Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Doctrine: Our Only Light

The Preface to the Book of Concord notes the following:

“Troublesome and contentious men, who do not suffer themselves to be bound to any formula of the pure doctrine, may not have the liberty, according to their good pleasure, to excite controversies which furnish ground for offense, and to publish and contend for extravagant opinions. For the result of these things, at length, is that the pure doctrine is obscured and lost, and nothing is transmitted to posterity except academical opinions and suspensions of judgment.”

Luther writes (What Luther Says, vol. 1, pg. 414)

“Doctrine is our only light. It alone enlightens and directs us and shows the way to heaven. If it is shaken in one quarter (in una parte), it will necessarily be shaken in its entirety (in totum). Where that happens, love cannot help us at all.”

And again (AE 13:57),

“Psalm 82:2 says, ‘How long will you judge unjustly and prefer the persons of the godless?’ The godless and the false teachers always have a great reputation in the eyes of reason and of the world. They know, too, how to make a fine appearance before both lords and people, and thus to strengthen and spread their poisonous errors. For, as St. Paul says (Gal. 6:13) ‘Their confidence and boast is not in God; therefore they must seek men to be their confidence and boast.’ This is called, here in this verse, ‘preferring persons,’ or ‘regarding persons,’ when men choose their doctrine, not from love of truth but from the pleasure they take in persons.”

“Everything depends on doctrine. Where doctrine is right, everything is right: faith, works, life, suffering, good and evil days, eating, drinking, hungering, thirsting, sleeping, walking, standing, etc. Where doctrine is not right, everything is in vain, everything is lost, and everything utterly condemned.”

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