28 March 2008

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Many say, 'Instead of disputing over doctrine so much, we should much rather be concerned with souls and with lead them to Christ.' But all who speak in this way do not really know what they are saying or what they are doing. As foolish as it would be to scold a farmer for being concerned about sowing good seed and to demand of him simply to be concerned about a good harvest, so foolish it is to scold those who are concerned first and foremost with the doctrine, and to demand of them that they should rather seek to rescue souls. For just as the farmer who wants a good crop must first of all be concerned about good seed, so the church must above all be concerned about right doctrine if it would save souls. -- C.F. W. Walther, "Our Common Task: the Saving of Souls" 1872 (HT Susan)

3 comments:

longtime lay said...

Thank you for posting this quote. Past history teaches us for today and the future. We dare not forget....

Susan said...

There is a small book by Dorothy Sayers titled, Creed or Chaos?, that is worth the read and has some timeless thoughts on the importance on doctrine in it:

"Christ, in His Divine innocence, said to the Woman of Samaria, "Ye worship ye know not what" — being apparently under the impression that it might be desirable, on the whole, to know what one was worshipping. He thus showed Himself sadly out of touch with the twentieth-century mind, for the cry today is: "Away with the tendentious complexities of dogma — let us have the simple spirit of worship; just worship, no matter of what!" The only drawback to this demand for a generalized and undirected worship is the practical difficulty of arousing any sort of enthusiasm for the worship of nothing in particular."

"Let us, in Heaven's name, drag out the Divine Drama from under the dreadful accumulation of slipshod thinking and trashy sentiment heaped upon it, and set it on an open stage to startle the world into some sort of vigorous reaction. If the pious are the first to be shocked, so much the worse for the pious — others will enter the Kingdom of Heaven before them. If all men are offended because of Christ, let them be offended; but where is the sense of their being offended at something that is not Christ and is nothing like Him? We do Him singularly little honor by watering down till it could not offend a fly. Surely it is not the business of the Church to adapt Christ to men, but to adapt men to Christ."

"It is the dogma that is the drama - not beautiful phrases, not comforting sentiments, not vague aspirations to loving-kindness and uplift, nor the promise of something nice after death - but the terrifying assertion that the same God who made the world lived in the world and passed through the grave and the gate of death. Show that to the heathen and they may not believe it; but at least they may realize that here is something that a man might be glad to believe."

JBrandt said...

I can't tell you how many times I've added this quote to a letter when addressing people who dismiss doctrinal differences and view them as trivial obstacles to living out the purpose Christ has in mind for our lives. Excellent quote! Excellent post! Excellent blog.