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What Does It Mean to be Lutheran Today?
Laurence L. White

The Lutheran Concerns Association
Itasca, Illinois
April 3, 1997

I. Introduction
Our topic - What Does It Mean To Be Lutheran Today - is inspired by a little book by Dr. Herman Sasse entitled Was Heisst Lutherisch? The German original was first published in 1934 and the book was subsequently published in English as Here We Stand (1937). The goal of Sasse's monograph was to delineate the essential nature of one of the great confessional churches of Christendom (Sasse, p. x) at a time when Lutheranism in Germany found itself locked in a stern struggle for existence (Sasse, p.16). Dr. Sasse was convinced that there was a real possibility that the history of the Lutheran Church in Germany, the great homeland of the Reformation, might be nearing its end (Sasse, p. 16). Sasse correctly concluded that the Lutheran Church was being called upon to define and defend her right to exist in the face of two fundamental challenges to her continued existence. On the one hand, German Lutheranism was imperiled by the Kirchenkampf - the Church Struggle - confronting the malignant evil of national socialism and the idolatrous demands of a totalitarian state. 1934 was, of course, the year of the famous Barmen Declaration, in which leaders of the protestant confessing church publicly declared their opposition to the demands of the Nazi worldview. Herman Sasse was one of a small handful Christian thinkers, who recognized the total incompatibility of Christianity and the ideology of the Third Reich. He was a determined foe of the Nazis from the very beginning, and played a leading role in the theological discussions that led to the Barmen Synod. Yet, at the last hour, he found himself unable to support the Declaration itself because of its failure to recognize the confessional distinctives of the Lutheran and Reformed traditions. Church historian Klaus Scholder, while firmly disagreeing with Sasse's action, offers grudging respect for the consistency of a strict Lutheran for whom theological problems were more important than political problems (II, p. 144). On the other hand, Sasse recognized that Lutheranism was also threatened by Reformed theology which had always been susceptible to unionism and was being re-energized by Barthian neo-orthodoxy. It was, in fact this second threat to which Sasse directs his attention in >Was Heisst Lutherisch? The bulk of the book offers a clear delineation of the essential incompatibility of Lutheran and Reformed theology.

I am convinced that once again Lutheranism finds itself engaged in a stern struggle for existence. As in 1934, so also in 1997, the threat which confronts us is both theological and cultural. If we fail to recognize the nature of the struggle in which we are engaged and fail to meet the challenge of these days then we too face the distinct possibility that the history of the Lutheran Church in our country might be nearing its end. In the limited time available to us this morning and without the advantage of a presenter even remotely comparable to Dr. Sasse and his encyclopedic knowledge of the history and theology of Christendom, we will briefly attempt to define the essence of Lutheranism and summarize a few of the challenges which confront us as Lutherans today.

II. The Essential Nature of Lutheranism
The Lutheran Reformation was a rediscovery of the pure Gospel as the message of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ to a degree that had never been reached since the days of the New Testament. Sasse writes: the Reformation was a renovation of the church brought about by the rediscovery and renewed proclamation of the pure doctrine of the Gospel of the forgiveness of sins (Sasse, p. 61). The insight that the Reformation was renovation not innovation is critically important for a proper understanding of the nature of Lutheranism. Lutherans saw themselves as members of the catholic, that is, universal church in the strictest sense of the term, and identified with the orthodox church in all times and places. Thus Conclusion to the Augsburg Confession declares:

Nothing has been received among us, in doctrine or in ceremonies, that is contrary to Scripture or to the church catholic (contra scripturam aut ecclesiam catholicam). For it is manifest that we have guarded diligently against the introduction into our churches of any new or ungodly doctrines.

Sasse declares:

The Lutheran theologian acknowledges that he belongs to the same visible church to which Thomas Aquinas and Bernard of Clairvaux, Augustine and Tertullian, Athanasius and Ireneas once belonged. The orthodox evangelical church is the legitimate continuation of the medieval Catholic Church, not the Church of the Council of Trent and the Vatican Council, which renounced evangelical truth when they rejected the Reformation. (Sasse, p. 102)

The Lutheran Church was born of a love for the truth of God and an unshakable conviction that God has revealed that truth in His Word. Sasse writes:

Those men of the Age of Orthodoxy excelled the men of our age in at least one respect. They knew one thing which modern man does not know and does not care to know. They knew that as individuals and as nations, we literally live by truth and literally die by falsehood. Hence they never shared the cold skepticism and wearied resignation of modern relativism, which holds that there are only relative truths, no absolute truths, and that it consequently does not pay to wrestle for the truth. Nor, with a bold "will to believe" did they have to satisfy themselves with half-truth or second-hand truth in order to have some ground on which to stand. Their quest after truth, their struggling for the truth, was conditioned, moreover, by the conviction that there is One who is Truth in person; One who said to the truth-seekers of all ages, "Everyone that is of the truth heareth My voice" (John 8:37,); One who promised His church on earth that His Holy Spirit would guide it into all truth (Sasse, p. 89).

When the great composer, Felix Mendelssohn, was asked why he who had been born a Jew wrote the magnificent Reformation Symphony, he responded: In those days, men had convictions; we moderns have opinions! Hence the Lutheran Church, above all other churches, is a church that is passionately concerned about the teaching of the truth and firmly committed to guarding against the devil's wiles and false teaching. That is to say, the Lutheran Church is, by its very nature, a confessional church - a church that exists for one reason and one reason only, for the sake of the faithful proclamation of the pure doctrine of the Gospel in all of its articles. Of course, historically, that has also been true of other churches which adopt and then conscientiously attempt to live by confessional statements. But in no other church has confessional responsibility ever been so clearly and emphatically determinative. The Lutheran Church is the confessional church par excellence!

Lutheranism has never defined itself in terms of polity, piety, or popularity, unlike both Rome and Geneva. Lutheranism is not a matter of institutional loyalty or denominational affiliation. It is, and must always be, a matter of doctrine. Dr. Theodore Schmauk affirms confessional principle as the essential characteristic of the Lutheran Church:

She is the church who stakes all on bearing witness. Her office is one of public proclamation and confession of the Truth, as it is in Christ Jesus. The preaching of God's Word, pure and as given in Scripture, is her central activity... She is here to proclaim and apply God's Word in Scripture, sermon, and sacrament. She is the church of faithful, regular, and continuous witness to the Truth. Hence the source of her witness, the Word; the standard of her witness, the Confessions; are central; and she is willing - as indeed she must be, if she wishes to live - to abide by and uphold her confessional principle. (Schmauk, p.13)

When the Lutheran Church formally declared its existence in 1530, with the presentation of the Augsburg Confession, it had no structure, no episcopal or synodical organization or officials to represent it. But it did have a confession, a doctrinal position. In response to the imperial summons, the confessors at Augsburg fearlessly declared:

Wherefore, in dutiful obedience to your imperial majesty, we offer and present a confession of our pastors and preachers teaching and of our own faith, setting forth how and in what manner, on the basis of the Holy Scriptures, these things are preached, taught, communicated, and embraced in our land, principalities, cities, dominions, and territories.

Dr. Sasse offers this eloquent definition of the nature of Lutheran confessionalism with typically Teutonic thoroughness:

The loyalty of the Evangelical Lutheran Church is accounted for by these experiences. We are faithful to this church, not because it is the church of our Fathers, but because it is the church of the Gospel; not because it is the church of Luther, but because it is the church of Jesus Christ. If it became something else, if its teaching were something other than a correct exposition of the plain Word of God it would no longer be our church...Nor is it the Evangelical Lutheran Church, as a separate church is Christendom that matters. The moment it becomes anything else than the stand on which the lamp which alone is the light upon our path, it becomes a sect and must disappear. We would not be Lutheran if we did not believe this! Since this is the character of Lutheran confessionalism, it is in harmony with the breadth of genuine ecumenical feeling. We are confident that the Evangelical Lutheran Church which is faithful to its Confessions is truly the Church of Jesus Christ; that its office of teaching the Gospel and administering the Sacraments is an office instituted by Jesus Christ; and that it is effectual by reason of the institution and commandment of Jesus Christ, even if it is exercised by weak and sinful men; that Christ, the Lord is really and personally present in the Word and Sacraments of our church, and that the communion of saints, the fellowship justified sinners, is built up in our midst by this Word and Sacraments. (Sasse, p. 173)

This is the essential nature of Lutheranism as it has been since its inception. It does not change, it cannot change; for the Gospel which is the substance of our confession does not and cannot change.

The primacy of that Gospel is the basic theological concept which dominates the whole teaching of the Lutheran Church and clearly distinguishes it from the Reformed. For Lutherans, the Gospel is the message of the sinner's justification - the gracious promise of the forgiveness of sins for Christ's sake. Without the light of the Gospel, the Holy Scriptures cannot be properly understood. The Doctrine of Justification is, as the Confessions note, the key which alone opens the door to the whole Bible (Sasse, p. 112). The proper distinction between Law and Gospel is the crucial question which has always separated the Lutheran Church from the Reformed. For Lutherans the Gospel, the saving message of the sinner's justification, is first and foremost - proprium suum officium, the real work, the first purpose of Christ; while the proclamation of the Law, which damns and condemns the sinner, is an alienum opus, a strange or foreign work, a secondary purpose, which prepares the way for and serves the cause of the Gospel. This distinction between Law and Gospel is, in Luther's view, the most important thing to know in Christianity (Sasse, p. 114). The Formula of Concord declares: The distinction between the Law and the Gospel is to be maintained in the church as an especially brilliant light, whereby, according to the admonition of St. Paul, the Word of God may be rightly divided. The theological and practical implications of this distinction are enormous, as C.F.W. Walther has masterfully demonstrated in his classic Law and Gospel. Yet it is precisely at this point that Wittenberg and Geneva decisively part company with one another. The individual doctrinal differences which separate Lutheranism and Calvinism - on the nature of faith, predestination, the nature and structure of the church, and the real presence of the body and blood of Christ in the Sacrament - all flow from our basic disagreement on Law and Gospel. For Calvin and his heirs, Christ is not only a Savior but also a Lawgiver. Karl Barth, speaking for the Reformed tradition, contends:

The Law takes its place alongside the Gospel on the same footing and as apart of the selfsame eternal treasure. The demand for repentance stands on the same level with absolution, sanctification with justification, harmonizing in the same act of revelation and reconciliation. (Sasse, p. 112,113)

In consequence, the Gospel becomes a new law; faith is turned into obedience; Christianity is reduced to moralism; and sanctification ultimately takes priority over justification. The church is no longer a community of believers, which owes its existence solely to the Lord who is truly present and active in Word and Sacrament. Instead, it is transformed into a community of believers and obeyers which owes its existence not only to Christ, but also to us - the result of who we are and what we do. The Formula of Concord sternly warns - Thereby the Gospel is again changed into a teaching of the Law, the merit of Christ and the Holy Scriptures are obscured, Christians are robbed of their true comfort, and the doors are again opened to the papacy.

For Lutherans this Gospel, the precious promise by which God opens His whole heart to the sinner in Christ, must be first and foremost. Sasse contends: The entire church life of old Lutheranism, the message of its preaching and teaching, its liturgy and its classic hymnody, give one great testimony to this understanding of the Gospel. (Sasse, p. 117). This emphasis on the primacy of the Gospel is the essence from which the vitality, dynamic power, and ecumenicity of Lutheranism is derived.

III. Challenges We Face Today
As previously noted, Herman Sasse wrote Was Heisst Lutherisch? in 1934. This was a time when the continued existence of Lutheranism in Germany was threatened both culturally and theologically. American Lutheranism, and specifically we in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, are presently engaged in a similarly stem struggle for existence. Once again the threat is both cultural and theological.

A. Modem Evangelicalism/Church Growth
While the influence of classic Calvinism has waned on the American religious scene, its Ariminian step-child has flourished, growing by leaps and bounds. The most significant development in American Christianity in the last half of the 20th century is the emergence of what is euphemistically called evangelicalism. This theological black hole of doctrinally indifferent, man- centered, feeling founded, consumer oriented religion threatens to swallow up Lutheran and Calvinist, liberal and conservative alike. Within our circles we tend to refer to this generic Christian consumerism under the heading of the Church Growth Movement. The problem, however, is much more pervasive than Fuller Seminary and its impact on the LCMS. David Wells offers this perceptive critique of the state of evangelical theology in his recent book, No Place For the Truth:

It is this God, majestic and holy in His being, this God whose love knows no bounds because His holiness knows no limits, who has disappeared from the modern evangelical world. He has been replaced in many quarters by a God who is slick and slack, whose moral purposes turn out to be friendly advice that we can disregard or negotiate as we see fit, whose Word is a plaything for those who wish merely to listen to themselves, whose church is a mall in which the religious, their pockets filled with the coin of need, do their business. We seek happiness, not righteousness. We want to be fulfilled, not filled. We are interested in satisfaction, not a holy dissatisfaction with all that is wrong. This is why we need reformation rather than revival. The habits of the modern world now so ubiquitous in the evangelical world, need to be put to death not given new life. They need to be rooted out, not simply papered over with fresh religious enthusiasm. And they are by this point so invincible that nothing less than the intrusion of God in his grace, nothing less than a full recovery of his truth, will suffice. (Wells, p. 300)

Dr. Michael Horton, in a fascinating book entitled Made in America, the Shaping of Modem American Evangelicalism contends that the problem is cultural accommodation. He traces the origin of this crisis of truth within the church to the same forces of individualism, pragmatism, relativism, and hedonism, which have shaped American culture as a whole. What has happened is that instead of transforming the world we have been transformed by it. Horton outlines the progression as follows:

We can see how each of the philosophical characteristics of American religion build on each other. First we declared independence from all sovereigns, including God, and established a religion, as well as a culture "of the people, for the people, and by the people." The democratic God celebrated by the American people was a civil servant who was elected by the people to serve their interests. The biblical God was told he could remain in our company only so long as he stayed on the sidelines and served as a public mascot - not as an umpire, nor even as a player, but as a mascot. Then, pragmatism demanded that God serve not only as a mascot, but also as a bellhop. God had to work and his own revelation had to meet the approval of utilitarian interests...And now, human centered religion takes another step toward supposed autonomy by demanding that God be a product too... In this consumer religion Christianity becomes trivialized Its great mysteries become cheap slogans. Its majestic hymns are traded for shallow jingles, often sung off the image from an overhead projector, much like an advertising executive uses to sell a client on an ad campaign. And its parishioners, now unashamedly called audiences, have come to expect dazzling testimonies, happy anecdotes, and fail-proof schemes for successful living that will satiate spiritual consumption. (Horton, p.64,70)

He grimly warns that the day is coming when the bright lights will burn out and the superchurches are turned into warehouses (Horton, p.71) because what is being offered to modem man is not the Biblical Gospel of salvation in Christ.

Given the confessional nature of the Lutheran Church, and its clear focus on the primacy of the Gospel, we Lutherans ought to have been particularly resistant to this perversion of authentic Christianity. Unfortunately that has not proven to be the case. The appeal of success, of pews full of bodies and budgets full of bucks has proven to be irresistibly attractive even to conservative Lutherans. And so we indulge in glib distinctions between style and substance to maintain the illusion that nothing has changed while in fact we have bartered our precious legacy of confessional faithfulness for a porridge bowl of transitory worldly success.

B. lnstitutionalism/Legalism
Our old evil Foe is a past master at twisting blessings into banes. We would do well to be mindful of that reality as we celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. The transition from the confessional principle of Lutheranism to the realities of denominational structure and practice is fraught with difficulty. Four years ago Dr. Erling Teigen presented a thoughtful essay at this conference exploring the thesis that: The idea of conservatism as an ideological stance in the spiritual realm is antithetical, or at least inimical, to Lutheran Confessionalism. (Teigen, p.7) He characterized conservatives as those who place a high value on the status quo, are disinclined to rock the boat, and tend to preserve existing power structures. Teigen observed:

While conservatism may be construed as a desire to preserve that which is good, it doesn't necessarily work that way. The fundamental nature of conservatism is to preserve power structures, and status quo. That, in fact, is the fundamental nature of any bureaucracy, and not any less of church bureaucracies. The Chureaucrat has to preserve the power structure within which he intends to function, for without the trappings of power, he is lost. Business and bureaucracy are fundamentally conservative in that sense, and the more our church leadership pattern themselves after the business world, the more conservative they will become. To think of ourselves in terms of "conservative" strikes me then as dangerous and a stance that has taken us down the wrong path. (Teigen, p.9)

Confessionalism, in distinction to conservatism, is dynamic, not static - ready to make radical change - constantly evaluating teachings and teachers in terms of the Biblical and confessional standard.

The evolution of the LCMS over the past fifty years from a confessional church body in which the preservation of genuine doctrinal unity was the first priority to a conservative church body in which the preservation of institutional unity is the first priority seems to demonstrate the validity of Teigen's thesis. That same contrast can be readily observed in the patient pastoral leadership of our synodical president whose efforts to reassert the confessional nature of the Synod have been opposed and often frustrated by administrators and power-brokers throughout the synodical structure. In many ways Dr. Barry exemplifies the qualities of Missouri's earlier years when we were content to walk together governed only by the power of the Word of God and convincing - when our leaders were chosen because of their commitment to the Word of God. At that point, we did not seek leaders who were razzle-dazzle administrators or men with special management skills but humble pastors who loved the Lord, His Word, and His people - men who were well versed in the doctrine of the Lutheran Church and absolutely committed to that doctrine. Writing in 1896, Dr. Franz Pieper, expressed Missouri's unique perspective:

Our entire synodical arrangement has the very opposite purpose. Through it we work to assist one another so that the Word of God and nothing but the Word of God rules in our midst. The Visitors see to it that in their circuits everything is done in the congregations according to God's Word; the District Presidents have a similar duty in the entire district, and the synodical president in the entire Synod. Therefore also we elect as visitors and presidents, not people who are perhaps clever with documents or are better versed than others in our Svnodical Handbook, but people who are welI experienced in God's Word and are better able than others clearly to present and apply it in reference to existing circumstances. The supervising offices established by our synodical order are not to supplement God's Word, but serve God's Word, so that it - God's Word - might hold sway... The church structure of the Synod should not be erected as a rule alongside of and ultimately over the Word of God but the entire structure of the Synod must serve the one and only rule of the Word of God (Pieper, p. 40-41).

Our increasing dependence upon handbooks, bylaws, and human regulations is indicative of our decreasing dependence upon and confidence in the Word of God. Pieper warns that the cry for ever stronger government within the church and greater power for church officials is symptomatic of a fundamental misunderstanding of the church's nature and purpose. He noted that this misunderstanding has led to a long line of false church governments from the papacy to the American Synods with legislative powers. (Pieper, p.45)

Institutional conservatism leads to legalism, coercion, and endless struggles for denominational power. At the same time, it stifles the confessional impulse and turns our attention inward upon ourselves and our own intramural battles. The fathers of our Synod were confessional ecumenists - without any of the unsavory connotations which attach to the concept of ecumenism today. Their aversion to unionism and syncretism is renown. Their unwillingness to compromise or water down Lutheran doctrine was absolute. Yet they maintained a lively awareness of and interest in theological developments throughout Lutheranism and Christendom. They were ready and eager to break new ground in finding ways for substantive doctrinal discussion - constantly pursuing opportunities to offer the good confession. They founded church publications like Der Lutheraner and Lehre und Wehre in which doctrine was fearlessly, forthrightly, and constantly discussed. They organized free conferences and participated in theological discussions throughout the United States. They were initiators and innovators, aggressively advancing the faith once delivered to the saints, They recognized that their confessional obligation did not allow them to withdraw into their own parochial little world. They were also fully cognizant of the fact that the history of Christendom did begin in 1847 and that they were part of a broad stream of orthodox teaching and practice that stretched back across the centuries.

In my personal experience that attitude of confessional ecumenism was uniquely personified by Dr. Robert Preus - in an unshakable commitment to the historic doctrine of Lutheranism - in a worldwide vision that spanned continents and denominational boundaries with a resolve to confess the truth of God. When a question of doctrine or practice was posed to Dr. Preus, the answer never came in the form of legalistic hairsplitting or diplomatic doubletalk - the answer was always theology, pure, powerful, wonderful theology. Our Synod's disgraceful treatment of this great man of God - that which was done and that which was tolerated - is a profoundly tragic illustration of the difference between confessionalism and institutional conservatism. As Missouri celebrates her 150th anniversary, the distinction is one we would do well to ponder.

C. Cultural Disengagement
I would like to brief address one final challenge which confronts us as confessional Lutherans today. Unlike the others which have been discussed, this challenge comes not from inside the church but from the culture in which we live.

The failure of the Lutheran Church in Germany to recognize and oppose the evil of National Socialism is a tragedy that has done much to discredit Lutheranism in the eyes of the world. The popular myth, endlessly repeated, is that this failure was the direct result of the Lutheran doctrine of the two kingdoms. The falsehood of that myth should be evident to anyone who actually understands Lutheran theology. The specific demonstration of that falsehood is beyond the scope of today's presentation. For us it must suffice to listen again to the words of Dr. Herman Sasse, one of the few who courageously opposed Hitler and his henchmen from the very beginning. Sasse's opposition to Nazism is all the more significant in that it was explicitly confessional. It was Sasse's contention that not Lutheran theology, but a Lutheran Church which had watered down and abandoned its theology, which fell prey to Nazism.

No, it was not Lutheranism as such, but a sick Lutheranism that gave National Socialism an open door into the church. It was a Lutheran Church which was no longer capable of standing guard over the souls of its people because it had fallen asleep itself. It had lost its power over demons because it no longer possessed the power of distinguishing between "spirits"... We have noble families in which the grandfathers were conservative and confessional Lutherans; the fathers were German nationalists and members of the Union Church; and the sons are members of the SS. (Herman; p.50,51)

It is, of course, a great deal easier to look back over sixty years of history and condescendingly conclude what people should have done then, than it is to decide what we ought to be doing now surrounded by bewildering and often contradictory trends within our own culture. Be that as it may, the negative experience of German Lutheranism ought to at least indicate the peril of confessional disengagement from the culture in which we live. I would submit to you that recognition of and response to trends within the culture is an important part of our confessional obligation. The Lutheran doctrine of the two kingdoms affirms the Lordship of God over every dimension of human life while insisting that God has chosen to rule differently within the two kingdoms. In the kingdom of the left hand, the political realm, He rules by reason and the sword. In the kingdom of the right hand, the spiritual realm, He rules by the power of His Word.

We live in a culture that is self-destructing - reverting to barbarism and chaos. The most basic standards of human decency are being cast aside in the mindless pursuit of the immediate gratification of our every desire. Violence fills our streets because we lack the moral will to distinguish between right and wrong and then to appropriately punish the wrongdoer. We sanction the vilest perversion as acceptable alternate lifestyle while pestilence stalks the land. At the festering core of the moral disease which infects America, is the horror of abortion. Over 4,000 innocent unborn children are slaughtered every day in a 24 year long holocaust that makes Hitler look like a humanitarian.

Luther rightly teaches that God established civil government to bind the devil's hands and restrain the rampant destructiveness of sin. The devil is running loose among us, wrecking havoc on every side. A confessional church and her pastors must clearly identify the false gods who summon our people to bow down before them every day of their lives. Confessional preaching does not come in the form of safely vague pious platitudes. When we speak to these issues, we do so not as political agitators or social reformers, but as faithful servants of the Lord Jesus Christ. To withdraw into the comfortable isolation of our padded pews is a denial of our nature as confessional Lutherans.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, another Lutheran - although not nearly so confessional as Herman Sasse -bitterly denounced his church for its failure to rise to the challenge of the times. Writing in 1940, at the height of Nazi power and military success, Bonhoeffer said:

The church must confess that she has not proclaimed often or clearly enough her message of the one God who had revealed Himself for all time in the person of Jesus Christ and who will tolerate no other gods beside Himself. She must confess her timidity, her evasiveness, her dangerous concessions... She was silent when she should have cried out because the blood of the innocent was crying aloud to heaven. She has not raised her voice on behalf of the victims and has not found ways to hasten to their aid. She is guilty of the deaths of the weakest and most defenseless brothers of the Lord Jesus Christ... The church must confess that she has desired security, peace and quiet, possessions and honor... She has not borne witness to the truth of God... By her own silence she has rendered herself guilty of a failure to accept responsibility and to bravely defend a just cause. She has been unwilling to suffer for what she knows to be right. Thus, the church is guilty of becoming a traitor to the Lordship of Christ. (Bonhoeffer, pp.113-115)

Those grim words could have been written today. They ought to sear the conscience of every Christian in America.

IV. Conclusion
In conclusion, we return to the question with which we began. What does it mean to be a Lutheran today. It means what it has always meant - in 1530, 1847, 1934, and 1997. To be a Lutheran means to offer the good confession. It means to proclaim the Gospel of salvation. It means to defend the truth of God's Word and to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints. It our heartfelt pray that God may bless us and our church that by His grace we may rise to meet the challenge of these days, and thus may be worthy of that most honorable name - Lutheran - today.


Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. Ethics. New York, Macmillian Publishing Company, 1979.

Herman, Stewart, W. The Rebirth of the German Church, New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1946.

Horton, Michael. Made in America - The Shaping of Modem American Evangelicalism. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1991.

Pieper, Franz. Kirche und Kirehenregiment - Dreiundzwanzigster Synodal Berieht der Allgemeinen deutschen ev. -luth. Synode von Missouri, Ohio und andern Staaten. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1896.

Sasse, Herman. Here We Stand. New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1938.

Schmauk, Theodore. The Confessional Principle and the Confessions of the Lutheran Church. Philadelphia: The General Council Publication Board, 1911.

Scholder, Klaus. The Churches and the Third Reich, Volume II. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1988.

Teigen, Erling. Confessional or Conservative - The Confessional Principle and Church Fellowship published in A Call to Confessional Faithfulness and Understanding. Brooklyn Center, Minnesota: The Lutheran Church of the Triune God, 1993.

Wells, David. No Place for Truth. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1992.

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