Monday, May 23, 2011

Scripture OR Confessions

Charles Porterfield Krauth, the great 18th century orthodox American Lutheran teacher, put it about as clearly as it can be put.  The Scriptures CANNOT err and therefore they DO NOT err.  The Symbolic Books [Lutheran Confessions] CAN err but they DO NOT err.  Our Confessions do not claim infallibility and we do not say that they could not be wrong.  We only say that they are not wrong.  That is, that they do faithfully confess what the Scriptures say and are an accurate reflection of that Scriptural truth.  The Scripture can not err by their very nature.  The Confessions have no such guarantee by their nature yet they do not err and therefore are trustworthy.

The Confessions flowed out of Scripture, brought into existence by the urgent necessity of the Reformation by orthodox teachers.  Once having been drawn out of Scripture, these orthodox Confessions are thereby able to guide future generations in what those Scripture say because they bear witness to the truth.

Lutherans do not choose Confessions over Scripture, in our Confessions we bear witness to the Scriptures.  It is not an either/or proposition but a both/and.  These Confession can norm our faith because they are faithful witnesses to the Scriptures.  In this way, by our Confessions, we are always carrying forth the witness of the Scriptures to the particular needs of the moment and addressing the errors of the current moment with the unchanging truth.


Anonymous said...

As a pastor of an LCMS parish my
goal is to get my congregation to
study God's Word. As the spiritual
leader of my parish I teach Adult
Bible classes on various books of the
Bible both on Sunday and during the
week. God's Word is a means of grace
and our people know that.

The Confessions help us interpret
Scripture and as Lutherans we hold
the Book of Concord as foundational
to our teachings of the Bible.
But there is no way the Confessions
are more important that the Bible.
They are not a means of grace.

Norman Teigen said...

The work of this most interesting theologian is available as a freebie from Google. I am reading it and I thank you for this post.

Norman Teigen

Pastor Peters said...

Sorry for the misspellings... I was typing on the road (not while driving - but still a dangerous activity to your end result)...