Theses Concerning Church Fellowship

Preliminary observation on the following theses. The word "Church fellowship" is not treated here in the wider sense. For in and under this exists a certain amount of church fellowship simply because of the confession of Holy Scripture as the Word of God between all congregations standing in this confession against pagans, Jews, and Muslims. Rather this word1 is used here in a narrow sense as the fellowship of Evangelical Lutheran congregations against more or less corrupt heterodox church fellowships. Thesis 1 The only internal bond of fellowship between individual Lutheran congregations in many nations and languages is true, just, and saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, who with and in Him also seizes and holds fast to His most holy and perfect merit. Thesis 2 The only external bond of fellowship between individual Lutheran congregations in many nations and languages is the Unaltered Augsburg Confession. Remark: Not absolutely necessary for Lutheran church fellowship is acceptance of the other Lutheran Confessions, provided it is not denied that these are interrelated with the orthodox Unaltered Augsburg Confession. Thesis 3 Because the Unaltered Augsburg Confession (which in its origin is just as historically particular as it is ecumenical in its doctrinal content) is the pure and genuine2 explanation and exposition of God's Word, for doctrine and defense, the consciences of all Lutherans, whether individuals or congregations or church bodies, are thus bound by them. Thesis 4 Accordingly, there is no orthodox Lutheran congregation or Lutheran church body that does not adopt the doctrinal and defendable words of this confession as they are. Thesis 5 Whoever also denies the logically resultant conclusions from the words of this Confession is not a true member of the Lutheran Church if he now wrongfully holds fast the name Lutheran.

1 2

Tr.: The word for "Church fellowship" in German is one word: Kirchengemeinschaft. ungefälschte.

Thesis 6 It necessarily follows from the type and nature of this orthodox confession that ecclesiastical practice is in accordance with the confession. Because every ecclesial action is either a direct manifestation and effective implementation of the confession, or at least one that, if it moves within the area of Christian liberty, must not be in violent contradiction to the confession. Thesis 7 It follows logically from this necessary connection between confession and practice that a Lutheran synod, in which the prevailing practice is in accordance with the Church's confession, may unite into an ecclesiastical body with a synod that calls itself "Lutheran" in which the prevailing practice is contrary to the confession. Thesis 8 This contradiction can take place in many different ways. First of all, it takes place when a Lutheran church body that explicitly and emphatically commits herself to the Symbolical Books nevertheless tolerates in their fellowship or even considers acceptable and approves pulpit exchange with non-Lutheran preachers and Communion fellowship with non-Lutherans, and does not decidedly oppose all forms of chiliasm. Thesis 9 This contradiction finds further place when members of her congregations are still members of secret societies, and neither a thorough public witness is extolled in preaching against these societies and their incompatibility with Scripture and faith by the concerned pastors, nor the individual lodge brothers taken into particular pastoral instruction and care. Thesis 10 No less a contradiction exists when a Lutheran synod or a composite synodical body allows that individual so-called "Lutheran" pastors of hers continually serve congregations that are actually "Union"3 congregations. Thesis 11 It also contradicts the confession when the church body can put up with it the fact that their pastors do not have a proper call, but only have a temporary call from their congregations, or indeed reinforces this disorder through licensing4. Thesis 12 It is a glaring contradiction against the confession when a Lutheran church body does not prove to be unending in her earnestness and zeal to bring orthodox congregational schools into existence, which is her duty, where they do not exist.

3 4

unirt. Licenzwesen.

Thesis 13 It is also a contradiction against the confession when a Lutheran body does not hold that in their congregations only orthodox agendas, hymn books, catechisms, doctrinal books and books of devotion are used, or yet does not invest due diligence that existing false religious books of this kind are abolished and orthodox books are introduced. Thesis 14 It is contrary to the confession in the strongest terms when doctrinal discipline is not in a Lutheran church body, and the popular theory of "open questions" is revered in it. Thesis 15 It is not according to the confession when a synod or larger church body does not work to ensure that in their congregations more precise doctrinal discipline and discipline of life gradually comes into fashion and into exercise, which is willed by Christ and in Matthew 18:1517. Thesis 16 It stands in precise connection with the confession that every Lutheran synod in its part uses all diligence, to call and to help obtain orthodox schools for development of faithful and capable preachers and school teachers for the preservation of the church in life. Thesis 17 No less is it according to the confession that synods give attention to whether and how individual congregations of their association demonstrate active love in caring for needy widows, orphans, the sick, etc. Thesis 18 Finally, it is related to the confession that synods encourage congregations of their association vigorously to participate on their part for the spreading of Lutheran doctrine and the Lutheran Church, for external and internal mission. We may well realize at the outset the importance of the subject matter discussed in this thesis when we look at the current state of the Lutheran Church in general. It is this way in Germany, as the prophet says, "like a little house in the vineyard, like a lodge in the pumpkin garden, like a ravaged city."5 The Union there starts thereon to destroy the Lutheran church, as for example in Hannover is now fairly before our eyes, while in other parts of Germany this work of destruction has been completed. In yet other "Lutheran" state churches obvious unionistic spirit and most shameful cajolery of union-minded authorities takes over the upper hand. Here in America, it is now certainly still well, thanks be to God, something different and better. But we know only too well how hostile the General Synod is to the confession of the Lutheran Church and, on the other hand, how the General Council shows no honest seriousness in regard to Lutheran doctrine and sound church practice. The faithful God Himself has given us

Isaiah 1:8.

grace that we are really serious with our works in God's Church. We do not want to confess the ancient truth of the divine Word merely with the mouth and to use the confession of the Lutheran Church as a mere figurehead. However, the longer the more we should now get serious with proper practice, unless this is already happening. For that to happen, the theses and their discussion should powerfully inspire us. We keep thereby only our local conditions in mind, even if individual cases may be mentioned for exemplifying from other parts of the Church. To be sure, while the immediate aim of the "preliminary observation" is merely to define more precisely in what sense of the word "Church fellowship" do the theses handle, we would like to take the opportunity from the explanation given here of the understanding of the word. It again emphasized that, although the enthusiasts and all false believers as such are not certainly the Church of God, yet the Lord has everywhere His children, His Church, where God's Word still is essential and pieces of blessed doctrine go in vogue. Precisely since there are believers, because the Word of God, if it is still there, always and everywhere has its convincing power again to give birth and therefore to awaken faith, despite all the damage that can be found in such a church fellowship. For the sake of the now thus in their hiding believing children of God are these precisely even rightly called "Church." These fellowships also confess themselves to the apostolic Creed. This is the Church's response to the pure preaching of the Word. Whoever still confesses for this symbol is part of the visible Church in the wider sense of the word: to the congregation of those called. As evidence of how the Lord has His Church everywhere, where God's Word is still essential, serve the following two Testimonies: Luther: "Therefore the church is holy even where the fanatics are dominant, so long as they do not deny the Word and the sacraments; if they deny these, they are no longer the church. Wherever the substance of the Word and the sacraments abides, therefore, there the holy church is present, even though Antichrist may reign there; for he takes his seat not in a stable of fiends or in a pigpen or in a congregation of unbelievers but in the highest and holiest place possible, namely, in the temple of God (2 Thess. 2:4). Thus our brief answer to this question is this: The church is universal throughout the world, wherever the Gospel of God and the sacraments are present. The Jews, the Turks, and the fanatics are not the church, because they oppose and deny these things."6 Luther: "It is true, I admit, that the church in which you (papists) sit derives from the ancient church as well as we, and that you have the same baptism, the sacraments, the keys, and the text of the Bible and gospels. I will praise you even further and admit that we have received everything from the church before you (not from you). What more do you want? Are we not devout enough? Will you not call us henceforth unheretical? We do not regard you as Turks and Jews (as was said above) who are outside the church. But we say you do not remain in it but become the erring, apostate, whorelike church (as the prophets used to call it), which


Luther, M. (1999). Luther's works, vol. 26: Lectures on Galatians, 1535, Chapters 1-4 (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald & H. T. Lehmann, Ed.) (Ga 1:2). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

does not remain in the church, where it was born and brought up7.... We acknowledge not only that you have, with us, come from the true church and been washed and made clean in baptism through the blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, as St. Peter says here, but also that you are in the church and remain in it. Indeed, we say that you sit and rule in it as St. Paul prophesied in 2 Thessalonians 2:3–4, that the accursed Antichrist would sit (not in the cowshed), but in the temple of God. But you are no longer of the church, or members of the church, for in this holy church of God you are building your own new apostate church, the devil’s brothel."8 Thus Luther. The Missouri Synod in particular has been attacked and reviled by Grabau for the sake of the doctrine witnessed here by Luther and by us. Soon it was said: You have in your doctrine of the invisible Church with its members under all "Christian" denominations only a paper Church; soon: You speak with this your doctrine only the word of the Union with false believing fellowships. However, as we in the spirit of the dear orthodox fathers, yes, even to speak with their words, witness the following Testimonies: Joh. Gerhard: "Because the elect and truly believing are not outside the assembly of the called but are in this assembly of the visible church (in which hypocrites, too, are intermingled), secondarily and consequently the visible church of the called is also called catholic or universal."9 V.E. Löscher: "We hold the Calvinist-Reformed as an irregular part of the universal church."10 Especially those of us who have perhaps earlier themselves once thus Romanized that they dreamed of a one saving particular church, know the importance of our present doctrine of the Church: that rightly to appreciate the pure doctrine that the Church had in the true sense of the word among their members of all Christian denominations. And this doctrine we should also carry on with diligence in our congregations, not only because one will not admit that e.g. even those still in the so-called Catholic Church, for the children of God hidden in her, in truth is the Church, but even so, when we testify against any and all false doctrine with all earnestness, wherever it turns up, yet they learn to understand more and more that we abhor such exclusivity, according to which all members of other fellowships would be damned, and that our dear church children thus receive in the right way a truly generous heart. Regarding the first thesis: One has to pay attention here to the contrast that one arguably can externally belong to the Lutheran Church, for unfortunately many belong to her only in this way, because one externally makes his confession as his own, yet thereby stands in

Luther, M. (1999). Vol. 41: Luther's works, vol. 41: Church and Ministry III (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald & H. T. Lehmann, Ed.) (207). Philadelphia: Fortress Press. 8 Luther, M. (1999). Vol. 41: Luther's works, vol. 41: Church and Ministry III (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald & H. T. Lehmann, Ed.) (209). Philadelphia: Fortress Press. 9 Loci Theologici, vol. 25: On the Church (279). 10 Unschuldige Nachrichten. 1709. p. 293.

no inner connection with true Lutherans precisely because it lacks in the true, just, and saving faith. The fact that this and only this causes internal church fellowship states, among many others, the following Testimony: Baier: "The form of the Church (which makes the Church the Church) is the union of true believers and saints with Christ through true and living faith. That (union) is not an external and local (union) of bodies, but an inward and spiritual bond of souls. For although believers also hold local sacred gatherings, yet they are not essentially the Church."11 Baier testifies here that what is essentially necessary for Christian and also for Lutheran inner fellowship, what binds Christians with Christ, Christ with Christians, and thus Christians also internally with one another, is faith. Specifically, faith is the only internal bond of fellowship. Apart from it there is no other, as e.g. Delitzsch once obtained, although again forfeited baptismal grace as such second place. We should and want to preserve that only those Christians and therefore only those true Lutheran Christians can be those who are in justifying faith. The only inner of fellowship bond is this faith, for where it is missing, there no inward fellowship occurs with the Church of God, where this bond is broken, the same holds no other more upright. Thus the Lord Jesus says explicitly in His high priestly prayer to His Heavenly Father: "I do not pray for these alone" - for the apostles namely, "but also for those who will believe in Me through their Word. That they may all be one, just as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us."12 It is therefore incontrovertible that where the bond of faith in Christ is also missing from any Christian unity, inward fellowship of Christians and therefore even Lutherans among themselves may no longer be spoken by anyone. About now the objection would be raised that another inward bond of fellowship is still in place among Lutherans as exists between all Christians in general. It is indeed true, of course, that justifying faith internally binds faithful Lutherans with children of God in other church parties just as well as with other devout Lutherans; only with this it has nothing in common with dogmatic faith in regard to Lutheran distinctive doctrines. The common faith binds it with those of the primary fundamental articles of Christian doctrine; besides, even with this agreement in all other articles of faith. The common dogmatic belief is yet even now something internal and precisely what had brought us together in the Synodical Conference, and precisely because agreement in dogmatic faith is lacking between us and the General Council, we would not be able to join them. If one has, e.g., three Lutherans and three Reformed before him, who all believed in Christ and each of them also believe with his own Particular Church in regard to special teachings, then of course all six are internally connected through justifying faith; but, however, are they not at the same time again separated by the designated differences from each other, namely internally? Thus indeed Luther told Oecolampadius, etc.: "You have another spirit." The word "spirit" indeed denotes something internal, and Luther did not want to deny
11 12

Compend. III, 13, 9. John 17:20-21.

his opponents the state of grace. Apart from the unity in justifying faith, there is surely not only a distinction that Lutherans have a different objective belief than non-Lutherans, but also another subjective belief. Should not one here perhaps distinguish between justifying faith that all Christians have in common, and dogmatic faith that not all have in common? To the answer to these objections: One must go back to the doctrine of the Church already dealt with among us in so many ways. The Lord has one Church that He calls His Own. This is in fact the so-called Church that we refer to as invisible and confess in the third article of the Apostles Creed. This Church is not merely located among Lutherans; the Lord is not ashamed to adopt others as His children. He chose these others from eternity and will bless them and make them glorious. He bears witness to them as their God, their Redeemer and Savior. But that which binds them to Him is nothing other than justifying and saving faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. So in the first thesis we are talking about the Church in the proper sense of the word as located even among Lutherans. The distinction between justifying and dogmatic faith is here absolutely unjustified. Scripture itself tells us there is only one faith.13 This one faith all of God's children have, wherever they may be found. A faithful child of God in another church party has basically no other belief than a devout Lutheran. Even though it may be very poor in knowledge and encumbered with error, regardless as individual true Lutherans probably err here and there and otherwise often are sinful, it implicitly has with justifying faith in truth all articles of faith. It is the Holy Spirit Who indeed works faith. He certainly never creates a cripple, a faith in which it lacks only one article, i.e. part. If a Reformed, etc., does not have this one faith worked by the Holy Spirit, then he is certainly not a believer. Yes, we admit that we still associate a little more with faithful Lutherans than with believers outside the Lutheran Church; but this is more: that in all articles of faith of identical confession is indeed something external, if it is not equally denied that the knowledge and conviction of true Lutherans in this regard requires the inner workings of the same; and the latter, the right actual bond that internally connects all God's children, and that latter is and remains justifying faith: in Him each and every internal fellowship of the body of Christ is lifted up. Or as a Lutheran is linked to another Lutheran in inner fellowship , who however has so much in common with him, what a member of any other church does not share with him, but who only hypocritically adheres to the Church? Certainly not! This clearly shows that justifying faith is the only inward bond of fellowship between even Lutherans and Lutherans. The so-called dogmatic faith can never be described here as such a bond. Yet, e.g. even our seven-year or eight-year-old children are rightly called Lutherans among us, although some might say they still have no inward awareness of Christian dogma, let alone a firm conviction. Internally, we call it the bond of fellowship of faith, because this is concealed in the heart and only God manifests it, Who at all times bestows with it right understanding of all sound doctrine, to the extent necessary for salvation; but we recognize the faith of our neighbor only as far as possible, if he externally stands out by confessing. The faithful Reformed, e.g., however, even conceals his faith from us if he commits himself to the distinctive doctrines of his church; I cannot come to the conviction with him to the extent that he is a Christian as I can do with a Lutheran, who confesses the same thing in all respects with me. But here I may indeed be wrong in Lutherans; he may only associate his confession in the same with me in the end, and perhaps particularly attracted him,

Ephesians 4.

while no internal fellowship has taken place or is taking place between us. As for me with Lutherans, whether he is a true believer or not, what links us particularly is therefore undeniably nothing than the same confession, i.e. an external bond, while internally I have a bond of fellowship with no one, as with one who stands in justifying faith. Indeed, our ecclesiastical confession uses the words used in the theses in exactly the same sense so that we therefore speak entirely according to it, as it says, et al., in the Seventh Article of the Apology: "The Christian Church consists not alone in fellowship of outward signs, but it consists especially in inward communion of eternal blessings in the heart, as of the Holy Ghost, of faith, of the fear and love of God. And this Church also has external signs, whereby one knows her, namely where God's Word is pure, etc." And so it remains: That which binds faithful Lutherans as others with Christ is none other than justifying faith; the fellowship that they now have with Christ is what binds them internally with each other. In comparison to the internal fellowship thus created, dogmatic agreement is not significant: it is not at all significantly necessary for internal fellowship. It is not the actual bond that ties internally, although the relevant dogmas are indeed certainly true Lutherans matter of the heart and thus something internal. The heart and the objective also of the distinctive doctrines is undoubtedly the Lord Christ Himself. We Lutherans are now however in this respect in the benefit to the children God in other church parties, as these have much less channels in the lack of recognition of our distinctive doctrines as the goal than we. Regarding the second thesis: Where justifying faith has been kindled by pure and sincere preaching of the Word of God, which the first thesis has identified as the only pure internal bond of fellowship of Lutheran congregations, there it is quite impossible that it does not find its expression in words and therefore a confession occurs. Thus Peter answered the question of the Lord: "Who do you say that I am?": "You are Christ, Son of the living God"14, and gave expression with these words only the faith that lived inside his heart. So also the apostles speak: "We cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard."15 So now the Unaltered Augsburg Confession is also the expression of what our faithful fathers and all faithful Lutherans with them believe. The Augsburg Confession is denoted as the only external bond of fellowship in contrast to other church parties, e.g. Papists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, etc., who designate their canon law and all sorts of external regulations as a necessary external bond of fellowship. We confess, however, in the seventh article of the Augsburg Confession explicitly that it is enough for the true unity of the church, "to agree concerning the doctrine of the Gospel and the administration of the Sacraments," that also no human ceremonies, as said here, nor any other human ordinances etc. are required for such unity. If we now say the Augsburg Confession is the single external bond of fellowship among Lutherans, or when one says pure doctrine is this band, as it is known in the Augsburg Confession, then this is completely covered. What the appended "Remark" of the second thesis concerns is to keep in mind that one in the Danish and Norwegian Church indeed does not expressly commit to all other Lutheran confessions as within the Norwegian Synod associated with our Synodical Conference. This is only because that the Lutheran Church in those countries has not been affected by the fighting
14 15

Matthew 16:15-16. Acts 4:20.

that the Church in Germany had to overcome after the adoption of the Augsburg Confession in the 16th century and that even had made necessary the development of other confessions to counter the errors that surfaced. So there was no need for explicit acceptance of these other confessions. Undoubtedly, there are now also false-positioned so-called Lutherans that probably say that they commit themselves to the Augsburg Confession, which is precisely why they do not adopt the other Symbols, because they refuse to accept the Augsburg Confession in its own sense. If we now say the Augsburg Confession is the only external bond of fellowship of the Lutheran church, then one might reproach us that we wanted to give way to these false spirits. But we are far removed from it, as the "Remark" itself sufficiently encountered such an accusation. But even the dear Fathers themselves give testimony, partly in their private writings, partly even in other confessions, that the true confession of the Lutheran Church is the Unaltered Augsburg Confession. To this end, the following evidence: Testimonies of the thesis itself: Formula of Concord: "Since in these last times God, out of especial grace, has brought the truth of His Word (puritatem verbi sui) to light again from the darkness of the Papacy through the faithful service of the precious man of God, Dr. Luther, and since this doctrine has been collected from, and according to, God's Word into the articles and chapters of the Augsburg Confession against the corruptions of the Papacy and also of other sects, we confess also the First, Unaltered Augsburg Confession as our symbol for this time, not because it was composed by our theologians, but because it has been taken from God's Word and is founded firmly and well therein, precisely in the form in which it was committed to writing, in the year 1530, and presented to the Emperor Charles V at Augsburg by some Christian Electors, Princes, and Estates of the Roman Empire as a common confession of the reformed churches, whereby our reformed churches are distinguished from the Papists and other repudiated and condemned sects and heresies, after the custom and usage of the early Church, whereby succeeding councils, Christian bishops and teachers appealed to the Nicene Creed, and confessed it."16 Jacob Andreae: "To the extent, your Electoral grace, it can be seen from the enclosed letters, which the meaning is not undecided as if there should be a new confession, through which we handled by the Augsburg Confession, as by the proper unifying Symbol of unity in doctrine, as a new formula concordiae, but while used.... until by God's grace the churches of the Augsburg Confession was again brought in good stable unity."17 Calov: "The Unaltered Augsburg Confession, as it was handed over to Emperor Charles V in 1530 at the Diet, is the actual Symbol of our churches, through which the same is secreted no less by the Papists and Zwinglians, as other heretics."18

16 17

Comprehensive Summary, Foundation, and Norm, paragraph 5. Presentation to Electoral Saxony on Account of the Formula of Concord (1570). Unschuldige Nachrichten (1718), p. 192. 18 Synopsis of the Controversy, Second Series of Articles. A.C. Wittenberg 1685. P. 3.

Testimony of the "Remark". Book of Concord: "Therefore before God and all mortals we once more declare and testify that in the declaration of the controverted articles, of which mention has already been made several times, we are not introducing a new confession, or one different from that which was presented in the year 1530 to Charles V, of happy memory, but that we wished indeed to lead our churches and schools, first of all, to the fountains of Holy Scripture, and to the Creeds, and then to the Augsburg Confession, of which we have before made mention.19 Formula of Concord: Although the Christian doctrine of this Confession has in great part remained unchallenged (save what has been done by the Papists), yet it cannot be denied that some theologians have departed from some great and important articles of the said Confession, and either have not attained to their true meaning, or at any rate have not continued steadfastly therein, and occasionally have even undertaken to attach to it a foreign meaning, while at the same time they wished to be regarded as adherents of the Augsburg Confession, and to avail themselves and make their boast of it. From this, grievous and injurious dissensions have arisen in the pure evangelical churches.... Necessity, therefore, requires us to explain these controverted articles according to God's Word and approved writings, so that everyone who has Christian understanding can notice which opinion concerning the matters in controversy accords with God's Word and the Christian Augsburg Confession, and which does not.20 Luther: "Thus are all, who believe and live according to the doctrine of the Confession and the Apology, according to the faith and doctrine of our brethren", and their danger concerns us all than our own. We cannot abandon it as members of the true Church, they may be obedient to us if they want; they may do it in silence or in public, may live among us or in a foreign land. This we say and confess."21 Selnecker: "But whether it is possible, your gracious Elector, with a number of other estates, thus coming around to their concerns (in regard to the Book of Concord), and could be patient if they confess the first part of the Book of Concord; however, your gracious Elector, they wanted to be certain among and in their theologians, preachers, and professors of Saxony, and demanded first of all subscription from all the preachers in the country, because there were not a few who would have not willingly signed according to the instruction that happened; afterwards by the Professors in both universities of Leipzig and Wittenberg; all because nevertheless many found that they came around to their apology at Wittenberg, and yet committed to the first part of the Christian Book of Concord. Your gracious Elector, These have to be ordered to answer with these words: If we then find, that they are in agreement with the first part of the Christian Book of Concord, on the condition that they are earnest, they cannot reject the subscription to the disputed explanation of the articles, considering that the same is directed at the books of the aforementioned first part and the Preface of the Christian Book of Concord is kept sufficiently, that nothing new is made through the mentioned glorification and only hollow misunderstanding becomes enlightened in the previously agitated
19 20

Forward to the Book of Concord. Forward to the Solid Declaration. 21 Judgment from the Departure of the Empire. St. L. 16:1857.

disputed articles in proper Christian understanding and unanimity. Dated, Dresden on January 3, 1581."22 Rudelbach: "It must be maintained forever that the one (asymbolos) symbol is that the meaning of such terms as contained in the Formula of Concord contests for the development of the confession and doctrinal presentation in the church.... No difference of opinion can prevail between faithful Lutheran Christians if the question is whether we want to acknowledge the Formula of Concord as our own."23 According to this evidence, it is therefore entirely justified ecclesiastically, when we say that the Unaltered Augsburg Confession is the only external bond of fellowship of the Lutheran Church. This latter truth may also probably guide us in the version of the paragraphs of confession to the drafting of a new church order. Previously, many among us probably said they would particularly have to prove their fidelity by the fact that they specifically cited in these paragraphs all individuals confessions of the Book of Concord of 1580 and also the congregation pledged to the same, but while the latter of most of them probably did not yet even know by name and later the vast majority of its members knew not to learn. Because one should nevertheless prefer to confine oneself to know the Unaltered Augsburg Confession and perhaps Luther's Small Catechism, which our people know or can easily get to know, as the confession of the congregation. Note: On page 1 and 2 of the book, "The Proper Form of a Local Congregation Independent from the State" an excellent testimony is found for Thesis 2 together with the "Remark". Regarding the third thesis: The Augsburg Confession itself puts the three Ecumenical Symbols at the top and will itself be nothing but the further development of these Symbols, which development was necessitated by the false doctrines of the papacy and the fanatics arisen after the adoption of the ecumenical creeds, who had to be fought. If we are dealing with members of other church parties, then we certainly cannot require from these parties that they admit from the outset the Augsburg Confession is the pure and genuine declaration and explanation of God's Word in all its articles of faith, for doctrine and defense; but with Lutherans this admission is required: whoever refuses this shows that he is not a Lutheran. Testimonies: Chemnitz, Selnecker, and Kirchner: "Therefore the first reason they (the Calvinists in Neustadt) reduce the Augsburg Confession and its authority is this: That it was a particular confession of the churches that confess this and not the whole of Christendom; because of that they could not have so much prestige. From this is our counter-report: That we perhaps remember that it is a particular confession of several and not all of Christianity. But that it therefore should not be valid, we do not confess to them. For we are certain that it is strongly
22 23

Carpzovii Isagoge in libros symbol. p. 20f. Historische-kritische Einleitung in die Augsburgische Konfession, Dresden 1841. p. 120.

grounded in God's Word; how it invented itself so far by God's grace to all Imperial Diets and Colloquies. We have also never issued it as a general confession of all churches throughout Christendom: but as the confession of our churches and schools. If they would now have nothing to do with it, then it remains our church's confession one way or the other." 24 Carpzov: "The symbol of the Augsburg Confession has not been held by Protestants as an ecumenical symbol, although it summarizes the doctrine of the ecumenical symbols in themselves. Because otherwise, it's an ecumenical symbol; otherwise to have and summarize in itself the doctrine of the ecumenical symbol."25 Calov: "Although the unaltered Augsburg Confession is not equivalent to the ecumenical symbols in regard to the their authority in the Church, they cannot even be called a general in regard to their author, it is still a truly universal symbol, both in regard to the doctrines of faith as the Orthodox churches, as what all the AC maintain as a symbol or at least accept the items contained. Regarding the fourth thesis: This thesis is directed against such congregations or entities, such as the so-called Lutheran General Synod, who will not let go of the Lutheran name, even though it is proven to them over and over that they are not Lutheran. As for the aforementioned General Synod, if they were honest, they would have to have a different name, as they do not want to adhere to the Augsburg Confession in all its parts. They indeed declare individual articles of the Augsburg Confession as papistic leaven, as they themselves have declared even in a letter to Germany. The General Synod stands entirely in the point of view of the United Church. Testimonies: Formula of Concord: "To this Christian Augsburg Confession, so thoroughly grounded in God's Word, we herewith pledge ourselves again from our inmost hearts; we abide by its simple, clear, and unadulterated meaning as the words convey it, and regard the said Confession as a pure Christian symbol, with which at the present time true Christians ought to be found next to God's Word; just as in former times concerning certain great controversies that had arisen in the Church of God, symbols and confessions were proposed, to which the pure teachers and hearers at that time pledged themselves with heart and mouth. We intend also, by the grace of the Almighty, faithfully to abide until our end by this Christian Confession, mentioned several times, as it was delivered in the year 1530 to the Emperor Charles V; and it is our purpose, neither in this nor in any other writing, to recede in the least from that oft-cited Confession26, nor to propose another or new confession."27 J. Gerhard: "We can claim a threefold unity of the Evangelical churches. The first is canonical unity, by which - namely, with the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments - it agrees in everything with our doctrine that we profess, for no Papist has even been able to
24 25

Apologia oder Verantwortung des christliches Concordienbuchs. Dresden 1584, fol. 165. Isagoge in libr. symb. p. 110. 26 vel transversum, ut ajunt, unguem. 27 Preface to the Solid Declaration, paragraphs 4-5.

convict us of any error in the articles of faith on the basis of Holy Scripture. In fact, the foremost Papist writers are forced to admit that they cannot overturn our confession at all on the basis of Holy Scripture. The second is ecclesiastical unity, by which - namely, with the church writers whom they call "fathers" and especially with those who were closest to the times of the apostles - it agrees with our doctrine. For we are ready in every article in controversy to provide clear and manifest testimonies from the fathers in favor of our position. The third is symbolical unity, a unity in which we embrace by common consent the doctrine contained in the symbolical books of our churches: in the Augsburg Confession and the Apology of the same, in Luther's catechisms, in the Smalcald Articles, and in the Formula of Concord. If anyone refuses to give his name to this, we do not recognize him as a brother in the matter of faith and confession."28 Regarding the fifth thesis: Testimonies: J. Dan. Arcularius noted the following: "Dannhauer writes: 'We by no means exclude all legitimate, properly flowing consequences and ramifications that can be drawn from our confession, and hold it both for our confession as well as if they were clearly and distinctly written with such characters in it; and that so much the more, because Holy Scripture is not actually contrary to such implications and consequences that even the Lord Christ and His apostles consecrated and ennobled it themselves with the name of Scripture.'29 If the words of the confession are true in their proper, actual, deep founded understanding, and I suppose the truth of these words by heart, then I myself have to be afraid before any conclusion and if twenty or thirty of those would be made in succession, if they only conclude quite strongly and succinctly; then the rule remains forever fixed: Ex veris non nisi verum, from truth come no lies."30 Carpzov further writes: "The question, whether under the doctrine of the Augsburg Confession was included only what is literally contained in it, but by no means the rest of what either the Papists teach against Scripture or what is required for proof of the articles of faith, or by means of a necessary implication flowing and following from this - the Saxon theologians answered this question in the negative in the Evangelical eyeball."31 Carpzov writes: "The Protestants have emphatically added in the words: 'This is almost the sum of the doctrine' etc., the little word 'almost'. For the Protestants did not want to compose a list of all necessary articles of faith for salvation, but only want to make a confession of those doctrines of faith that affect the current matter and could be sufficient."32

28 29

Loci Theologici, volume 25: On the Church (522-523). Reformiertes Salve, p. 231. 30 The Voluntary Confession of Faith or Admonition to Safekeeping of the Doctrine of the Augsburg Confession. Frankfurt 1692. p. 136f. 31 Isag. p. 131f. 32 loc. cit. p. 115.

That is why the Augsburg Confession itself writes: "If there is anything that anyone might desire in this Confession, we are ready, God willing, to present ampler information (latiorem informationem) according to the Scriptures."33 Finally it says in the Formula of Concord: "Now although the Christian doctrine of this Confession has in great part remained unchallenged (save what has been done by the Papists), yet it cannot be denied that some theologians have departed from some great and important of the said Confession, and either have not attained to their true meaning, or at any rate have not continued steadfastly therein, and occasionally have even undertaken to attach to it a foreign meaning, while at the same time they wished to be regarded as adherents of the Augsburg Confession, and to avail themselves and make their boast of it. From this, grievous and injurious dissension have arisen in the pure evangelical churches."34 In the very thorough debate it was first pointed out that it is of very great importance to be quite aware of the importance of the Fifth Thesis. Some say that it is a very serious matter to confess consistently to everything arising from the Augsburg Confession. Because if you do this, then indeed you confess to something you still do not know, therefore perhaps also they would reject if they knew of it. And so one could confess with the mouth to all the implications of the Augsburg Confession and not yet be a true Lutheran. But this is not so. For either we must also admit the implications, or deny the institution that God has given us, to infer truths from truths, namely reason. But that also may have been drawn from conclusions of Scriptural truths and, if logically drawn, Scripture could give no contradictory results, as the example of Christ toward the Sadducees teaches us.35 For there He refers to the rejecters of the Resurrection though their perverse conclusion as one contradicting Scripture, when He calls out to them: You err and do not know the Scriptures; but at the same time He Himself draws a conclusion by which He precisely irrefutably proves to them what they had wanted to deny away, namely the resurrection of the body. Because of this, we also must not be afraid of the consequences of the Augsburg Confession because it is nothing other than the developed content of this Confession itself. After Luther's death, many false spirits emerged with their heresies which were already addressed by the conclusions of the Augsburg Confession. Calvin had not yet appeared in 1530, but he was already condemned by the 10th article of the Augustana, namely by the conclusions resulting from it. Further, when the Augsburg Confession teaches that Christ is God and man in one person, then this is the doctrine of the communicatio idiomatum, i.e., of the communication of attributes, although not explicitly expressed, but so clearly shown, that a valid inference of it necessarily draws forth. And so it is with the entire Augsburg Confession. This is not explicitly mentioned in the Augsburg Confession of the general priesthood of all true Christians, and yet it is confessed therein by the fact that the doctrine of Christian liberty, of justification, of the Church as the assembly of all believers and saints, etc., is confessed.

33 34

Epilogue, paragraph 7. Solid Declaration, Introduction, paragraphs 6-7. 35 Matthew 22:24-25.

Therefore the Iowa Synod, for example, is caught in a gross error when it wants to allow to be valid in the Confession as such what, as they put it, is said "confessing" in it, to confess directly what was therefore demonstrable in the intent of the fathers! All doctrines are not thus expressed with explicit words in Holy Scripture that they would have to be drawn out not only by a conclusion. For example, the word Trinity is not expressed in Holy Scripture; but it is there: the Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God; it is also in Scripture: the Father is another, the Son is another, the Holy Spirit is another; finally it is witnessed in all of Scripture that there is only one God. The ancient church has drawn from this the logical conclusion against the anti-Trinitarians: Therefore God is a Triune God, and have not tolerated as such Anti-Trinitarians, who wished not to disclose this conclusion, who reject a clear basic doctrine of Scripture. It is true in a similar way with the Augsburg Confession. According to the principle: Ex veris non nisi verum, i.e., no lies follow from truth, we need not to be afraid of the conclusions of the Augsburg Confession. If one accuses us in this connection that we go beyond the Symbols, then that is not the case. For consequences drawn from the symbols means they do not go beyond the Symbols. Obviously this would be terrible if a synod wanted to set new conditions of church fellowship that earlier would have been either explicite or implicite. But this we certainly do not do. That which is correctly deduced from the symbols belongs instead to the content of the symbols. Thus e.g. the doctrine of inspiration (divine inspiration of Scripture) is not expressly stated in the Augsburg Confession, but implicite it is there, as the Augsburg Confession never speaks differently from the Holy Scriptures, except that it was entirely supplied by the Holy Spirit. Wherein it will be seen from this, if one does not want to admit the conclusions of the Augsburg Confession, that the Jesuits assert Lutherans still belong in the Papist church, despite the Augsburg Confession, if they no longer believed in what is explicitly and by name designated in the Augsburg Confession. But for that very reason the Jesuit L. Forer had asserted that Lutherans should teach nothing other than what is "expressly and by name located" in the Augsburg Confession. He was answered, among other things, in "Defense of the Evangelical Apple of His Eye"36: "In the midst of this are nevertheless understood implicite even those articles in the Augsburg Confession that may be in dispute between us and the Papists, whether they already have been touched not just in particular, explicite and expressly. It is enough when the opinion of our people on those points of the Augsburg Confession may be heard.... When for example a great dispute is between us and them whether the Holy Scriptures also supply the fact that articles of faith must be proved and discusses, whether it is a set of guidelines according to which all disputes are to be decided? There is indeed no more particular article available about this; but the Evangelical States give sufficiently to recognize their mind in a different way about this point when they write in the Preface: 'They handed over their pastors and preachers and even their confession of faith, what which form and was taught from the basis of Holy Scripture in their principalities etc.' Even a blind man can grasp that Holy Scripture was being held as the foundation of the articles of faith.... It is not expressly stated in the article on Original Sin that the Virgin Mary was conceived in sin; but because of all people it is said are born thus according to nature, that they were conceived and born in sin: it is therefore not



difficult to conclude that among such people would be understood also the Virgin Mary; otherwise she in particular would have been excluded."37 One should not therefore be intimidated. We do not go too far as to make new conditions of church fellowship, we go no further than our fathers. But we must go so far that we accept the conclusions. Still we must go further. If namely a doctrine is not contained in the Augsburg Confession, however it is proven clearly from Holy Scripture, then we must also believe it as any other doctrine named explicitly in the Augsburg Confession. For we would be an obvious sect, yes, the most disgraceful church fellowship if we did not want to believe, as what is explicitly confessed and given name in the Augsburg Confession. What is in the symbols that we assume indeed simply because it is in Scripture, but what is in the Scriptures, that we assume eo ipso.38 And it happened at that time that Adiaphorists, Syncretists, Synergists, etc. confessed themselves to the Augsburg Confession, which indeed does not want to be an index of all necessary doctrines for salvation, they accepted and invoked the Augsburg Confession, but firmly held their heresies. We must not be surprised when this happens now, and still more as then. But our fathers did not tolerate this back then, so we should not tolerate it and may not hold church fellowship with those who deny the conclusions of the Augsburg Confession. To draw conclusions is not a new practice, but a practice in which not only the fathers, but the Lord Christ Himself goes before us, when He proves the resurrection against the Pharisees and Sadducees through an inference from Matthew 22:29-32 and from Exodus 3:6 and His divinity from Psalm 100. What the word "logical" concerns in the 5th thesis aroused a more detailed discussion about it, because one worried that this word might not cover everything that should be expressed in this thesis. But it soon became clear to all that other expressions would either more or less say the same thing or darken the whole matter. It is certain we can come to no result in our conclusions that contradicts clear passages of Holy Scripture. But whoever thinks that he could have indeed logically concluded, and yet it was possible that his result would contradict the Scriptures, he is very much mistaken. A conclusion which leads to such a result is certainly not compelling, not logical. And this not only on this account, not because its outcome is impossible from the beginning by clear passages of Scripture, but because such a result is a proof of the fact that one had not properly inferred. E.g. the conclusion: All men are sinners Christ is a true Man - therefore He is also a sinner - is false because the second sentence is false in its relationship to the first. For it is not true in the terms "true Man" that He is a sinner. Indeed, if it would mean and could mean: Jesus Christ was a man like us, then the conclusion would be correct. One may relate the Word "logical" not only to the thought process, but it must also relate to the sentences of the premises. For it is absolutely necessary to the logical inference that the premises are correct. Otherwise it is impossible to infer properly. If for example you would infer: All men are mortal - Christ is a man - therefore Christ is mortal - then everyone sees easily that this is a false conclusion. But where exactly is the problem? In the premises. For there is included in the major premise a term: descending from Adam according

The same is proven in the following in relation to the doctrines of the certainty of salvation, of the number of the sacraments, of the invocation and adoration of images, of purgatory. p. 168-171. Cf. "Doctrine and Defense" 14:204f. 38 in and of itself.

to the flesh, conceived and born in sin, which is omitted in the minor premise. So it's likely that the major premise is either not completely true or is at least ambiguous. Often something is only true secundum quid.39 Then one must, in order to be able infer logically, also make the same limitation in the minor premise. Such a separation of the formal thought process and the accuracy of the assumptions is therefore quite inadmissible. If one would refer the logical inference only to the formal thought process and not on the accuracy of the assumptions, that would have terrible consequences! Just think: our entire catechism, our entire dogmatics, in so far as both do not contain words of Scripture, are nothing but conclusions from the Holy Scriptures. If one now establishes a true and a false statement as premises, then one cannot infer properly. The word "logical" presupposes here, rather, that both the premises as well as the conclusio are in order because we only really speak of such premises that contain a Biblical truth. Not only the form of the conclusion, but also the matter of the entire syllogism must be correct. A question, whether or not the issue here in the fifth thesis should be only about a persistent denial of the individual conclusions, was then answered: This thesis does not so much take into consideration the behavior towards denial of individual properly inferred conclusions. Rather, it wants to set up a universally valid principle. This principle is: Whoever denies that the logically resulting truths by conclusions from the Augsburg Confession are binding, he is not a member of the Lutheran Church. This sense of the thesis may possibly already be deduced from the words, "is not a true member of the Lutheran Church." But so that this sense also will be quite unmistakably expressed in the thesis itself, the beginning of the thesis was thus formulated according to a unanimous decision: "Whoever also denies the binding force of the theologically resultant conclusions from the words of this Confession, etc." This change appeared more necessary as surely no one will go so far to deny the Lutheran faith to all those who does not recognize such a doctrine that is somehow in the periphery of the doctrinal articles of the Augsburg Confession. But whoever denies principally the binding nature of the conclusions of the Augsburg Confession, he proves that he is not a Lutheran but a fox, who also does not sincerely accept the Confession itself. In this connection, the question was raised whether even unenlightened reason was then able to draw correct conclusions from the Scriptures or from the Augsburg Confession, or whether that only the enlightened reason of the regenerate was possible? Whether or not there are mysteries of faith that could be explained by any conclusion? It was answered that even unregenerate reason can make correct conclusions; if it does not proceed from misguided propositions but from the word of God, then one can make its conclusion, if it is a compelling one, it could be none other than a true one. If its conclusion according to God's Word is incorrect, then we must draw conclusions about the inaccuracy of the conclusio that at least one of the premises was wrong. It does not matter here who makes the conclusion, whether an enlightened Christian, or a heathen, Jew, or Turk, if he not only brings in his darkness with it, but objectively concludes correctly; whether he means what he has concluded, believes it or not himself, that does not come into question here. Thus e.g. the Jews and Nicodemus drew correct conclusions about the divinity of Christ, although they were not in the faith.


in a certain sense.

It should not be said in this thesis that the Augsburg Confession was added so that the sophists practice their art on it, but that we confess our faith. We believe that the Augsburg Confession is true, therefore we confess that nothing false could follow out of it. An example of this is the entire Formula of Concord. This wants nothing more than to draw clear conclusions from the Augsburg Confession; its content therefore actually rather pertains to the intentioned conclusions in this thesis. But our faith is not based on conclusions as such, but on Scripture. Incidentally, the principle remains that a lie could never come from something true by correct conclusion40, is irrefutably certain even in regard to the Augsburg Confession, and such conclusions, which still brings up a lie, are instantly characterized as false. If e.g. a Calvinist wanted to conclude absolute predestination from the words of the 5th article of the Augsburg Confession: "God works faith when and where He wills", then he would make himself guilty of a sophistic dishonesty. For in these words only the time and the place is expressed, not the selection of the individual man by God. We speak of course in this thesis of evident conclusions. It must be such a conclusion which everyone who is gifted with common sense can see. But it has now been repeatedly stressed that here it is not about the method in a particular case, but about the principle that the Augsburg Confession is true and that we can confidently draw valid inferences from it, without having to fear that we could bring our reason into a contradiction in this way with a clear Word of Holy Scripture. If Holy Scripture says about our reason that we should let it go into captivity under the obedience of Christ, then it does not demand of us that we should forsake the organic use of reason. For this organic (instrumental) or mechanical use of reason is as necessary in an adult as knowledge of faith. The conclusion is not much of a product of reason. The truth must lie in the premises as already enveloped, otherwise they could not extracted. Regarding the sixth thesis: In the very detailed discussion the following was noted: Nothing is easier than to sign the symbolic books, especially for one who has no conscience, and at a time when it pertains to the good reputation of a Lutheran preacher. If indeed simply having to provide this signature, in order to be an orthodox preacher and an orthodox congregation, then this would be no difficult requirement. That's not what the seventh article of the Augsburg Confession has in mind when it will specify as a sign of the Church that "the gospel is preached purely". To the one who fails to comply, where an ecclesiastical fellowship recognizes pure Lutheran doctrine as correctly consisting among her and certainly also no contradictory, heretical doctrine resounds in the pulpit, but only if the confession is satisfactorily done, if one out of conviction and wholeheartedly embraces the familiar doctrine of the Church of the Reformation and confesses it not merely with the mouth, but also in deed. God is not satisfied with such a life, because one indeed performs pious speeches in the mouth, but in life belies it. James therefore commands: "Show me your faith with your works, and I will show you my faith with my works"41, and David says whoever hates discipline should not even take the Word of God in his mouth. It is clearly apparent that this is the true Lutheran church, the one that does not merely embrace pure doctrine with the mouth, but also testifies in deed.
40 41

1 John 2:21. James 2:18.

While this is the main part of a preacher, that the doctrine is pure, Paul, however, requires of Titus that the work is in accordance with the supposed knowledge of God.42 Therefore not only should pure preaching be in fashion in the church, but the entire action of the church should comply with it, otherwise the church stands there as a big hypocrite. The following testimony of Luther was given for the explanation of this thesis: "First, the holy Christian people are recognized by their possession of the holy word of God.... But we are speaking of the external word, preached orally by men like you and me, for this is what Christ left behind as an external sign, by which his church, or his Christian people in the world, should be recognized. We also speak of this external word as it is sincerely believed and openly professed before the world, as Christ says, 'Everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father and his angels'.43 There are many who know it in their hearts, but will not profess it openly.... Now, wherever you hear or see this word preached, believed, professed, and lived, do not doubt that the true ecclesia sancta catholica, 'a Christian holy people' must be there, even though their number is very small."44 In the case of the General Council, e.g., the proper confession is perhaps on paper, but in practice it is otherwise. Now it is quite possible that confusion still hinders them to recognize this necessary connection between confession and practice. In the first class would be put, for example, the actions of Holy Baptism, the Lord's Supper, and Absolution, as according to it they must be administered in accordance with the institution of Christ. Also, there's still acts of the second class in which the church has freedom, but they may not be used contrary to the confession. So, for example, nothing is said how congregational assemblies must be set up. In Acts and elsewhere, we find only general indications about it. Setting it up is a matter of Christian freedom. The establishment, however, would run counter to the confession, if the right to vote would be given to those whom it does not belong. Johann Arndt's reaction in the dispute about exorcism is remarkable. Arndt knew very well that exorcism is not commanded in the Word of God; he would have been well aware that exorcism is not even an adequate expression of the doctrine of original sin. But when he saw the Crypto-Calvinists urge the abolition of exorcism because they cast aside a forceful testimony against their teaching that the children of Christian parents by nature may be found in the kingdom of God, because he did not let the matter rest there, merely to preach the pure doctrine of original sin, but also again most earnestly opposed the abolition of exorcism and allow himself to be chased out of the country by the Crypto-Calvinist government of Anhalt. We call adiaphora such things that "are neither commanded nor forbidden" by God45; but they are in any event only in the abstract sense. In particular cases it may no longer be possible to stand in freedom, to act one way or another, namely, when love is offended, as the apostle aims at when he says: "'All things are lawful,' but not all things are helpful."46 Hereof we find a specific case from the life of the apostle Paul. He allowed Timothy to be circumcised for the sake of the weak Jews in order to take him with him on his apostolic journey because it was
42 43

Titus 1:16. Matthew 10:32. 44 Luther, M. (1999). Vol. 41: Luther's works, vol. 41: Church and Ministry III (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald & H. T. Lehmann, Ed.). Philadelphia: Fortress Press. 45 FC X. 46 1 Corinthians 10:23.

in Christian freedom. But then when one party formed with the teaching: one must pass through the Jewish church in order to go into the Christian church, faith in Christ was not merely necessary for obtaining salvation, but also observation of the principal laws of Moses. But then these skunks47 probably invoked: because Paul had let Timothy be circumcised for the sake of the weak, so he must now consequently also let Titus be circumcised, yet Paul did not give way to them even for one hour and did not allow Titus to be circumcised. Luther shows to what extent a Christian has his freedom in adiaphora and yet can be bound in relation to the use of the same when he writes: "Your freedom is full and round between you and your God, but you have no freedom between you and your neighbor. Faith makes you the master of all, the love slave of all."48 The freedom of a Christian in adiaphora relates only to conscience and not on external action. The Christian is definitely not a free man in regard to the neighbor, but a slave. One should be prepared to refrain from a free adiaphora for the sake of the neighbor, as the apostle says, "Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble"49; but while one refrains from it out of love for the sake of the neighbor, one must also know that it is free. Adiaphora itself are not subject to change, they remain what they are; but the custom of adiphora is not always free. No creature can make laws to bind the conscience, only God can. And it is not to be expected of God that He set up a new economy and will prohibit something free, as in the Old Testament; we have an immovable kingdom in the New Testament. Even the Church can make no such conscience binding order. Her duty and responsibility is to save people. How does she respond when she throws stones in the way of souls through ordinances? Her ordinances in certain circumstances may have therefore been good and salutary which must be changed in other times; because to make such ordinances, which are at all times good and wholesome, only the all-wise God can do. In regard to church orders and church traditions, we must not intend to bind consciences but must confess freely: What the Church has arranged, but God has not arranged, can be eliminated. One can perhaps sin in eliminating, but one also sins if one denies this freedom. Therefore our Church confesses in the tenth article of the Formula of Concord: "The congregation of God of every place and every time has, according to its circumstances, the good right, power, and authority to change, to diminish, and to increase (adiaphora), without thoughtlessness and offense, in an orderly and becoming way." Since it had been observed that there are certain ecclesiastical acts that are not an immediate expression and effective implementation of the confession, but should not violently contradict the confession: Adiaphora could never actually be sinful in itself, but its use is not indifferent and should therefore never be against the confession: so one would be asked how the use of an adiaphoron could contradict the confession? Answer: This we see, for example, in the Interim Controversies. Luther had fought for Christian freedom and declared among other things the elevation, vestments, episcopal polity, etc. as free adiaphora. But later, with the introduction of the Interim, many so-called Lutherans claimed that one could probably yield to the papists in these adiaphora, since it was only a question quite indifferent things. But the
47 48

Stänker. A Report to a Good Friend on Both Kinds in the Sacrament on the Bishop of Meissen's Mandate. WA 26.555-618. Not available in Luther's Works. 49 1 Corinthians 8:13.

faithful Lutheran fathers would prefer to put up with everything, except to yield in these parts to the enemies, because the papists used these things in order to conceal and thus to introduce their false doctrine. The faithful Lutherans declared that they would have indeed been able to bear the Bishop, but they would not deny the truth of the Gospel under the appearance of freedom; they followed in this the example of the apostle Paul, who first used circumcision, but when some false brothers wanted to rob him his freedom in Christ, he then did not give way to them for even an hour, in order that the Truth of the Gospel might remain. The same explanation goes to the Reformed. Luther explained to Karlstadt: "And although I had intended also to abolish the elevation, now I will not do it, to defy for a while the fanatic spirit, since he would forbid it and consider it a sin and make us depart from our liberty. For before I would yield a hairsbreadth or for a moment to this soul-murdering spirit and abandon our freedom (as Paul teaches50), I would much rather tomorrow become a strict monk and observe all the monastic rules as stringently as I ever did. This matter of Christian liberty is nothing to joke about. We want to keep it as pure and inviolate as our faith, even if an angel from heaven were to say otherwise. It has cost our dear, faithful Savior and Lord Jesus Christ too much. It is also altogether too necessary for us. We may not dispense with it without the loss of our salvation."51 Compared to the Reformed, the breaking of bread is not an act of Christian freedom. For they say, if you do not break bread in the Holy Supper, then it is no true Supper. They make this a symbolic action, as if Christ therefore would want to present his suffering and death symbolically to us. Thus they want to deny the real presence of the Body and Blood of Christ in the Holy Supper, making it a mere commemoration and thus deny the Truth of the Gospel. If we give way to them in this part, we would consent in their error and give away our Christian freedom. We thus see: every ecclesiastical act must be so designed that they do not contradict the Church's confession. According to our thesis two things are required: 1. every ecclesiastical act must be according to the confession and 2. it must not violently contradict the confession. Therefore it is said in our thesis: Every ecclesial act is either a direct manifestation and effective implementation of the confession, or at least one that, if it moves itself within the area of Christian liberty, must not be in violent contradiction to the confession. All ecclesiastical acts can be brought under these two categories. Everyone confesses this principle. However, since there seemed to be a contradiction that according to the thesis something changes in the area of Christian freedom and at the same time could contradict the confession. So the thesis was adopted unanimously with the omission of the disputed words in the following form: "It necessarily follows from the type and nature of this orthodox confession that church practice is in accordance with the confession. Because every ecclesial act must be either a direct manifestation and effective implementation of the confession or must not violently contradict the confession."



Galatians 5:1. Luther, M. (1999). Vol. 40: Luther's works, vol. 40: Church and Ministry II (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald & H. T. Lehmann, Ed.) (133–134). Philadelphia: Fortress Press.

Thesis 7 If one asks: why should this not be done? the answer is: We should indeed work with all who are one with us in faith and confession, even this unity through fellowship of confession and love, even, where possible, by ecclesiastical association. If we would not and do not do this, then we would be schismatics and separatists or we would give at least the evil appearance of separatism. But if in another ecclesial body a practice contradictory to the Church's confession prevails, then it is evident that such a confession of the mouth does not come from the heart and that it is not serious about its confession. For whoever does not act according to his confession reveals the fact that he neglects the proper practice of his confession either from church politics or even from ignorance of the implications and consequences that flow from his confession. We cannot recognize such calling themselves "Lutheran" body in which the prevailing practice contradicts the confession of a true, pure, and faithful Lutheran synod. We must also maintain no fellowship of faith and church fellowship with them, but must constantly chastise such actual hypocrisy and denial of the confession seriously. Our confessions testify in the Formula of Concord Article X to the fact that no ecclesiastical connection must be entered into with such bodies. Here the Interimists are rejected, who gave way in adiaphora to the enemies of the truth and compared themselves to them. These Adiaphorists would not be such fools and at the time of such persecution oppose the enemies and the power of the Emperor because of such adiaphora. In contrast, our confession says: "Such ceremonies should not be reckoned among the genuine free adiaphora, or matters of indifference, as make a show or feign the appearance, as though our religion and that of the Papists were not far apart, thus to avoid persecution, or as though the latter were not at least highly offensive to us; or when such ceremonies are designed for the purpose, and required and received in this sense, as though by and through them both contrary religions were reconciled and became one body; or when a reentering into the Papacy and a departure from the pure doctrine of the Gospel and true religion should occur or gradually follow therefrom. For in this case what Paul writes, 2 Cor. 6:14-17, shall and must obtain: Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what communion hath light with darkness? Wherefore come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord." If our confession is here talking about the papistic religion, then it also talks about any other false religion. We have to guard ourselves carefully even against the pretext as if we were united in such adiaphora with the Reformed and newly emerging sects. Everyone must immediately be able to recognize that we are not sects, not Baptists, not Methodists, not Episcopalians, etc. Faithful confessional Lutherans would not maintain brotherly faithful fellowship with Interimists or Adiaphorists. Therefore, if a member of such a congregation seceded and came to faithful Lutheran preachers, then he was accepted. For Adiaphorists have been reckoned among the false teachers and put on the same level with Papists, Calvinists, synergists, Majorists, and Schwenkfelders, although they called themselves Lutherans and are in the midst of the proper Lutheran church. Tilemann Heshusius writes: "If the case befalls that other people are not thus sitting in our parish but sit either under the anti-Christian papacy or under false teachers, as Calvinists, Synergists, Majorists, Adiaphorists, Schwenkfelders, for which a Christian must guard against, or be weighed down by their tyrannical pastors against their conscience... or otherwise need comfort, and would strengthen their consciences by the

practice of the Sacraments, covet our service and look to us for the sacraments, in such and similar cases, we are free preachers, to every man, it is tantamount to the rising or setting of the sun (provided that he makes proper repentance and believes the Gospel) to communicate the Sacraments, by virtue of the saying: 'The Holy Spirit will convict the world'52, i.e. the kingdom of Christ and the holy Preaching Office stretches around the entire world and is not bound to any place, person, or time."53 The orthodox character of a truly Lutheran synod is by no means robbed if practice contradictory to the confession in its midst is revealed, if it does not merely grant permission or toleration to it, but, as soon as such practice comes to its attention, intervene against it with serious discipline according to God's Word. But it is a different situation, e.g., with the General Council. False doctrine and practice, pulpit exchange with false believers, communion fellowship with the heretics, and membership in the ungodly lodges are not only tolerated in it, but also defended, and faithful Lutheran congregations are destroyed. This also happens in the individual synods of the General Council, e.g., the New York Ministerium, as such, tolerates false practice; no doctrinal discipline is practiced, no testimony filed against secret societies, and even if some witnesses rise up against it, then they cannot get through. This makes our position difficult and undermines our congregations. Even from the Michigan Synod it was testified that it does not practice doctrinal discipline. To the question of whether one could therefore hold the General Council as false believers, inasmuch as it bears witness to the Symbols, it was answered: We consider the General Council as not confessional, as not truly Lutheran. The Confessions serve them as a figurehead. Its practice belies the Confessions. Anyone who cannot observe the theory must be convinced from practice and life that such an oral confession is only fraud. We shall not have any church fellowship with such false Lutherans. The position of the General Council is dangerous, as open rejection of the confessions and the theory, as happens in the General Synod. No one who wants to be Lutheran will go to the General Synod, but the General Council still deceives many Lutherans with its confession. We initially welcomed the confession of the General Council with gladness. But no sooner had we accepted them, it was hardly embraced again by their practice. Although it is not especially emphasized in this thesis that we are not able to recognize such entities, because we now deal not about the Church, but about Church fellowship. The General Council does not even plead with us for recognition; it knows our position well and leads bitter complaint about it. A special explanation is therefore unnecessary in our thesis. It is this particular task of those of our pastors, who come into contact with the General Council. However, because the Synodical Conference occupies a prominent position and the public journals of the Council, which will be read everywhere, lead the complaint about our refusal to recognize the Council as truly Lutheran, it is necessary to encourage such a perennial witness to the Council, partly in order to convict dishonest ways, partly in order to strengthen the contending members of the Council in the Truth, partly for our own congregations who have to contend with the Council. Even the leaders of the Iowans recently stated that it is an impiety to separate from the General Council. But also the nominal elenchus in our testimony is
52 53

John 16. Dedek. Thesaur. II:438.

forevermore necessary, because one should refute and admonish before them not only sin and error of false teachers, but also convict the bearers of the errors themselves by naming names. Thesis 8 Not merely heterodox sects are to be understood as non-Lutherans, but also all those who indeed recognize the rightness of our doctrine, but do not reject false doctrine and do not want to depart from false-believing fellowships. If such members false believing churches come to our Lord's Supper, then they shall be informed of the difference of doctrine and the errors of their false churches. If they indeed recognize the Scriptural moderation of our doctrine, but at the same time do not reject the error and secede from their false-believing fellowship, then it is obvious that they are stuck in unionism, they must therefore be turned away from the Lord's Supper until they have seceded from the heresy and false fellowship. Only agony of death is an exception; because a confession of the Truth would be necessary if no obstinate adherence of error exists. But one would have to explain to others: You bear witness to a lie and deny your confession with your deed. If one is honest, then a decisive, continual, actual witness best helps him to break away from the false fellowship. Three characteristics of false Lutherans are mentioned in our thesis: 1. Pulpit exchange with non-Lutheran preachers. The General Council will not abandon this according to its own declaration. It is among the famous, or rather infamous "Four Points". Whoever practices such pulpit exchange with non-Lutheran preachers does not only consider his doctrine as correct, but at most as plausible. Luther says: "It contradicts wanton spirits, otherwise your confession is only a false face54 and good for nothing. Whoever keeps his doctrine, faith and confession to be true, right, and sure, can lead with another, thus keeps false doctrine and is devoted to it, neither standing in a stable nor giving evermore good words to the devil and his scales. A teacher who remains silent about the errors and will nevertheless still be a true teacher is worse and a common enthusiast. He does more damage with his hypocrisy. He is a heretic and not to be trusted. He is a wolf and a fox, a hireling and a belly servant and must surrender and despise doctrine, Word, faith, Sacrament, Church, and school. He is either secretly under one roof with enemies, or is a skeptic and weather vane and wants to see where he wants to go, whether Christ or the devil will prevail; or is entirely uncertain in himself and not worthy that he should be called a student, much less a teacher, and will offend no one, let alone speak Christ's Word, let alone hurt the devil and the world."55 This is a powerful witness against such false Lutherans. Their confession is merely a false face. The same faith of Luther does not live in the heart when one remains silent about errors or even allows false spirits to preach for themselves. If one allows such to have proper confession, then he is still a wolf and a fox. He's either with enemies under one roof or is a skeptic and wants to go with the wind, to see who wins at last, in order to be able to keep them with him. He is not suitable for a student, much less for a teacher and preacher. He unites himself with those with whom God has no fellowship. For Psalm 94:20 states: "You will never, never be one with the pernicious chair that disreputably interprets the Law " Chair is here
54 55

Larvenwerk. "Dialogue with Dr. George Major". Walch XVII:1477.

teaching chair or pulpit. Under pulpit fellowship one now understands the one deplorable custom that one occasionally relinquishes the teaching office in his congregation to preachers of other confessions. False teachers should be avoided according to God's Word; beware of them and do not greet them as a brother. How can there be a false teacher, a false preacher in his pulpit? How can a congregation listen to him? The [General] Council certainly raises the objection: the American preacher is a gentleman56 and will not abuse such courtesy to proclaim his heresies. We respond: 1. It is sinful to put his trust in people and their honesty, integrity, or even courtesy. 2. Whoever remains in false doctrine, his whole doctrine is permeated and corrupted with this leaven. A Lutheran preacher who allows a false teacher in his pulpit reinforces himself and his congregation in their errors and their unionism, denies his own doctrine, and angers the orthodox Church. One should not give his pulpit to a false teacher in this case, provided he reads aloud or wanted to present a written sermon by a orthodox preacher. But what if we are invited by false believers to preach to them? Answer: With our resolute testimony and rejection of all heresies such cases will not often occur. But if we come into this situation, then we seriously have to guard ourselves that we do not invite the glow of unionism on us, because we live in an syncretistic age where one at best puts up with a testimony of the Truth, but not the rejection and condemnation of false doctrine. That is why the declaration must not be restrained both by preacher and by congregation that one considers them as a false believing fellowship. In that case, conscience demands that one take the opportunity for a polemic against them. This is our practice. Preachers acting otherwise we take into discipline. Also, we have to guard ourselves earnestly against any serious participation in false-believing confessional ceremonies, in praying and singing with the heterodox, and in their companies of religion mixing for achieving ecclesiastical purposes. We can neither support nor participate by joining the party in their festivities for religious charitable purposes without making ourselves partakers of other men's sins. Even other joint uses57 of churches is mentioned in this article. Something different was the forced necessity58 using of so-called simultaneous churches on the part of Lutheran churches in former times, where no mixing of faith and mixing of churches took place. No such emergency exists these days that an orthodox congregation must take advantage of the same church with the heterodox. 2. A contradiction between confession and practice takes place "when a Lutheran church body that explicitly and emphatically commits herself to the Symbolical Books nevertheless tolerates in their fellowship or even considers acceptable." The theological faculty at Wittenberg writes in an opinion in 1568: "The practice of the sacrament, like all sacraments, is a public testimony and confession, where everyone is a member of church, and what sort of doctrine, faith, religion everyone has, believes, and confesses for themselves, even undoubtedly holds for eternal and immutable divine Truth."59 The same relationship was held even in the Sacrament of the Old Covenant, of the Passover Lamb, because no foreigner, no one who was not of one faith with the people of God, could be admitted. The apostle says60
56 57

This word is in English in the original manuscript. - Tr. Mitgebrauch. 58 notgedrungene. 59 Dedekennus, "Thesaurus" Vol. 1, p. 634. 60 1 Corinthians 11.

about Christians that they proclaim the Lord's death by eating and drinking in the Lord's Supper. Now if participation in the holy Supper is a proclamation of the death of Christ, then everyone thereby comes with us into confessional fellowship. Now if such who are of another faith participate, then it is deceit and hypocrisy and the preacher who participates gravely sins. The fact that altar fellowship is now confessional fellowship, which a Lutheran cannot possibly even hold with other faiths, St. Paul also testifies in 1 Cor. 10:18: "Are not those who eat the sacrifices participants in the altar?" i.e. whoever eats of the offering on the altar, joins in the fellowship of religion, in the offering being brought; because the altar is the symbol of Divine Service and religion. Now where someone enjoys the Lord's Supper with us and through actual confessional fellowship becomes a member of our congregation, but truly does not have the same confession in mouth and heart, there preacher and church member jointly feign and wreak dreadful mockery with the sacred at the altar. Luther deposits a powerful witness against it when he wrote to those in Frankfurt: "In summary, it is appalling to hear that in one and the same church or at one and the same altar both sides should come for and receive of one and the same Sacrament, yet with the one side believing that it receives only bread and wine, while the other believing that it receives the true body and blood of Christ. And I often doubt whether it is possible to believe that a preacher or pastor could be so hardened and malicious (and moreover remain silent) as to let both sides go, each one in their delusion that they receive one and the same Sacrament, each one according to his faith, etc. If there is that kind of a pastor, he must have a heart harder than any rock, steel or even a diamond. He must certainly be an apostle of wrath; the Turks and Jews are much better. They deny our Sacrament and confess this plainly. Thus, we are not deceived by them, and we fall into no ungodliness. But these fellows must be the right high arch-devil, who would give me only bread and wine and would let me mistake it for the body and blood of Christ and so miserably deceive me. Too hot and too hard, that is simply going too far; God will strike there before long. Therefore, whoever has such preachers or is deceived by them, let this be a warning for them as before the devil incarnate himself."61 Luther says here: One falls into idolatry who goes with a Zwinglian to Holy Communion, namely because he holds as Christ's Body and Blood what is still bread and wine. It is more horrifying when a Lutheran preacher extends Holy Communion to those who deny the presence of the Body and Blood of Christ in the Holy Supper and thereby defile Christ's Body and Blood. Words do not suffice to describe such making of such a wretch, who confesses that he believes that he distributes the holy Body of Christ, that he holds in his hand the Blood of Christ, the Son of God, which flowed on the cross for the reconciliation of the world, and hands it to such who view it as merely bakery bread and as ordinary intoxicating wine. To throw the body of Christ in excrement would not be so terrible, because excrement is not as dirty as the mouth of an unbeliever. Therefore it calls for conscientiousness that a pastor surely inquires with such who come from outside and then announce for Holy Communion whether they confess with us the proper doctrine of the Holy Supper. If the Reformed do not reject the unscriptural doctrine of the Reformed Church and still through the consumption of the Supper join with Lutherans in the Lutheran Church, then they are turned away. But it is not enough to turn away the crude

"An Open Letter to Those in Frankfurt am Main" Concordia Journal 16:4, p. 341.

Zwinglian. It also must be done to the sensitive Calvinists, who with their false doctrine conceal themselves so much behind Lutheran words of confession; because Calvin also endorsed that the Body of Christ is received in the Lord's Supper, and beside that yet maintained the essential Body of Christ in the bread is as far away as heaven from earth. One must ask such false spirits whether they admit with us that even one Judas also orally indulged in the Body of Christ. One interjects: the oral partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ is still too gross and carnal of an idea. We can thus point out that we hear the eternal Word of God with the ear, but the soul is fed through the ear; therefore also this food for the soul, the Body and Blood of Christ, feeds the soul through the mouth. Such sacramental discipline must also find its application among those who surely share our belief in the holy Supper, but do not want to discourage to join heterodox and union congregations at other times and in other places; for this thereby gives the appearance as if they were in agreement with false doctrine, and reinforce false believers in their error. Now if a pastor does not care with holy earnestness to keep away the heterodox from his altar, if he drops the barriers of sacramental discipline out of convenience or human complaisance, then such members of the congregation will bring charges against their pastor on that day, that he failed to correct their consciences, but has left them on the wrong track and cheated them. As a result, that one deals earnestly with God's Word, souls suffer no harm and where it has the appearance, we may safely leave God the responsibility that He has bound us to His Word. But many millions of souls are lost through the guilt of these preachers who are lukewarm in the application of the Word of God and stop halfway with the Truth. We also have serious reason to give attention to ourselves, that we will neither see such lack of conscience among us nor return to it. It is well known that not everything has been right in this respect even with the various synods associated with the Synodical Conference. Conferences in such bodies should especially attend to this subject in order to remedy such abuses. Where such conditions have earlier prevailed, there would be, however, necessary decisions and arrangements for improvement, in order to bear witness of the turnaround that occurred. Here, too, our fathers have given an example how to apply caution in suspicious cases. In 1586, French exiles came to Germany. These Huguenots were diabolically persecuted in France. Even Lutheran theologians declared the persecuted Huguenots as martyrs not because they had suffered for their errors, but for the sake of the Truth of their faith against the papists. When they came to Württemberg, the Duke conferred immediately with his theologians how one had to behave toward them. The decision was: Everyone from them should be thoroughly examined before welcoming them to the Lord's Supper. If they did not confess pure doctrine, then they are rejected from the holy Supper. As an indispensable means to exercise the necessary sacramental discipline, personal confession registration was mentioned. It is impossible that a Lutheran pastor could rightly administer his office without it. This will also be known as a practice of the Lutheran Church of the Augsburg Confession, where Article 25 says: "This practice is retained among us, the Sacrament is not extended to those who are not previously examined and absolved." Especially upon entering into the Preaching Office, a preacher must insist that everyone personally register for the Lord's Supper. And if he afterwards upon closer acquaintance does not require personal registration every time, then he will still have to insist upon it among the youth confirmands, otherwise he will administer his pastoral office and office of guardian conscientiously among them. If a preacher should truly stand among them as cure of souls and

his congregation as his flock, then he cannot dispense with confession registration, because he must have the opportunity to get to know his congregation members, especially in admission to the Sacrament. Whoever now wants the end must also want the means. To the question of what to do when the pastor finds resistance in the congregation to confession registration, it was answered: He has to teach his congregation about confession registration above all things. If the people do not come to him, then he goes to them. If then they cannot listen to reason, then they must be charged in church discipline, if they are individuals. However, if this is so with the entire congregation (which is hardly possible), then the pastor cannot administer Holy Communion, and if resistance does not stop, he must finally leave such a congregation; because what one cannot do without sin, one cannot even do. We recognize that a preacher there cannot be a pastor when he is denied to ask his congregational members about faith, doctrine, and life before the celebration of the Lord's Supper. If a congregation of such stubborn opponents of confession registration should and could be taken into church discipline, then it follows that a synod has the right and duty to take into discipline, respectively, to exclude a preacher in their midst who will not exercise confession registration. There were loud complaints in this case that even within the Synodical Conference there are still significant shortcomings in this regard. And this is also a purpose of our meetings: that we bring our attention to those existing defects and work toward their elimination. The individual synods should also herein monitor their preachers and congregations. In order to achieve this, however, diligent visitations must be held, in order that similar evils among congregations and pastors would be revealed and removed. Upon completion of the discussion of how is it with such visitations in the individual synods of the Synodical Conference, it came to light that in most of them it came to life for a longer or shorter time and crowned with a wonderful blessing, while in others among them it is still in its infancy. It was even noted that the president of a synod alone could not properly perform the important office of visitation among his many duties otherwise and therefore should have necessary visitors on the side. The smaller such visitation circuits are, the better this office can be administered. If the president appears to settle a dispute, then this is not the actual visitation that just, if he comes unbidden, only accomplishes its purpose. The pastors and congregation who wish no visitation require it precisely the most. Experience has also taught us that pastors and congregations have become so fond of the institution as soon as they had learned to know it again. Since the term had been used in the discussion about the distribution of Holy Communion, that the administrant held in his hand the body of Christ, it was asked whether this expression could not be touched upon. It was answered: This expression is quite right and is in accord with our doctrine. Even the Lord Christ Himself at the institution of the Holy Supper, when He handed the bread to His disciples, did not say: This will be My Body, but: This is My Body. And Luther advises if a preacher of Zwinglianism is suspicious, one should allow him to answer the question: "What is this that he hands you with his own hands, which hand and mouth here holds", and if he does not answer with the full answer, that it is the Body of Christ, then he is a Zwinglian. We Lutherans do not teach that the Body and Blood of Christ are present only by eating and drinking. But if we say that the body of Christ is given, i.e. even is present in the giving, then we understand such giving includes the taking for the purpose of eating and

drinking, in short, the entire action of the Lord's Supper. We are committed to the axiom of Melanchthon: Nihil habet rationem sacaramenti extra usum a Deo institutum.62 3. A contradiction between confession and practice happens when a Lutheran ecclesiastical body "does not decidedly oppose all forms of chiliasm". To the question why just this single piece of false doctrine is mentioned in the thesis it was answered: These theses take special consideration to the General Council, who tolerates chiliasm, even whose leaders partly are Chiliasts. If we not could enter into church fellowship with them, then it was an act of selfdefense that we witnessed not separatist desires on our part, but the Council prevented us from it in their un-Lutheran position, among other things also chiliasm. Chiliasm is the favorite doctrine of our time, and indeed is often the dregs that are left behind when a church fellowship is cleansed of other false doctrines. The following testimonies were cited: J.E. Gerhard: "In the 17th Article of the Augsburg Confession not only crass, but chiefly all chiliasm is rejected and has been condemned."63 S.J. Baumgarten64:"The defenders of such (chiliastic errors) cannot be proper adherents of the 17th Article of the Augsburg Confession. They cannot defend themselves in this connection neither with the subterfuges of a distinction of their chiliasm from the dreams of the Jews and a previous resurrection of all the saints before the expected kingdom of Christ, or an not alleged by them secular empire, with total annihilation of all the ungodly; nor even with the pretense not to spread the same opinions."65 Johann Gerhard: "It is apparent that the hope and opinion of everyone is not all one and the same about this one-thousand year reign. Firstly because some argue for a subtle chiliasm which consists in the peace of the Church, in perfect justice, in peace from temptations, in a general acceptance of the Orthodox faith, etc.; others, however, hold a gross chiliasm that sways in bodily amusements and lusts.... We hold that the chiliastic madness, whatever color one may paint it and however one may decorate it, the mask must be ripped off."66 Accordingly, preachers in the better period of the Lutheran Church were deposed if they clung to chiliasm. A. Pfeiffer makes the following division of chiliasm, when he writes: "Chiliasm has its certain steps, and we must therefore in this case observe them well and at first quickly make a sensible difference between the grossest, gross and subtle chiliasm. The grossest chiliasts have been Cerinthus and the Cerinthians, who with their chiliasm introduced Epicurianism, as they suppose one would live in Christ's kingdom in eating, drinking and fleshly pleasures; to keep silent about other gross errors that they carried. They therefore reckoned Philastrius, Epiphanius, and Theodoret among the heretics, on that account it is customary to hold them as such even to this day.... But we call subtle chiliasts those who are of the opinion that the thousand years of Revelation 20 are still not fulfilled, but the glory promised there is still expected; yet thus, that they lay down no visible return of Christ for an earthly kingdom, no personal reigning, no double resurrection, etc., but only halcyonia and a peaceful state of the
62 63

Nothing has the nature of a sacrament outside of the use instituted by God. A.C. elaborated 1734, p. 85. 64 1706-1757. 65 Explanation of the Christian Book of Concord, p. 103. 66 Loci Theologici: Locus on the end of the world, §79-80.

Church, at the same time the actual kind, indeed, even the time God makes His home (as long as it actually would last), as Laungus, Rallius, Cocceius, Brennius, among others do. We now indeed hold such chiliasts as false and erroneous, but because the fundamental article of the Christian faith will not be affected by this, then we do not consider them as heretics, especially if one handles it problematice (as of a matter yet to be made) and never imposes his opinion on it. But the question will now be about middling chiliasm, that we call gross, and those among the gross chiliasts who defend them according to its principal circumstances."67 In the proceedings with Pastor Schieferdecker in 1857, the Missouri Synod had expressly stated about him that they would not exclude him if he held fast to nothing other than the "subtile chiliasm" mentioned by Pfeiffer. But chiliasm, for the sake of which one must revoke church fellowship, that attacks the Article of Faith, is namely: 1. about the Church (in that they teach that a time came when the struggle ceased against them, and it would be visible); 2. about the resurrection of the dead on Judgment Day (since according to chiliasts a great resurrection of all the saints or martyrs should take place before Judgment Day); 3. about the return of Christ for judgment (because, as Chiliasts mean, Christ will appear again before the thousand year reign); 4. about Judgment Day (in that Chiliasts teach that Judgment Day could not come at any minute). The following examples witness to the practice of the Lutheran Church in regard to chiliasts: As Lutheran preacher Heinrich Ammersbach in Halberstadt emerged with the Chiliasts, the Lutheran faculty of Rinteln in 1666, when asked, submitted the following concerns: "It is amply demonstrated from ancient times from evangelical theology that such opinion of the Chiliasts is certainly not tolerated, nor could be found from the 20th chapter of the Revelation of John. This opinion is rejected even as tacky now, and it can be seen there that our Evangelical churches are therefore not so worried, in the first place, because these distinct words are in the 17th Article of the Augsburg Confession: 'They condemn also others, who are now spreading certain Jewish opinions, that before the resurrection of the dead the godly shall take possession of the kingdom of the world, the ungodly being everywhere suppressed.' Therefore we are no less surprised that the aforementioned author (Ammersbach), as he is a preacher in Halberstadt, shamefully attacked our theologians so much and, on the other hand, were not afraid to praise Seidenbecher's teaching. Thus we report on this law, that is to question the aforementioned author whether he intends to remain consistent to that which he took upon himself to defend in public, or wants to renounce publicly (renounce with revocation) such erroneous opinions. Unless he chooses the first [option] and wants to refuse the second [option], he would not at once be condemned as a heretic, but nevertheless not permitted in ecclesiastical office. If the author should not cease to disturb the simple with his enthusiasm after his dismissal from office, the Fiscal (the prosecutor) would have to charge him and would have to decree what is right." Likewise the following have been deposed for the sake of chiliasm: G. Laur. Seidenbecher in Saxony in 1661, T.T. Zimmermann in Württemberg in 1684, Friedrich Breckling in Zwoll in Holland in 1665, Adolph Held in Stade in Hannover in 1639, Stier in Beclau in Hesse in 1724, Jacob Taube of Arnheim in Holland in 1669; J. David Schäfer in Franconia anticipated his deposition by resignation. J.E. Gerhard and J. Musäus declared in a

Antichiliasmus or Narrative and Examination of the Deceptive Dreams of So-Called Chiliasts. Lübeck 1691. p. 111ff.

required opinion in the matter of Seidenbecher: "In the case of Seidenbecher he would persist in such tenacity even further in one last prerequisite, we hold God's Word, to the oath of religion, and according to the usual practice in our churches, that he is appalled at his doctrinal office and preaching office." On the question, why the subtlest chiliasts would not be excluded from church fellowship; if any chiliasm contradicts the confession, then repealing church fellowship would have to follow, it was answered: The chiliasm that Pfeiffer called subtle does not contradict the confession. As long as someone has determined the articles of faith, e.g. that the Savior could come any day for judgment, one can perhaps regard his hope as vain, but not as heretical. Prior to the time of Spener and the Pietists one distinguished (as even the above quote from J. Gerhard shows) only between gross and subtle or Epicurean chiliaism, both of which were rejected as heretical. Spener's hope for better times therefore has no resemblance. The Orthodox [Lutherans], e.g. one Neumann, condemned even this under the name of Chiliasmus subtilissimus, but he went too far in that respect, in that they could have rejected it as unfounded, as Pfeiffer described subtle chiliasm as indeed false and erroneous, but not as heretical. It was hereby pointed out by some how dangerous such dreams of the subtlest chiliasm are according to the experiences of the various synods. Even the hope of nearby impending better times for the Church would have its influence on the effectiveness of the pastor's office, would be the beginning of chiliasm and therefore one must confront it. The risk that is associated with such hope was indeed not denied, however, attention was drawn that these theses do not talk about that, but about chiliasm, and the word "chiliasm" has historical meaning. Now, although some (such as Neumann) have already called such a hope "chiliasm", yet it is not really chiliasm, for under chiliasm is meant a heretical doctrine of hope that overturns the article of faith.68 If it is now glorious if we as one man stand against false doctrine, then we must not forget that we cannot treat false doctrine that does not impair the article of faith as heresy. Because to confront earnestly what the theses say is simply to explain: You are a false teacher, and if you persist in obstinate false doctrine, you must be removed from office. The following was cited as an example of non-heretical hope: if someone among us cherished the hope that the Synodical Conference would engulf all Lutheran synods of this country as in former times, then certainly it would not occur to us to give notice to such a one if he otherwise confesses all articles of faith with us. The question was now asked: Is one allowed to maintain pulpit fellowship with such a preacher who perhaps is a member of a body wherein chiliasm is tolerated, but who himself rejects this false doctrine and speaks out against it among others? It was answered: That would be unionism. Only then could it happen if such a member is in a state of confession, i.e. when it is openly declared to his synod: I reject this teaching, but because I cannot reasonably expect that you will be convinced of this overnight, as I am convinced of this, then I will still remain with you in the hope that this will not eventually happen. Such a member must continue to witness against it in public synod and journals, and his objective must not hide the fact that the Synod finally reject with him the false doctrine or he must leave the Synod. Of course there are those who declare they would leave and then did not go. Someone may still be a member of

Justification by faith.

such a synod under protest, as long as his testimony is not denied him and he may still hope that it bears fruit. When the time of withdrawal has come, one must surely leave it to the conscience of the individual. We have now probably sufficiently agreed on the principles that apply to church fellowship between different bodies, but how do they apply for membership of congregations and synods and to individual members of synods? There is no difference concerning church fellowship of individuals and of a body; because a body is nothing but a multiplicity of individuals. If it is a sin in one case for an entire body to maintain church fellowship, then it is also the same for an individual. And if the profession of a congregation makes it compulsory to unite with a body unfaithful to its confession, then such a profession cannot be accepted, because, if the profession commits to something sinful, then we precisely recognize the fact that there is no divine profession. Not only where false teaching is conducted, but also where one knows that the proper confession is only a confession of the mouth; one cannot possibly unite with them. This also applies with the connecting of congregations. There is great carelessness when congregation members establish themselves in a place where they find no orthodox congregations. There is even greater carelessness when one certainly recognizes that it is a heterodox congregation but conscientiously joins the congregation. The practice of our church confirms that it was not satisfied with a mere confession of the mouth where church fellowship occurred. The Interimists had sworn a thousand oaths that they wanted to remain with the Augsburg Confession. But the conscientiousness of our fathers was so great that they were not allowed to sign because they knew their conflicting position in advance. These days one has performed a miracle if a synod makes an oral confession to the Augsburg Confession. It is no less understood as a godless laxity when a synod accepts the Book of Concord and has not even read it. A synod is only orthodox in this way: that it is conscious of pure doctrine, embraces it, and brings it to life. The Council has certainly did confession of the mouth, but demonstrated the opposite in practice, namely that it does not put into practice the doctrine of the Confessions. When accepting the call to a congregation it is important that I am not forced thereby to participate in a sinful thing. There are probably congregations with an orthodox confession where the practice does not match the confession. In such a case, the call perhaps can be accepted. It is something entirely different with actual united congregations where church fellowship with false believers is demanded by the preacher, and thus false practice is elevated to confession; a Lutheran preacher cannot accept a call there. It may be that a calling congregation still does not want the right; for this purpose the preacher is called there, that he should convert the people, and by accepting the call he does not take part in their unconvertedness69. If, however, the church with false believers remains in the fellowship and the pastor must enter into the heterodox synod through acceptance of the call, then he certainly takes part thereby with the unionists of his congregation. And if one wanted to say a congregation could be quite right in doctrine and confession and yet belongs bit by bit to a church mixing synod, but for a lack of knowledge does not see how this contradicts their practice of their confession, then this is to say: It is not true that such a congregation is right, but it is actually united. Confession with the mouth is good for nothing if confession with deeds does not come with it. There is a big difference to enter into a united fellowship and needing to withdraw from it. The first case may not happen, the latter


case may be necessary according to circumstances a shorter or longer stay for the purpose of testimony against the error. It is of the utmost importance that we are consistent in carrying out our principles. If we wanted to say that the so-called Lutherans in the Union are true Lutherans, then the Synodical Conference would give great offense to faithful Lutherans, who look at us as a representative of true Lutheranism. Someone might likely object: The Lutherans in the German Union themselves say: We are United while the General Council itself calls Lutheran. The answer is: The former are still honest, but the Council calls itself Lutheran, and is in truth nothing more than United. Thesis 9 There is no doubt among us that secret societies are contrary to God's Word. But it has been debated a long time whether or not secret societies are religious. Those who replied in the affirmative argued: although the secret societies (such as Freemasons and Odd Fellows) allows everyone his faith and in return expect the toleration of the faith of others, they are in agreement that they want to appear to take the place of the Christian religion, and view the religious confession that there is a God and all men must be regarded as brothers as the extract from all religions. The lodge forsakes the doctrine of the Savior and assumes a conscientious doctrine of the Law as the way to salvation. These societies also have the avowed purpose to lead their members into heaven, into the "Grand Lodge above".70 They seek according to their own confession not merely earthly welfare, but also eternal welfare of their members, namely to prepare them for the life to come. The lodge also have their religious ceremonies and customs, order of burial, chaplain, ritual, prayer, etc. A society that has a religious confession and a religious worship is a religious fellowship. One should not consider this proof superfluous, but if this evidence could be provided, then we would have a formidable weapon in the struggle against the secret societies among people. That the secret societies are religious societies was disputed by the other side and merely acknowledged that they are societies with religious ceremonies and tendencies. One must make a distinction between religious societies and religious-minded people. The fact that they push religion does not make them religious societies, otherwise our legislatures and our Congress would also be religious societies. The guilds in Germany, when they carried out something in common, even had religious activities, lectures, insignia, etc. The state has not been able to demand the confession "there is one God". So therefore they are all not religious societies. Discussions with members of the lodge as to their purpose are to be taken up with care. Indeed, books with the announcement "published by the Grand Lodge" on the front have no obligation for the lower lodges; perhaps they have weight for them, but are not officially required for acceptance. The founder and leader may well have had and even now gave the purpose to create a world religion, but their purpose, which most members of the society do not know, is not to decide on the character of the society. The purpose, which determines the nature of the society, must be clearly stated, acknowledged by all, and made an obligation of membership. Confessions and books do not sufficiently demonstrate it. The true purpose of these societies is the universal brotherhood that stands them higher than any religion. If we

The words in quotation marks appear in English in the original article. - Tr.

believe in what is certain: namely that the Word of God contradicts the secret organization, brotherhood with the world, religious acts, an oath in unknown things, and that one gives out works of self-interest for works of love, then we have enough reasons why we must fight with great seriousness the secret societies as synagogues of Satan. If we impose something on these companies of which its members are not convinced in their consciences, then we cut off the tip of our struggle. We all agree that not all secret societies are religious fellowships, and that not all societies have religious ceremonies and tendencies. We admit that there could be religious societies among them and in that case the connection of a Christian in such a society would only be more terrible. But we could eschew the resulting problem as we leave undecided whether or not secret societies are religion fellowships. To the objection that in this case the General Council and Iowa Synod attack our point of view and could accuse us, we would not be united on this question concerning the secret societies themselves, and even made it into an issue divisive of fellowship between the Council and us, we answer that it could be completely indifferent to us what those may blaspheme about us on this occasion. Rather, it is a sign of our healthy position that we are not merely yes-men71 who accept everything without having to be convinced. In addition, our standpoint on secret societies is already clear and precise. We reject all secret societies because connection to them includes a denial of the Lord Jesus in itself, because it is contrary to the clear words of God to draw in one yoke with unbelievers, to view Jews and Muslims as nearest brothers, where one must rather come to the aid and help according to the laws of the lodge in every need, as spiritual brethren in Christ and associated biological relatives through ties of blood, etc. To name secret societies, which one determines, religious societies, even others hold, who cannot subscribe to this term, as wrong and sinful. The fight against these societies is therefore carried out on both with equal seriousness and equal determination. This designation "religious societies" is therefore not accepted by some to be adequate, because those in secret societies cannot see the justification of this term, and because from the application of this title on secret societies it seems to follow that all congregations that still have members of secret societies among them are nothing but United congregations. That would still be burdening of conscience. However, we altogether reject the practice that pastors still tolerate such members in their congregation who participate in the religious ceremonies of secret societies. Rather, a pastor must explain to such a person: if they still continue to pray in such societies, then they must be rejected at the altar of the Lord. Another explanation has with such members who have made some extensive deposits and, for fear of losing them, are afraid to escape, though they do not participate in the worship of the lodge. Regarding the books of the lodges it was noted that no book concerning the lodge, should be published without approval of the members of the Grand Lodge. It is also not allowed to use forms that are not approved at funerals. However, it was replied that books would come out with the permission and approval of the Grand Lodge would not be identified as a symbol. But if this would be required, that it should not be deviated from it, then the religious society would be finished. It has been argued by others, if the Scriptures and set forth confessions were not credible, then the ground under our feet would be pulled away from us for most of the attacks against the lodges. It was answered: It would not be so. One can perhaps prove this to a member: This happens among you and you participate in this yourself. But if one wanted to


deny one of them, then one could perhaps tell one of them that you could probably tell him that he and his Lodge are miserable liars and cheats. Herewith discussion on this matter was interrupted and the following statement adopted as authentic: "We mean by secret societies not only those which are religious societies, or societies with religious ceremonies and tendencies, but in general all secret societies with moral purposes which are based on the principle of secrecy." Our thesis has the purpose to testify publicly before the whole Church: It is for us not enough for church fellowship that the preachers of our synod reject secret societies, but we demand as a condition of church fellowship that they engage this cancerous sore publicly from the pulpit; further, that they undertake through instruction and discipline the members of secret societies located in their communities and not rest until they either resign from the lodge or are put out from the congregation. It is therefore not sufficient that perhaps a general testimony is put off for Synodical assemblies. The General Council also has done this, but perhaps has guarded against naming secret societies, but merely rejected non-Christian societies. Thus a preacher may mightily contend in the pulpit against "non-Christian" societies, and thereby think the members of secret societies still, so that their religious lodges that have a chaplain, prayers, etc., are not meant. We disassociate ourselves from such synods and preachers in our thesis. Hereupon Thesis Nine was unanimously adopted. Thesis 10 When one could say about a congregation that it was "actually United" was initially dealt with in the detailed description of this thesis. This is not only the case when a congregation, as the United Church in the present day likes to do, is called evangelical or Protestant because these are all stolen names that do not rightly befit the United Church, but also because a congregation is actually United if they, according to its congregation and its use, concede equal rights to those members of such a congregation who confess a different faith as the Lutherans who do not cease to be United, Reformed, or Methodist, but about the reason, because they found no other congregation in their area to want to include their name in a Lutheran congregation, as one nevertheless should belong to a Christian congregation at all, and who find entrance all the more easier when the preacher of such congregations themselves gives nothing about the doctrinal differences of the various churches but merely states the fact that his congregation will possibly increase. Furthermore, a congregation is actually United when they do not dismiss false believers who are in their midst or when they do not adhere to confessional ceremonies of the Lutheran Church for the sake of false believers; e.g., when a congregation introduces the breaking of the bread at Holy Communion. This is not the talk of such that view this out of ignorance as a matter of indifference and therefore have in practice, but that fact that such is introduced for the sake of such who are originally Reformed or United and who therefore desire that it would also be held here in the Lutheran congregation because they hold this for their rights alone. It is known how the so-called Lutheran General Synod allows this and serves such congregations.

Yes, the same thing is detectable within the General Council, which ostensibly renounced for the sake of false doctrine and practice what rules in the General Synod, and still continues to serve such actually United congregations. But such enter into contradiction with the confession of our church, but above all with God's Word. May they consider this well! The word "actually United" therefore stands in this thesis to indicate that a congregation could perhaps be United, though not be called "United". If they now do not actually hold to the confession of our church in doctrine and practice, then one can infer from such a fact that it is not actually a Lutheran congregation but one that only has the name "Lutheran". But the situation can also be reversed. There really are such instances that a congregation that bears the name United nevertheless has Lutheran doctrine. It is correct in doctrine, and only therefore keeps the name United until further notice because the alteration of the congregation is connected with great difficulty. But this is something irregular. Such a congregation here would not be included in the association of an orthodox Lutheran synod, as they would have to change the "United" name. Paul writes to Timothy: "Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner."72 With this it is witnessed, it is not enough that you are not ashamed only of the Gospel, but one should also not be ashamed of the confessor of it. The one who would be ashamed therefore of the pure doctrine of the Gospel, who, when one asks him, "Are you a Lutheran?" i.e. such a Christian who holds the doctrine of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church as truth? would answer, "No, I am Evangelical73." This would be a self-contradiction. One can now make it known more precisely by no other name than by this epithet: "Lutheran" whether or not one really adheres to the pure doctrine of the Gospel. If a congregation does not call itself according to that name and still wants to be Lutheran, then this looks very suspicious. It evidently refrains from a duty of confession. The Lutheran Church has the pure confession of divine Truth. If a congregation wants to make sure to have the pure confession of divine Truth, then it is their duty to confess to this church which purely and clearly has the divine Truth. Hence Luther, though he rejects it when one calls after him out of attachment to his person, nevertheless also writes: "I see that I must add a good word of admonition to those whom Satan has now begun to persecute. For there are some among them who think that when they are attacked they can escape the danger by saying: I do not hold with Luther or with anyone else, but only with the holy gospel and the holy church, or with the Roman church. For saying so they think they will be left in peace. Yet in their hearts they regard my teaching as the teaching of the gospel and stand by it. In reality this kind of statement does not help them, and it is in effect a denial of Christ. Therefore, I beg such people to be very careful. "True, by any consideration of body or soul you should never say: I am Lutheran, or Papist. For neither of them died for you, or is your master. Christ alone died for you, he alone is your master, and you should confess yourself a Christian. But if you are convinced that Luther's teaching is in accord with the gospel and that the pope's is not, then you should not discard Luther so completely, lest with him you discard also his teaching, which you nevertheless recognize as Christ's teaching. You should rather say: Whether Luther is a rascal or a saint I do not care; his teaching is not his, but Christ's.
72 73

2 Timothy 1:8. Evangelical being analogous to what is now The United Church of Christ.

"For you will observe that the tyrants are not out merely to destroy Luther, but to wipe out the teaching. It is on account of the teaching that they attack you and ask you whether you are Lutheran. Here you must be sure not to speak with slippery or evasive words but frankly to confess Christ, no matter who did the preaching—Luther, Claus, or George. The person you can forget; but the teaching you must confess. Paul also writes thus to Timothy in 2 Tim. 1:8: 'Do not be ashamed then of testifying to our Lord, nor of me, a prisoner for his sake.' If it had been enough here for Timothy to confess the gospel, Paul would not have commanded him not to be ashamed also of Paul—not of Paul as a person but of Paul as a prisoner for the sake of the gospel. Now if Timothy had said, I do not hold with Paul or with Peter, but with Christ, when he knew that Peter and Paul were teaching Christ, then he would actually thereby have denied Christ himself. For Christ says in Matt. 10 concerning those who preach him: 'He who receives you receives me, and he who rejects you rejects me.' Why this? Because holding thus with his messengers, those who bring his word, is the same as holding with Christ himself and with his word."74 Therefore, if someone asks, "Are you Lutheran, i.e., such a Christian who holds the faith for the right, which God has again allowed to be proclaimed to Christendom through Luther?" and he would say: "No, I'm not Lutheran!", then he therefore denies the Gospel, the Truth itself. This is exactly the same as if one would have wanted to say at the time of Christ: "I believe in the Messiah", but he would not wanted to be reckoned among the Galileans; such a person, like Peter, would have denied Christ. Or who would have not wanted to be an Athanasian in the time of Arius, who would have thus likewise rejected the Athanasian Creed. Therefore, just because the change of the name united makes difficulties, this is a proof that the change is necessary and that the difficulties must be overcome. If we are genuinely concerned about pure doctrine, then we will not pay attention to the difficulties. One has also taken this seriously within the Synodical Conference. Cases were mentioned since some communities who stood rightly in the confession, but kept a false name, though they sought most strongly for admission to the Synodical Association, but were turned away until they had made the necessary name change. Should the church's property also be at state, then one should still prefer to let it go as confession of the Truth. And what a nuisance the inclusion of such would give to the nominally United congregation of every orthodox Synod! The ultimate unanimous declaration of the Synodical Conference on this point is: It is wrong that a congregation is included in the association of a synod which is part of the Synodical Conference which does not bear the name of a Evangelical Lutheran congregation, although the congregation otherwise has Lutheran doctrine. Let us now return to the evidence of our thesis. According to God's word the Church should be united in faith. There can be no doubt about that. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 1:10: "Now I implore you, dear brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all together agree and let no divisions be among you, but hold fast to one another in the same mind and in the same judgment." Ephesians 4:5 says: "One faith." Acts 4:32 writes about the believers: "But the multitude of believers was of one heart and one soul." When a congregation has no such


Luther, M. (1999). Vol. 36: Luther's works, vol. 36: Word and Sacrament II (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald & H. T. Lehmann, Ed.) (265–266). Philadelphia: Fortress Press.

unity in Scripture, it is emphatically punished, e.g. the congregation at Pergamum, who tolerated such among them who had the doctrine of Balaam and the Nicolaitans.75 Let no one say: Certainly one may not have such doctrines, but others are permitted. No, all errors are something terrible and horrible sins, yes, if held willfully, a struggle against God. What kind of error it may be, it should not be tolerated in a Christian congregation. A United congregation is one in which the false believer has the right of membership. He does not have this right in our congregations. It may well happen that when we find those that from lack of knowledge are not correct in doctrine, or have dark and confusing terms in some doctrinal parts, but who accept it with joy as soon as they are properly taught. The situation is different, however, when a Zwinglian comes to us, who will remain Reformed. If a congregation receives such a person, then it is godless, because they release the man from obedience to God's Word. There is no word in the human language to express how horrible this is to say: God has no doubt given His Word that we should accept and believe it, but here we will dispense with it, here you can act against God's Word. Unfortunately, one finds this often in our sad times. This means to say: We must not be so rigid and take it so accurately with God's Word. Yes, one decries preacher and congregation that does not tolerate such practice as contrary to God's will as harsh and unloving. But one should still consider: What may well be terrible to say as this: You have indeed commanded, dear God, we should have no fellowship with false believers. Yes, we should shun and flee them. But we are at the same time too indulgent and loving, we exempt them of their false doctrine. These are the infamous Papists who act thus. The congregation which says: We give you permission to deviate from the teachings of God's Word, makes itself into a pope. One objects: one must adhere to the chief article, but one can deviate from those doctrines of God's Word which are of minor importance. But it is as if, in order to make it clear by an example, one would say about the 7th Commandment: Certainly one should not steal hundreds or thousands of dollars, but to steal smaller sums is permitted. Yes, one could say as well about all sins: one must avoid gross sins, but smaller and lesser sins are not to be noticed. Certainly everyone will admit that this is reprehensible. But it is just as reprehensible to say that one is allowed to abandon lesser parts of the Truth. Whoever does this, pushes, as much is in him, Christ from the throne and sets the devil on it, who is a father of lies. How can a pastor serve such a congregation that is therefore actually a United congregation! In many old agendas is by the official acts of the preacher: "I do or say this or that in the place of the Christian Church." Thus, the status of a pastor is designated by his congregation. He should represent the faith of his congregation. The preacher is the mouth of the congregation. Is it not a shameful hypocrisy, when the preacher preaches Lutheranism and knows that his congregation believes different, and yet administers it to his congregation? Such a pastor stands before his congregation as before Turks or Tamils that he first must convert. Spurious Lutheran pastors indeed say that they accept United congregation precisely for this reason: in order to make them Lutheran. But that's a lie, because they will make them into nothing other than what they themselves are, namely false believers. If it is perhaps true: as it may be of heathen Christians, then it could also be of United Lutherans, but this those preachers will not accomplish. For that can only happen through the pure preaching of the

Revelation 2:12-17.

Word of God. But now such pastors even serve the Lord's Supper to United congregations and thus give their testimony that they are correct in doctrine. Is it not shameful lies and deceit when one says with the act of serving the Sacrament: "You are right!" while one must say in his heart: "You are wrong!" So it is impossible for a faithful Lutheran preacher to take action. It is a shameful abomination when I have to say to such a person that he does not believe that Christ's true Body and His true Blood will be administered in the Supper, nevertheless I still serve him. I give him bread, and I know he regards it only as bread. I gave him the cup, and he regards it as nothing but wine. What must be said about such a pastor! Luther rightly says about such people: "In summa, it is appalling to hear that in one and the same church or at one and the same altar both sides should come for and receive of one and the same Sacrament, yet with the one side believing that it receives only bread and wine, while the other believing that it receives the true body and blood of Christ. And I often doubt whether it is possible to believe that a preacher or pastor could be so hardened and malicious (and moreover remain silent) as to let both sides go, each one in their delusion that they receive one and the same Sacrament, each one according to his faith, etc."
In today's time one says about such a preacher for the most part: What a dear man! He is not as stiff and stubborn like the Old Lutherans but liberal. He gives the Lord's Supper to everyone. He will not push anyone away. But it was hard for Luther to hear that there are preachers who could say: "Everyone should take the sacrament according to his faith." This is the devil in the form of an angel. Such a wicked knave does it just for the money. But a faithful Lutheran preacher would rather die than serve the Lord's Supper this way. He fears God, Who would punish him for such sacrilege. For such an act is much worse than if one throws the Host into a puddle. This is not as obscene as the mouth of an unbeliever, yes, clean compared to that. How deep our times have fallen! Now it is considered abominable and unchristian if one does not want to give everyone the Body of Christ in the mouth. What a terrible delusion! Every little child who knows the Lutheran Catechism must know that this is ungodly. And yet this is now not only the general practice among the United, but it is also found, e.g., in the General Council. Although the General Council has in vain divorced themselves from the General Synod for the sake of false doctrine and practice, it still tolerates false doctrine and practice.

"If there is that kind of a pastor, he must have a heart harder than any rock, steel or even a diamond. He must certainly be an apostle of wrath."
A dreadful word! Indeed, when a person or a congregation despises God's Word, then God sends such a preacher. The ones whom the world holds as the most friendly are precisely the greatest enemies of Christians. They are apostles of wrath that God has sent in his anger.

"Turks and Jews are much better. They deny our Sacrament and confess this plainly. Thus, we are not deceived by them, and we fall into no ungodliness."
An honest Zwinglian is ten times better than one Lutheran in name only who pleads he would not rule the consciences of those who do not believe what he believes; so one must tolerate such a person, therefore one should not completely deny Holy Communion to someone, it would otherwise arise as a spectacle in the congregation and the preacher thereby loses money, especially if the unbeliever is a rich man who pays a lot. He does not ask in retrospect if souls are lost. But if it would be one of those who pays little or nothing, then he would probably make little trouble and exclude him from the congregation.

"But these fellows must be the right high arch-devil, who would give me only bread and wine and would let me mistake it for the body and blood of Christ and so miserably deceive me. Too hot and too hard, that is simply going too far; God will strike there before long."
The faithful heart of Luther was so outraged by such abominations that he thought God could not watch any longer. One now thinks, these are precisely the right representatives of the Savior. They allow themselves to celebrate per se, yet they are merely representatives of the infernal serpent.

"Therefore, whoever has such preachers or is deceived by them, let this be a warning for them as before the devil incarnate himself."76 This is a Lutheran testimony. It is obvious especially at Holy Communion whether one is a false believer. Nevertheless, if a congregation receives such a man and allows him at the Holy Communion, then because of that she is sealed in her false doctrine, indeed, she enters with him into most intimate fellowship. For there is no more intimate fellowship than the one in which we enter through Holy Communion. Nothing is so intimately connected as two Christians, because the same Jesus is in them, so that Christians as it were are one person in Him. Paul speaks of this ineffable mystery in the words of 1 Corinthians 10:17: "Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body, because we are all partakers of one bread." From this it can be seen as well who stands in a different faith as the one who gives it to him. Therefore, if people come to us from other fellowships, then it may not be enough for us that they put up with our confession and affirm it, but we also have to ask such people whether they reject the errors of their previous false fellowships. If they say, "No", then we could neither receive them into the congregation, nor allow them to the Holy Supper. To adhere to true doctrine also includes that one rejects false doctrine. If we do not demand this most emphatically, then we actually are united with false believers and allow the opinion to form in them that even in our church errors have legitimacy. It is also undoubtedly true that the one who rejects the antithesis only apparently does not accept the proposition itself. Most profess pure doctrine from pure indifference. If they would come to such places where there is no purely Lutheran congregation, then they would remain at any other church, because one must still even remain in a church. But this is a shameful betrayal. One is asked first of all at Holy Baptism: "Do you renounce the devil and all his works and all his ways?". This is done from the very obvious reason that one can not likely promise God until one has renounced the devil, under whose authority all of us are by nature, until God loosens us in Baptism. So it is in all Christian circumstances of life. If someone is stuck in error, then he must confess this and promise at the same time that he would not return to his error. The fact that one therefore confesses pure doctrine is not in itself a sufficient proof that he is also a genuine Lutheran. We now live in a time where indifference has taken the upper hand against pure doctrine. One is very quick to agree. But the question is whether one is bound in respect to his conscience not to return to his forsaken error. Many a man who comes out of the Prussian Union would be apprehensive if one submitted to him the question: "Would you, if you return to Germany, rather be ridiculed than resign from the Union?" Christ wants that one not be ashamed of the Truth, or He will be ashamed of us on Judgment Day. The fact that the operation of an actual United congregation on the part of a Lutheran pastor stands in conflict with the confession, is already located in the call of a pastor. Every congregation still obliges her pastor to her confession. Then how can a United congregation as such call a Lutheran pastor, since such a pastor still does not stand in their confessional basis! If she does it anyway, she deceives herself. It is not so much a question of whether Union or Lutheranism is right, as more about how one can reconcile such a call with his doctrinal position. It is like a double fraud held both by the congregation, which believes a Lutheran

"An Open Letter to Those in Frankfurt on the Main."

pastor could accept such a call, as well as on the part of the pastor, who believes he could be able to accept such a call and serve a United congregation. The question is here, however, about a moral skill. For otherwise, any congregation, whether United or Reformed, can call whomever she wants, and even such a pastor that they do not want. Even the call of a false believing fellowship can be a valid call, for the sake of true Christians contained in her. And now one still considers: Christ came into the world to create a church of pardoned people. This church should make honor to Christ, she should be a flock of those who are one in faith. But such a congregation which has all kinds of beliefs in their midst redounds for a terrible shame to Christ, as if Christ therefore has come to found a church that should be a Babel. But we Christians have the Truth, therefore we also should be united. It is therefore so cruel when the United Church says: "The confession is a secondary matter, why should one start any quarrel; if it only happens peacefully among us!" But O what a blessed strife happens because of that, when one wants to adhere to the Truth. And O unhappy peace that one concludes from the cost of Truth. If someone tried to snatch your money, would you quietly put up with it? Would you not take him and throw him out of the house, in order that all desire to steal should fade in him? Would not everyone laugh about such a statement and such, who spoke thus, say: "You are purely amazing that you ask such kindness towards a scoundrel, and scold me an unloving people? He would gladly sit still if the scoundrel let him just sit quietly. Everyone acts thus and is generally regarded as right. But if God's Truth is attacked, then we should watch quietly because it does not concern our property but only for the Word of God, as if this is still insignificant. About the quarrel about the temporal one should probably grieve, but for the dispute for divine truth we should praise and glorify God. This dispute must not stop. If it stops, then the jewel of Truth is already lost. As long as there is a church that has the truth, as long as the devil fights against and seeks to overcome it, as long as we have to get in his way and seek to frustrate his intention. Then the question was raised: How is the word: "continually" to be understood in this thesis? In accordance with this, is it permitted for a Lutheran pastor to make an exception to the rule for a time and to serve a United congregation, or must a preacher, who does not have such a United congregation from before, after he himself came to a right view, immediately leave the congregation before he has taught them thoroughly about their false position? It was clear to the vast majority in the conference that the word "continually" is not only very misleading, but actually false. For a Lutheran pastor cannot for one moment serve an actual United congregation as such. It is also no theological expression, for he makes uncertain how long such service could be done. One would say: One year. Another would say: This would be not enough to fix it. Two years. A third: Five years. Before you know it, ten or twenty years. If that is insufficient, then it would mean fifty years. And so it would be broken open more and more and, in fact, there would be no limit, it would be contrary to everyone's judgment and discretion to determine when the "continually" is over. No, here it means: either - or! Either I can serve a United congregation or not. We say: a Lutheran pastor cannot serve a United congregation. This is already apparent from the word "serve". For "serve" undoubtedly means as much as "administer" the Office. However, all parts of the Office belong to the Office, not merely preaching, but also absolving, administering Holy Communion, etc. And there cannot be any

question of fully serving a United congregation by a Lutheran pastor. He indeed cannot perform his Office among them even in the most important parts. For as long as the congregation actually stands in a United confession, he cannot serve Holy Communion among them, he cannot even absolve them. Strictly speaking he cannot be their pastor. He cannot possibly consider them as his congregation, to which he himself materially belongs, because then he would indeed de facto come into the Union. A Lutheran pastor could only take a call from such United congregations for specific cases and functions and specifically for those in which the Lutheran pastor does not deny his faith. In that sense he could perhaps serve them, that he preaches God's Word to them. Even when, e.g., a Catholic congregation asked me merely to preach to them, I would accept this with joy, but tell them: I am not your pastor, but I will preach only to you. So also must a Lutheran pastor explain to a United congregation: You are false, and I can only be your pastor if you accept my faith. The Office indeed includes the congregation. The pastor exercises it on behalf of the congregation. So how can a proper Lutheran pastor exercise the office in an actual United congregation without actually being United? In orthodox congregations the Creed is sung not after the sermon, but before the sermon for this very reason: so that the church first sings to the pastor what she believes, and what he has to believe if he wants to preach to her. She therefore calls to him: Subject yourself to preach nothing other than what we have sung to you. A preacher must not preach what occurs to him. Whoever nevertheless wants to do it may go to the Turks. We preachers are servants of the congregation and therefore have to preach the faith of the congregation. No Lutheran pastor can therefore accept to serve a United congregation, but if he does, then he ties his own hands, so that he could not bear witness against Reformed doctrine. Because, after all, a congregation is actually a United congregation where the Lutheran and the Reformed confession has equal authority. We can, however, never concede such equality even for a moment. It follows of necessity also that we cannot for a moment serve such an actual United congregation, because then we would actually recognize both confessions as equal. However, a United congregation calls and obliges a preacher to her United confession. So how can a faithful Lutheran pastor commit himself to a United confession without himself becoming United? No, precisely because you want to commit him to that, he will reject such a call, because he can only take a call from such a congregation that only commits him to the Lutheran Confessions. However, such a call cannot issue from an actual United congregation without surrendering its previous position. Therefore there cannot be any question of serving a United congregation, because a call to serve is necessary. It is possible that a United congregation commits a pastor only to the Lutheran Confessions. Such a congregation is then actually no longer a United congregation. Thus she lets the issue slip from her hands and concedes to the preacher every right to refute and to convict false doctrine. In other words, if a previously United pastor comes to a better understanding and becomes Lutheran, then his call ceases in the United congregation, for they called him to a United congregation. Nevertheless, if he persists as their pastor, then he would be nothing but a Lutheran pope. In such a case, a Lutheran pastor would have to express bluntly to his congregation: "I have come to another opinion and consider it my duty to bear witness against

my previous false viewpoint." If the congregation accepts this, then she is in fact no longer a United congregation. Because now by the expression "continually" in our thesis the appearance results as if a Lutheran pastor could be the pastor of a United congregation, what is certainly wrong may not be done any longer or "continually", so striking this expression was proposed. However, on the other hand, it was argued: The issue in the present thesis is certainly about a prevailing condition, whether as such it certainly could not be tolerated by a synod; it is also certain that one should not receive a United congregation into a synodical federation; but if a United congregation would find herself among us now even from earlier times, then certainly one must be working towards the fact that things would be different for her, but until then we still have to tolerate it. With time such abuses should and must be abolished. But the Synod would still have to contend with such a congregation after the pastor has done everything to bring them to rights, but they will not suffer such a thing. But our goal must always be to make Lutheran congregations out of previously United congregations. For those men who are working on it, one has to thank God. If we now strike the word "continually", then we would gain the reputation as if we would take no consideration in recognizing the weak, but equally demand of them a great deal of the same thing. Precisely that expression includes in itself that one has to bear the weak with all love and patience until one succeeds in leading them to a better understanding. And this may be still irreprehensible, yes, but rather our duty. Only then, when one excludes himself from all instruction out of spite, or would force a pastor to serve the Lord's Supper to the Reformed, then the time has come when one could no longer serve such a United congregation. Regarding the word "serve", it thus grasps not only the administration of the Lord's Supper, but especially the preaching of God's Word in itself. If one has to neglect even that, then one could and should thereby serve the congregation all the more with preaching, more so even as she needs it. Even as a mother does not give everything for her sick child to eat, but only what he can tolerate in his condition; as she gives him above all things medicine in order to help him to health: thus we would have such congregation to serve the Word, in order that they shall be healthy in faith. Let this be a service and as such irreprehensible. This should not occur continuously, but only until the desired goal is reached and the congregation abandons their previously false position or it is evident that they resist the Truth out of malice. But as long as this would happen only out of weakness, one would have to tolerate it and a pastor could for so long not abandon such a congregation. It was countered: Bearing with the weak is not treated in our thesis. This indeed should and must be done not only for a while, but all the time. We have to deal in our congregations with those who themselves are not clear on the significance of the Union, but think they are good Lutherans. Consciously United People will never stay with us, but always be our bitterest enemies. Whomever is United here in America is usually conscientiously United. But nevertheless, one of our Lutheran pastors should never admit that his congregation receives some obvious Reformed people from weakness in knowledge. If he would at least say to the congregation that they are doing wrong, and at the same time tolerate such a reception, then he explains with the fact that they had mentioned. Even this cannot be authoritative for us in answering this question that a large number of United-minded people still find themselves in a Lutheran congregation. Few congregations

are likely to be entirely free of it, perhaps none. This does not make a congregation nonLutheran, but a drawback is found in her, but that it is justified. We must protest against the fact that there may be such defective congregations found in the Synodical Conference. If this would be tolerated, then we could not currently remain in the Conference. This would be possible only if the hypocrites are found among us, as also a Judas was found among the disciples of the Lord. But this we may not yet assume. Precisely this point indeed is the characteristic difference between the Synodical Conference and other so-called Lutheran bodies in this country. We would absolutely not tolerate actual United congregations in our midst, even those who do. This is precisely why different synods among us have withdrawn from the General Council, because one wanted to tolerate it there, but we reject it. This is not to say that perhaps all congregations from unionistic leaven are free with us. But that because they are still found in our congregations, they are by no means already United, just as a Church is not concerned about the world because some worldly people are found in her. One therefore should not actually call something United that is not in reality United. People who are weak in knowledge are always found, more or less, in our congregations who must be borne and who require instruction. It matters above all things in this thesis to answer whether a proper Lutheran pastor could actually serve a United congregation in general or even continually. This we must decidedly deny. What is all comes down to is whether we can receive such congregations in our synodical federation who think they could remain United and still belong to a Lutheran synod. Such a congregation cannot belong among us even for an hour. Here we do not have to ask how long. No, Lutheran and Reformed are simply mutually exclusive. If a Lutheran preacher in a congregation must think: "Oh, the differences between Lutherans and the Reformed are of no consequence", then such a pastor is a shameful hypocrite. One gives the devil authority in the Church by acknowledging errors. However, we want to stand under one banner and a preacher who has not broken with all the Union cannot be in rank and file with us. We concede that a Lutheran pastor may actually serve a United congregation, but it should not continually be done, lest we give our unionistic opponents weapons with which they can attack us. In Scripture it says: "Avoid a heretical man!"77 "Do not be unequally yoked with an unbeliever."78 "If any man comes to you and does not bring not this doctrine, do not take him into your house and even greet him."79 No man may get away from it. Gerhard writes: "We can claim a threefold unity of the Evangelical churches. The first is canonical unity, by which - namely, with the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments - it agrees in everything with our doctrine that we profess.... The second is ecclesiastical unity, by which - namely, with the church writers whom they call 'fathers' and especially with those who were closest to the times of the apostles - it agrees with our doctrine.... The third is symbolical unity, a unity in which we embrace by common consent the doctrine contained in the symbolical books of our churches: in the Augsburg Confession and the Apology of the same, in Luther's catechisms, in the Smalcald Articles, and in the Formula of Concord. If anyone refuses

77 78

Titus 3:10. 2 Corinthians 6:14. 79 2 John 10.

to give his name to this, we do not recognize him as a brother in the matter of faith and confession."80 This unity is lacking among the United, in particular the latter one, and therefore of course even the two previous ones. How then can a Lutheran pastor say he wants to be a member of the Synodical Conference and stands up as a member with the entire Lutheran Confessions, and yet at the same time wants to be a pastor of a congregation that rejects the Lutheran Confessions! He cannot truthfully serve such a congregation. For he must deny her the Holy Supper because they confess to false doctrine and adhere to it. The misery not to be able to serve the Holy Supper to true Christians among false believers has not befallen through us, but through the sects. For the devil has succeeded to erect a wall of separation among Christians through false doctrine. As sad as this is, nevertheless a preacher of a false believing congregation must, although true Christians are still among her, refuse the pasture; he may not say to her: "All of you are my sheep and I am your shepherd", he will have to deny her the Holy Supper, he cannot recognize false believers as brothers for a moment and thus actually become a Union, or he acts in such a case against God's Word, which 2 John 10-11 says: "If any man comes to you and does not bring not this doctrine, do not take him into your house and even greet him. For whoever greets him makes himself partaker of his evil deeds." We have to act accordingly even in the 19th century. We cannot be above God's Word. According to our Confessions not even those religious ceremonies should be tolerated, whereby it would gain the illusion that no difference in doctrine takes place between us and other church fellowships. For it says in the 10th article of the Formula of Concord: "And indeed, among things which are really indifferent and discretionary, those ceremonies must not be numbered, which have the appearance (or assume the appearance for the sake of avoiding persecution,) as if our religion differed but little from that of the Papists; or as if the same were not most offensive to us; or when these ceremonies are required or re-established with a view to unite the two conflicting religions, and to form them into one body; or when there is danger of thereby returning to Popery, and of departing from the pure doctrine of the Gospel and from true religion; or when these results may gradually ensue. For in such cases, that which Paul writes, shall and must have its authority: "Do not be unequally yoked with an unbeliever; what fellowship has light with darkness?...Therefore, come out from them and separate yourselves, says the Lord."81 This is a chief article for our time, subsequently we could not recognize as an orthodox Lutheran preacher one who, to please false believers, refrains from ceremonies of confession. Therefore, we have to demand of a Lutheran pastor: take on only a Lutheran congregation, otherwise we do not recognize you. He may not argue whether in this case to take into account the principle: Salvation of people is the highest law; after all, he is indeed seeking the salvation of a United congregation when he is serving them, he is wanting to lead them to proper knowledge, he is rejecting their false doctrine and is bearing witness against them, this could not be wrong. Such is refuted by the fact that according to the Scriptures it is prohibited to do evil, in order that good may go forth from it. Otherwise one would say: "I want to be a

80 81

Locus on the Church, §246. Paragraph 5.

Methodist in order to bring them to the right understanding", which certainly no one will approve. As for the congregations, we could not receive those who do not have our doctrine. We could not include them in our synodical federation. We are conscience bound in this matter. We could not even receive congregations who have come to the knowledge of their false United viewpoint and now want to be Lutheran, but who still bear the United name and in which the United confession is still valid, even though they fight against it. Even if a congregation, e.g., took to the Lutheran catechism and nevertheless still called themselves United, then they would still actually be United. We must wait with the inclusion of these congregations until all this is changed. To respond in kind in the case where a pastor serves a congregation that has said to him before that she is Lutheran, but later on it turns out that she is a United congregation. Before the United position is removed we could neither recognize the congregation, nor even their pastor as Lutheran and include them in the synodical federation. If we did it, then we ourselves would therefore be United. We need to ask them: "Do you condemn the Union?" If they could do this, then they will break themselves away also from all of the United position. If it happens in practice that a United congregation comes forward for acceptance in the federation of a Lutheran synod, then we must declare to them: "We do not approve of your confession." If they respond to it: "We also are Lutheran", then we set the requirement: "Change your constitution, only then could we accept you and give you a preacher." If many now wish to remain in such a congregation, then we would have to regard them as a Lutheran congregation, but after she has adopted the Lutheran confession. For that does not follow, because a congregation was United only yesterday, that they could not be Lutheran today. On Pentecost 3,000 became Christians through one sermon of Peter, who the day before had still been Jews. Thus, it can also happen even today perhaps through one sermon that a United congregation becomes Lutheran. It may happen that even those are found in a Lutheran congregation who have United sentiments, but once this would become apparent, one would have to take those into discipline. Therefore, if a United congregation comes to us and seeks admission into the synodical federation, then we have to say to her: "You are not doomed to remain United forever. If you now want to be Lutheran and take on our confession, then you all are heartily welcome, though a number of you would still be those who do not have proper knowledge." Such a change may perhaps happen overnight, especially among those who come from areas over there where the Lutheran catechism is still retained. Such people have been previously deceived by United preachers. If they quickly change their ways, then it is no wonder they shake off their past shackles. However, according to the Formula of Concord we must regard it as a necessary requirement of a Lutheran congregation that she is in agreement with us in all articles of faith. Whether all members agree in all articles of faith is another question. In the case of the assessment of a congregation we have to go accordingly, that we make sure what rightly exists in her and what control she has in her, and not the part that must be handled pastorally, to take in judgment to our standard. It may not often be possibly clear. But we should not buy a congregation in a poke, but say to them when they call a Lutheran preacher: "Consider well what you are doing! A Lutheran preacher rejects everything that is not Lutheran and also does not tolerate that such are welcomed." If they therefore declare themselves satisfied and nevertheless it is apparent later that they want to have it otherwise and a pastor thereby

comes in distress, then it only happens what happens elsewhere, where one does not want to submit himself to the Word of God, one has this distress, the other another distress that he has to overcome. This should by no means be denied that there can be particular cases in which a socalled servant would like to occur. For example: a preacher of an actual United congregation has become one from error and blindness, finally he wakes up and comes to a clear knowledge. From such we do not demand that he now instantly leave his congregation. Rather, he now, because he had falsely led the congregation, has a dual obligation before God and must attempt the ultimate: to bring the members of the congregation to the same knowledge, to move them to give up their United constitution and to persist in the doctrine with all patience. But he must also explain to them: "I am Lutheran and only then I can stay with you, if you also want to be Lutheran." A turn in the congregation will arise at all quite soon with such testimony. He must certainly postpone the celebration of the Holy Supper until then. This is only a suspension, which is to be distinguished from excommunication. Suspension is only a postponement of the enjoyment of the Supper, whereby the pastor declares that he could not serve it right now. We also do not give the Supper to anyone outside our church fellowship, but say to such to whom this pertains: "We must wait with giving the Sacrament to you, until you accept the true doctrine." As long as the congregation does not give up the United confession, we cannot welcome such a pastor into the synodical federation who comes to a better understanding and is orthodox. We could perhaps say to him: "You are our brother!", but we must also explain to him: "It may not go away in your congregation, you must reform them, until then we could not welcome you among us." For a pastor indeed must not necessarily belong to our confessional fellowship in order to be saved. If an actual United congregation calls a preacher, then it is in no way our opinion that the congregation disdainfully rejects him; rather, he is aware of this opportunity to deal with such a congregation, he honestly says to her how he stands, and encourages them to make his proper standpoint according to God's Word hers. We are not such heartless people that we thought that we have no responsibility for the souls of those who even pass away in error. But how one is to act in the aforementioned cases belongs in the realm of casuistry and cannot possibly be expressed in a thesis that should give a rule in short, specific, and clear words. But this is clear: I may not continue for a moment sinful practice. What is sinful I may not do at all, let alone continually. Therefore, once one reverses our thesis, then everyone immediately must say: the expression "continually" is incorrect, it must come out. If it remains, then Lutherans have all the United right. The converse of the 10th thesis is apparently thus: "It does not conflict with the Lutheran confessions when individual so-called 'Lutheran' preachers of a Lutheran synod temporarily serve congregations that are actually United." Despite these explanations a member of the Synodical Conference could not resolve to drop the expression "continually" as false, because it thought the Conference declared by such a stroke that even aforementioned cases may not occur. However, the deletion of this phrase was unanimously agreed upon with the exception of this single member and the 10th Thesis was accepted in the following form:

"No less a contradiction exists when a Lutheran synod or a composite synodical body allows that individual so-called "Lutheran" pastors of hers serve congregations that are actually "Union"82 congregations." Thesis 11 Whoever holds the Preaching Office without having a proper call is not a proper pastor. Perhaps he holds the Office, but he does not have the ordered Office. For what he does, a woman also does when she baptizes a child, and a cowherd, when he absolves another. God says about such pastors through the prophet Jeremiah in chapter 23: "I did not send prophets, but they ran."83 God here speaks in anger about them, and yet, against My will, they ran. Subsequently Paul says about bishops: Christ has set them, God has set them in the congregation, etc. Therefore, whoever is not set by God in the church is no proper preacher. A temporary call is, therefore, against the divine nature of the call. For such a preacher is hired by men and engaged as a hired hand, not put by God through the congregation until it pleases Him to take her preacher from them. Therefore, one does not engage such a temporarily called preacher in his Office when one interferes in his congregation, because he does not have the Office, although one cannot properly act this way depending upon the circumstances. Therefore, no Lutheran synod should welcome such a temporarily called pastor, because the temporary call is first of all in contradiction with the obedience that God commands the congregation in the words of Hebrews 13:17: "Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you." Whenever namely a temporarily called pastor warns and reproves his congregation against sins, she does not like it, then they can say regarding the call: "Your time is now up." The fact that a preacher should be faithful in his congregation until death is further contradictory to the temporary call. For such a pastor must say: "I am faithful to you until January 1, then it is over." Of course, this fidelity is not violated if God Himself calls it off. Finally, the temporary call is also against the practice of our church at all times. In 1532, the citizens of Zwickau wanted to dismiss their preacher Cordatus because of his admonitory sermons. They thought they could call, so they could also dismiss. But this is a mistake. For it is God Who calls through the congregation. Hence the divine nature of the call. Before the election of a preacher the congregation can perhaps say: "We want that one, others we don't want." But the one called is then there as God's representative. How foolish, therefore, when people think: "As the one who could create something also again could destroy the formed thing, so a congregation could make their preacher into a layman again." A man perhaps can create a marriage when he takes a wife where he wants, but the marriage comes into existence, thus God must first give His word of approval for separation. In Zwickau, it was especially the mayor Mühlpfort who, infuriated at Cordatus, who made all the citizens rebellious, yes, they had threatened that if he would not go, then we would starve him.

82 83

unirt. v. 21.

Luther now writes in a letter to Valentin Hausmann in Zwickau: "You might well consider whether a good fellow should study all his life-long, consume his father's goods and suffer every misfortune if he wants to be the pastor in Zwickau because they have the repute of wanting to be the lords and the pastor the servant who should sit all day at the pump; if Mühlpfort wants it, he may remain; if not, he must go. No, my dear sir, you cannot bring there or keep a pastor there; we will not suffer it to be done since they confess that they are not Christians. From heathen we would endure it and should do so but from Christians not even Christ would endure it. You and those from Zwickau, my dear lord and friend, might not give your brother sustenance and you might actually do the same. Christ is somewhat richer than the world although He is regarded as poor. It says: The hungry He feeds with good things84: that's where we stand and let those at Zwickau go on."85 A congregation can so little say to her preacher: "We dismiss you", as I have a right to say to my neighbor's servant, "I depose you!" For the preacher must say: "I'm not merely your servant, but God's servant. If you prove to me that I am not the servant of God, then you also have the duty to depose me." There are three reasons for the deposition of a preacher: 1. when he teaches falsely, 2. lives irritatingly and 3. administers his office unfaithfully. Such preachers reject God's Word. God says about them through the prophets: "You shall not be my preacher." And Christ says: "Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves." Chemnitz also writes about it in his Loci: "Also in our congregations many do not rightly understand this matter (of the deposition of the preacher). For as he who hires a servant also has the right to depose him when he desires it, so many think they have the right to depose him even without a just cause.... But as the only God reserves for Himself the right to call, even when the call is through means, so it properly behooves Him to depose or remove anyone from office. As long, therefore, as God permits His servant who teaches rightly and lives blamelessly to remain in office, the Church has no right to depose someone else's servant. But when he no longer edifies the congregation either through doctrine or through life but destroys it, then God Himself deposes him.86 So there are two reasons why God removes unfaithful servants from their office: first, because they teach falsely87 - if he casts this pure doctrine aside, then he will himself be cast aside by God; second, because of their life, namely, when they so live that the name of God is blasphemed. In that case the church not only has the power to remove such a one from office, but it must do so. For as God calls by means, so also He removes by means. However, as the call should be according to the instruction of the Lord of the harvest, so also the congregation that intends to depose someone from his office must be able to prove beyond all doubt that this is the verdict and the will of God. And as the call, so also the removal pertains to the whole congregation in a certain order."88

84 85

Esurientes implebit. Letter to Valentin Haussmann in Zwickau 1532, as the Zwickauans, especially on Mühlpfort's operation as governor of the city of Zwickau, had to dismiss Cordatus for his admonitory sermons. St. Louis Ed. XXI:357. Tranlsation at 86 Hosea 4:6; 1 Samuel 2:30. 87 Malachi 2:7. 88 Loci Theologici, On the Church, Tome 3, page 331.

H. Kromayer writes: "The Preaching Office can be conferred from the one who calls, not according to the manner of a contract for certain years or with the reservation of the freedom to dismiss freely those who are called, because the one who calls is never given or approved by God the power to make a contract; therefore neither the one called nor the ones calling can consider such a vocation and dismissal as divine."89 One notes it well: Whoever is not divinely called is not called at all. Therefore Acts 13:2 says the congregation should single out Barnabas and Paul because God has called them to it. Whoever should be a preacher in this or that congregation is chosen and called from eternity by God to it. The congregation has now only to pray that God show her the right man. God then also knows the means and ways that he does not remain in China, but that he should serve a congregation in Minnesota. Often, of course, God gives a frivolous congregation in anger a false prophet or a man with a troubling life. They are then apostles of anger, envoys, that he gives out of his anger to Christians to whom it does not matter if they go to heaven or hell. The Wittenberg Faculty declared in 1638: "Vocations to church servants and school servants, because one to the other a quarter of the year a terminating should do without other significant sources, are not approved in our Lutheran churches."90 We see from this: If we approve the temporary call within our association, then we lose the character of a Lutheran synod and are in danger of becoming merely an overflowing heap in which a number of vagabonds are located. One must be ashamed of such synods and preachers in this country. The hired preachers are, for the most part, people who have not learned to throw away the wood plane, who do not want to sit on the cobblers stool. If such slovenly fellows are only able to babble aright, then congregations put them in their pulpits for a few years. What many and grievous sins a synod now makes itself partakers who tolerate such mischief among themselves! She makes herself complicit of all the sins that such a preacher and congregation do. As the king of Judah, Uzziah, transgressed against the Lord his God as he burnt incense in the temple, that God punished him with leprosy all his life, so every temporarily called preacher transgresses against the holy Office and therefore God Himself. Nevertheless, how difficult is the Preaching Office! There souls should be led to God, the careless, secure, and unrepentant sinners should wake up from his sleep, the afflicted, sorrowful, and tempted comforted and raised up, cheerful courage are made to the dying. The preacher should learn and share God's Word aright, control and fight all corruption: who can do it without God's grace? Such a thoughtless preacher as described above is without God's grace. How many souls are lost by his fault! Even the synod that tolerates him takes part in these sins. The temporary service of a vacant congregation is by no means also condemned with the rejection of the temporary call. For a congregation can probably borrow for a time a preacher who has his proper call in another congregation. The preacher fulfills this dear call for her. Bugenhagen, e.g., also remained pastor at Wittenberg and was still frequently borrowed for years by Pomerania, Lübeck, Hamburg and Denmark, where he established churches. The question was here asked: If there is nothing temporary about the call, but is in the constitution, is it then enough if the preacher declares he does not acknowledge the
89 90

Theol. posit. Part II, page 530. Cons. Witeberg. III, 55f.

constitution but still accepts the call? The answer is then: one should not likely accept the call until the congregation has removed this item from its constitution. The congregation often likes to decide to do so, that they later promise striking such paragraphs just to get a good or popular pastor. But if they first have him, then the carrying out is quite hard and unpopular exhortatory sermons come, so they again like to rely on their constitution. What good then does it do to the preacher when he says: But we have done it. So no preacher shall lead others into temptation when he says to the issuing council: Simply first go, that you later will have to change. In this matter the preachers who have to oversee such a call could prevent much harm. They should inform such conditions to the one called in the accompanying letter. Then the one called deals with the congregation. The congregation says: "Then we could never more get rid of our preachers!" One replies: "Dear people, this has no danger! You can according to the Word of God chase away your Pastor at any moment when he falsely teaches or scandalously lives or willfully misappropriates his office." The congregation says: "There may also be times when we cannot suffer you anymore, but because these three items are not present we have to keep you." Of course, one cannot then encourage the right to chase away the preacher to the congregation, but they can get rid of him at once. If they absolutely will not have him, then the Savior says to His servants: "Shake even the dust from your feet." It is now well to remember here: no other preacher can accept a call to such a congregation. And if he had a thousand calls from such a congregation, then he still stands in the pulpit, as the thief is in my house, who has murdered me. For that congregation is mine until God Himself calls me away elsewhere. If I have been properly called by that congregation, then I can confidently say: This pulpit is mine, and whoever goes into it without my intention is a thief. The congregation can probably take me away by a policeman, she then only takes away my life, but my rights remain there. One should not be deceived that a preacher in his zeal has somewhat made a mistake in the congregation. This probably never happens to a lazy priest who does everything right and says about a faithful preacher too far reaching in his zeal: "I would never do that." However, the congregation should not regard their preacher according to his weaknesses, but in faith according to his call. The apostles have provided it here and there, but Paul writes: "If we do too much, this we do for God."91 If a congregation therefore sees, as the preacher carries on his office with earnestness and zeal and on the great day of reckoning thinks where God will demand every soul into His Hand, then they will gladly turn a blind eye. But woe to her when she chases him out, she has sent away Christ, she has driven away the Truth of the Gospel. For Christ says: "He who hears you hears Me; and he who despises you despises Me; he who despises me despises the One Who has sent Me."92 "Truly, I say to you, what you have done to one among these least of the brethren of Mine, you have done it to Me." 93 "He who touches you touches the apple of His Eye."94 But as a king surely begins war with the city that abused

91 92

2 Corinthians 5:13. Luke 10:16. 93 Matthew 25:40. 94 Zechariah 2:8.

His legate, thus Christ does not allow it with His servant and messenger: because Jesus is hidden under him. God rewards it here with all sorts of adversity and there with hell fire. It is also certainly easy to continue to fight a preacher, but Christ ignores it, and with the preacher who is perhaps glad that that is gone and he gets the congregation for the sake of the benefice. The devil comes into a congregation with such a preacher. One just does not need to see this, as if some of the preachers were bodily possessed. Oh, no! Satan willingly disguises himself as an angel of light and seemingly great satisfaction and tranquility is in the congregation. But it is a tranquility that prevails among the dead in the graveyard. Meanwhile the preacher goes forward to hell, and the congregation after him. For how can a blind man lead the way for the blind, will they not both fall into the ditch? Here it is naturally talking about the congregation in a synedoche, namely, for all the mischievous knaves who work on it, that an upright preacher is deposed. There are serious words of Luther's, which he wrote in 1543 to a congregation who had not yet deposed their preacher themselves, but wanted to persuade the Visitors to do this. He writes: "Since there is no other cause or reason than that you have developed a grudge against your parson without his deserving it - indeed, because of his great pains and his faithful preaching - you must now consider that it is neither permissible nor possible for you to act unjustly to such a well-attested pastor or to slander and violently eject him on account of your grudge and unreasonable prejudice. I do not blame the visitors for refusing to do this, to burden their consciences with such injustice for the devil's sake, and by giving in to your prejudice to go to the devil with you.... You are not lords over the preaching office and over pastors. You have not instituted the office, but God's Son alone has done so. Nor have you contributed anything to it. You have no more right to it than the devil has a right to the Kingdom of Heaven. Accordingly you should not rule over it, dictate to it, or prevent it from rebuking you. For when pastors rebuke you, it is not man's but God's rebuke. And God desires the rebuke to be expressed, not suppressed. Keep to your own office and leave God's rule to Him, lest He find it necessary to instruct you. None of you will suffer a stranger to lure or drive away a servant of yours for whom you have need. Indeed, there is no shepherd boy who is so insignificant that he would not resent unjust treatment from another's master. Only God's servant is treated like a no-account who is supposed to endure everything from everybody! No one is willing or able to let him speak, even if it is God's Word. I would have you take this admonition as a friendly one. I mean it to be so, for it is God's admonition. But if you will not listen and mend your ways, we shall wash our hands of you. Meanwhile we shall do what we can to resist the devil - at least that our conscience may not be burdened with your sins and that we may not give our consent to the devil's purpose. We need not excommunicate you. You are excommunicating yourselves. We should be glad and should prefer to release you from the ban. Even if you could secure another pastor at once (which is unlikely), you would still not be Christians, participants in Christian grace and life. Moreover, no pastor will accept your call against the will and command of the visitors. Who would even wish to go to minister to such treacherous Christians who have a bad reputation for forcibly and unjustly ejecting their pastors and who wish to be called Christians although they have disgraced the name? Such would be your reputation throughout the world that you would be marked as a horrible example. Finally, I advise you in Christ's name to reconcile yourselves with your pastor and live

at peace with him. Let him teach, comfort, and chastise as God has commanded him and as his conscience requires; as it is written in Hebrews 13:17: 'Obey your teachers and follow them who watch over your souls, as they that must give account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.' For what you have in mind - than any bailiff, judge, or councilman can, without right or reason and according to his mere whim, remove a pastor - would establish an evil precedent and be a bad thing. God will not and cannot suffer it. God grant that you may not experience His displeasure."95 A question was here again raised: Is not incompetence of the preacher a reason for dismissal? May a congregation not say in such a case: You have been called under different circumstances, therefore, we must now withdraw the call? In response the following was noted: If you can prove that someone had crept onto crooked ways in the office, who is not able to administer the office, he is to be relieved of his office. But if someone has acted out of ignorance in good faith, he is called by God, and it still turns out that he is incapable of such an office, as this is often the case, then he is not to be relieved of his office, because that involves a punishment and is something disgraceful. The office simply has to be taken away from such a person. This is a very important point for us. For here there are hundreds in this country that are not capable of administering the office, yet still they are in the office. They do not know, for example, which people could and may be declared man and wife by them, how to administer the Sacrament to them, whom they do not have to admit to the Lord's Supper; they do not know to distinguish Law and Gospel, they do not know how to give counsel in cases of conscience, and the like. They are eyesores of our church and cause only confusion in congregations. A synod that recognizes such a servant of Christ sins because these do not preach what serves for the salvation of souls, but what they have as Christian ideas. They have never been in a theological school, have never heard how one has to serve a Christian congregation, but they merely seek the office in order to have bread, and congregations accept them because they can babble a couple of hours in the pulpit. We often meet people who out of ignorance cannot understand how a pastor sits over a sermon many days in order to get it done. They think: "But he has studied to become a preacher, what has he to study now?" But we do not learn all about sermons from memory in the universities, which we later keep in our lives. We must prepare them with great diligence in order to provide to the congregation that which is most necessary for them in their circumstances. An able preacher is not about to take his sermon word for word from a postil, although he uses good postils in writing his sermon. Because the more contemporary the sermons were in time and under the conditions that they were held, the less they will often precisely meet our time and our congregational circumstances. And yet uneducated preachers do a thousand times better if they learn and hold a sermon of Luther's word for word than that they put forth their own hot air before the congregation. Such abuses have been caused by the dilapidated states of American synods. One thinks: "Well, he's a good man and will bring about something good after all," - while those


St. Louis Ed. 21.2:2835-2840. ET in Luther: Letters of Spiritual Counsel, p. 340-344.

pastors are usually miserable hypocrites who have made some phrases from the language of Canaan their own and now seek to apply them. The Office is also taken away from those who have become incapacitated by age to administer it. In Germany, one uses the beautiful expression: they are pastor emeritus. But one should first act with such themselves and seek to persuade him voluntarily to resign. But if he should refuse, then the congregation has a sacred duty to relieve him from the Office. According to Scripture, a bishop should be able to shepherd the congregation of God. If he lacks this ability, then he tends the pigs instead; for herein he still can be useful in the world, however not in the Preaching Office. He is a villain who knows that he does not understand his office and yet remains in it. Such is the case with a preacher as with a quack who has learned nothing, nevertheless he can make a sign on which he advertises himself as a doctor. If it was legal in a state, one would hang such people on the gallows, because they are murderers who deliver patients to the cemetery. Now if we are horrified before this, how much more should one be horrified before such unscrupulous men who impersonate as spiritual practitioners and who know so very little about what is spiritual illness as spiritual healthiness, and who also do not know the spiritual means in order to heal the sick and wounded conscience! These are far worse murderers than the former, because those only lead people to physical life, but these to spiritual and eternal life. These are soul murderers. If there are knowledgeable people in a congregation that has such a pastor, then they should confront him and frankly say to him that he is unable to administer the office and therefore has to resign the office. They should also not be discouraged by the fact that others say: "Alas, the scandal simply always begins with the pastor," - but they shall bear such shame quietly, however, as long as we have a tongue, we will protest that one leaves such a man in office. Paul Tarnow96 writes about this: "The causes of dismissal may be traced to two sources; the one is the lack of ability to serve the Church with benefit, the other of the will or an insufferable neglect of works of the office. Under lack of ability we understand partially distortions of sound doctrine, especially in fundamental articles, or errors conflicting with the ground of faith; partially the robbery of tools to teach it beneficially to hearers and with fruit, like the hindered use of the powers of the soul by illness or by an accident, as ingenuity, power of judgment, memory, or the body, as the tongue and others may be necessary members for the administration of the Office. Under the will we understand either an excessive negligence in carrying out the parts of the conferred office, and also shamefulness of life and manners, it may be damnable now only irritating in the Church or also in the civil realm."97 Dr. Jesper Rasmussen Brochmand98 answers this question: May those who are not discovered to be prepared properly by appointed examining for administering the Holy Preaching Office nevertheless be admitted to this Office; namely under the condition that they solemnly promise diligently to study further? "Not at all. Firstly because Paul does not permit that anyone be ordained to the holy preaching office unless he is both apt to teach and mighty

96 97

1562-1633. Tarnow was an orthodox Lutheran theologian and rector of the University of Rostock. Thesaurus consil. by Dedekennus. 2:917. 98 1585-1652. Lutheran bishop of Zealand, Denmark.

to silence contradictors.99 Secondly, the Spirit of God explicitly reminds that he makes himself partaker of another sinner that an insufficient person lays on hands. Thirdly, experience testifies only too often that those, who have been admitted to the holy office without education, remain in their illiteracy, nevertheless they may have promised diligence in learning. Fourth, what will we answer to God when many of the hearers are lost before the pastor has learned what he should instill in others?100 How important is it that one acts conscientiously in granting ordination results from the place indicated in this citation from 1 Timothy 5:22: "Lay hands on no man hastily; nor make yourself partaker of other men's sins." If we therefore set such ignorant and incompetent preachers into office, then we make ourselves partakers of all the sins with it and of the damage incompetent that such a man wreaks on congregations. Woe to the synod which accommodates everyone who comes to her and who understands how to talk nice. This may well happen once exceptionally by accident even to an upright synod; but where such a blunder unfolds, she immediately intervenes. But a synod in which this is prevailing practice is a godless society. It is indeed no joke to lay the hand on someone and tell him: "You're hereby consecrated to be a servant of God who should proclaim God's Word until death." Everyone now knows: such a man cannot do it, he is either unbelieving or vicious or unable to administer the Office, and nevertheless one does it and lays his hand on him, he does the greater sin than when he murdered someone with the same hand; for such a preacher kills the eternal life of souls. And one has helped him into it, and indeed consciously. All those who belong to such a synod and do not cry out against this, make themselves partakers of these sins. Jakob Andreae says: "Here is the first place to learn that one should entrust the teaching office to no one, unless he is subsequently a man. Because on the last day those will have to answer for that, to set the fools in the villages and to preside over the poor people so miserably. When the parish pastors could not know anything that they should teach others? Even on the last day our Lord God will require the blood of all those who are seduced by the hands of these people that has promoted it. And in the case that one wanted to encourage one, and he knows that he is incapable of it, he should be so reasonable and say: "I will not do it." Should I be subject to a craft that I don't do? If I were a tailor, I would not like to ruin a cloth into a pair of pants, I remain silent, that I should spoil the smallest farmers and seduce his soul. I'd rather remain a stable boy or prefer to be pig herder before I would bring myself to teach others and could not do it. "The high people have not done it, we have the Holy Prophet Isaiah, and because God would call him to the Preaching Office, he says: "Lord, I am of unclean lips." Moses says to the Lord: "I have a slow tongue, I cannot talk, one must drag them by the hair to do this thing that they are talking about." But now, if one is corrupt in all the crafts, he should be good for a priest. He is good for the farmers, one may preach nothing very special to those, just as if the people were not farmers, and both would have a soul like the emperor. God is located as much in the soul of a farmer and a poor beggar as in a great lord. This is nothing. It happens so badly, one should see that churches are provided for with upright people.... One must also ask our



1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:9. Ezekiel 33:1-3. System. th. art. de min. Folio 375.

Lord God that he gives such people who serve him honor, because if he wants to punish, then he gives those teachers who do great harm to the Christian Church."101 After this excursus the question finally was raised on the one hand in relation to the present thesis: "Is every temporary call necessarily to be regarded as a non-divine call? Does it not make a difference when preachers and congregations do this out of weakness and ignorance? In other words, is the non-temporary call something essential that, when it is missing, the divinity of the call is chiefly missing? One thinks of earlier days. Because some brave men were chosen for their poor abandoned emigrants. Initially, of course, no one wanted to go with them to America. One regarded it as a great sacrifice when a theological candidate decided to do so. But the love of Christ drove them to it. So then they went to America, but their mind was open to go back home after several years and to administer the Office there. This was done also from patriotism. They believed to be guilty of service to their fatherland. But here in America they endeavored to establish congregations and to ensure that preachers did not soon go away. Therefore the proviso was usually put in the call 'at least so and so many years.' How is this now to be regarded?" It was hereupon now answered on the other hand: "This much is certain: weakness and ignorance do not make an invalid call into a valid call. The question arises here: Is the temporary call divinely ordered? God has established an office and wills that persons are discarded from it, who should remain till the last breath of their lives in this office, who, when the Lord comes, received the unfading crown of glory.102 Subsequently the Church is commanded to hear the preacher and to obey him. All of this does not fit in a temporary call; because the congregation will determine how long they want to hear the word of God from their preacher and obey him. Now the congregation has not been in God's council chambers, they do not know how long God will give her this preacher. Therefore, as long as a creature will determine the duration of the call, it is not divine. Previously, there were certainly many hundreds in America that were not validly called. They were probably in a divine office, but not properly called by God through the congregation. Now bear in mind: it is the preaching of the law that will scare the secure. But it no longer regards the penitents for Christ's sake. Whoever has come to the true knowledge has certainly grieved enough that he was once so ignorant. And then he should also remember of his consolation: he has preached the Word of God, so this has certainly proved its power. He has nevertheless, though he was not validly called, always done great divine works, preached the Word of the living God, dispensed the comfort of it, warned the sin and the like. But nevertheless his call was not right and valid according to God's Word. Licensing, according to which one confers the right to preach and to baptize to a man for a while, is a great wickedness which is forced in America. Upright Lutherans have cried murder about it and brought in that one has lost more and more of it. If someone came from Germany who volunteered for the preaching office, then he was examined by the American church councils. If it turned out in such exams that he did not know whether or not John was a prophet, whether the Revelation of St. John was at the end of the Bible or before Deuteronomy, whether David had lived before or after the Judges, then one said: The man
101 102

Sermon on the Feast of the Holy Trinity, John 3. 1 Peter 5.

must surely still come to deeper insights, but he can also do good. And so they gave him a piece of paper, according to which he had the power to lead people to hell. What is a Synod that tolerates such abominations among themselves, other than a vagabond society that is no better than such whom she has made into a preacher? If they may imagine among themselves they are liberal and not as harsh as the Old Lutherans: God will show them once, what it is not to be gruff in this matter. On that great day He will say to them: Bring me again the blood of souls that you have shed partly yourselves and partly by others. What kind of perverseness this is! One gives such people the right to preach, baptize, to solemnize marriages; only they were not allowed to administer the Holy Supper; and do not consider that even preaching is the hardest thing in the whole office, even that it is the most beneficial thing that a preacher can do, but that it also can be the most dangerous thing for him and others. And these men give it to the first, best price! Only when Holy Communion should be administered should one of them that is in office consecrate. But these people are now dying out. Whoever still has a drop of Christian blood in his veins goes into the Office with fear and trembling. For the Lord says to a preacher: Son of man, I have made you a watchman that you should warn the wicked on My behalf. If you now do not preach that he who belongs in hell hears it from you, and the one who belongs in heaven does not hear it from you, then you yourself are a child of hell and I will require the blood of the neglected souls from your hand. It requires many years of study in order to be able to divide the Word of Truth properly and to administer the Office according to God's will. But for now there comes such a blockhead who knows nothing and has the audacity to be a doctor of souls who wants to dissuade people from the path to hell, and he himself is going to hell. Is this not awful? Ludwig Hartmann writes: "Can someone promise his service or his work in office for certain years? We say: no. 1. Because God, who calls, in a daring way prescribes a time limit to such a calling, after which he wanted to say goodbye to the church, as they also may always behave; as it is not the affair of a legate to dictate to his Lord how long he should take his place. 2. Because carnal pieces of advices are about what in this matter should be far removed; because one thinks if things do not turn out to your heart's desire to collect treasures or many adversities should be borne, then he would extricate himself easily from these labyrinths. 3. For the sake of great many disadvantages: because if the faithfulness of a pastor would be very pleasant to the church, she would be suddenly deprived of him; also because through those frequent changes, the church property is known to reduce greatly. Now if one further asks whether it was permissible to call a servant of the Word under the specific condition, how long, so that, if the patron would no longer hear and tolerate the pastor, he would have to go away and wander to another place? I answer: We are servants of God and this Office is God's, to which we are called by God, though through men; therefore this holy work must be treated in a sacred way, but not according to human arbitrariness. Men are able to hire sheepherders and herdsmen for a time, and if his service is no longer pleasing, dismiss him at the specific time (but not always, if they wanted): but to deal with a pastor this way is in no man's power. Even the servant of the Word himself cannot accept the holy Office in this way, he will not be a hireling. Certainly those, who would be thus appointed, who would not diligently and faithfully

perform the Office, but are flatterers and say what the people like, or they ought to be aware every hour that the servant would be speaking to them."103 The preacher also should not think: I will now no longer squabble with the people, - but just when things goes haywire in the congregation, he should certainly stay. His presence is most needed then. But now with regard to the question whether the temporary restriction of the call is not only a major deficiency and serious sin, but whether thereby the divinity of the call in general would be questioned - thus it is to be remembered very well that many shortcomings may creep in, whereby the divinity of the call is by no means abolished. Thus one, for example, still has to consider the call as divine with the Reformed and all sects that commit their preachers to their false confessions (if it is already not a temporary call), since preachers are committed to their false confessions, to preach God's Word clearly and purely and thus will rectify that obligation to errors. Now of course this seems much worse than the temporary limiting of the call, and yet that is a divine call, not a temporary call. This is apparent from all the passages of Holy Scripture, from which we learn what makes the call into the Preaching Office into a divine call. All Christians have the general call of love from God's Word to console, to warn, and to admonish. Therefore, they are still far from [being] any preacher. The question is now: what distinguishes me as a preacher from other Christians? Answer: that I am in an office that is by God Himself instituted for the purpose of publicly preaching the Gospel and administering the Sacrament on behalf of the fellowship. It is even expressed in the divine calling that no man can know how long I have to accomplish this. God only knows how long I should serve Him. If a time is now set in the call, then I reach into God's privilege and make the call into a human contract. If false believers would only call a preacher with undertaking on their errors, then there would be no divine call. But all sects demand that God's Word should be preached clearly and purely to them. This will correct what they have falsely added to it. If e.g. a Methodist preacher would come to know the truth, he should do well to make no qualms for the sake of his call, but speak: "You've asked from me to preach God's Word purely and clearly, this I will do. But that I should preach 'perfect sanctification', the devil has imposed that on me and does not concern me; I must, however, testify to the contrary according to God's Word. So then Luther was quite comforted in his stand against the Roman Church after he had come to the right knowledge. He consoled himself with his call, because he had sworn as a doctor of Holy Scripture to preach the Bible and to defend it to the death. So he fought back. Although he had to undertake to leave alone the reading of Mass, though this was no longer valid to him, he stuck to the right thing in his call. God perhaps has the right to call only for a time, but He does this thereupon also in a direct way, as once with the prophet Jonah, who needed to preach repentance to Nineveh. One would like to say that the person who is temporarily called still also is in this sense called by God, as he is called by a congregation that has the right from God to call to a divine work. Preaching and administering the Sacraments is indeed a performing of divine works. It is quite certain that the temporary call is something very non-divine, but whether the call, considered as a whole, on account of this abominable part in it would be non-divine is still questionable. One could surely say: God has called me, because the main thing that makes a

Pastorale ev. p. 104.

call a divine [call], namely the obligation to preach the word of God and to administer the sacraments, is included in it, except that something is added that is not divine. It was replied: The congregation has a right only to see people into office that Christ institutes. They cannot say: this week Hans should preach, the next week Peter, then again another, etc. For the preaching office is to remain with one and not go around the sequence, such as the office of guardian in an institution. Rather, God has most definitely said how He wanted to have it held with the call to the Preaching Office. Only because that's what God has instituted, where one establishes how He has instituted it. Now God has not commanded that I should serve her about a year as a preacher. Perhaps I can serve her in the call of love for a while, then this is divine, because it is not happening from sacrilege, but for love's sake. This is a good work. Then I will only rely on the work and not on the office. One must keep in mind the distinction. Therefore, it is also in the 14th Article of the Augsburg Confession: "Of church government it is taught that no one should publicly teach or preach or serve sacraments in the Church without a proper call." To the Preaching Office belong the following parts: First, the nature of the call consists in that the one being called is declared as a servant of Christ and ambassador in Christ's place. Second, he must have the necessary competence. Third, the call must be a proper [call] to administer the office that Christ has established alongside the general calls of Christians. A preacher must be selected that he now may pursue no other call alongside his own, but simply concern himself with these holy things. A congregation that has no preacher may perhaps ask a righteous Christian from their midst that he may serve her so long, until she has a proper preacher. So they do not sin, but they do not thereby set up the office with him, that Christ instituted. For it is not appropriate for this office, that a person only preaches here and there, but one has to accept people to such office who are thoroughly prepared to exercise the office and who then should remain in it in order to study more and more, to gather more and more experience and thus always to be capable for exercising their office. But whoever is temporarily called does nothing more than what every spiritual priest can do. Then it was asked whether the entire call would be invalid by such a time provision that is found in the call. Such a congregation would still have the office, but the devil has fooled them to take in this time provision in the call. One leaves unargued here how and why it happened. It remains there after all. But now the church subsequently would come to the realization that this passage is not divine, then could they not say that the time provision is false and must be removed from the call, but the other is true and must remain in it? It was expressed: There are interim calls, but these are divine. Thus a vacancy preacher has the right to be regarded as a rightful preacher, but only because he already has a congregation to which he is called. Then why not call a student for vacancy preacher and allow him to baptize and serve the Sacrament? Because one just wants to have a called man. The nature of the office is not in the administration of the means of grace, because even every Christian can under certain circumstances, baptize, preach, administer the Lord's Supper, but the nature of the office consists in that a certain person makes it their life's calling in a certain order, to serve on the call of a congregation to the LORD through administering the means of grace. Such cannot now say: " I don't like it anymore now, that's it now, I do not want to be a preacher anymore", but he will always be [a preacher] as long as he lives.

It was reciprocated that it should not be said if someone is temporarily called, that he should stop being a preacher after his time is up in a congregation, and perhaps take up a craft or a trade, but he should also hold the office afterwards, though not in the same congregation. This also still takes place in most cases. It was pointed out: As little as a man and wife could enter into a marriage contract for about five years, because such a relationship would not be a marriage, but fornication, neither also can a ministry be for a certain period as an administering and occupying of the Preaching Office. A call, in which one is obliged to preach the word of God pure and clear, and administer the sacraments according to Christ's institution, consumes even some wrongs that otherwise are found in it, but it can also be a bit far out of the range that the mouth does not suffice in order to gobble it up. Here this is with the timing of the case, it lies entirely outside of the call. As for the concern that one can perhaps accept a call elsewhere after his time in a congregation, this does not change the matter itself. The congregation will say: As far as time, we regard you as our preacher as long as we pay you; when your time is up, then we do not care what will happen to you. If a church government appointed us to work in the service of an entire particular church, so often and where it would be needed, but gave us away at a certain time for the service of our fellow believers in foreign parts of the world and again wanted to use us in the service of the native church, then this would not be ungodly, but a true and valid call. But how can one say to a loaned person: "Be true to your congregation, feed the church of Christ that is commanded you?" On December 31 one still says this to him, but on January 1 one is likely not to say it anymore because he would be out of his time. He would now have to go away. Such a one was not called by Christ, hence one cannot even say that the congregation has driven him away, but she is merely using him for their mutual contract. But there are no such persons in the church. God wants His servants honored until death. As soon as I complete a contract, I have no more claim to this honor. One would still have to ask the dear Lord for a temporary call, if he also is satisfied with such a call. The answer to this is only able to arise from God's Word. There we find now, however, no idea that one should be called only for five years. Finally, regarding the concern, "If a congregation recognizes that they have not properly called, but should have called forever, and now crosses out from the call whether one could make this into the final call, that the entire call was invalid?" it was said: If a congregation really has the intention to give the Office to one, and it does something that should not they do, but later is aware of it, then one such called has been in fact (considered theologically) a layman. Because he was not called as a such a man, as God wants him to called. We have to hold fast, whoever was called directly by God could be relied on for a while, just as Jonah was called to go to Nineveh and to preach repentance. But now as he is called indirectly, a temporary call is not allowed, but we must call for so long a time as it pleases God. The essence of a call is the fact that someone administers the public office in a particular local congregation for the sake of the fellowship. One can probably also be called as vicar of an entire state church, with the condition that he helps him out everywhere, where a preacher becomes sick. Such a person quickly passes through, quickly to where he is actually needed. The legitimacy of his call is not in the temporary aiding, but in the perennial call of the entire Church to do this always. So a synod as a whole corporate body can also call a preacher under the condition that he helps out where he

is needed, and such a person could travel around the entire world, only he would not hold office outside the confines of his synod. The preaching office constitutes a call of life for certain people who exercise it as long as they do what God tells them. One can never know in advance how long one should stay in a congregation, so one has to leave it up to God, Who makes it manifest through subsequent relevant circumstances how long it should be. It is merely a formal distinction when those who are temporarily called remains pastor even longer after the expiration of his time and wants to take over another congregation, or later breaks stones. But that an entire synod has the power to call a preacher reveals the fact that an individual congregation has the right to take on a catechist, an afternoon preacher, or a so-called graveyard preacher; then, if all congregations assemble into one corporate body, the whole has the same power to call a person as the individual part, therefore they can also take on one man for some work. Such a person then works as one called by the entire synod. So it is right when one takes on vicars for sick pastors in the Bavarian church. If such person has no authority because no event of illness has occurred, then he will still be supported because stands at the service of the entire Church, and this involves the obligation to give to him his bread. No preacher should pursue something else in order to obtain his bread. If a congregation does not give their preacher his livelihood, if they still could do it, then they commit an ungodly act, for which God will severely punish them. Christ wants that His preachers have their bread in Office, in order that they do not fall into temptation through cares of this life, to neglect their Office and perhaps to become a doctor or horse-dealer. This is an abomination. The good Lord indeed could also directly give His preachers their bread, as the ravens once had to bring bread to Elijah; but He will not do it, but we should give to preachers their bread. For whoever preaches the gospel should also nourish themselves by the Gospel. To the question: "How is it justifiable when a mission preacher, since he should only work within the parish of his Synod, seeks out and serves congregations that are outside of the synod?" it was answered: That may very well happen. Such is borrowed from his community on the basis of his call to other congregations, such as Bugenhagen was borrowed from the church in Wittenberg for years to Pomerania and Denmark. To such a mission service one takes precisely only preachers who have a congregation. If you were to send out a mere candidate, then their actions have no ecclesiastical validity. It was also asked whether it is good to endorse that a Lutheran pastor undertakes official acts with Methodists when he would be asked by them about that? Answer: Since Methodist preachers will only serve a temporary call, then one cannot actually attack them in Office because they do not have one, but are only spiritual peddlers. This spiritual debauchery is something completely new. A Zwingli or Calvin would have never allowed such a thing in the Church. If we now also have a right to perform official acts with them, then other reasons still exist that prevent us from it. They would say that we believe the same as they. A Methodist does not mean to attack a Lutheran minister in Office if he seeks to wrest souls from him, because he pretends he just wants to save souls. Therefore, we do not want to do to them what they do to us. In itself it would not be engaging in a foreign office, though one also can sin on such occasions. The Methodist preachers are precisely like the huntsmen who are sent now here, now there.

It is another matter with Catholic priests who have to preach in different places, because they are used with the express intention that they are and remain a servant of the Church, therefore they, if they are sent by the bishop from one place to another, are still recognized as a servant of the Church. They are dependent on the whim of the Bishop, yes, he is really just only pastor in his diocese, while the priests are only his curates. The bishop is really only curate, the Pope is only the real bishop among them. Such a call is now so illegitimate, so he still does not even overturn the essence of it; while the so-called temporarily called Protestant preacher received the contract in advance, to give up the service of the Church after a certain time and again to elect a civilian call; therefore it makes no claim for a divine call. But now concerns are raised anew about whether one must say a temporary call is not a call at all, or only a poorer call. The temporary in the call is the evil in it, but they would still be obliged to express it from God's Word. Even in this case does not the rights of the call devour the false and erroneous of it? Now it was probably said before that the temporary in the call lies in the rights provided, that it cannot be devoured, but that it was a begging the question104 that must be proven. Can the truth in the call among false believers consume the obligation from the error, because even in this case the truth should not be strong enough to consume error and the lack of the temporary call? It was answered: The difference between a temporary and fixed call is not merely a formal difference. This is also not about how it now may become a legitimate call, but whether a temporary call is a call at all and whether one could say that one had been in the divine calling, which one had been called for a duration of five years. This one must deny because he is called to something else than to what Christ established. Where is it in the Bible that one capable man is called to the Office for a period of time? A congregation calls only at God's behest. A call is only divine when he is called as God will have it. A particular revelation of God must be present in the temporary call, as long as such a call should last. One cannot know this without such revelation, but one has to leave it to the good Lord how long He wants to keep His servant in Office. If a congregation does not do this, then they disavow their Christian call and engage in God's Law. The Church does not have the permission to call temporarily. The conference could not discuss the subject further for the sake of many important busier things. Thesis 12 For this purpose the following was noted:105 In earlier times it was a rule in Lutheran congregations of America to maintain a congregational school, but now they are becoming missing in many synods. One is satisfied with the so-called Sunday Schools. And yet these are an extremely meager substitute, because lambs of Christ never again can be fed in them, as the Lord has commanded. Therefore, it is the sacred duty of pastors in such congregations that are too poor that they could take on a particular teacher to maintain school even at least three days a week. If this does not happen, then those congregations have no future. For if children are not brought up in pure doctrine and under the
104 105

Latin: petitio principii. Minutes of the Secretary, Prof. A. Ernst.

training of God's Word, then they fall prey either to sects or altogether wither. Therefore congregations are under the obligation to set up congregational schools to teach with all seriousness, particularly where this duty previously has not been rightly recognized. On the other hand, it is irresponsible when in this respect pastors do not show all diligence and zeal. The fact that Luther was convinced of the necessity of congregational schools, one especially sees from two of his writings. They are the writings: "To the councilmen of all cities of Germany that they should establish and maintain Christian schools", from 1524, and the tremendous sermon: "That we should maintain schools for children", from 1530. Yes, even in 1518 in preaching the Ten Commandments to the people of Wittenberg, Luther wrote: "If the Christian church should rise up again, then the beginning must be made with the proper instruction of children." Every Lutheran must wholeheartedly confess to this wise saying. In the writing to the councilmen the dear man of God106 indicates three reasons, which should move us to build schools, namely: 1. so that we can withstand the attacks of the devil; 2. so that we may not receive the grace of God in vain 3. so that we are obedient to God's commandments. The words of Luther are: "[The devil] acted most adroitly at the time when Christians were having their children trained and taught in a Christian manner. The young crowd bade fair to escape him entirely and to establish within his kingdom something that was quite intolerable. So he went to work, spread his nets, and set up such monasteries, schools, and estates that it was impossible for any lad to escape him, apart from a special miracle of God. But now that he sees his snares exposed through the word of God, he goes to the other extreme and will permit no learning at all. Again he does the right and smart thing to preserve his kingdom and by all means retain his hold on the young crowd. If he can hold them, and they grow up under him and remain his, who can take anything from him? He then maintains undisputed possession of the world. For if he is to be dealt a blow that really hurts, it must be done through young people who have come to maturity in the knowledge of God, and who spread His word and teach it to others. "No one, positively no one, realizes that this is a despicable trick of the devil. It proceeds so unobtrusively that no one notices it, and the damage is done before one can take steps to prevent and remedy it. We are on the alert against Turks, wars, and floods, because in such matters we can see what is harmful and what is beneficial. But no one is aware of the devil’s wily purpose. No one is on the alert, but just goes quietly along. Even though only a single boy could thereby be trained to become a real Christian, we ought properly to give a hundred gulden to this cause for every gulden we would give to fight the Turk, even if he were breathing down our necks. For one real Christian is better and can do more good than all the men on earth. "Therefore, I beg all of you, my dear sirs and friends, for the sake of God and our poor young people, not to treat this matter as lightly as many do, who fail to realize what the ruler of this world is up to." We learn here in America which victory the devil has won. He has taken the congregational schools of the American churches so that the state schools now have emerged


in place of them. The churches, however, have never noticed the loss. Even the Lutherans, who should have known, do not know that they must not let their children grow up like heathen, so that they are perhaps later converted at a camp meeting, but that their children are baptized children of Christ who should be educated with God's Word. Luther continues: "A second consideration is, as St. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 6, that we should not accept the grace of God in vain and neglect the time of salvation. Almighty God has indeed graciously visited us Germans and proclaimed a true year of jubilee. We have today the finest and most learned group of men, adorned with languages and all the arts, who could also render real service if only we would make use of them as instructors of the young people.... "Now that God has so richly blessed us, however, and provided us with so many men able to instruct and train our youth aright, it is surely imperative that we not throw his blessing to the winds and let him knock in vain. He is standing at the door; happy are we who open to him! He is calling us; blessed is he who answers him! If we turn a deaf ear and he should pass us by, who will bring him back again?" And now comes the truly classic point: "O my beloved Germans, buy while the market is at your door; gather in the harvest while there is sunshine and fair weather; make use of God’s grace and word while it is there! For you should know that God’s word and grace is like a passing shower of rain which does not return where it has once been. It has been with the Jews, but when it’s gone it’s gone, and now they have nothing. Paul brought it to the Greeks; but again when it’s gone it’s gone, and now they have the Turk. Rome and the Latins also had it; but when it’s gone it’s gone, and now they have the pope. And you Germans need not think that you will have it forever, for ingratitude and contempt will not make it stay. Therefore, seize it and hold it fast, whoever can; for lazy hands are bound to have a lean year." We ought to be told this, because we live in a golden age. No one prevents us from setting up truly Lutheran congregational schools. Therefore we should use the opportunity well. This we are quite willing to do, the propagation of the mentioned reformation writings of Luther could especially be used that are printed here in America and are in Luther's popular library. Unfortunately, this beautiful work has not yet found the right distribution outside the Missouri Synod. Once those writings of Luther had emerged for the first time in Germany, their effect was that the whole country was strewn with schools. If we would now rightly concern ourselves with the distribution of the writings of Luther, then a similar success could happen here. Luther cites the final cause in the following way: "The third consideration is by far the most important of all, namely, the command of God, who through Moses urges and enjoins parents so often to instruct their children that Psalm 78 says: How earnestly he commanded our fathers to teach their children and to instruct their children’s children. This is also evident in God’s fourth commandment, in which the injunction that children shall obey their parents is so stem that he would even have rebellious children sentenced to death.107 Indeed, for what purpose do we older folks exist, other than to care for, instruct, and bring up the young? It is utterly impossible for these foolish young people to instruct and protect themselves. This is why God has entrusted them to us who are older and know from experience what is best for


Deuteronomy 21:18-21

them. And God will hold us strictly accountable for them. This is also why Moses commands in Deuteronomy 32, 'Ask your father and he will tell you; your elders, and they will show you.' "It is a sin and a shame that matters have come to such a pass that we have to urge and be urged to educate our children and young people and to seek their best interests, when nature itself should drive us to do this and even the heathen afford us abundant examples of it. There is not a dumb animal which fails to care for its young and teach them what they need to know; the only exception is the ostrich, of which God says in Job 39 that she deals cruelly with her young as if they were not hers, and leaves her eggs upon the ground. What would it profit us to possess and perform everything else and be like pure saints, if we meanwhile neglected our chief purpose in life, namely, the care of the young?" How about those words! Once a person has come to believe, it is time that he goes to heaven. Why does God still leave him on earth? In order that young people may go to heaven. Thus we ourselves become saviors! He continues: "I also think that in the sight of God none among the outward sins so heavily burdens the world and merits such severe punishment as this very sin which we commit against the children by not educating them.... Ah, you say, but all that is spoken to the parents; what business is it of councilmen and the authorities? Yes, that is true; but what if the parents fail to do their duty? Who then is to do it? Is it for this reason to be left undone, and the children neglected? How will the authorities and council then justify their position, that such matters are not their responsibility?" It should be noted that "councilmen" and "council" in this country and now must be translated as "congregation members" and "congregation". Because in Luther time the councilmen were Lutheran. But here we have the so-called municipal constitution. Because the Office of councilmen has passed to church members. Besides, children are not only children of their parents, but also the Church. Therefore, the Church has the sacred duty to do what parents neglect. If neither parent does not do their duty, then they will be condemned, but the Church is also taken to account. The children in our congregations are indeed baptized children of Christ, they are our children; for only fanatical spirits claim that children do not belong to the Church. If we would not worry about it now, then we would indeed give credence to the Anabaptists. No, we must now tell our children, they must know that they are baptized. If Luther came back today, he would hold congregations accountable who do not look after their children! Luther continues: "There are various reasons why parents neglect this duty. In the first place, there are some who lack the goodness and decency to do it, even if they had the ability.... In the second place, the great majority of parents unfortunately are wholly unfitted for this task. They do not know how children should be brought up and taught, for they themselves have learned nothing but how to care for their bellies. It takes extraordinary people to bring children up right and teach them well. "In the third place, even if parents had the ability and desire to do it themselves, they have neither the time nor the opportunity for it, what with their other duties and the care of the household. Necessity compels us, therefore, to engage public schoolteachers for the children—unless each one were willing to engage his own private tutor. But that would be too heavy a burden for the common man, and many a promising boy would again be neglected on account of poverty. Besides, many parents die, leaving orphans, and if we do not know from

experience how they are cared for by their guardians it should be quite clear from the fact that God calls himself Father of the fatherless108, of those who are neglected by everyone else. Then too there are others who have no children of their own, and therefore take no interest in the training of children.... Consider, for example, what a great effort King Solomon made in this matter; so deeply was he concerned for the young that in the midst of his royal duties he wrote for them a book called Proverbs. Consider Christ himself, how he draws little children to him, how urgently in Matthew 18 he commends them to us and praises the angels who wait upon them, in order to show us how great a service it is when we train the young properly. On the other hand, how terrible is his wrath when we offend them and suffer them to perish! "Therefore, dear sirs, take this task to heart which God so earnestly requires of you, which your office imposes upon you, which is so necessary for our youth, and with which neither church nor world can dispense. Alas! we have lain idle and rotting in the darkness long enough; we have been German beasts all too long. Let us for once make use of our reason, that God may perceive our thankfulness for his benefits, and other nations see that we too are human beings, able either to learn something useful from others or to teach them in order that even through us the world may be made better. I have done my part. It has truly been my purpose to counsel and assist the German nation. If there be some who despise me for this and refuse to listen to my sincere advice because they think they know better, I cannot help it. I know full well that others could have done this better; since they keep silent, I am doing it as well as I can. It is surely better to have spoken out on the subject, however inadequately, than to have remained altogether silent about it. It is my hope that God will awaken some of you, so that my well-meant advice may not be offered in vain, and instead of having regard for the one who utters it you will rather be stirred by the cause itself to do something about it."109 From this one can see why we have school-masters, and that we must also take on the orphans. Why does God call Himself "Father of the Orphans"? Because otherwise they do not have a father. For guardians usually provide merely for bodily needs; but children must be taught daily in God's Word. So the Church must look after their own. But when we say that synods, who demonstrate no earnestness and zeal in the establishment of congregational schools, are in glaring contradiction against the confession, then special attention is to be paid to the highlighted words. Such corporate bodies should not be condemned with this thesis, until now still few congregational schools are present in their midst, but who make an effort to do the right thing in this respect. But this must be required. Of course, it is not directly mentioned in the Symbols that we should have congregational schools, but it is there in spirit. So we should ensure that God's Word would also be given to our descendents. How would this now be possible if we left our children to chance! Or when we thought it was enough to send them to the state schools and then lend them a little hand with Sunday School and confirmation instruction! The trouble is that there are so many sects and religious parties. If we now send our inexperienced children in the public schools, then they must, apart from the secularization to which they fall prey, be necessarily unionistic.

108 109

Psalm 68:5. Luther, M. (1999). Vol. 45: Luther's works, vol. 45 : The Christian in Society II (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald & H. T. Lehmann, Ed.) (372–373). Philadelphia: Fortress Press.

One asks what should those synods do in which the school issue is still in a bad way? It must be heard above all by the synods about this matter. Articles must appear in the public papers and Luther's writings must be propagated. But above all, the pastors who recognize the state of emergency put their hands to work and, in necessary, hold school themselves, so far as they are able. The latter matter indeed happened earlier in better times of the Lutheran Church, as Johannes Fecht110, professor of theology at Rostock, testifies. This distinguished theologian writes: "Since schools are the seminaries of the Church, it is evident from this saying that the Church herself develops an irreparable loss from the lack of schools. Therefore, the pastor of the church must be eager with the utmost care that the located school in the present place of his pastoral care will commit skilled teachers. But where the villages are not such that they could feed a school teacher, he at least has to strive to find honorable congregation members who instruct the youth during the winter as he invites them to this work through a compensation, even if small, from the church treasury. Without the help of the schools, divine knowledge and godliness are by no means planted, so that many pastors, impelled by their conscience, where they have no school master, have taken upon themselves this much needed, so salutary work, especially in winter time. But where schools are established, there visitation of the school on the part of the pastor is quite necessary, partly so that the schoolmaster is encouraged to tireless diligence, partly so that to indicate to him the manner and the way he had to undertake teaching faithfully and with fruit, partly that particularly he supplements the deficiency on catechetical instruction, and finally partly that the youth would incite themselves to make more progress every day." Visitation among us is of course not as necessary from the second and third reason, because we have enough young people who have diligently prepared themselves for years for the teaching profession and therefore probably are able to teach efficiently. Fecht continues: "The pastor of the church should not be discouraged at the disgust of the arduous work that he should not often sit whole hours with the little ones at school; He should also not merely listen to the instruction of the teacher, but must put his hands to work to praise the diligent and scold the lazy. For thus he lays a more solid grounds for the catechetical teaching carried out later in the church herself. Likewise he must daily endeavor to awaken careless parents who are often concerned for their children, these may grow up as animals after all, without any knowledge of God. Namely, he must keep before their eyes the accountability that they will once have to give, and the divine curse that will pour forth over their whole household if they here fail with their obligations, and contrast the blessing, if they educate their children in the fear of the Lord; they are instructed about this mainly in school. Though at first glance this part of the pastoral-office may appear to be of little importance, however, those are only certain that one on his part especially could distinguish a true pastor of the Church from a hireling, and a pastor only in name from a real pastor. For how can he who bears no reason for concern be seriously concerned about the building itself?"111 These haunting words must convince all conscientious parents and sharpen their conscience that they certainly keep in mind the accountability that they must give. However,
110 111

† 1716. Instructio pastoralis, ed. a G.F. Fechtio, fil. Ed. II. 1722. p. 199ff.

blessings are also shown them that they obtain if they raise their children right, to which the congregational school primarily serves them. But even pastors must thereby be driven to a lively zeal, that they not be deterred by any trouble or difficulty. Here belongs Luther's closing words in the preface to the Small Catechism: "[The Preaching Office] now involves much more trouble and labor, danger and trials. In addition, it gains little reward and thanks in the world. But Christ Himself will be our reward if we labor faithfully. To this end may the Father of all grace help us, to whom be praise and thanks forever through Christ, our Lord! Amen." In the General Synod, the pastors admittedly do not have much trouble. But we in the Synodical Conference, God be praised!, have recognized our responsibility. Because our office is now certainly much more difficult. But if it were easy, then God would not have given us such exquisite promises. Although it is hard to hold school, God will repay it if we do it for the kids and for the kingdom of heaven's sake. It was stressed from one side that even congregations sometimes did not support a faithful pastor who would like to hold school, because they did not recognize the great sin in which they are stuck or they could also be blinded by the devil, that they considered Sunday school as adequate. But, on the other hand, it was remarked that surely in every congregation some fathers would be willing to send their children to the congregational school. If one began with this, then it would gradually get better. If one does not do this, then the congregation must eventually close. But experience teaches that parents are usually very happy when their pastor faithfully looks after the children. Therefore one must sharpen the conscience of the pastors that they would give their congregations not only a good example, but also constantly exhort them. It is bad when pastors themselves sent their children to state schools. Then, of course everything was vain exhortation. One admits that the establishment of congregational schools in those parishes, whose members for the most part were grown, without having attended such a nursery of the Church, is difficult and would require struggle, but in the end one must and would still get through if one only persisted. In this case much could also benefit the visitors to whom this is strongly recommended for consideration. However, a letter of Luther shows how great the blessing is that flows from the establishment of many congregational schools, which he wrote from Coburg on May 20, 1530 to Elector John the Steadfast of Saxony at Augsburg. The letter reads: "The merciful God is also giving a sign of his graciousness by making his word (not only so abundantly indulges, but also) so powerful and fruitful in Your Grace's land. For surely Your Grace's land has more excellent pastors and preachers than any other land in the whole world, and their faithful, pure teaching helps to preserve peace. As a consequence the tender youth, both boys and girls, are so well instructed in the Catechism and the Scriptures that I am deeply moved when I see that young boys and girls can pray, believe, and speak more of God and Christ than they ever could in the monasteries, foundations, and schools of bygone days, or ever of our day. "Truly Your Grace's land is a beautiful paradise for such young people. There is no other place like it in all the world. God has erected this paradise in Your Grace's land as a special token of his grace and favor. It is as if he would say, 'To you, dear Duke John, I entrust my most precious treasure, my pleasant paradise, and ask you to preside over it as father. I place it under your protection and government and do you the honor of making you my gardener and caretaker.'... Behold, how the fury of other princes harms the dear youth! They turn this

paradise of God into sinful, corrupt, and ruinous mudholes of the devil, they spoil everything, and they have none but devils as their daily guests at table....Nevertheless, many godly people live in their lands in secret, and they yearn eagerly for Your Grace's paradise and blessed land and help to pray earnestly for it."112 As here Saxony is described, so it should be with us. Our congregations should be nothing but paradises where young plants of heaven grow that it is a pleasure. We must also learn from the enemy. One considers however, what pains adherents of the Roman antichrist have taken for the last three hundred years and how zealously they bring their teachings among young people! What a shame for us if we wanted to display less zeal for the truth! We should cover the whole country with a network of Christian schools and spare no effort or sacrifice to achieve this glorious goal. If parents did not want to send their children, then one must finally practice church discipline against them. If one does not proceed with it, then one will not certainly come to the objective. The necessity of schoolteacher seminaries is further clear from the great importance of congregational schools. We cannot single out the very first man and put him in the school, but the teacher must also know something capable in worldly things. But that is not possible without their having prepared thoroughly. If the task is too difficult, then we are still blessed people that God gives the opportunity to us to do such great things. How would we answer it now, if we do not use it? Of course, the seminaries do not do it, students must also be there. And there is still some synods, in which there is almost no one who wants to be trained as a teacher. This should be better. If it is raised by many people as a reason that they do not send their children to the congregational school: "They do not learn enough English", then it should be noted, however, that yes, of course, we should quite seriously ensure that our young teachers are also proficient in English, but that the reason is still not valid. First, we should seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these will be awarded to us. One cannot overestimate the benefits of state schools. Congregational schools often perform in English as much or more [than state schools]. It should be the task of English districts in particular to provide for good English teachers. Among Germans, it is often difficult to encourage the seminarians to the extent that they are proficient in this regard because they often understand no English before they come to the seminary. If they are in general weakly gifted, then it is impossible that they achieve the desirable goal in English under such circumstances. But then they are frequently adopted only moderately in other subjects. We can no longer be content with modest gifts. Therefore next to godliness a good degree of natural gifts also must be found among prospective seminarians. Another main reason that will drive us to the establishment of congregational schools is also the mission that allows us to impel the children of those who do not belong to our church. Experience shows that many such children can be won and also remain faithful after confirmation, while unfortunately some of the children fall away from the congregation. The relationship is probably a little different for the two classes. That is why it must cost a congregation something to establish schools, and also not to require higher tuition from nonmembers of the congregation. So we can carry on a great missionary work and win the parents through the children themselves. It may be expected that we will find among many for such a

Tappert, p. 141-142.

missionary work a joyful kindness because the horrible fruits of the state school system, the savagery and unruliness of youth always dreadfully come to light and are already perceived by American school people with horror, but these would still have a cure for it. In such conditions, we can also inform our church members if these [reasons] were perhaps tempting [them] to send their children to state schools. Incidentally, George Mylius113, professor of theology at Wittenberg, testifies that Christian parents should not send their children into strange schools when he writes: "First of all, Church and School belong together, and the Church is built nowhere else than from the school. Just as one can now maintain sacrament and divine service of the papacy without violating the conscience and harm of Christian confession to the Church, just as little this also may pass that one points children to their schools. Apart from this and for the from others the poor and innocent children are removed from saving faith through this work by their parents. Who can now say what damage was hereby inflicted by such parents to their own flesh and blood, what irreparable disadvantage common Christendom also hereby added, what overly terrible act is committed by the parents themselves! So this is now a true temptation of God: to put children before such dangerous and pernicious pitfalls before strengthened understanding and age, from that also probably experienced and elderly people will themselves be difficult to work sometimes, and rest assured that one has instructed them in the Catechism. No one is easier to seduce in all evil than precisely youth."114 One can easily convince parents that they do not send their children prior to confirmation in schools where fanatics and unbelievers teach; but one must also warn them that they do not do this even after confirmation if they are still without foundation. After all, a little leaven leavens the whole lump, and the human heart is indeed the tinder, so that it, when it comes into contact with evil, just catches fire. From one side it was warned one may not oppose state schools too much and actually call them schools of the devil, as this sometimes happens. Christians should instead be friends of public schools, because a God pleasing work would be carried on in them, and the terrible evils that were found in them would be only an accident. It was replied to this that first of all there could be no question of a proper education in the state schools, that this must be done by God's Word. Now one does not turn against the fact that the state sets up its schools, but only against the fact that they use our congregational members. But one would not explain it as a blessing; it is only minor damage when youth would be educated in public schools, as if they grow up like wild animals without any instruction. What should be compelling in schools Luther shows in his famous writing to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation from 1520, where he writes: "Above all, the foremost reading for everybody, both in the universities and in the schools, should be Holy Scripture— and for the younger boys, the Gospels.... I would advise no one to send his child where the Holy Scriptures are not supreme. Every institution that does not unceasingly pursue the study of

113 114

† 1607. Dedeken, Thesaur. Vol. I, P. II. fol. 986f.

God’s word becomes corrupt.... I greatly fear that the universities, unless they teach the Holy Scriptures diligently and impress them on the young students, are wide gates to hell."115 And as it says in the Instruction of the Visitors, corrected by Lutheranism: "Some are taught nothing out of holy Scripture. Some teach their children nothing but holy Scripture. We should yield to neither of these practices. It is essential that the children learn the beginning of a Christian and blessed life. But there are many reasons why also other books beside Scripture should be given the children from which they may learn to speak."116 Luther here truly asks no small thing, and wants to put all secular sciences in the service of God and to his credit has urged it. Therefore, we also should be diligent in this magnificent work and not only build schools in all our congregations, but also establish mission schools outside of the congregation. If this truly happens in the Midwest and Eastern states, then the General Council must follow us, yes, even finally the General Synod, as in some places the United must have to do in order to keep her members. And where possible, all these schools should be free schools. This would properly drive the mission. The question was now addressed to the Synodical Conference how it is to advise the consciences of such congregation members who might perhaps realize the blessing of congregational schools and even would be willing to do everything that is in their power in order to gain such a school for their children but would have no success in this endeavor, perhaps because even their pastors do not support it. One could also consider whether to make such people for sinners once they had done everything possible in vain to have Christian schools if they sent their children to state schools. The answer to this was: Absolutely! Complain about such conditions quite a bit, and the improvement must begin with the pastors. It must be made a matter of conscience to them that they may look after such people and their children. But if that happened, then the parents, for God's sake, should be content with poor performance of pastors in the classroom until they can further encourage them in worldly things perhaps after confirmation of their children. But if the pastors could or would not do their duty in these necessary parts, then one must look for help in other ways, such as the fact that one can send their children to another place, so that they receive Christian instruction there. In general it is very dangerous when one first makes a rule, and then immediately makes exceptions to it. That is the practice of the [General] Council, before whom we have to take care with all seriousness. Otherwise lazy preachers and stingy congregations immediately look at the exceptions and think they are suitable just in their situation. As a result then the entire rule is worthless. Yes, every perceptive pastors knows so many that the command to build congregational schools is not an express command directly in God's Word, but that it is instead derived by conclusions from the divine Word. It may now happen that the weak do not observe the same rights or there may be some real exceptions. A pastor must evaluate this with Christian wisdom in the individual case. But in any case, the loss of temporal goods, e.g. the great cost, etc., may not make the difference in assessing the question. Stealing is simply

Luther, M. (1999). Vol. 44: Luther's works, vol. 44: The Christian in Society I (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald & H. T. Lehmann, Ed.) (207). Philadelphia: Fortress Press. 116 Luther, M. (1999). Vol. 40: Luther's works, vol. 40: Church and Ministry II (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald & H. T. Lehmann, Ed.) (318). Philadelphia: Fortress Press.

forbidden, and I must not perhaps believe therefore to be able to make an exception to this rule, because I have nothing. Parents should rather think this way, God will now make the test with us, and therefore he can try us; but he will not leave us stuck, but also give us the victory. Incidentally, one cannot even set up such rules that cover all possible exemptions. Several instances were now cited which show that the problems are not as great as one thinks, or that eventually they can be overcome. A young pastor came to a southern state, to an area where they had never heard of Lutheran congregational schools. Nevertheless, he began to hold school with five children, and today not only children of congregational members can be found in this school, but even of Anglo-Americans. One has experienced the same thing in Texas. Therefore, one believes it not too easy to be able to state exceptions where none are to be made, e.g. where a pastor is who keeps school himself for emergencies and so can at least make a beginning. Of course, if the pastors merely talk about the school and for the school, but do not start the school, then it remains empty words. Often, when resident members far removed from congregations cannot send their children to Christian school, this is only the consequence of their own ungodly actions. For it is un-Christian when Lutheran Christians deliberately move to a place where they could have neither Christian school nor church. Now if distress approaches upon such people later, then one should not apply the same salve, but should also seek to move to bring them to repentance above all things, that they have brought not only their children into such distress, but also let languish their own souls. If our congregational members want to move to another area, then they should not merely ask whether there is good land, good roads etc., but also whether they really can also have God's Word in church and school. Attention must be drawn to this important matter in preaching, and carelessness in this respect is duly to chastise. God in His mercy indeed sometimes turns such drawing out into the desert for good, as churches and schools are built later by such people. If their congregations still could not recognize the need for congregational schools, then pastors have in some cases formed school societies from those fathers who were willing to establish a congregational school, and these have then set up flourishing schools which should later be handed over to the congregation. In general the pastor must be somewhat inventive in the way how he can reach the goal. If one does not get it one way, then one just seeks it another way. It comes especially from the pastor. Therefore it should be asked in visitations whether the pastor, if there is no teacher, himself holds school. This is quite necessary. The establishment of congregational schools in the east may perhaps be difficult, as in the west, where mostly German immigrants live, or where one has started at once to provide for Christian instruction. Because in the East many communities have not only never had their own schools, but there are also many pastors who have never attended a congregational school and therefore may not even have the skill to set up such a school. These must first obtain a heart for the matter. If that is the case and the matter of conscience pricks them, then it goes forward with the establishment of congregational schools, as experience teaches. Then a pastor from an English district said he too was convinced of the blessings of congregational schools, and though he any more, than his congregational members was brought up in it, he wanted the same longing, he had such an institution. Initially the thing was new to them and they therefore had no great inclination to do it. But after the thing was made clear to them, all were for it. But a congregational school had not yet come into being among

them. This may go well in the cities, but his members lived scattered about, but the children could come together in sufficient numbers. This is not subject to change even for a moment. Incidentally, he also looks after the youth instructed by him to the best of his ability and was not content with preaching, but was away from home often three to four weeks in order to teach distant resident children in God's Word. He felt urged to notify these circumstances honestly to the Synodical Conference. It was replied to this, we Synodical Conference Lutherans are indeed no driver of the Law. One may only pay attention to the wording of the thesis. It reads: "It is a glaring contradiction against the confession when an ecclesiastical body demonstrates no earnestness and zeal, as much as lies in her, to start orthodox congregational schools ." One could not ask more from a pastor as that he does as much as lies in him. If then the circumstances hinder the occurrence, or the inconvenience that people do not have the right earnestness and the right insight, then it is not his fault. We do not cast off synods who have no congregational schools, but earnestness and zeal must be found for them. They may not pull the hand from the plow in spite of all obstacles. In that case, difficulties can be overcome with God's help. A shining example of how one, despite all the difficulties, still can achieve the main goal, Iceland offers, where fathers admirably teach their children, thus keeping them in the Lutheran Church. Why should something similar not do well in America, even in the desert? Parents should still perhaps consider that they have to care for their children and then for their fields or their business. If people are only true Christians, then everything else will follow on. One saw this even among English speaking Lutheran in southern Missouri, who now have thriving congregational schools. One not only ceases, because here the old saying goes: Constant dripping wears the stone. Of course, one cannot expect that everything may come into the most beautiful order in one day. We ourselves only need to be clear about the duty of the pastor, to look after the youth. Some people look at this as an insufficient work because our time is a time of great things. But we must especially learn faithfulness in little things. And the pastor, who does not want to instruct abandoned children in God's Word, acts just as untrue as when he would not preach. There rose concerns whether the sentence that it was a sin if one sends his children to the state schools not be taken too generally, for there are still cases where it was not wrong, for example, where the schools are in the hands of Lutherans. It was replied that these were particular cases. One could never send children to enthusiasts, heterodox, and unbelievers, for there the saying comes into consideration: "Beware of false prophets" and "A little leaven leavens the whole lump." Each disciplinary case must indeed be decided on the basis of morals, and an enthusiast can never properly do this. Even books must be pure. It is not further satisfactory that the teacher is perhaps merely nominally Lutheran, but he must be a man who conducts his office [as a] Lutheran, e.g., even gives proper history lessons. If this is the case, then one may be allowed to go away to attend such a school in an emergency; for one would not also allow that, because one would no longer strike the conscience of insightful Lutherans with its displays. Then, incidentally, the state school has lost its true character. Of course, religious instruction must also be provided, so that God's Word is not deprived from God's Children, which may not be taught in public schools. The question was now raised whether one may then support the state schools with their taxes, if this is sinful.

To this it was answered: Certainly. If one rightly only keeps an eye on the difference between church and state, then one will easily answer the question. The latter has to make some institutions that we Christians may not use. It must, for example, permit divorce cases, which the church prohibits. And to obtain such a Christian notary may well be of assistance. But no Christian should make use of this permission of the state. How do we now pay notaries, who participate in such divorce cases, their fees, although they do actions that they as Christians may not do, thus we rightly pay our school taxes. So it was in the Old Testament. Yet the Israelites were allowed to dissolve their marriages as citizens, but not as Israelites. The Lord Himself has confirmed this in the New Testament. We would be enthusiasts if we would require from the state that it should be so arranged as if all citizens were Christians. For that would lead to open revolution. It can, for example, reveal in court a most venomous hatred against his fellow man. Nevertheless, he obtains rights against it, if it is formally on his side. We pay our taxes for the schools as well as the prisons, even though we do not use the latter. This simile is directed particularly against those who falsely believe, because we pay for the public schools, we must also use them. It was also pointed out by a number of commentators that it is also mixing of faiths if we sent our children to public schools, because there would be praying and also in many places religious songs would be sung, which are offensive to us. It was, however, countered that this is just a misuse, and one can therefore probably prove no Unionism from it. Of course, if a father already sends established children after their confirmation to public schools, then he must tell them that they are not to participate in such prayers. One cannot compel them. For this is how in Congress, where even Jews have already prayed, but individual members do there what they want. Thereupon the twelfth thesis was accepted. The assembly now went on to discuss the next thesis. Thesis 13 In Germany in the days of rationalism completely unbelieving agendas, hymnals, catechisms and textbooks were forced upon the people because church and state were mixed. Here it is different. The state does not intervene in our internal affairs at all, but allows us full freedom. But nevertheless the question is whether pure books themselves are needed everywhere in our synods. And where a hymnal or a catechism is used that is not healthy, there is a contradiction against the confession. If we would now hold a survey of how things stand among us, we would not have unity as a synod in one respect, at least not in all schools, namely in relation to the textbooks. This comes from the haughtiness in some teachers. For if we also must give our teachers in general the testimony that they are serious, faithful men, there are also still many who because of that merely take other books, because they do not like the method in ours. And that is very bad. In the Missouri Synod, for example, there used to be a reader in use which, although otherwise deficient, was still Lutheran. Now the shortcomings were no doubt felt, but nevertheless the teachers should have preferred to die before they took heterodox books. But now we have good German books. So it is doubly bad to tolerate or even to introduce false [books].

It is worse with English textbooks because there are no books known to us that would be pure. Nevertheless, one introduces them among us. Whether the teachers or the pastors are to blame remains uncertain. It should and must be otherwise. It should be remembered that teachers have absolutely no right to introduce textbooks on their own account, for that would be hierarchical. The books for the lower classes, apart from the Primer published by the Synodical Conference that is indeed good, can be used perhaps to some extent, but are extremely dangerous for higher classes. This has already moved the consciences of many teachers, and they are waiting quite eagerly for good new English books. So everyone in the Synodical Conference, which has received the gifts from God still should help out, that this emergency is remedied. This condition is an indictment against the Church. We also would be content with a small book, if only it were pure. One should still consider what Peter says: " Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation."117 What mother would now pour vinegar or even poison in the milk for her child? Woe to us when we let in the slightest poison in our textbooks for minors. That would be much worse than if somewhere a liturgy would be used, which is not entirely pure, for there the pastor can still select. Formerly people immigrated from Germany in order to have their children educated in pure doctrine and with pure books. And now there are among us so careless people who do not want to use pure books because they do not like this and that in it. God can easily take from us our present freedom. One has already seen some evidence of it. For when unbelievers talk about freedom, they mean only their own [freedom], but the slavery of others. If some teachers give the excuse "The children do not understand what is in the books", or "They forget it again", then this is completely wrong. Their character is formed precisely in what people learn in their early youth, and so works as well as poison, though secretly. What sort of a clamor one would make if a baker would perhaps mix a little arsenic in the bread! And here it is not about the physical life, but about the spiritual life. On this occasion it was also cautioned that some religious as well as secular songs are sung in schools, which are quite horrible. Even pastors should have a watchful eye on such things. Likewise, one inquired about the hymnals that are used in our congregations. One finds there perhaps even the Pennsylvania [Ministerium] hymnal or even the Congregational hymnal? The following incident teaches how serious it is to take up impure hymnals: In 1669, a dispute arose in Küstrin118 over Lobwasser's119 Purified "Psalms". Lobwasser in a Lutheran in name only, who translated Marot's French "Psalmen" into German. Now this indeed contain no gross heresies, however it especially shows the Calvinistic interpretation of the prophetic Psalms. They were therefore also used much by the Reformed. But when the socalled "Great Elector" of Brandenburg120 ruled, Reformed [doctrine] widely spread, while
117 118

1 Peter 2:2. Kostrzyn, Poland. 119 1515-1585. Lobwasser was a German humanist writer and translator. 120 Friedrich Wilhelm (1620-1688), Elector of Brandenburg and Duke of Prussia, was a staunch Calvinist.

schools remained for the most part Lutheran. The Lutheran Gymnasium in Küstrin should now sing Lobwasser's "Psalmen" at funerals of distinguished Reformed [church members] or other festive occasions. Rector Grafunder refused to do this, was not persuaded, and ultimately was deposed. The Wittenberg faculty responded to his question to the faithful confessors as follows: "It is not a pure adiaphora, such writings, which are Calvinist and obviously Judaizing, to endorse by public singing, but rather a manifest ungodliness."121 The Leipzig theological faculty gave him this advice: "Tell the councilors that you are devoted to the genuine Lutheran religion and therefore could not encourage your students to prefer Lobwasser to Luther and by the French melodies to tickle the ears of the Reformed to the humiliation of evangelical Truth. But if the councilors themselves would demand it from your students and you could not hinder it, then you would still have to bear witness to your non-compliance wisely and in the proper manner. Now, the matter seems to be settled easily by pursuing a middle way that one can sing Lobwasser less frequently and he would be gradually forgotten. No doubt that custom has been introduced at the instigation of the Calvinists. God will demand a severe accounting from those dumb dogs, who have had one's fill of doing the office commanded to them, through whose fault and negligence it is done, that the errors of the Reformed has been opened not a crack, but a wide-open door as one sees it."122 How can we now answer before God to use heterodox hymnals in our congregations! Is it not mocking God if one sings something to him that is contrary to His Word? Surely one would think God must quickly intervene; and He would do this if His patience was not so great. A hymnal is, in a certain sense, a confessional document. Now, if a congregation sings a heterodox hymn, then they confess falsely, what is more, they may commit themselves in their constitution to the Unaltered Augsburg Confession. Now the question arose here how to help. First of all, such congregations who have false books must certainly be taught. This is best done in that one compares true, orthodox hymns with heterodox, distorted [hymns], and lay both before the congregation. But the beginning of the recovery must be made this way: no one further takes on a congregation that, if she has a bad hymnal, does not promise that they will do away with the bad hymnal with time. The visitors must see to it and even those who have to ordain or install pastors should refuse if the congregations do not promise to intend to do away with their bad hymnals. Likewise the incoming Pastor must clearly speak out in this respect: "I am due to use your Agenda, your hymnal, and your Catechism. If you will not get rid of it, then I cannot be your pastor." One indeed does not think, if we speak this way, then we do not take the congregations. If it is God's will, then the call still comes about. However, if one holds his tongue for a few years and wants to start to take away the bad hymnal later, then the congregations say: "If he has borne it so long, then he can bear it even further." A difference is made here between the Pennsylvania [Ministerium] hymnal and the Congregational hymnal. The former one may well use for a time under protest if the congregation promises to intend to abolish it. One may not use the Congregational [hymnal] at all. Because then one would openly profess for the Union, as the title indicates. Uninformed
121 122

Unschuldige Nachrichten, 1747, p. 91. op. cit. p. 83, 85.

Christians, however, admittedly find it difficult with such hymnals that have the Lutheran name. One has to remember, however, that the Congregational hymnal is now sold with a Lutheran title page. If congregations prove themselves stubborn, then they must in the end be excluded. As the hymn books, so the Agenda should be pure. This is not the case with the New York [Ministerium Agenda]. She has e.g. the United formula of administration for Holy Communion and three forms for Baptism, some of which are quite Rationalistic. The Agenda of the Ohio Synod has some deficiencies. But these should be changed when the Synodical Conference does not publish our own [Agenda]. The resolution was now taken: "At the next meeting of the Synodical Conference, the Presidents of the individual synods should submit a written report in which is specified which Agenda, hymnals and catechisms are in use in their synods, and in how many congregations each of these books is used. If heterodox books are among these, then it should also be indicated whether the particular pastor has protested against the use and the congregation agreed to abolish the book with time." It was also decided: "The presidents of the individual synods should pay a written report about whether congregational schools are held in all parishes of their synods, be it by a particular teacher or by the pastor himself." A synod also has to arrange for orthodox devotional books. They may not allow any bad [books] to circulate. But for that to happen these books which obviously contain false doctrine are not merely included, but even those [books] that lack proper clarity. Therefore it is particularly demanded whether healthy Lutheran literature finds an entrance. Pastors must inquire about that in their home visits, albeit with caution. They should not be like a bull in a china shop123, but perhaps first recognize the good, but then also faithfully warn them beforehand what is wrong with the writing. They must be eager in this part, for the Church as a spiritual mother must see what her children have for nourishment. Similarly, one has to see about religious periodicals, because heterodox church papers may only be read that are firmly grounded, in order that no danger is present that it would seduce. Incidentally, we should beware of heterodox papers. Especially recommended is the Altenburg Bible that is to be had at a reasonable cost in relation to greater quantities from the Bible Society in St. Louis. It is a delightful book that already has become a blessing to many Christians. If one finds some inaccuracies in it regarding the doctrine of the difference between church and state and on Sunday, then that is not dangerous for insightful Lutherans. On the other hand, the work cannot be changed well, because we would thereby set a bad example. Our opponents would claim that we now dress up the writings of the ancients according to our liking. Therefore, it is printed without revisions. After this the thirteenth thesis was accepted.


Sie sollen nicht gleich mit der Türe ins Haus fallen

Thesis 14 This is the most important thesis in the entire series because it relates to a point that we cannot emphasize enough and that gives us light in the hand for illuminating the various, socalled "Lutheran" ecclesiastical bodies in the old and new fatherland. However, it serves not merely for assessing such church bodies that are not connected to us, but also puts us in a position primarily to examine ourselves in the Synodical Conference, as it stands in this part in our midst, and to act on the results. There are ecclesiastical fellowships that officially recognize the symbols of the Lutheran Church, have established the content of the Confessions as doctrina publica124, but are not serious with the overpowering of the condemned errors therein, on the contrary, tolerate the ongoing false teachings against it. But that contradicts not only individual points in the confessions, but the whole character of the Lutheran Church, which consists not only in faith, but also in the confession of what is believed and in the discarding of everything of what fights against it. Even the first commandment demands that doctrinal discipline should and must be practiced. It requires that everyone submits themselves to the pronouncements of the living God. But how can an ecclesiastical fellowship say they acknowledge the Almighty God without unswervingly holding to the fact that would not do anything about it? God's Word shows that false doctrine is sin. It is bad enough that we still have sin in us after the fall. But now we would and should not entirely say, the sin of false doctrine should be applicable! No, but the doctrine that has been officially recognized by the Word of God should also alone go into fashion. Furthermore, all servants of the Word are offered to hold fast to the pattern of sound doctrine and to preserve the good supplement. Now, if an ecclesiastical fellowship does not preserve the supplement, will not therefore keep it, but will tolerate it and tolerate that even false doctrine is preached, then she is already apostatized. Yes, how many warnings are there not in Scripture to beware of false prophets, to flee and to avoid them! The holy Preaching Office is set up according to God's Word to use Holy Scripture for the chastising of false doctrine and makes themselves partakers of those sins by silence against false teachers. All this shows quite clearly that only one church body rightly keeps the Lutheran name when she exercises doctrinal discipline on her members. To be sure, even in such church fellowships in which doctrinal discipline is handled, here and there something happens that is false with regard to doctrine; but such are headed off once the case is apparent and are cleansed from error in a God-pleasing way, to sweep out the leaven. If we now - as hard as it is for us also to judge spiritually that through its history and period our dearly becoming to us, now so-called Lutheran State Church of our old fatherland apply this standard on it, then we will find there, where it is still the best, only the discipline of Eli. As Eli probably said to his sons, "Do no evil!", but they continued to sin, rather than putting them out of office: thus the German state consistories, in particular if they are still forced out by individual members within their fellowship from doctrinal discipline from holding in statu confessionis, lay a witness in the form of a condemnation and now mean, that may be enough if they had witnessed it, and are very happy when false teachers say only half a word that can be interpreted well; but do not think about removing such wolves from their office.


public doctrine.

Here was asked whether a church body ceases to be a Lutheran if for a time no doctrinal discipline is practiced? It is witnessed against the Schwenkfeldians in the Formula of Concord, they did not cease to be a true Christian fellowship when no doctrinal discipline is practiced; therefore it says there: "Erroneous Articles of the Schwenkfeldians: 7. That it is not a true Christian congregation in which no public excommunication or no regular process of the ban is observed."125 This is important for the sake of judgment on the German state churches in which even individuals would find that bear witness against the prevailing laxity of their fellowship in doctrinal discipline and therefore think they would still have every right to call their fellowship a Lutheran fellowship as long as they did it. When can we say that a church fellowship had ceased to be Lutheran? It was subsequently answered: Indeed there is no mention in the thesis of when a church body ceases to be Lutheran; but yet we want to make it important that a fellowship may lose its Lutheran character if they drop doctrinal discipline. For if the Lutheran church is the one [church body] that professes only the truth and nothing else, then a church body must immediately cease to be an orthodox [church body] as soon as false doctrine is allowed to be preached in her. Even in the Papist Church it has been testified by individuals against individual heresies and is still testified, as Church history reveals; but because of this no Lutheran would still claim the Papist Church is still an orthodox fellowship. The cited testimony of the Formula of Concord does not concern doctrinal discipline, but discipline of life. It is not said in the thesis: doctrinal discipline must be perfect. Because even in doctrinal discipline we will not bring it to perfection. But they must go in vogue according to the proportion of current knowledge of the Truth in a church body. And if church rulers in the German so-called Lutheran state churches, in which everything taught may be reduced down to vulgar rationalism, if these Church rulers themselves admit false doctrine and the reputation of the false teachers had gotten out of hand, should one then still recognize such fellowships as Lutheran? Certainly not! An orthodox body is not one in which true believers are in the midst, but one as the Augsburg Confession describes: "Also they teach that one holy Church is to continue forever. The Church is the congregation of saints, in which the Gospel is rightly taught and the Sacraments are rightly administered. And to the true harmony of the Church it is enough to agree concerning the doctrine of the Gospel and the administration of the Sacraments."126 Any [church] body that cannot subscribe to this is not orthodox and it is necessary to separate from them. The Tenth Article of the Formula of Concord in the Solid Declaration also agrees: "Thus the churches will not condemn one another because of dissimilarity of ceremonies when, in Christian liberty, one has lee or more of them, provided they are otherwise agreed with one another in the doctrine and all its articles, also in the right use of the holy Sacraments." The Augsburg Confession says: "harmony"127 (not that some are below them), and the Formula of Concord says: "unity". How can we be faithful to our confession if we say: it is not so highly necessary to preserve unity in doctrine by doctrinal discipline? The Lutheran Church is the true visible Church of God on earth because she has the Truth, because she does not
125 126

Epitome XII. Article VII. 127 einträchtiglich.

tolerate error and in that respect cannot be bribed. Gladly we want to extend the hand of fellowship to all those who act on the authority of our confession; but it is dangerous to do anything against conscience, and it is against conscience to extend the hand of fellowship to those who can tolerate false doctrine. If we now check the American, so-called Lutheran church bodies, then we shall find that it is indeed much better than in the German state churches, particularly in the General Council128, in so far as to find in it, as far as we are aware, no manifest rationalists. But even they are content with the formal confession, with the paper confession; for if it shall go to doctrinal discipline, there one find them not at home, as they themselves demonstrate so clearly both that they tolerate Chiliasts and such who teach falsely on Church and Office, as well as the now twelve-year-long deferred position of the Iowa Synod in the Council. Now, as a result, that the Council calls itself Lutheran, we do not let ourselves be seduced to acknowledge them as an orthodox church fellowship anymore than we recognize a field as a pure wheat field, it is perhaps written before them on a shield "wheat field", but in fact it mostly bears weeds, as little as we can move ourselves to call it a "pub" that is a ruin, although the sign with the name "pub" would remain standing. We consider it then as the orthodox church at the time of the Formula of Concord. As there was probably also Flacians, Crypto-Calvinists, Antinomians, and others who all wanted to be called Lutheran and accepted what they saw fit, depending on the circumstances demanding it, while faithful Lutheran preachers more likely allowed themselves to be persecuted, than that they were silent about their false doctrines, tolerated them and would be held to them. The true Lutheran ministers instead kept away from this and because the false teachers wanted to impose themselves on them because they procured calm before them through the Formula of Concord. They had to accept the false teachers either without reserve, and therefore reject their own false doctrines or they were subject to the judgment of the Church. But what does it mean to accept the Confessions without reserve? This means that they accept it as the first signers of the Formula of Concord have accepted it. But how these have accepted it the Conclusion of the Formula of Concord witnesses, which therefore states: "Since now, in the sight of God and of all Christendom, we wish to testify to those now living and those who shall come after us that this declaration herewith presented concerning all the controverted articles aforementioned and explained, and no other, is our faith, doctrine, and confession, in which we are also willing, by God's grace, to appear with intrepid hearts before the judgment seat of Jesus Christ, and give an account of it; and that we will neither privately nor publicly speak or write anything contrary to it, but, by the help of God's grace, intend to abide thereby: therefore, after mature deliberation, we have, in God's fear and with the invocation of His name, attached our signature with our own hands." The church fellowship that does not accept the confessions without reserve, indeed, tolerates false teaching and teachers, commits a twofold sin. First of all, they chiefly harbor false doctrine, and secondly, they want to bewitch people they are indeed orthodox, and that is hypocrisy that takes bitter revenge in the fact that they cannot remain still but, because every church fellowship must practice a doctrinal discipline, finally leads to the persecution of orthodox teachers in the fellowship. The consistories in Germany indeed even wish to have the

In English in the original manuscript. - Tr.

orthodox in their midst, want to keep them; but finally they are driven to actions by the heterodox in their midst, like they had to endure Licentiate Stöckhardt129, namely, that he had been convicted to a month long imprisonment for the sake of his orthodox testimony against false doctrine and false teachers. It is clearly evident from this that if orthodox teachers and congregations exercise no discipline on heterodox members in their fellowship, then they shall exercise this for the opposite purpose on the orthodox. The actions of these church fellowships who practice no doctrinal discipline and still want to retain the name "Lutheran" was yet explained in the following examples: A business company opens to practice honest business in the midst of a dishonest and deceitful time. She writes the seventh commandment over her company: "You shall not steal", and acts firmly in accordance with that and thereby gains confidence everywhere. Over time, other business people come in her place, but they, in spite of the above over standing commandment, act dishonestly to their customers and are accused by her conscience. Rather than take down her sign but she let it quietly hang, so as to make people secure and to protect the name. Everyone recognizes the double sin of such an action. But do not all church fellowships who practice no doctrinal discipline and yet let the name "Lutheran" stand comprehend and calls it guilty of sin? They not only permit evil, but they perhaps even do evil themselves. Our thesis therefore wants to say in light of the preceding: If one exercises no doctrinal discipline, it is not only useless that one says one has the confession, but it is also a lie that one wants to be Lutheran. For this purpose, the following citation from Luther was read: "The holy Christian church... is neither a reed nor a counter. No, it does not waver or give way, like the devil’s whore—the papal church... It is (as St. Paul says) a pillar and bulwark of the truth (1 Tim. 3:15). It stands firm (he says) and is a bulwark and sure foundation. It is not a bulwark of falsehood and lies, but a bulwark of truth, neither lying nor deceiving; it has no truck with lies. But whatever wavers or doubts cannot be truth; and what would be the use or need of a church of God in the world if it wanted to waver or be uncertain in its words, or wanted to say something new every day, now asserting this, now rejecting that? Moreover, of what use would a God like this be, who wanted to teach us to waver and to doubt—just as the theology of the papists teaches that one must doubt grace? But enough has been written about that. Even if the papists had won in everything else, they still lose this major point when they teach that we must doubt the grace of God if we are not already worthy enough through our own satisfaction or merit or the prayers of the saints.... The doctrine... does not belong to the Lord’s Prayer and its petition, 'Forgive us our trespasses,' because it is not something we do, but is God’s own word, which cannot sin or do wrong. A preacher should neither pray the Lord's Prayer nor ask for forgiveness of sins when he has preached (if he is a true preacher), but should say and boast with Jeremiah, 'Lord thou knowest that which came out of my lips is true and pleasing to thee' (Jeremiah 17:16); indeed, with St. Paul and all the apostles and prophets, he should say firmly, Haec dixit dominus, 'God himself has said this' (1 Corinthians 1:10). And again, 'In this sermon I have been an apostle and a prophet of Jesus Christ' (1 Thessalonians 4:15). Here it is unnecessary, even bad, to pray for forgiveness of sins, as if one had not taught truly, for it is God’s word and not my word, and God ought not and cannot forgive it, but only confine, praise,

Georg Stöckhardt.

and crown it, saying, “You have taught truly, for I have spoken through you and the word is mine.” Whoever cannot boast like that about his preaching, let him give up preaching, for he truly lies and slanders God. If the word were to be sinful or untrue, after what would or could men guide their lives? Then, no doubt, a blind man would lead a blind man, and both would fall into the pit (Matt. 15:14). If the plumb line or the T-square were false or crooked, what kind of work would or could the master-builder produce? One crooked thing would make the other crooked, without limit or measure. [If a preacher wants to be a Lutheran, he must be able to say to God: I will have no forgiveness for my sermon. If he is not sure about it, then he is still a false teacher before God even if he has properly preached.] Life too can be sinful and untrue in the same way—unfortunately life is indeed very untrue—but doctrine must be straight as a plumb line, sure, and without sin. Therefore nothing must be preached in church except the sure, pure, and one word of God. Where that is missing, we no longer have the church, but the synagogue of the devil.... [Therefore we can go easy in life, but there is no mercy in doctrine and and if all went to pieces. For what helps a church of doubt, a church in which mistakes may prevail? It is better that she perish. If Luther complains on one side that it may be weak in his time with discipline of life, on the other side he praises God that it may be well with doctrinal discipline.] Now the purpose of all this is to show that the church must teach God's word alone, and must be sure of it. The church is the pillar and bulwark of the truth, built on the rock, and called holy and irreproachable (Ephesians 2:21). Thus one rightly and truly says, 'The church cannot err, for God's word which it teaches cannot err.' But whatever else is taught or whatever is not with certainty God's word, cannot be the doctrine of the church.130 The saying: "The Church cannot err", is therefore not papist error, but Lutheran truth and wants to say: Once one errs, he ceases, as far as he errs, to be in the Church, his preaching is not the voice of the Church. As we said of the regenerate, so far as he still does wrong and sins, he is still of the flesh and not in the Church. If we wanted to define a Lutheran correctly according to these observations, then we will base the definition most excellently when we call them, as the ancients did, an Augsburg Confession ally. This point also was emphasized, however, that one has to make a distinction on the judgments about a church fellowship on behalf of doctrinal discipline, whether it will not be exercised from lack of knowledge or from indifference toward pure doctrine in it in one or other parts. For we find that several of the church fathers from earlier and later times did not strike the truth in some parts, but erred and have deposited their error in writings, and because of that still have not been taken from the orthodox church of their time in doctrinal discipline. Has the Church of that time now ceased, therefore, to be an orthodox [church], one faithful to her confession? No; because thereby one must simply remember that their fellow Christians and fellow teachers have not been punished for this from false liberalism, but from lack of knowledge; they knew at the time so little that it was error than those from which these have been put forward. If they would recognize it as error, then they surely would have been chastised for it. If we draw this distinction into account, then we could be due even less firmly to affirm: this may be a Lutheran church and synod that exercises doctrinal discipline in the doctrines of the Word of God that she has recognized.

Luther, M. (1999). Vol. 41: Luther's works, vol. 41: Church and Ministry III (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald & H. T. Lehmann, Ed.). (212-217) Philadelphia: Fortress Press.

Finally, the following question was here answered: It should be aware to all that the General Council is sinful in the respect that it tolerates the staunchest Chiliasts and does not exercise doctrinal discipline. Therefore, should we not give all faithful confessors in her the advice to come out [of her]? Answer: Without a doubt one should advise: Get out as quickly as possible, once having first done your duty in her through your open confession and have seen that it bears no fruit. Otherwise the synods, who previously have separated from the Council because of the lack of doctrinal discipline in her, have done wrong; whereas we still wish God's blessings to them today because of their separating from her. Although someone does not immediately cease to be a Lutheran in a synod or church that does not exercise doctrinal discipline; when his eyes are opened and he remains stuck in it, then he ceases to be a Lutheran. Previously we have been accustomed as Lutherans to see what was historically Lutheran; but after we looked about for and have found it otherwise, we must also warn and urge all Lutherans to go out from a fellowship that is constituted as the Council, because the Chiliasts and those who teach falsely about Sundays must fight against the fundamental articles of Christ's return for judgment, about the kingdom of God in this world and about Christian freedom; and if some in it may teach falsely, why should others not teach falsely in other parts? When we now come to the second part of this thesis: "It is contrary to the confession in the strongest terms when in a Lutheran church body the popular theory of 'open questions' is revered in it.", we must first determine what is meant by "open questions". The Iowans have explained the doctrines of Church and Office, ordination, the Antichrist, the last things, and the Sabbath as "open questions" and when the unfavorable to Scripture [position] of their error was pointed out to them, they answered one has not understood them. They would understand such doctrines under "open questions" for the sake of which there can be no church separation. But that is only one defining characteristic of open questions, but not the open questions themselves. Open questions are those that anyone can answer, as he dares it in his conscience, because God's Word gives no answer to it. In almost every doctrine there are so called quaestiones juxta adnatae131, questions that incidentally arise and related with the doctrine at issue. E.G. in the doctrine of original sin the question is: "How does original sin come on the child, that was not there from the fall in paradise?" the question arises: "How does the child receive his soul?" Because now some teachers of the Church have opined God creates the soul in the child, and one calls this Creationism; others, indeed the large majority, have meant that the child receives his soul by transition from parents, and one calls this Traducianism. This is an open question, because God has left it open, as He has not given a revelation about it. Such outstanding questions can be resolved only from reason, from experience and from history. Is it not frightful, even anti-Christian, to make revealed doctrines into open questions? The Antichrist of Rome presumed to dispense with certain doctrines of Scripture. The devil was the first to make a specific word of God into an open question, as he talked Eve into believing: "Should God have said, you shall not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?" Where one embraces the theory of "open questions", there doctrinal discipline cannot be practiced and, in order to escape doctrinal discipline, [the] Iowa [Synod] established this theory. Because Iowa called belief "open questions", their colloquy in Milwaukee was not prepared to embrace the problems of the term "open questions", although they always

Questions that arise alongside.

referred in support of their position, that even problems in the Symbols would be affected, such as the Perpetual Virginity of Mary. But Iowa could not move this problem, namely as "open questions". Because once one only understands problems under "open questions", the doctrine of Church and Office, Chiliasm, etc., is excluded. This is why Iowa wanted to have considered all doctrines minus principales fundamentales132 as open questions, just as if minus principalis (less important) would be as much as: non principalis (unimportant in doctrinal structure). In order to reconcile it with the Symbols, Iowa invented her "historical view". The hermeneutic had been understood under this "historical view", that the history of the Symbols should draw attention to the matters raised in the same doctrines: Iowa sought with help from history to denote and eliminate certain doctrines in the Symbols as non-binding and therefore not church-dividing. Only the thetic and antithetic decision should be binding. In this manner one could fairly cut the Smalcald Articles and almost all the Confessions with the exception of the Augsburg Confession and the Formula of Concord. Therefore, how should doctrinal discipline be practiced there, where one pays homage to the theory of "open questions" and according to the Iowan understanding of the "historical view" of the Symbols? If one points to God's Word, then everyone may interpret them according to his individual conviction on favorite doctrines that one holds as open questions. One may justifiably view Holy Scripture as a hunting ground, where everyone could make prey as he could. As soon as a church fellowship releases a doctrine from which she herself confesses that it was in the Bible, then she opens the floodgates for anyone who will spread false doctrines in the Church. What to think of the open questions theory, Luther teaches in a letter to Melanchthon dates August 26, 1530: "We have no power to order or to tolerate in the Church of God and in Divine Service what cannot be proved with God's Word. If that should apply, then I simply want with this word easily to make all laws and ordinances of God into adiaphora. For if one allows an adiaphoron in God's Word, who will then fight that not everything would be kept as adiaphora?"133 For that to happen, one may take the interpretation of the first petition: "Where the Word of God is taught in its truth and purity, and we, as the children of God, also lead holy lives according to it. Help us to do this, dear Father in heaven! But anyone who teaches or lives contrary to God's Word profanes the name of God among us. Protect us from this, heavenly Father!" From this interpretation alone the whole theory of "open questions" is thrown to the ground. This theory is related to the papistic errors on the Church. If one in the Church would claim: "The forces of nature, for example electricity, are angels, but angels are not persons", how would we go about it there? Would we say: "Let him teach, because we find this doctrine not ecclesiastically fixed"? It would follow from this: Therefore we must not seek the Church according to the Bible, but the Bible in the Church; only to hear what the Church teaches in it. That would be a strong piece of popery. For the Church does not stand between Evangelical Lutheran Christians and the Bible. The Bible is not the moon which would first borrow its light from the sun-Church, but on the contrary: the church is the moon who must borrow its light from the sun-Bible. One should listen well to the Church in her judgment, but not allow himself bound from the outset. That is why our fathers say about the symbolic doctrines, they did not
132 133

less fundamental principles. XVI:1696.

accept them because they were contrived by theologians, but because they were firmly rooted in God's Word. Sometimes in the defense of the theory of open questions it is emphasized that it was taught in the Apology that false doctrine occurred even in the orthodox church, it must surely be tolerated; namely it therefore means: "'For no other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Christ.' Christians are now built on this foundation. And although now in the body, which is built on the true foundation, i.e., Christ and faith, there are many weak persons who build upon such foundation straw and hay, i.e., some human thoughts and opinions with which they neither overthrow nor reject the foundation, Christ, wherefore they nevertheless are Christians and are forgiven of such a fault, are even perhaps enlightened and better informed: therefore we see in the Fathers that even they have sometimes built straw and hay on the foundation, but they have thereby not overthrown the foundation. But many articles from our opponents knock down the true foundation, the knowledge of Christ and faith."134 Carpzov makes the important observation about this: "The Augsburg Confession does not lightly respect non-fundamental dogmas, but it merely says that it will be diminished in the weak."135 "In the weak" it says. But among the weak in a church fellowship should not include the preacher. It is important to know that our congregations are still orthodox even when errorists appear among them. But it still should not be said that one should tolerate preachers who cannot be certain in doctrine, or that one should guarantee them the right to be able to pay homage to their errors with impunity. Preachers who are so weak that they are not able to separate truth and error do not belong in the pulpit but below the pulpit, they should not preach but listen. The Fathers are mentioned in the citation from the Apology, thereby one should not view the Church as a sect in which there were Church Fathers who mixed several human thoughts and opinions under the doctrine of the Church. Even errorists from weakness are scattered in the orthodox church; but that does not take away the character of orthodoxy from a church fellowship, so long as the attitude prevails to dismiss the error, once one is convinced of his Scriptural adversity. An example from the Fathers is Augustine in his famous remark: Errare potero, haereticus esse non potero.136 Augustine gave credit to his weakness that he could be wrong; however, he gave confidence to his unfeigned faith that he would therefore not be wrong, that he would apostatize, in that he would be persistently holding fast to an error despite remitting, and that makes someone a heretic. If one appears in a church fellowship who preaches false doctrine and seeks to introduce [it] into the Church, then love for the Lord, love for the Church, love for false teachers themselves must impel the remaining members to witness and, if witness and exhortation are fruitless, for exclusion of the false teacher according to the remark of St. Paul: "Purge the evil person from among you."137 But if it is the case that an entire church fellowship should take up a false position in doctrine and tolerate error in
134 135

Article VII, German. Isag. p. 310. 136 I am able to err, but I am not a heretic. 137 1 Corinthians 5:13.

doctrines of faith and wanted to hold fast, then the individual member that has the better knowledge in this fellowship must correct not only false teachers, but also the entire fellowship, even if they should purge him over it, as the Roman Church did to Dr. Luther and the Jewish Synagogue to the apostle Paul. If such an erring fellowship or synod perhaps puts up with hearing testimony about their false position, but does not improve and does not dismiss the false position, then the concerned person must leave, first of all for the sake of the evil appearance that he would otherwise give; because everyone would think he must not sincerely still mean it, otherwise he could not remain in such a fellowship, yet it does not improve. Secondly, for the sake of the risk in which such a witness hangs in the balance. Every error is something very dangerous, and the continuing life in an ecclesiastical atmosphere pregnant with error dulls the conscience again little by little and will be thereby corrected by God that one finally again falls prey to error and hostility to the orthodox Church that one escaped. It is evident enough from the aforementioned [remarks] that doctrines of faith could never be "open questions". And if we are asked, we ought to recognize the theory of "open questions", then one does not demand of us the principle of the Lutheran Church, i.e. "Only Truth and no error!" But one demands the principle of the Union, which says: "Tolerate error next to the truth!" Thesis 15 There are many so-called Lutherans who think that a characteristic of the Reformed Church is strict discipline; and a characteristic of Lutherans is no or a very mild church discipline. But this is a fundamentally false view! We see concerning the exercise of church discipline how much Luther already considered it, that he said to the Swiss church discipline is better in Switzerland than in Germany at the Colloquium for Concord between the German and the Swiss churches held at Wittenberg in 1537. The reason why Luther did not press even more for implementation of church discipline in Germany is not because he would not have recognized the salutary [need] of church discipline, but the fact that he had such severe struggles for doctrine that it left him no time for the organization of the Church. He always complained that there was no church discipline. Though in the already cited passage against the Schwenkfeldians the truth of the Church is not dependent on church discipline, nevertheless it is dependent for the condition of a congregation. Is it not a terrible thing to want to impose on our church, she may think nothing of church discipline? Here we should also remember how hard Paul chastises the Corinthians because of their neglect of church discipline, so hard that he could hereafter hardly comfort them again. A congregation that has no church discipline sins heavily, and a larger church body should not bear to have congregations that do not want to practice church discipline. For the sake of the glory of God, the good of the entire Church, and individual souls, we should insist that she would practice church discipline and not let it be treated as something coming in on the side. Our Confessions unambiguously attest to this. It says in the Apology: "Thus in addition it is at all times reported about our preachers, that those who live in public vices, fornication, adultery, etc., should be banned and excluded."138

Article XI, Müller p. 165.

And in the Smalcald Articles: "The greater ban, as the Pope calls it, we consider as a worldly punishment, and it does not concern us servants of the Church. But the minor, that is the true Christian ban, is that one should not allow manifest, obstinate sinners to come to the Sacrament or other fellowship of the Church until they mend their ways and avoid sin." 139 Whoever has subscribed to our Symbolic Books has subscribed to both of these points. It is a great affliction when a congregation does not exercise church discipline. Johann Fecht140 also testifies how very necessary is the exercising of church discipline. Fecht is considered by many to be one such person who had pressed for less strict church discipline. "The whole building of the Church of Christ rests on two pillars: on the presentation of sound doctrine and on the implementation of church discipline. As that effects, as it were, the inner life of the Church, thus these rule the outer life of the Church. For the nature of men is so designed in this frailty, that it is not easily moved by the mere provision of good and is obtained in its duty, but that we also need here and there an external guiding or, when we have strayed, a censorship and punishment, whether it be gentler or more serious, and finally, when we are incorrigible, the cutting off from the whole body by exclusion. These acts are called, in a word, church discipline. The stricter the ancients were in church discipline, all the much more careless we have become in church discipline in the last days of the world. And this lack of discipline is the main cause of decay of our Church. This lack of discipline has already taken its beginning with the Reformation. Because since church discipline was previously exercised tyrannically often by the clergy, to the exclusion of other stands, and indeed at their convenience, usually in their own interests, we have fallen to the other extreme in the Reformation and have relinquished the preaching of the Word only to preachers and, what belongs to church discipline, only to the government. To allow government, in most places, meant to lose some of their rights, if ecclesiastical people had exercised a censorship either in the consistories or in any other manner. But where a shadow of discipline had remained, there the hands of ecclesiastical persons were bound by politicians, even in the consistories, that gradually no discipline at all could be practiced. Upright theologians of our Church have continually complained about our lack of this and desire the reintroduction of more strict discipline. J. Saubertus of Nürnberg especially has done this in a particular book in 1636 which he gave the title 'Discipline Booklet'. In its first part he proves such a high necessity for this discipline from both Holy Scripture as well as the constant practice of the ancient Church and from the public doctrine of our Symbolic Books. In another part he refutes 52 objections of politicians against this discipline. Finally he attaches in the preface approving testimonies of theologians living at that time: Chr. Schleupner, J. Gerhard, Joh. Schmid, J.M. Meyfart, J. Meelführer, Lor. Lälius, J.V. Andreä, G. König, J. Weber, etc. This little book all have praised who have written about church discipline since then, in particular Dannhauer in his theology of conscience."141 If church discipline would have remained ever and again in vogue in the Lutheran Church in Germany, then it would not now lie in ruins. And if we in this country let it be missing from it, then our church will fall away; yes, the corruption that followed the decline of church discipline in Germany would here be even more
139 140

SA III:IX, Müller p. 323. † 1760. 141 Instructio pastoral, p. 164ff.

terrible because most new immigrants come over in the belief that this would be the country that one could behave quite freely and must be told something more by no one. And what will become of our youth, when it perceives: one perhaps preaches strongly, but one exercises no discipline; then one makes them dull against pure doctrine; apart from the offense that one gives heterodox fellowships by failure of salutary discipline. A very important reason why church discipline should be practiced in every ecclesiastical fellowship is so that the preacher is not guilty of the misappropriation of the Sacrament of the Altar. Luther also teaches this: "It is quite true that wherever the preacher administers only bread and wine for the Sacrament, he is not very concerned about to whom he gives it, what they know or believe, or what they receive. There one sow feeds with the others, and such preachers simply see themselves above such caring. They would rather have uninstructed, ecstatic saints than have the care of nurturing Christians. Rather, they want to do things in such a way that after three years everything would be laid waste, and neither God nor Christ nor Sacrament nor Christians would remain anymore. However, because we are concerned about nurturing Christians who will still be here after we are gone, and because it is Christ's body and blood that are given out in the Sacrament, we will not and cannot give such a Sacrament to anyone unless he is first examined regarding what he has learned from the Catechism and whether he intends to forsake the sins which he has again committed. For we do not want to make Christ's church into a pig pen, letting each one come unexamined to the Sacrament as a pig to its trough. Such a church we leave to the Enthusiasts!"142 One can hardly suppose that a preacher, when he exercises no church discipline or the foundation of church discipline: announcing for confession, believes from the heart the true body and true blood of Christ are in Holy Communion. Every preacher who will practice church discipline must insist that everyone who wants to go to the Sacrament announces their intention to him not merely in order to let his name be written down, but also in order to give the opportunity to his cure of souls to be convinced whether the one announcing his intention 1. knows much about the saving counsel of God, in order to be saved; 2. whether he has the necessary knowledge of Holy Communion; 3. whether he lives like a Christian, and consequently his confession of works and mouth go together. Therefore, if we in the Synodical Conference want to be not merely dispensers, but stewards, then we must insist on personal announcing for confession. In order to provoke serious fidelity in demanding and utilizing the institution of announcing for confession, one must not lose sight of the fact that if we allow people to go to the Lord's Supper in their sins, then we encourage them in their sins and thereby make ourselves partakers in their sins. And we need a spur in order to resist the sloth of our flesh in these parts. For as, on the one hand, our flesh is presumptuous and eager to want to discover what we should not explore and to judge the heart afterwards: on the other hand, it is discouraged that it does not want to explore what it should explore and to judge in the Name of God afterwards. However, one often encounters resistance especially with announcing for confession. But no one should take courage in this, especially when we consider that people often from foreign countries do not want to put up with that, yes, are even warned of pastors, such as, e.g., a preacher in Germany

"An Open Letter".

had instructed his penitent migrating to America, regarding his faith, not to have it explored or examined by preachers in America, and had given him as a reason for this: "The apostle [Paul] says, 'Let every man examine himself'143, therefore one should not allow his faith examined by any other man." Church discipline is certainly necessary as a part of the Law in order to compel flesh and blood, this will not be done by the Gospel, as even the Formula of Concord teaches: "For the old Adam, as an intractable, refractory ass, is still a part of them, which must be coerced to the obedience of Christ, not only by the teaching, admonition, force and threatening of the Law, but also oftentimes by the club of punishments and troubles, until the body of sin is entirely put off."144 In the house there is then only good when the father keeps and exercises discipline; a state can only prosper if with all earnestness in it is held that the laws are obeyed and transgressors are held accountable. Thus, a congregation and a larger church body only then come to flower when doctrinal discipline and life discipline are maintained among the members of the Church. However, while brotherly admonition must go into vogue, congregational members must also receive admonition, as is evident from the saying of Christ: "If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone."145 Each [act of] church discipline that does not start with brotherly admonition is wrong. Luther also claimed this in the following passage: "What hinders excommunication now at our time? Nothing but that in this matter no one does what is right for a Christian. You have a neighbor whose life and walk are well known to you but are either not at all known or not so well known to your pastor. For how can he know everyone's life in detail, how it is? So if you see that your neighbor is getting rich by unrighteous business or trade; see that he is practicing immorality or adultery or that he is lazy and negligent in raising and governing his household; you should first admonish and warn him in a Christian way so that he would pay attention to his salvation and avoid offense. And, oh, what a very good and blessed work you have done if you gain him in this way! But, dear fellow, who does it? For, in the first place, truth is a hostile thing. People get angry at anyone who speaks the truth. So you prefer to retain your neighbor's friendship and favor, especially if he is rich and powerful, rather than to anger him and make him your enemy. The same if the second, third, and fourth neighbor also do so, so that the second and third admonitions also fall into the well with the first one, through which the neighbor could have been brought to the right way again if only you had done your duty and obligation in admonishing."146 From this point, we see also that not only manifest usurers, fornicators, adulterers and drunkards fall under church discipline, because they live in such sins that the world also holds as disgraceful, but also those who live in sin are reproved only in the church, as if one sees that his fellow brother holds no divine service at home or does not resist evil in his family, etc. Every faithful pastor in a new congregation must thereupon lay the foundation for church discipline,
143 144

1 Corinthians 11:28. SD VI:24. 145 Matthew 18:15a. 146 1 On Joel 3:17, W VI:2404f. ET in Pastoral Theology by C.F.W. Walther, p. 238.

that he encourages his people to receive admonition in secret. He should not reconcile himself with the idea that he wants to exercise his admonitions and church discipline alone. That is not Lutheran, but Papist. For it is in our Confessions: "But the true way in this matter would be to observe the order according to the Gospel, Matt. 18:15, where Christ says: 'If thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone.' Here you have a precious and excellent teaching for governing well the tongue, which is to be carefully observed against this detestable misuse. Let this, then, be your rule, that you do not too readily spread evil concerning your neighbor and slander him to others, but admonish him privately that he may amend. Likewise, also, if someone report to you what this or that one has done, teach him, too, to go and admonish him personally, if he have seen it himself; but if not, that he hold his tongue. The same you can learn also from the daily government of the household. For when the master of the house sees that the servant does not do what he ought, he admonishes him personally. But if he were so foolish as to let the servant sit at home, and went on the streets to complain of him to his neighbors, he would no doubt be told: 'You fool, what does that concern us? Why do you not tell it to him?' Behold, that would be acting quite brotherly, so that the evil would be stayed, and your neighbor would retain his honor. As Christ also says in the same place: 'If he hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.' Then you have done a great and excellent work; for do you think it is a little matter to gain a brother? Let all monks and holy orders step forth, with all their works melted together into one mass, and see if they can boast that they have gained a brother."147 One must show people that this is in our Confessions, because they are not at all encouraged to brotherly punishment in Germany; so that they understand that we demand nothing except what our Confessions teach if their pastors have withheld it from them. Also attention was drawn to the third fundamental of church discipline, namely congregational assemblies. A closer representation (e.g. the church council or congregational board) is perhaps not precisely against God's Word; but it is Scriptural that the congregation itself take charge of the management of their affairs and especially church discipline, and for this their preacher should instruct them. For this purpose, the following citation from Luther was read: "The third kind of service should be a truly evangelical order and should not be held in a public place for all sorts of people. But those who want to be Christians in earnest and who profess the gospel with hand and mouth should sign their names and meet alone in a house somewhere to pray, to read, to baptize, to receive the sacrament, and to do other Christian works. According to this order, those who do not lead Christian lives could be known, reproved, corrected, cast out, or excommunicated, according to the rule of Christ, Matthew 18:15-17. Here one could also solicit benevolent gifts to be willingly given and distributed to the poor, according to St. Paul’s example, 2 Corinthians 9:1-2, 12. Here would be no need of much and elaborate singing... In short, if one had the kind of people and persons who wanted to be Christians in earnest, the rules and regulations would soon be ready. But as yet I neither can nor desire to begin such a congregation or assembly or to make rules for it. For I have not yet the people or persons for it, nor do I see many who want it. But if I should be requested to do it and

LC I:276-278.

could not refuse with a good conscience, I should gladly do my part and help as best I can. In the meanwhile the two above-mentioned orders of service must suffice. And to train the young and to call and attract others to faith, I shall—besides preaching—help to further such public services for the people, until Christians who earnestly love the Word find each other and join together. For if I should try to make it up out of my own need, it might turn into a sect. For we Germans are a rough, rude, and reckless people, with whom it is hard to do anything, except in cases of dire need.148 One sees from this: establishing the order of the congregation, as it now exists in Germany, is determined only for a mission church according to Luther's view; but whose goal should be the right kind of evangelical order in which one could know, reprove, correct, cast out, or excommunicate those who do not lead Christian lives according to the rule of Christ in Matthew 18. Also one must hold to the following, that a congregational assembly is held not merely every year or six months, in order to carry out elections and the like: otherwise little of the care of the congregation will be in this respect. In school and in confirmation instruction it should be inculcated to the children, in addition to why a congregation is there, namely in order to preach God's Word, to monitor each other and, as St. Paul writes to the Thessalonians, to build up one another. Synods should provide opportunity by establishing the institution of visitation, to be able to watch over it, that church discipline goes in vogue in congregations and that the poor would be strengthened in that respect by the respective preachers. For the consolation of those preachers who can be serious in parts of discipline, but it cannot yet be implemented in all of its stages, in particular in new congregation, it should not be forgotten that for lack of church discipline carried out in all parts a congregation does not cease to be a Lutheran [congregation]. Church discipline is not as necessary as the Gospel and therefore a congregation is not to bring the Gospel by impetuous insistence on church discipline because God does not make salvation dependent upon the fulfillment of the commandments. We usually get most people from the outside who know nothing of church discipline and therefore do not even want it. Should we let these people down? Certainly not! Certainly the nearby preachers, before the congregation convenes, should instruct them in the subject of registering for Holy Communion; but only if a congregation would explain from the outset they absolutely would not comply in the handling of church discipline, one should not accept it or only serve as a mission post without the Supper. But if this is not the case, then a preacher should not refuse such people, but serve them as a congregation and first of all do what he can, i.e., he should not merely stain his conscience by saying that he does not do what he can. However, what a preacher in a congregation can always do and therefore should do, Luther teaches in the following point: "Yet at this time we have set up no other excommunication that that those who live in manifest vices and will not give them up are not admitted to the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ. And that can be preserved in this way that among us the Sacrament is administered to no one unless he has first been heard by a pastor or deacon. We also cannot see how another excommunication can be set up at this time.

Luther, M. (1999). Vol. 53: Luther's works, vol. 53: Liturgy and Hymns (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald & H. T. Lehmann, Ed.) (63-64). Philadelphia: Fortress Press.

For many matters occur which require a cognitio.149 We cannot now see how the cognitio should be arranged and organized."150 Every preacher has the right of suspension or the denial of Holy Communion according to the saying of Christ: "Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs."151 No man, no creature, can steal this right from us, it is the conditio sine qua non152 of pastoral care. If Luther says he has not introduced church discipline in order not to make heathens, then he will say: He would not be divisive by penetrating to the same cause. We have no reason now to fear this: for we cannot divide the church, she is already split. How Luther thereby consoled himself whether the lack of church discipline in the strict sense of the word, that at least he had doctrinal discipline, we hear from the following words of his: "But if we cannot excommunicate [because of] sin in life [because people would not tolerate it], yet we excommunicate [because of] sin in doctrine. We have nevertheless retained this excommunication that we say: one should not hear Anabaptists, Sacramentarians, and other heretics but [should] excommunicate and separate them from us. That is the most important part. For where the doctrine is false, the life cannot be improved. but where the doctrine remains pure and is retained, there one can give sinners good advice about life. For there one has Absolution and forgiveness when it comes to doctrine. But if the doctrine is gone, one will go astray and find neither binding nor loosing. For then it is all lost." 153 The following quote from Luther's works testifies that the authorities were often guilty, that church discipline in Luther's time came not so much in vogue: "Where [the authority] of the church hinders censorship and correction, and will encourage excommunication, as Christ has instituted and commanded it, neither allow nor let go, therefore fosters and helps for offenses: there she as God's servant will be bondservant of the wretched devil in hell." 154 After it was still being highlighted that synods should not practice church discipline for their congregations; that Matthew 18 does not merely mean discipline of life, but also doctrinal discipline in the congregation; that the "comes into vogue and exercise" as much as to say: is pursued with all zeal and vigor, one proceeded over to discuss Thesis 16 When it says in the thesis: "that every Lutheran synod in its part uses all diligence" etc, then it does not mean that every Lutheran synod must have its own seminary and teacher training school; no, they should take part wherever possible in the work of educating orthodox preachers and teachers. It is contradictory to the confession and is a gross piece of Unionism if Lutheran synods call their preachers and teachers from United seminaries rather than from Lutheran institutions. It is positively frivolous to allow vagabonding teachers in Lutheran schools, and to entrust the souls of the poor children to vagabonding subjects while we, as we should, warn about visits to the local state schools on the part of Lutheran children.
149 150

Investigation and decision by a formal court. Letters, ed. de Wette (Berlin, 1827), IV:388. ET in Pastoral Theology by C.F.W. Walther, p. 235. 151 Matthew 7:6. 152 Indispensible condition. 153 On Matthew 18:18; Erlangen Ed. XLIV, 94f. ET in Pastoral Theology by C.F.W. Walther, p. 237. 154 On Joel 3:17, Walch Ed. VI:2406.

The importance of the thesis in question was brought to light beside the history of the Lutheran Church in this country. The decline of the Lutheran Church in America at the beginning of this century can be attributed in large part to the lack of training of her preachers. Once the Lutheran Church had a good beginning under blessed Pastor Mühlenberg servants of God, America was supplied with Lutheran pastors from Halle. However, the outbreak of the Napoleonic Wars has interrupted the further sending of pastors. Hartwick Seminary, the oldest Lutheran seminary in America, was founded in 1815 and the Gettysburg Seminary was founded in 1826. Apart from the false doctrine that was presented in them, these seminaries could only provide a poor education and could not send into the field the required number of preachers. Due to the latter reason, some older preachers then took young people to themselves, instructed them and sent them, provided with a license from the synod, into office, in order to let them be further trained practically and, after they had proven themselves, engage them as a proper pastor. Therefore, there was then capable, faithful Lutheran preachers, and as now all now completely comprehended Methodism and Rationalism, then the Lutheran church declined in very many places. The best Lutheran synod in previous times in this country still has been the Tennessee Synod. She has followed the strange principle to have no seminary, but has let the individual preachers train young men for service in the vineyard of the Lord. The result has been that even this Synod has passed away. Only in recent times she seems to show some life in her again, in that members of her remembered to undertake the training of pastors in their own seminary. Luther thus testifies about the thesis in question: "So I can by no means commend the Waldensian Brethren for their neglect of the languages. For even though they may teach the truth, they inevitably often miss the true meaning of the text, and thus are neither equipped nor fit for defending the faith against error.... [T]hey may lead saintly lives and teach sacred things among themselves, but so long as they remain without the languages they cannot but lack what all the rest lack, namely, the ability to treat Scripture with certainty and thoroughness and to be useful to other nations. Because they could do this, but will not, they have to figure out for themselves how they will answer for it to God."155 Without academically educated preachers, a larger church fellowship cannot exist in the long run. We need colleges or Latin schools. The three ancient languages, Latin, Greek and Hebrew, in which was written on the cross: "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews", are necessary; namely Latin, because the greatest treasures of knowledge of the Church are set forth in it; Greek, because the New Testament was originally written in it; Hebrew, because Moses and the prophets have composed the Old Testament in it. While not every preacher must be proficient in these languages; yes, one who has not learned them is often a better preacher than another who has studied them; but the church, as such, cannot do without classically educated preachers, and if a church fellowship will do nothing in this respect, then she digs her own grave. With the expression: "It stands in precise connection with the help" it should be cautioned that one should not hope in an enthusiastic manner God will keep His Church without means, without colleges! No! The Methodists should be also therein a

Luther, M. (1999). Vol. 45: Luther's works, vol. 45 : The Christian in Society II (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald & H. T. Lehmann, Ed.) (366). Philadelphia: Fortress Press.

cautionary tale to us, who always wanted nothing to do with the education and scholarliness of preachers and thought "The Spirit! The Spirit!" must form preachers and Latin schools were despicable. But they have to learn to sing another song and now also have colleges.