Walther won me over a long time ago in his argument that we must interpret the Scriptures according to the Symbols if we are to be ministers of the Lutheran Church. He pointed out that it was only in this way that the Church could assure herself that her pastors were in fact teaching Lutheran doctrine.
Yet this is not an a priori. Or at least it ought not be. Krauth works what comes before it with the observation that we do not first interpret Scripture in accordance with the Symbols or the Symbols with the Scriptures, but we interpret both according to the ordinary use of language (yes, a loaded term, that) and what we discover - if we are Lutheran - is that they say the same thing! The Scriptures, which cannot err, happen to find a faithful explication in the Lutheran Symbols, which did not err (but could have!).
Thus, when the Lutheran speaks of his faith to others, he does not appeal for submission to the "mind of the Church." Instead, he invites a prayerful reading of the Word of God and then for the exercise of private judgment in deciding whether what that Word says is confessed correctly in the Lutheran Symbols. "Check it out" is our invitation to those who inquire about our Church's teaching. We invite them to read and study the Scriptures and to do so with humility and a spirit of prayer. And we invite them to read and study our Symbols (usually our Small Catechism) and see if the same message heard in the one is found in the other.
Pastor George Lobien, long-time pastor at the Lutheran Church of St. Andrew in Silver Spring, Maryland -- and my home pastor -- used to conclude each homily with telling words: "Test my witness to you this morning against these words of..." and he would reread the text.
"Test my witness." How utterly in the spirit of the Gospel for this Sunday: "Beware false teachers." And of St. Paul: "Test all things; hold fast to what is good." No wonder Paul could commend the Ephesian elders to "God and to the Word of His grace which is able to build you up and to give you an inheritance among those who are sanctified."
Lord Jesus Christ, with us abide,
For round us falls the eventide.
O let Your Word, that saving light,
Shine forth undimmed into the night.