God’s Executioner? by R.E. Wehrwein……………………………..…p. 4
Wisdom and Foolishness by Lester Wehrwein…………………..……p. 7
Scripture vs. Rapture by R.E. Wehrwein …………………………….p. 12
Descent While Dead? by R.E. Wehrwein ……………..…………….p. 15
From a Wider Field by Egbert Schaller…………..………………….p. 17
At its meeting this past April, the conference designated these months, July-August, as the latest that the first issue of this publication was to appear. Now, after three special issues, the staff of Always Abounding – R.E. Wehrwein, Derek Wehrwein, Shannon Steensma – is finally publishing an issue that comes much closer to what it expects will be typical issues in the future.
The article on wisdom and foolishness was originally published in the Nov.-Dec. 1990 issue of the LCCF Newsletter. In view of the author’s entrance on July 19th into his heavenly home at the age of 93, it was thought appropriate to include something from his pen.
The material on the last pages consists, not of an entire article, but of brief samples from a number of columns to show the high quality of material that will be coming to you as we, acting on the kind permission of Northwestern Publishing House, continue to reprint these excellent columns of 50-60 years ago from the Northwestern Lutheran. You will notice two words added in brackets. These were, after considerable hesitation, supplied by the undersigned in order to yield a good sense.
The very last quotation is from a different source. It is added as something that can also be well applied to our RLC meetings, in keeping with what delegates are voicing more and more – that the more advance preparation we put into our meetings, the better they will go. RW
Evaluating Luther’s view
of Satan’s role in disasters
When we consider what to acquire for our personal theological library beyond such basics as Bible(s), hymnal(s), and catechism(s), Ewald Plass’s anthology, What Luther Says, deserves a place near or perhaps even at the top of the list. This is a magnificent treasure-trove of quotations from Luther on a host of topics, beginning with “absolution” and ending with “zeal.”
When we turn to the topic of the devil, we are treated, on the one hand, to the fruits of Luther’s own intense personal struggles with the devil, for example the advice to treat him with contempt, mockery, and ridicule. On the other hand, there is also the word of caution from Plass that “as a son of his times Luther naturally held, and in part continued to hold, views concerning the devil and his activities which went far beyond anything that Scripture tells us on the subject. …”
The question we should like to explore here for a moment is whether there is scriptural support for Luther’s view that the devil is “God’s executioner,” that is, that when God sends misfortune, He does it through the devil. Key quotations from Luther would include Nos. 1183 and 1184 in What Luther Says.
Does the case of Job support Luther’s generalization? Hardly. Here we have a particular case in which God specifically grants permission to Satan to afflict Job exactly as far as, and not one whit further than, God permits. We are assured of God’s absolute sovereignty over the devil, and of the gracious purpose He carries out in permitting His own to undergo severe trials. See James 5:11. II Cor. 12:7 likewise refers to a particular case.
But what about Luke 13:10-17?
In his This Is Luther, Ewald Plass quotes from a letter that Luther wrote to Wenzel Link: “Physicians may attribute such things to natural causes and sometimes partly cure them by medicine, but they are ignorant of the power of devils. Christ did not hesitate to say in the gospel that the old woman bowed down with infirmity was bound by Satan [Luke 13:16] … so I am forced to believe that many are made dumb, deaf, and lame by Satan’s malice, nor can I doubt that pestilence, fever, and other severe illnesses are caused by devils, who also bring on tempests, conflagrations, and blights in fruit and grain. What wonder if these wicked angels scourge the human race with all kinds of harm and peril as much as God permits! If some are cured by herbs and other natural remedies, it is by God’s mercy.” (pp. 109-110)
The case referred to by Luther is variously treated by commentaries. This is hardly surprising inasmuch as it seems to be neither normal illness, since a “spirit” is mentioned and since Jesus explicitly ascribes her condition to Satan (v. 16), nor demon possession, since things that demon possession usually entailed are conspicuous by their absence.
Theodor Zahn, in taking the view that the woman was ill, refers to Acts 10:38 and II Cor. 12:7 as proof that sickness generally is to be ascribed to the devil. Lenski, on the other hand, argues for possession, and dismisses Acts 10:38 and II Cor. 12:7 as inadequate proof for Zahn’s view. Others, very sensibly, it seems to me, recognize another category. The footnote on p. 50 of Vol. IV of Rudolf Stier’s The Words of the Lord Jesus (1856) has this: “Braune thinks it [‘spirit of infirmity’] a ‘strange expression’; but it is perfectly in accordance with a condition, which was neither natural sickness nor the customary possession. The Lord never laid His hands upon the actually possessed, as here, ver. 13.” In his volume on Luke in the Concordia Commentary, Arthur Just refers to “the evil spirit causing weakness” (p. 540). “Influence” rather than “possession” is spoken of by some commentators: “Through the influence of an evil spirit of infirmity” is the wording used by Norval Geldenhuys (New International Commentary on the New Testament).
Thus this verse also is not necessarily legitimately used as evidence that, as a general rule, God sends sickness, or other types of misfortune, through the devil.
On the other hand, passages that actually militate against this view include not only the many accounts of evils being attributed directly to God Himself, but also such passages as Is. 45:7 and Amos 3:6. “The One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the Lord who does all these.” “If a trumpet is blown in a city, will not the people tremble? If a calamity occurs in a city, has not the Lord done it?”
There is no treatment of Luke 13:10-17 in Werner Franzmann’s three-volume Bible history commentary. Our surprise upon discovering this prompted us to inquire, with the result that we learned that Franzmann’s original assignment was to comment on what was treated in the WELS Bible History course. The freedom he had to go beyond that, which he used many times, was evidently not used in this case.
A passage of interest in connection with this topic is I Thess. 2:18 (“and yet Satan thwarted us”). How much can we safely infer from this particular case about a general agency of the devil in disrupting travel plans?
Lenski takes the phrase in Acts 10:38, “all who were oppressed by the devil,” narrowly, as referring only to cases of demon possession, whereas others (e.g., Zahn), take it as including all sickness. Luther is also quoted in support of that view: “Luther: ‘All whom Jesus healed were oppressed by the devil.’” (Richard C. Jahn, “The Doctrine of the Angels,” The Abiding Word, Vol. III, p. 211. Jahn provides much interesting information, but, incredibly, he also expresses the view that Paul (II Cor. 12:7) and Job were victims of bodily possession (p. 213).)
* * * * * * * *
Sometime after the birth of Christ, a group of wise men “from the East” arrived in Jerusalem, looking for Him who had been born “King of the Jews.” Just where had they come from? According to J. Ylvisaker, in his The Gospels, some early church fathers as well as later scholars believed they came from Arabia. Others have placed their starting point in the regions of the Euphrates River, and Ylvisaker considers this to be the more reasonable conjecture.
He writes (p. 93): “The magi might have learned of the hope of Israel in these regions, especially from the traditions that still lingered after the Babylonian captivity. … Ezekiel, who had been carried off in bondage, 598 B.C., had prophesied chiefly for and among the Jews, although some of the seed must have lodged in Gentile soil. Ezekiel was succeeded by Daniel, who was a person of influence at the Babylonian, and, later, at the Persian court. The wise men may have learned of the hope of Israel through the Septuagint, which was easily accessible in the homes of the many Jews dwelling in those regions. They declare that they had seen the star of the newborn King in the East. They were awaiting the arrival of a new King in Judea, who should belong also to the Gentiles.”
It seems reasonable to assume that they had indeed come from Babylon. What a long and tedious journey this must have involved. It must have required months, the means of transportation undoubtedly being camels. And what was the object of their trip and their search? An infant, born in the most lowly and humble circumstances imaginable. And when they finally found Him, they bowed down and worshiped Him. Could these men actually be considered wise? Was it not rather the depth of foolishness to make such an arduous journey just to find a baby belonging to one of the poorest families in the land, and then to fall down and worship it?
Ah, no. It was a display of the highest wisdom. By the grace of God, these Gentiles discerned in the Child their savior, and they must have rejoiced greatly when they found Him and were privileged to worship Him and give gifts to Him. Let us spend a few moments considering how different their wisdom was from the wisdom of this world.
The wisdom of this world comes in a variety of forms. Different classes of people have different ideas of what constitutes wisdom. Some think it consists in pursuing an abundance of earthly possessions, in getting rich and storing up treasure on earth in the form of huge bank accounts, stocks and bonds, and various kinds of property, and then in luxuriously enjoying their accumulated wealth. What fools they are! Ultimately it will all go up in smoke. And those governed by such “wisdom” will even lose their own souls.
The wisdom of others consists in extracting as much pleasure out of life as possible, in gratifying the lust of the eyes, in indulging in the lusts of the flesh (I John 2:16), in eating and drinking and partying and carousing. Such are indeed to be pitied. Those who sow to the flesh shall reap corruption (Gal. 6:8).
Then there are those who think that the highest wisdom consists in gaining praise and honor and glory and fame, in being highly esteemed among men, in making a “success” out of life, and in being able to boast of their accomplishments, and who then bask in the adulation received. For these proud ones God has nothing but loathing. “The Lord detests all the proud of heart,” Prov. 16:5.
Of a slightly different stripe are those who, in their self-righteousness and exalted opinion of themselves, want to try to make the world a better place in which to live by “doing good” and helping the “poor.” In self-conceit, they presume to uplift others (whether they want to be “uplifted” or not), to manipulate others, and to be others’ keepers. Then they take pride in what they flatter themselves that they have all done. They are totally ignorant of the fact that anything that is not done out of faith in Jesus Christ is sin, and would be highly offended if they were told this.
Many believe that there is nothing wiser than to live what they imagine to be a moral and upright life. They take pride in the fact that they never killed anyone, never committed the act of adultery, never robbed anyone, never got drunk, etc., and that they pay their bills and contribute to their church and to charity. They take no account of the filth and corruption in their hearts. Do they think that because other people can’t see into their minds and hearts that God can’t either? They are confident that their outwardly upstanding life and their imagined sterling character deserve to be richly rewarded by God. There are as many of these pharisees today as there were in the time of Christ. What an unutterably great shock is in store for them!
Then there are those, known as philosophers, who, on the strength of their own reason, try to delve into questions of the origin, meaning, and destiny of all things. They set up elaborate systems of thought, trying to explain things that are beyond the grasp of the human intellect, while rejecting the only source that has the true explanation for everything. We are well aware from all the evolutionary propaganda with which we are surrounded how preposterous and totally contrary to common sense are some of the ideas that these thinkers propose. Professing themselves to be wise, they have become fools (Rom. 1:22).
Finally, let us glance at the modern “theologians,” who evidently consider themselves supremely wise, wiser even than God, and who set themselves up as judges over His Word, arrogantly deciding what is truth and what is myth and fable. To them the incarnation, the virgin birth, the miracles, salvation by grace through faith in the atonement accomplished by Christ on the cross, the resurrection, and the ascension are inventions and not worthy to be considered true by modern-day scholarship. To them the message of the cross is foolishness. But the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom. God has made foolish the wisdom of the world, and by the foolishness of the preaching of Christ crucified He saves those who believe (I Cor. 1:18-31).
All such highly vaunted wisdom of the world originates in the erring and depraved minds of the children of the devil; it leads to eternal separation from God. But true wisdom, despised and rejected by the haughty and self-righteous, originates in the mind of God and leads to eternal fellowship with Him. It is not the product of our own ingenuity.
This wisdom from above consists in humility, in knowing our limitations, in knowing that “we know nothing until we know nothing” (G.K. Chesterton), in trusting in the Lord with all our heart and not relying on our own understanding (Prov. 3:5). It consists in not setting ourselves up above others, in esteeming others better than ourselves, in serving and helping our neighbor instead of trying to lord it over him. It “is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere,” James 3:17 (see the context of this verse for its discussion of two kinds of wisdom). The smaller we become in our own sight, the greater we become in the sight of God.
True wisdom is shown in submitting ourselves to God and His Word, in acknowledging our utter sinfulness and unworthiness, and in falling down at the foot of the cross, thankfully accepting the cure there provided for our loathsome disease. It results in storing up treasure in heaven instead of on earth, and in cultivating a childlike trust in our Heavenly Father to take care of us and provide us with everything we need. It is characterized by living unto Him who gave Himself for us, by refusing to join the world in its sinful pleasures, and by being willing because of that to be considered a fool (I Peter 4:2-4).
True wisdom, in short, is the reverse of so much that the world believes to be wisdom. And it begins with joining the wise men, putting aside everything else, and worshiping the Child born in Bethlehem.
For here is the One through whom the all-wise God’s plan of salvation was effected. Here is the One who is Himself endowed with the wisdom sufficient to bring the enormous task to completion. “The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him – the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,” Is. 11:2. Here is the One who is greater, also in wisdom, than that wisest of men, King Solomon. “For she [the Queen of Sheba] came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here,” Luke 11:31.
At the wisdom of Jesus (which was manifest already in youth: “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature,” Luke 2:52), many were absolutely astounded. Mt. 13:54: “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” John 7:15: “The Jews were amazed and asked, ‘How did this man get such learning without having studied?’” John 7:46: “’No one ever spoke the way this man does,’ the guards declared.”
One has to marvel at the wisdom of Jesus in the way He confounded the scribes and Pharisees and Sadducees in their repeated efforts to entrap Him. These well-known attempts at trickery include such questions as whether to pay taxes to Caesar, which of the seven husbands that a certain woman had on earth she would be married to in heaven, whether it was permitted to heal on the Sabbath, what to do with the woman taken in adultery, and others.
Finally, after He had turned the tables with the question, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” (Mt. 22:41), “No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask Him any more questions,” v. 46. Anyone today who, after reading all such accounts, still rejects the claim of Jesus to divinity is manifesting a blindness and hardness similar to that of the Jews who finally managed to get Him crucified. The day will come when they will realize, with horror, what fools they were.
We cannot sufficiently thank God for granting unto us the wisdom that He gave to the wise men. “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by My Father in heaven,” Mt. 16:17. Nor can we sufficiently thank that Heavenly Father for being ready to respond bountifully and unstintingly when we ask for wisdom in its various forms. When Solomon, turning away from various attractive things, appealed to God for wisdom in serving as king of God’s people, did he not receive it in extraordinary measure? And did not James write as follows to all who need wisdom in connection with undergoing trials? “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (1:5).
May we, with the confidence born of possession, by grace, of the gift of Christ and His salvation, ever have recourse to our Heavenly Father, and to nothing or no one else, for the wisdom necessary to complete safely our walk through this benighted world. May our journey be carried on, from beginning to end, on our knees, in adoration of Christ. May we, holding ourselves aloof from the world’s foolishness, thus show the way whereby others may come into possession of true wisdom.
• * * * * *
1) The overriding theme of Old Testament prophecy, right from the beginning (Gen. 3:15), is the coming of the Savior. Num. 24:17; Is. 7:14; Is. 53; Micah 5:2.
2) The line of the Savior is thus kept constantly before our eyes. Note especially the promise to David and the assurances of the permanence of his house. II Sam. 7; Ps. 89; I Kings 11:34; II Chron. 21:7; Is. 37:35.
3) While it is well known that the people of the Savior, the Children of Israel, is the subject of virtually all of Old Testament Bible history, the manner in which this people is treated in prophecy is commonly overlooked or distorted. Very simply, the true people of God is spiritual, not fleshly, even as Isaac was a child, not of the flesh, but of promise. Rom. 2:28-29, 9:6ff.; Gal. 3:7 & 29, 4:28; Phil. 3:3.
4) Thus, on the one hand, the end of the physical nation of Israel is repeatedly the subject of prophecy. This includes the end of its law, the razing of its temple, and the destruction of its capital city. Is. 66:6; Amos 9:1; II Cor. 3:11ff.; Mt. 27:51; Luke 19:41-44; Mt. 22:7, 23:33ff., 24:2, 26:64; Luke 21:20ff., 23:28-31; I Thess. 2:16.
5) On the other hand, passage after passage dwells on the new and glorious people from across the world that replaces the Old Testament nation of Israel. Is. 54:1-3, 60:1-9, 65:1, 66:7-8; Hosea 1:10; Amos 9:11-12; Acts 15:14ff.; Eph. 2-3; Rom. 9-11; Acts 13:46-48; Mt. 21:43.
6) Nothing in Scripture equals Daniel 9:24-27 in its concise and powerful statement both of the arrival and work of the Savior, which is the great goal of the existence of the earthly nation of Israel, and of the fearful judgment to fall upon the people and its city at about that time.
7) Since God kept sparing Israel solely for the sake of the coming Savior, to teach Israel’s continued existence as God’s chosen people is to teach that the Savior has not yet come.
Of the many end-time scenarios with their almost infinite variations that have been proposed to our bewildered view today, perhaps the most prominent and popular is the following:
Prior to the 70th week of Daniel, the “rapture” of the church will take place. That is, all believers will be snatched out of this world. Then will follow a seven-year period at the midpoint of which the antichrist will break the covenant he had previously made with the Jews. The indescribable destruction and persecution portrayed in Revelation and elsewhere will then be unleashed in the final three and a half years, leading to the battle of Armageddon and the return of Christ for his thousand-year earthly rule.
This view shatters on the following truths:
1) The Bible does not teach a rapture. (Nor does it even teach a thousand-year earthly rule of Christ.) The “proof” passage, I Thess. 4:15-17, deals exclusively with the end of the world, and does not separate the joining of the saints with their Lord Jesus from His second and final coming. (Note the following from Dictionary of Christianity in America, under “Rapture of the Church”: “All premillennialists trace the doctrine to the same passage (I Thess. 4:15-17) but disagree on when it will occur in relation to the tribulation period, which they identify as the ‘seventieth week’ of Daniel 9:24-27.”)
2) It is an act of unspeakable violence to Holy Scripture to tear Daniel 9:27 from its context, as the advocates of this view do, and take it as referring to events centuries, even millennia, later than the period of time under discussion in the context.
3) At His first coming, Christ succeeded most wonderfully and perfectly in completing His missions of destroying the devil’s kingdom (by His death on the cross, through which He atoned for the sins of the world, and by His triumphant resurrection) and also, upon ascending into heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father and to assume rule over all things, of establishing His New Testament Church (pouring out the Holy Spirit on Pentecost). “To do whatever Thy hand and Thy purpose predestined to occur,” Acts 4:28.
But according to the rapture view, Christ actually failed in His mission at His first coming, resulting in the prolonged parenthetical period of the church before the projected successful coming to establish His kingdom. Thus what God greatly magnifies in His Word – the events of Christ’s first coming – man minimizes. Indeed, the preoccupation with the alleged sequence of end-time events is alone enough to sideline and withdraw from our view the saving work accomplished by Christ at His first coming. This alone marks the rapture view as satanic in its effects.
4) The Antichrist is a religious entity, not a political one, as it is in the rapture scenario. Dn. 7:20-25; II Thess. 2:1-12; Rev. 13:11ff. More generally: According to Scripture, Christ’s work and His true people and His great opponent (Antichrist) are all spiritual. Christ’s work is necessarily externalized, and thus destroyed, not only directly by teaching an earthly rule, but also indirectly by externalizing either His true people, or His great opponent, or both.
“For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified,” I Cor. 2:2. “You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?”, Gal. 3:1.
For important information
on the history and
promotion of the
rapture view, see the
books and articles by
including The Incredible Cover-Up and
The Rapture Plot.
Examining The People’s Bible and I Peter 3:18
In a splendid article first published in the July 1979 issue of the Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly and subsequently included in the 1991 NPH anthology, Our Great Heritage (Vol. II, pp. 555-570), Prof. Siegbert Becker explained that in Rom. 1:3, I Tim. 3:16, and I Peter 3:18, “flesh” refers essentially to Jesus’ state of humiliation and “spirit” to His state of exaltation. Thus, Becker writes of I Peter 3:18: “We are now … prepared to define what Peter meant when he said that Christ was made alive ‘in spirit.’ It does not mean that somehow he was now divorced from flesh, or from his body. But he was raised in that spiritual state in which his body was no longer subject to the natural laws that govern all material things nor to all the natural ills to which the flesh is heir because of the fall into sin. … In this new state, or mode of existence, he then descended into hell to preach to the spirits in prison” (pp. 561-62).
A different view is presented in Pastor Mark Jeske’s volume on I Peter in The People’s Bible of the Wisconsin Synod. “The NIV’s footnote, however, probably provides a better way to translate the verses [I Peter 3:18-19]: ‘He was put to death in the body but made alive in the spirit, through which he went and preached ….’ This would show that Christ’s descent into hell occurred before the resurrection of his body and was a descent in spirit.” What is one to think of this?
The death that Jesus suffered was, as our physical death will be, a separation of soul and body. Jesus’ soul did not die. He Himself said: “Father, into your hands I commend My spirit.” The dead body was placed into the tomb.
But the very fact that we acknowledge that Jesus’ spirit never died makes it nonsensical to speak, as the commentary does, of being made alive in that spirit. To make alive must involve what was dead – the body. The spirit didn’t need to be made alive. The body needed to be made alive through reunion with the spirit.
But what is really astounding is that we are thus left with a descent into hell carried out by Jesus when his body was in the grave. What kind of victory can be proclaimed under those circumstances? “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins,” I Cor. 15:17. Though it doesn’t use those exact words, it seems undeniable that a WELS commentary sets forth the view that Jesus descended into hell when He was dead.
“Why did our Lord descend into hell? To proclaim His victory over sin, death, Satan, and hell. He did that after He rose but before He appeared on earth; that is why the descent is mentioned before the resurrection in the Creed.” (Dr. John Drickamer, The Echo of Truth – A Handbook of Christian Teaching, 1997; p. 22)
“We believe that the unnamed writer of the article on ‘Christ’s Descent into Hell’ in the Concordia Cyclopedia of 1927 made a very cogent point when he reasons: ‘If Christ had made the descent while his body was in the power of death, it could not have been a triumphant descent’ (emphases ours).” (Our Great Heritage, Vol. II, p. 576; the essay from which this is taken, “Christ’s Descent into Hell,” by Pastor Gerhard Struck, was delivered at a Michigan pastoral conference and then published in Nos. 2-3 of the 1960 Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly before being included in Our Great Heritage.)
A detailed discussion of the sermon by Luther on Christ’s descent into hell that is referred to by our Formula of Concord in its ninth article, together with a translation of that sermon, appears in the 2003-3 issue of Logia. This is an impressive piece of scholarship. The translators, in their 162 footnotes, take issue at times with the translation of this sermon that appears in Sources and Contexts of the Book of Concord, edited by Robert Kolb and James Nestingen (Augsburg Fortress; 2001).
Our discovery of this passage in The People’s Bible was accidental. Inquiries we have subsequently made of other WELS clergymen have generally brought expressions of disagreement with what Pastor Jeske wrote. We even contacted Pastor Jeske himself, but he did not retreat from what he had written.
Northwestern Lutheran, March 12, 1950, p. 86
A new Amendment to the Constitution of the United States which bodes no good to our country is on its way through the legislative mill at Washington. Under the typically shrill pressure of feminine enthusiasts, it has passed the Senate by a vote of 63 to 19.
Promoted by certain women who ‘want to be persons now because we still are not persons in the Constitution,’ the amendment reads: ‘Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged on account of sex.’
One would judge that the Amendment as passed really makes more than mere persons of women. For the Senate attached a rider stating that nothing in the amendment would change any ‘rights, benefits or exemptions now or hereafter conferred by law upon persons of the female sex.’ So the status of women would [not?] be that of [mere?] persons, but better. They retain peculiar protection not accorded an ordinary mortal.
Christian citizens, we trust, will through their Representatives resist passage of the Amendment. It is: a) ridiculous; b) a threat of law against the divine order observed in our midst which forbids the right of the woman to speak in the Church (I Cor. 14:34; I Tim. 2:12); c) an insult to the Creator who expressly disavows the ‘equality’ claims of fanatical females. (I Cor. 11:3; Eph. 5:22-24)
April 23, 1950, p. 126
In an Atlantic Monthly article he states that our public schools today are controlled by what he calls academic ‘quackery.’ He takes a very dim view of the average quality of public school instructors, but asserts that the fault lies, not with the teachers, parents or school boards, but with ‘the super-professionals who determine the kind of education to which your child must submit … the professors of education in the larger universities and teachers’ colleges.’ The chief failing which Mr. Lynd sees in public education is the lack of ‘culture,’ both in the pupils and in the teachers. This is allegedly to be attributed to the professors in the schools which train teachers … schools which Mr. Lynd calls ‘intellectual bargain basements.’
Nov. 18, 1951, p. 358
Most men listen to themselves and to other men, and the noise of human chatter fills our air. The quiet hour of meditation with the Bible in hand is so strange an experience that many cannot stand it at all. They never want to be alone with God. They become radio and television addicts because silence is unbearable.
Feb. 24, 1952, p. 52
But such is the Great American Illusion – that the mere acknowledgment of the existence of a Supreme Being constitutes faith in God and is therefore a true rejection of communism and all that it represents. We call it an American illusion, not because it is peculiar to our country, but because here it receives its most vigorous expression and has reached a position of high influence. It is the militant force in lodgery, Scoutism and the unionistic movements among the churches, a force which masquerades as true Christianity but is nursed at the breast of unbelief.
From a 1944 sermon on I Kings 6:7:
I fear that there are some for whom their own treatment begins when they come to Sunday service and ends when they leave. How many of us still prepare ourselves at home for the services? Do we come with repentant hearts to church, or do we expect that here our hearts should quickly be made to repent, perhaps through the sermon? Oh, my friends, it does not actually work that way in life; our hearts should be repentant through the Word that was preached to us last time we were in church or read the Word at home. And when we are here this time, the Word of God is to affect us during the week to come, where God does the grinding and polishing.
How needful that we prepare our hearts to receive the Word before we come to Sunday Services – and after we return to our homes, that we allow the Word to work in us! The danger of Sunday Christians is just this, that they expect all the good work to be done in them on Sunday morning in one hour. If they live by that hope, they will never be fitted into the walls of Zion.
(Vol. III of Selected Sermons of E. Schaller, p. 120)