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C. F. W. Walther, Theologian

We honor Walther today by reading a biographical devotion from Servant of the Word and reading a poem Walther wrote about Jesus’ work for us on the cross.

Devotional Reading

Walther was a devoted scholar of Martin Luther’s writings and had mastered the Lutheran Confessions as well as or perhaps better than anyone in America during the 19th century. He initiated publication opportunities for the wider distribution of Luther’s works, and for that reason frequently was referred to as “the Luther of America.” In typical humility, however, Walther rejected that designation as inappropriate and insisted that he was merely “Luther’s Archivist.”

Walther worked tirelessly in the biblical languages (Greek and Hebrew), never ceasing to encourage others in the study of the Scriptures, especially Pauline theology. He also had the gift of a marvelous memory and throughout his life delivered learned essays on doctrinal subjects, with ample quotations from the Scriptures and other documentation—all without the help of modern technology.

Initially Walther’s theological writings were prepared in German. . . . Much of this material has been translated into English. . . . These sources especially demonstrate what a multi-faceted man Walther actually was: an outstanding theological professor, a sincere and effective parish pastor, a master teacher of doctrine and practical theology—in short, a devoted servant of God’s Word and the church. . . .

The task of future generations is to study, critique, and learn God’s message of forgiveness as revealed in His Son Jesus Christ, our Savior and Brother. In a day when there is much discussion about the doctrine of justification as the doctrine by which the church stands and falls, a study of Walther’s life and writings should be of great help.

Devotional reading is from Servant of the Word, pages 7–8 © 2000 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Hymn

O where is thy sting, Death? We fear thee no more;
Christ rose, and now open is fair Eden’s door.
For all our transgressions His blood does atone;
Redeemed and forgiven, we now are His own.

Hymn text is from LSB 480:4 and is © 1941 Concordia Publishing House.

 

Written by

Anna Johnson

Deaconess Anna Johnson is a marketing manager at Concordia Publishing House. After graduating from the deaconess program at Concordia University Chicago, she continued her studies at the University of Colorado—Denver in education and human development. She has worked as a church youth director and served a variety of other nonprofit organizations, such as the Lutheran Mission Society of Maryland. Anna loves playing video games and drinking a hot cup of tea almost as much as she loves her cat and her husband.

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