9.5 Things That Hold Lutheranism Together (by Pr. Charles Henrickson)

Yours truly was the guest on the “Studio A” radio program on KFUO, AM 850, on Monday, October 25, to discuss “What Holds Lutheranism Together.” You can listen to the interview below. The 25-minute segment runs from about the 29:00 mark to 54:00. Here are the list and notes for that interview:




9.5 Things That Hold Lutheranism Together

1. Justification
Justification by grace through faith in Christ. Romans 3:21-28: “For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law” (v. 28). The article on which the church stands or falls. Central article of all doctrine and the center of each article. AC IV/Ap. IV. Penance, the Mass, vs. Rome.

2. The Sacraments
Esp. the Sacrament of the Altar. God’s work or man’s work? Vs. Rome: Sacrifice of the Mass. Vs. the Reformed, Zwingli/Calvin: Denial of Real Presence (Nature), Means of Grace (Benefit).

3. The Power of the Word
How can it (water, eating and drinking) do such great things? Living, active Word. Viva vox evangelii (living voice of the Gospel). Authority of the Word: Sole rule and norm of doctrine and life. Vs. Rome: Pope. Vs. Enthusiasts/Schwaermerei: Spirit apart from external Word.

4. The Proper Distinction of Law and Gospel
Walther (born Oct. 25, 1811). Both needed. Do not confuse the two. Knowing when to apply each. Gospel must predominate.

5. Catholicity
Connection with historic faith. We are teaching nothing new: “Our churches do not dissent from any article of the faith held by the Church catholic” (AC). Ecumenical creeds (Apostles’ Nicene, Athanasian).

6. The Doctrine of Vocation
Vs. monasticism. Ordinary Christian is doing holy, God-pleasing work. Works done from faith, according to Ten Commandments, for the good of the neighbor. Table of Duties.

7. Catechism and Hymnal
Getting doctrine into the life and minds of the people, grounding them in the faith, for daily living. Luther’s Small Catechism, “the layman’s Bible.” Liturgy (Divine Service), hymnody (e.g., Dear Christians One and All Rejoice) inculcate and express the faith.

8. A Doxological Concern
Twofold refrain in the Confessions: A) This doctrine gives all glory to God and honor to Christ.

9. A Pastoral Concern
B) This doctrine gives true comfort to terrified, troubled consciences. “Christ’s glory becomes more brilliant when we teach that we make the most of him as our mediator and atoning sacrifice. Godly consciences see that the most abundant consolation is offered to them in this doctrine. . . . Their teaching is confused and shadowy. It not only transfers Christ’s glory to human works, but also leads consciences either to arrogance or despair. But our teaching, we hope, is readily understood by pious minds and brings godly and wholesome consolation to terrified consciences” (Apology V: 178, 182).

9.5. Potlucks
Half-serious. Personal relationships, family ties have natural cohesive force. Congregational life.

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