* ON HUMAN CLONING
The following letter was sent to a local newspaper last November by one of our CLC pastors. We heartily agree with the expressions in the letter.
This being the anniversary month of the 1973 Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court ruling in favor of abortion, the letter’s contents are especially timely.
Since the announcement this past weekend regarding the cloning of a human embryo, there has been a great deal of media discussion both pro and con. Emotions are high on both sides of this volatile issue. But the entire argument comes down to the answer of one simple question: when does human life begin? This was the same question that was asked in the early 1970’s when the abortion issue was being debated in our country. For those of us who believe the Bible is the inspired and inerrant Word of God in its entirety, we can answer such a question confidently that human life begins at the moment of conception. For us, the cloning of human embryos for the harvesting of their stem cells is nothing less than the deliberate killing of human beings for their tissue. For those of us who believe that human life begins at conception, cloning humans for their stem cells is no different than killing people on the street so that internal organs can be transplanted. Really, what is the difference, if you believe life begins at conception? This is much more than a scientific issue, and even more than a moral issue. Ultimately, the cloning of humans is a theological issue. What a person believes about God and the Bible will ultimately determine where that person stands on human cloning.
/s/ Rev. Stephen C. F. Kurtzahn, Pastor
St. Paul’s Lutheran Church
* TRANSLATION OF THE BIBLE INTO GERMAN
In connection with an article in our October issue which spoke of Luther’s translating the Bible into the language of the people, a reader has passed along some interesting information taken from various literary sources pertaining to Luther and the Bible.
In the interest of factual history in this regard, we share a few quotes which indicate that the Bible was available in the German tongue well before Luther’s translation appeared.
“The Bible was translated into German as early as the fourteenth century. This translation naturally follows the Vulgate. After the invention of printing it appeared (1462 to 1522) in no less than eighteen editions, fourteen in the High and four–according to some, five–in the Low German dialect. The origin of this pre-Lutheran German Bible is still uncertain. That Luther was acquainted with it and made use of it has been established by recent investigations. Luther’s version was made from the Hebrew and Greek and everywhere bears the stamp of originality. Its merits are well known.” (The Concordia Cyclopedia, 1927, pp. 81f.)
“The Bible, it is true, had been translated into German before Luther’s time, but in a clumsy idiom that sounded foreign to the people, and not, like Luther’s version, from the original text, but from the Latin translation used in the churches. Luther declared that no one could speak German of this outlandish kind, ‘but,’ he said, ‘one has to ask the mother in her home, the children in the street, the common man in the market place, and look at their mouths to see how they speak, and thence interpret it to oneself, and so make them understand.'” (Life of Luther, Koestlin, 1881, translated from the German, 1905, p. 224)
“‘The Holy Scriptures are a vast and a mighty forest, but there is no single tree in it that I have not shaken with my own hand,’ said Luther. The publication of his translation of the entire Bible into German in 1534 remains one of the celebrated events of the Reformation. Luther’s achievement of providing the people with a trustworthy and highly readable rendition of the Bible from the original languages has received fitting attention elsewhere. Here it is enough to note that while Luther’s translation was by no means the first to appear in German, it was by all standards the best and most widely influential.” (Martin Luther, Prefaces to the Books of the Bible. Introduction, Luther’s Works 35:227).
Thanks again to the reader who sent us a print-out of these–and a considerable number of other–quotations bearing on the matter. We would be happy to share more of this information with any who request it.
* MORE STANZAS
Our Christmas issue, p. 15, contained a hymn titled “Immanuel” written by Pastor David & Mrs. Julie Reim. There was room for but three of the six stanzas; the remaining three are:
4. Enslaved by death,
Infected with sin,
None had the power
Salvation to win;
Almighty God frees us from hell.
5. Now none can harm --
There's nothing to fear.
Our God is with us,
He's ever so near.
God is with us, Immanuel.
6. All praises bring
To God on high.
Our hearts shall sing,
For Christ is nigh.
All praise to God, Immanuel.