The Inspiration of Scripture: A Study of the Theology of the 17th Century Lutheran Dogmaticians, Robert Preus, CPH, 1955, 1957
Preface - [B]itter invective was the rule in all controversial issues, the fact that abhorrence, hatred and intolerance of false doctrine, all of which seems so strange now, was a guiding principle then ...
...their stubborn, unrelenting assaults on Romanism, Calvinism, unionism and everything not strictly Lutheran.
...their rigid adherence to the Lutheran principle of sola scriptura and in their doctrine of verbal inspiration, tenets which are not cherished by the majority of modern theologians and historians.
They would not have hesitated to overthrow the doctrine which they had inherited if they had thought it contrary to Scripture.
Church and Ministry Today, The Luther Academy, 2001
Pg. 23 - ... Maurer says, "Therefore, to fear no one and to set for the truth freely and openly is not a test of the pastor's courage; it is a matter of office and command. Those who preach should not wear out and let themselves be chased into a corner, nor should they become impatient and creep away into the wilderness. Public service demands a person who is willing to risk everything and who is totally committed, who is tough when things are tough, and who will not be frightened or silenced." To minister publicly means to witness for the truth in season, at every opportunity, no matter what the consequences. And the minister has the divine call to do this. (Dr. Robert D. Preus, The Doctrine of the Call in the Confessions and Lutheran Orthodoxy)
Pg. 33 - The call is always permanent. The notion of a temporary call is inconceivable in the nature of the case, and therefore the matter is not even considered by Luther or the Confessions or any Lutheran theologian. The function of the ministerial office, Calov asserts, is to work for the church as a servant (diaconus), not as a lord, to do the work of the evangelist to the grave, to guard and be an example to the flock, an angel of God's revelation of His Word. One never quits such a calling. As the immediate call in apostolic times was for life (until God Himself called the person to a new place), so it is with the mediate call. It is permanent and irrevocable, unless God Himself intervenes. (Dr. Robert D. Preus, The Doctrine of the Call in the Confessions and Lutheran Orthodoxy)
The Theology and Life of Robert David Preus, The Luther Academy, 2009
Pg. 49 (David Scaer) - In some ways the post-Seminex war syndrome presented the LCMS with more problems than those the conflict resolved. Where the liberalism of the 1960s was soon recognized as a not-so-subtle form of unbelief, neo-evangelicalism with its dependency on the Bible slipped its nose under the LCMS tent "while men were sleeping" (Mt 13:25).
Pg. 118 (Oliver Olson) - [At the 1953 convention Robert Preus commented:] "Issues of life are not decided by counting noses but by the Word of God."
Pg. 119 (Oliver Olson) - God does not hold us responsible for our "impact," but for faithfulness.
Pg. 122 (Kurt Marquart) - In the case of Piepkorn -- whom Sasse somewhere dismissed as the "high priest" of the American Lutheran liturgical movement -- we are dealing, for all the pedantic detail, with a very one-sided, not to say eccentric, interpretation of the Confessions.
Sasse's case is much more like that of Robert Preus, in that both men rose to global theological importance. For one thing, Sasse was a historical theologian and Preus a dogmatical one.
The standard orthodox Lutheran divines were for him (Preus) the legitimate heirs and executors of the Lutheran Reformation's legacy, laid down once and for all in the Book of Concord.
That explains why Robert Preus founded no distinct theological party or school of thought. Like Walther he strove only for the Lutheran equivalent of C. S. Lewis's Mere Christianity, that is, plain unvarnished, generic Lutheranism, if you will. Frills and eccentricities and hobby-horses Preus left to others. They did not interest him.
Pg. 132 (Kurt Marquart) - The point, however, is not to pine for new confessions while ignoring the ones we've already got.
Book of Concord
Preface 21 - In our lands, dominions, schools, and churches no other doctrine should be proclaimed and accurately set forth except that which is founded upon God's Word and contained in the Augsburg Confession and the Apology (when properly understood it its genuine sense). Opinions conflicting with these are not allowed.
At Home In The House Of My Fathers. Matthew Harrison, ed. Lutheran Legacy, 2009.
Pg. 68 - Despite our willingness to understand him [Grabau] and to do him justice, we are yet closer to the side of our brothers from Missouri, Ohio and Other States and their practices, even though regarding the so-called renegade preachers [Rottenprediger], they have become amiss here and there. (Letter from Wilhem Loehe October 24, 1851)
Pg. 103 - But as unpleasant as the first clash was at times, thus it always showed in the long run that despite many theoretical differences that have existed until now, the one love that binds all true Christians with a bond that cannot be broken -- the love unto the truth -- bound us on both sides so intimately together that not only could no discord generated by the intensity of the conflict remain but also, almost always to the end, we, unified in the truth, had to extend the brotherly hand anew. (Walther, Trip Report of the visit to Germany)
Pg. 108 - There is only one point that could violate our consciences deeply, if we are forced to bear it in the old way. It is communion fellowship with the United and Reformed. We do not recognize this as a mere emergency or exceptional state (Not- oder Ausnahmszutstand]. It burdens our consciences as a sin. No peace can be made with this situation. It is to be renounced as soon as possible and in every way ... as difficult and sorrowful as this could be for ourselves here and there. (Walther, Addendum to the trip report)
Pg. 130 - For loyal, positive Lutherans believe what the Lutheran Church teaches in its Confessions. A doctrine does not become an open question when supposedly loyal Lutherans are not in agreement. And whoever permits such doctrines to be treated as open questions surrenders the fortress of the Confession of our Church and is in reality no loyal Lutheran. (Walther, Why Should Our Pastors Subscribe Unconditionally?)
Pg. 247 - Furthermore, a synod that is "faithful to the Confessions," must also "c. supervise the confessional faithfulness of its members." (Walther, Duties of an Evangelical Lutheran Synod)
Pg. 248 - It is not even enough that it receive only such pastors and teachers as prove themselves faithful to the Confessions. It must also see to it that they remain that way; for only he that is "faithful to the end shall be saved" (Matthew 10:22, Luther Bibel). (Walther, Duties of an Evangelical Lutheran Synod)
But it is impossible for a sizeable church body to remain in the true faith if there isn't a constant check to see that everything is as it was in the beginning, when the pastor came to the congregation. Without visitation it is probably impossible for a church to remain in the unity of faith and confession. (Walther, Duties of an Evangelical Lutheran Synod)
Pg. 251 - The Preface to The Book of Concord says: We likewise purpose to cooperate with one another in the future ... through diligent visitation of churches and schools. (Walther, Duties of an Evangelical Lutheran Synod)
Pg. 253 - How we are slandered, what nasty names people call us, how horribly we are portrayed as loveless, contentious, arrogant, proud spirits, who regard themselves alone as orthodox and infallible! It is indeed not easy to bear this insult to which we are subjected. But, dear brethren, we must bear this insult. Regardless of how repugnant it may be [to people] in this age of religious unionism and religious indifference to remain aloof from those who do not teach pure [doctrine]: God's Word demands it. Someday God will make a fearful separation, against which no creature will be able to say anything. That is simply God's governance: always separate. According to 2 Corinthians 6:14, the Church is not allowed to "be unequally yoked with unbelievers." (Walther, Duties of an Evangelical Lutheran Synod)
Pg. 253 - But that is how false teachers usually condemn the witness of the orthodox Church; they say: "They are excommunicating us!" No, we say only, "We do not belong together, and we cannot participate in the falsification of God's precious Word." They want us to say, "We are of one heart and mind; you indeed falsify God's Word and proclaim your own ideas, but we won't let that make us enemies." No, a true church must consist only of those who are united in the true faith, as we heard in the opening sermon (on Ephesians 4:3), "One Faith."
For that reason, the Formula of Concord says: We believe, teach and confess that no church should condemn another because it has fewer or more external ceremonies not commanded by God, as long as there is mutual agreement in doctrine and in all its articles as well as in the right use of the holy sacraments. [FC Ep X 7; Tappert, 493] (Walther, Duties of an Evangelical Lutheran Synod)
Pg. 260 - We read in Matthew 18 that in dealing with church discipline, the final step takes the matter to the congregation; and when it has been decided, Christ does not say, "Then the sinner can appeal to the pastor," but it says: "Let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector". Therewith Christ declares that the congregation is the final and supreme court from which there is no appeal. When [the congregation] has decided in conformity with God's Word, then the matter is settled. No one can protest against it. That is what Scripture teaches. (Walther, Duties of an Evangelical Lutheran Synod)
Pg. 264 - If a manifest sinner has been dealt with according to the steps of Matthew 18 and refuses to listen also to the congregation, Christ does not say, "Then go to the synod (or a consistory) as to a higher court," but He says: "The case is closed; then he is to be considered a heathen and a publican." (Walther, Duties of an Evangelical Lutheran Synod)
Pg. 265 - Yes, even a small rural congregation of seven families has as much power as all the congregations in America combined, because it also has Jesus in its midst, with all His grace and all the rights and merits He won for us on the tree of the cross. Let everyone who is in such a tiny little congregation take note and know that church matters are not like worldly matters. The smallest congregation is just as important as the largest one, and the largest is no more important than the smallest, because every congregation is great only because Christ is present in it. (Walther, Duties of an Evangelical Lutheran Synod)
Pg. 269 - For instance, Huelsemann [1602-1661] writes: "There is difference between dependence on the jurisdiction of another (church) and the obligation to preserve unity of faith and doctrine with all other particular Christian churches. The latter (obligation) is a matter of divine law (1 Corinthians 12:24f.); the former (dependence on jurisdiction) is a matter of human law governing the relationship of one congregation to another." (Walther, Duties of an Evangelical Lutheran Synod)
So the old Leipzig theologian wants to say: "Don't confuse the matter. That one church should always have the same faith [and] the same doctrine as the other, and on the basis of that doctrine, [have] the same practice -- that is a matter of divine law; for God says" "Endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. One body and one Spirit ... one Lord, one faith, one baptism" (Ephesians 4:3-6); [Luther Bibel]). And in 1 Corinthians 1:10, the apostle says: "I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there shall be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgement." However, that several congregations unite and that there then should be some sort of superiors over them -- that is a matter of human law. (Walther, Duties of an Evangelical Lutheran Synod)
Pg. 285 - On the subject of other pastors and whole churches becoming involved when false prophets arise, Luther writes:
... Such as situation is similar to a fire; if the landlord can't put the fire out by himself, then all the neighbors must come on the run and help to put out the fire ... so that the rest of the houses can be saved. ("On the Councils and the Church," 1539; Walch 16:2765f. Cf. WA 50:509-653; Aland 382) (Walther, Duties of an Evangelical Lutheran Synod)
Pg. 286 - But is the synod is upright [rechtschaffen], it is the greatest possible blessing for a congregation to have a group of other congregations and pastors for support. For if a fire breaks out, there are hundreds, -- yes, thousands -- of helping hands, or better yet, the united voice of a thousand people to help out. (Walther, Duties of an Evangelical Lutheran Synod)
Our synod has had the experience of a pastor giving offense to his entire congregation and dividing it into an endless number of factions. The synod, through its President and his assistants, came to their aid, with the result that almost all of the members were saved [gerettet]. The pastor had to leave ... But if there is a synod that maintains close doctrinal supervision, such cases will become more and more rare, for such as pastor knows that he cannot get by with what he's doing. And if he tries to lord it over the congregation, they will tell him, "Perhaps we should have the [District President] come down for an investigation," and then he'll quietly back down so as to head off such an investigation. (Walther, Duties of an Evangelical Lutheran Synod)
Pg. 287 - To put it another way: Synod as a whole, or by means of its District Presidents and Visitors [circuit counselors], or through its members in general, must provide sound counsel for the pastors who need it. (Walther, Duties of an Evangelical Lutheran Synod)
Pg. 289 - However, if this divine purpose is to be achieved, it is essential that Christians band together, mutually sharing and benefiting from these many gifts. That is what happens when you have a synod, and when the individual Christian knows, "I do not stand alone; I have a large number of brothers and sisters with whom I can share my needs; and if one of them has no solution for my problems, I can go to another for help, and eventually one of them will have the solution, because God will help them to find a solution." God leaves no one without help, so long as he uses all the means that are at his disposal. It is only the proud and haughty whom God allows to remain stuck. (Walther, Duties of an Evangelical Lutheran Synod)
Pg. 299 - God forbid that we ever get to the point where we merely put on a big show and then have a convention in which we discuss all sorts of peripheral piffle about ceremonies, rules, and insignificant trifles [armselige Lappalien]. Instead of that, may we always concentrate on the study of doctrine. (Walther, Duties of an Evangelical Lutheran Synod)
Pg. 300 - There are many things that one person cannot administer all by himself. How much more will it be necessary for a larger church body, consisting of a large number of congregations, to be able to discuss and consult with one another about possible ways to promote its interests! Therefore a synod's primary purposes are 1) unity of confession and 2) integrity of practices. (Walther, Duties of an Evangelical Lutheran Synod)
Pg. 301 - If the study of doctrine is not the number one priority at synodical conventions, then one of two things will happen: Either the convention will be manufacturing laws, or even worse, it will degenerate into an affair of mutual praise, love, assurance, and life insurance. (Walther, Duties of an Evangelical Lutheran Synod)
Pg. 305 - Regardless of how limited in ability your pastor may be, you can be sure of this: If you derive no benefit from the service, it is your own fault. (Walther, Duties of an Evangelical Lutheran Synod)
Pg. 317 - We cannot avoid offending one another, but we can let ourselves be reconciled, and then we can forget the whole incident. Otherwise God will say, "I shall do as you have done. I'll make up with you, but you'll have to go to hell anyway, because of the way you've acted; 'With the measure you use it will be measured to you' (Matthew 7:2)." (Walther, Duties of an Evangelical Lutheran Synod)
Of course, if he refuses to accept admonition, I must proceed to tell him in a friendly fashion, "It is your own fault that your sin has become public knowledge. Why didn't you accept our brotherly admonition?" (Walther, Duties of an Evangelical Lutheran Synod)
When someone goes too far but says, "Dear brother, I didn't intend to be so mean," I should immediately forgive him. But if I would respond, "Do you realize the full enormity of your conduct? Do you really repent of what you've done?" then I am being too legalistic [da wird die Goldwagegenommen]. That is wrong. We should not do that unless the offender has clearly demonstrated that he is a hardened and unrepentant sinner. In that case we must firmly inform him, "If you do not repent of your sin, you are lost." That is the proper procedure. (Walther, Duties of an Evangelical Lutheran Synod)
Article VI Conditions of Membership (2007 Handbook)
Conditions for acquiring and holding membership in the Synod are the following:
1. Acceptance of the confessional basis of Article II.
3. Regular call of pastors ...
Article XIII Expulsion from the Synod (2007 Handbook)
1. Members who act contrary to the confession laid down in Article II and to the conditions of membership laid down in Article VI or persist in an offensive conduct, shall, after previous futile admonition, be expelled from the Synod.
Bylaw 1.3.6 (2007 Handbook)
Districts and circuits are component parts of the Synod are obligated to carry out resolutions of the Synod and are structures for congregations to review decisions of the Synod, to motivate one another to action, and to shape and suggest new directions.
C.F.W. Walther -- The True Visible Church and the Form of a Christian Congregation, pp. 31-32
Quoting Hollaz: "Are schismatics true members of the church? I answer: Those who knowingly, willingly, maliciously, contrary to their own conscience, and moved by admiration of their own virtues and the purpose to offend others, incite trouble in the church, are not true members of the church. Schismatics, properly so called, are those who voluntarily and deliberately separate themselves from the church and cause divisions in it without any just cause, purposing only to disrupt its unity.
Martin Luther -- "On Maintaining Friendship and Love," Commentary on the Gospel of St. John, volume 24, pages 244-246.
It does not require such great skill to begin to love; but, as Christ says here, remaining in love takes real skill and virtue. In matrimony many people are initially filled with such ardent affection and passion that they would fairly eat each other; later they become bitter foes. The same thing happens among Christian brethren. A trivial cause may dispel love and separate those who should really be bound with the firmest ties; it turns them into the worst and bitterest enemies. That is what happened in Christendom after the days of the apostles, when the devil raised up his schismatic spirits and heretics, so that bishops and pastors became inflamed with hatred against one another and then also divided the people into many kinds of sects and schisms from which Christendom suffered terrible harm.
C.F.W. Walther -- "The Motives and Qualifications of a Genuine Church Member," Church Membership: Addresses and Prayers at the meeting of the Evangelical Lutheran Joint Congregation of St. Louis, MO., and Its Board of Elders, by Dr. C.F.W. Walther, CPH, St. Louis, MO. 1931.
A member of a Lutheran congregation should be able to distinguish pure doctrine from false doctrines. Only spineless Lutherans can say: "What do I care about doctrinal controversies! They do not concern me in the least. I'll let those who are more learned than I am bother their heads about such matters." They may even be offended when they observe that religious leaders engage in doctrinal disputes. A genuine Lutheran will not forget that in the Epistle of Jude also lay Christians are admonished "earnestly to contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints." What is more, Christ warns all Christians: "Beware of false prophets." And St. John writes in his first epistle: "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God, because many false prophets are gone out into the world." It is a settled fact that whoever is indifferent to false doctrine is indifferent also to pure doctrine and his soul's salvation, and has no right to bear the name Lutheran and the name of Christ.