One of the interesting pieces in the new Piepkorn volume is titled "Why Still Be Lutheran?" Given so many blog discussions of the topic these days (and even a conference dedicated to it!), it is a timely piece. Of course, we do need to beware of ignoring the context in which Piepkorn wrote. This particular writing dates from 1965, and the Lutheran horizon at the time was significantly different from today. Who would even be able to conceive then the disasters that have wrecked havoc on the Lutheran scene in the nearly half century between? Also striking is the way he completely ignores the Orthodox - yet remember the state of Orthodox communions in the US back then! They were mostly locked up in their own little ghettos (much as the Lutherans had been a century before).
Yet with these caveats, I particularly appreciated his three points each of "mission opportunity" that he spoke directed on the one side to Rome and on the other to the Protestant jurisdictions.
Lutherans would seek to witness to Rome:
* That nothing should be allowed in teaching or practice that obscures Christ's saving work.
* The primary authority of Scripture in determining dogma and doctrine.
* A clear distinction between what is of human institution and what divine in matters of church government.
Lutherans would seek to witness to other Protestants:
* The role of the Church as interpreter of the Scriptures.
* The importances of the church's historic dogmas and the necessity of holding a true confessional position.
* the true meaning of the sacraments and their central place in the Church's life as acts of God.
He closes this little piece with noting that there may come a time when another answer needs to be given to "why be Lutheran?" "But that time will come only when the other families of Christians will be sharing in all that it has meant and still means to be Lutheran." (The Sacred Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions, p. 197)
I realize in writing this that the snippet comes across as triumphalistic, but if you know Piepkorn nothing could be further from the case. The whole essay - and of course the whole book - is highly recommended.