

That's just in case I get called an Enthusiast again, and here I was going to road trip to Hamel to do the O'Neal twins' classic "Jesus Dropped The Charges"! Case dismissed, case dismissed, saved by grace!

Dennis said...

Pastor Rydecki,

"The spirit of Antichrist got to work pretty early when he diverted the Church's attention from the inspired Word (and Christ)".

This issue does not divert anyone from the inspired Word and Christ. It actually ties the fullness of the Old and New Testament together, gives a deeper understanding of the Truth that "the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us." This way it holds, defends, and solidifies the teaching that she is truly the Mother of God.

Also, I agree with Pastor Weedon in regards to Krauth. To appeal to the Church Fathers for the understanding is to stand fast to the "faith that was once delivered" and to be with the Apostles in their "doctrine, fellowship, breaking of bread and in the prayers." To jetison the Church and her teachings is to leave the Bible up to just me and my understanding. This is an extremely dangerous place to be and is why so many Churches are departing from the faith today.

Matt Carver (Matthaeus Glyptes) said...

Greetings all! For those who'd like a more literal rendering of the German:

"Mary alone,
a Virgin pure,
Conceived by the Spirit, [or, spiritually]
gave birth bodily
to Christ on earth,
God's son, perfectly holy,
Through Whom we are saved,
For Whom all things are possible.
She remains a Virgin and God's Mother forever."