Justified and saved by grace alone, for Christ’s sake, through faith — that is the kernel of the whole Gospel. This is the fundamental article of the Christian faith and upholds the entire system of Christian doctrine as well as the church itself.
“Any doctrine that cannot be “rhymed” with the doctrine of justification, bears on its face the brand of apostasy from the one revealed truth and stands disclosed as a false interpretation of Scripture. For this article of justification is “the chief topic of Christian doctrine, which, understood aright, illumines and magnifies the honor of Christ (which is of especial service for the clear, correct understanding of the entire Holy Scriptures, and alone shows the way to the unspeakable treasure and right knowledge of Christ and alone opens the door to the entire Bible.”
On This Page
Luther on “The Chief Article”
“If this article is apprehended and kept with a sure and firm faith, the other articles will gradually follow. For in the same all articles of our faith are comprehended; if that is kept pure, the others are taken good care of.”
Chemnitz on Justification by Faith
“This article is, as it were, the fortress and chief bulwark of the whole Christian doctrine and religion. If this article remains inviolate, the perversions of the other articles will cease of themselves.”
The Lutheran Church Unanimous
“Since the publication of the Formula of Concord, for some 300 years, the Lutheran Church has unanimously held that the doctrine of our Confession and of the following teachers of our Church harmonized perfectly also in the article of predestination. Modern Missourians are the first “Lutherans” who assert the contrary; it is to be hoped that they will also be the last.”
Walther’s Saddest Hour
Towards the end of his life, C. F. W. Walther brought forth a teaching of election which many Missouri and other American Lutherans could not reconcile with the Scriptures or the Lutheran Confessions. The resulting “Predestination Controversy” split the Lutheran Church.
Summary Book Contents
I. The Present Controversy on Predestination
I. Historical Introduction.
II. The Formula Of Concord And The Old Lutheran Dogmaticians.
III. The Doctrine Of Predestination In The Missouri Synod.
A. Before The Year 1877.
B. The Synodical Report Of The Western District For The Year 1877.
C. The Synodical Report Of The Western District For The Year 1879.
D. Altes und Neues And Lehre und Wehre Before The General Pastoral Conference At Chicago In The Autumn Of 1890.
E. The General Pastoral Conference In The Autumn Of 1880.
F. After The Pastoral Conference In The Autumn Of 1880.
G. Comparative Summary.
1. What Is Predestination?
2. What Has God Regarded In Election?
3. What Is The Relation Especially Of Faith To Election?
4. In What Sense Does The Formula Of Concord Speak Of Election?
5. Is Man’s Conversion And Salvation In Every Sense Independent Of His Conduct?
6. May We Speak Of Man’s Decision Or “Self-Determination” In Conversion?
7. What Is The Difference Between The Lutheran And The Reformed Doctrine Of Election?
8. How Must The Doctrine Of The Dogmaticians Of The Seventeenth Century Be Regarded?
9. How Is The Doctrine Of Modern Missouri To Be Regarded?
H. Appendix: An Ally Of Modern Missouri In Germany.
IV. The Doctrine Of Predestination In The Ohio Synod.
II. “Intuitu Fidei”
Part 1. What Do The Lutheran Church Fathers Teach Regarding “God Elected In View Of Faith”?
1. Over against Romanism
2. Sola Fide and Intuitu Fidei
3. Dr.Samuel Huber
4. Correct Understanding of Testimonies
5. Missouri’s New Discovery
6. Missouri Holds Fast the Doctrine of Our Old Teachers and Also Rejects It
7. Meeting of Synodical Conference in Chicago
8. Quotations from Orthodox Publications and Teachers
A. Authors Of The Formula Of Concord: David Chytraeus, Jacob Andreae, Christopher Koerner, Martin Chemnitz, Selnecker
B. Original Subscribers And Defenders Of The Formula Of Concord: Aegidius Hunnius, The Wittenberg Faculty., The Wuertemberg Theologians., John Wigand., Matthew Vogel., G. Mylius., Stephen Gerlach., Daniel Arcularius., John George Sigwart., Luke Backmeister And Jacob Coler (and Chytraeus)., David Lobech., John Winckelmann., Adam Francisci., Polycarp Leyser., Solomon Gesner., Wolfgang Mamphrasius., John Pappus., Andrew Schaafmann., Philip Nicolai., John Habermann (Avenarius)., Matthias Hafenreffer., Luke Osiander., John Coler., Concluding Remarks.
C. The Immediate Pupils Of The Subscribers Of The Formula Of Concord: Introduction., Leonhard Hutter., Frederick Balduin., John Weber., David Runge., George Stampel., Joachim Zehner., Esaias Silberschlag., Wolfgang Franz., Balthasar Mentzer., Peter Piscator., John Schroeder., Luke Osiander, Jr., Albert Grauer., John Foerster., John Gerhard., Justus Feuerborn., Nicolas Hunnius., Conrad Dietrich.
Part 2. Do Our Lutheran Fathers Depart From The Confession When Teaching That The Election Took Place In View Of Faith?
Does Missouri Claim Our Fathers Departed From the Confession?
Did Missouri Hold To Her Present Doctrine in 1872?
Colloquy in Columbus 1879 and Following
Scriptures, Ordination to Salvation, Acta Huberiana, Wuertemberg Men
Part 3. Is The Doctrine That God Has Elected Men To Salvation In View Of Faith Found In Our Lutheran Confession?
Intuitu Fidei Found In the Book of Concord
The Formula of Concord
The Eleventh Article
Missouri Guilty of Misusing The Confession.
III. A Testimony Against The False Doctrine Of Predestination Recently Introduced By The Missouri Synod.
Introduction To The Doctrinal Discussion.
The Blue Island Theses.
Confession and Universal Counsel
Dr. Luther’s Preface to Romans
Wider Sense – Gospel
Missouri – Faith in Election – Faith in Justification
Missouri Doctrine Of Election And The Biblical Doctrine Of Grace
Thoughts of a Troubled Heart
If You Are To Be Saved
Missouri Repeating Role of Old Israel
Election Revealed in Scripture
Certainty of Salvation Conditional
A Missourian On The Witness Stand
Luther To A Heart Troubled About Predestination
The Windy Thing on Legs
Dr. Walther’s Postil
Is It A Mystery Why God Did Not Ordain All To Eternal Life?
Election Revealed In The Gospel
Confession on “Election Revealed In The Gospel”
Words of Confession as Chief Point of Controversy
Missouri and The Thoughts of Reason
Is Redemption Only For The Elect?
The Eight Points
Missouri’s False Construction Of The Eight Points Refuted
We Place No Merit In Man
Dr. Walther’s Proof Of Our Synergism
Luther, The Confession, The Scriptures Speak As We Do
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Lutheran Library edition first published: 2019-05-24