Calvinism’s “doctrines of grace” make unconditional election the first cause of a person’s salvation. In contrast, the Book of Concord places “justification by faith” at the center of orthodox Christianity.
Table of Contents
How C. F. W. Walther Split the Synodical Conference
In 1881 Missouri Synod president C. F. W. Walther split the Synodical Conference by insisting that “‘faith foreseen by God flows from election’; or in other words, that the persevering faith without which no sinner can be saved has its source in election.”1 Many Missouri pastors along with those in the Ohio Synod led by Matthias Loy claimed that Walther’s new doctrine was more Calvinistic than Lutheran. The conflict became known as The Predestination Controversy.
Election in View of Faith
This book examines the Lutheran symbols, their writers and early teachers to see if they teach election in foresight of faith.
“This article [justification by faith] 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 Bible One Harmonious Whole
“We Lutherans do not consider the several articles of the Gospel as fragments, without connection and mutual affinity, which constitute the one faith once delivered to the saints merely because of their common revelation in the Bible. We believe, on the contrary, that the one faith delivered to the saints forms a harmonious whole, of which the constituent parts are so adjusted as to possess mutual agreement and inner cohesion.
“We, accordingly, do not see in the doctrine of justification an isolated doctrine… No, we make this doctrine the norm and center of our doctrinal system, so that, like a sun, it throws light upon the whole Scripture and all articles of faith. The Holy Spirit Himself has placed this doctrine as a divinely ordained rule in the service of hermeneutics, when He says: “Let us prophecy according to the proportion of faith.” (According to the analogy of faith; Rom. 12:7)
Harassing Yourself With The Secret Counsel of God
“Therefore no one who would be saved, should trouble or harass himself with thoughts concerning the secret counsel of God, as to whether he also is elected and ordained to eternal life, for with these miserable Satan is accustomed to attack and annoy godly hearts. But they should hear Christ (and in Him look upon the book of life in which is written the eternal election); who testifies to all men without distinction that it is God’s will that all men who labor and are heavy laden with sin should come to Him in order that He may give them rest and save them (Matt. 2:28; Decl. XI)
But if God wills that all men should come to Christ and be saved, it surely must have been His will to elect them all in Christ unto salvation, provided they would believe. The actual “election”, therefore, has taken place with strict regard to faith in Christ. All who shall believe, whether they be all men, or many, or only a few, whether they be Jews or Gentiles, these or those – all believers in Christ shall have part in the election in Christ. All non-believers, however, shall be excluded. For on one hand God has ordained in His counsel to restore all those who in true repentance and faith apprehend Jesus, unto grace, sonship and heirship and to elect them thereto. On the other hand He has ordained in His counsel also, to save no one except those who believe in His Son Jesus Christ. Hence where He did not foresee faith, He did not choose to elect; where He was to elect. He wanted to foresee faith. For it was as true then as it is today: “Without faith it is impossible to please God” and to be restored unto grace, sonship and heirship, or to be ordained thereto.
Apostasy is any doctrine which doesn’t ‘rhyme’ with Justification by Faith Alone
“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. (Apology IV)
This book was originally published as Part 2 of The Error Of Modern Missouri: Its Inception, Development, And Refutation, Edited by George H. Schodde, PhD, Professor of Theology in the Evangelical Lutheran Seminary, Columbus, Ohio. The other two parts are also available and highly recommended:
- Part I. Which Predestination: Reformed or Lutheran
- Part III. Election and Predestination: The Blue Island Theses
Contents (448 pages)
Introduction to the Original Edition
Part I. What Were The Contents Or The Substance Of The Doctrine, Taught By Our Lutheran Church Fathers, That God Elected In View Of Faith?
- Introductory Remarks.
- 1 Over against Romanism
- 2 Sola Fide and Intuitu Fidei
- 3 Dr. Samuel Huber and The Intuitu Fidei
- 4 Correct Understanding of Testimonies
- 5 Missouri’s New Discovery
- 6 Missouri Claims to Hold the Doctrine of Luther and Chemnitz Concerning Predestination and also Rejects It.
- 7 Meeting of the Synodical Conference in Chicago
- 8 Quotations From Orthodox Publications and Teachers on “Election in View of Faith”
- A. Authors Of The Formula Of Concord.
- David Chytraeus
- Christopher Koerner
- Martin Chemnitz
- B. Original Subscribers And Defenders Of The Formula Of Concord.
- AEgidius Hunnius
- The Wittenberg Faculty
- John Wigand
- The Wuertemberg Theologians
- 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.
- Matthew Vogel.
- Concluding Remarks.
- C. The Immediate Pupils Of The Subscribers Of The Formula Of Concord.
- 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 II. Departures From the Confession
- I. Did Our Lutheran Fathers Depart From The Confession By Teaching, That The Election Of Certain Persons Took Place In View Of Faith?
- II. Does Missouri really contend that our fathers have departed from the Lutheran Confession with their doctrine of “election to salvation in view of faith”?
- Northern District and Professor Fritschel
- Professor Stoeckhardt. Philadelphia Faculty. Lehre und Wehre.
- III. Did Missouri Hold To Her Present Doctrine in 1872?
- “Correct Understanding” of a Symbol
- IV. Colloquy in Columbus, 1879, and Following It
- Scripture, Fathers, Confession.
- Huberian Controversy
- Three Definitions of Election
- Church of the Formula of Concord knew of no Election to
- Salvation Except of Believers
- Testimony of Wittenberg Men
- Testimony of Rostock Men
- Tuebigen and Stuttgart Schools, Wuertemberg
- V. Scriptures, Ordination to Salvation, Acta Huberiana, Wuertemberg Men
- Specific Election
- Regard to faith – Wittenberg and Wuertemberg Men
- Election and Subsequent Will
- Grace of God and Merits of Christ the Complete Cause of Election
- Did Rostock, Wittenberg, Tuebingen Know the Lutheran Definition of Election?
Part III. Is The Doctrine That God Has Elected Men To Salvation In View Of Faith Found In Our Lutheran Confession?
- I. Introduction
- II. Intuitu Fidei Found In The Book of Concord
- 1 The Augsburg Confession and Election
- 2 The Apology and Election.
- III. The Formula of Concord.
- IV. The Eleventh Article.
- Election in Detail
- Trend of the Eleventh Article Against Calvinistic Election
- Revealed and Hidden Will of God
- Definition of Election
- Election of Grace
- Formula of Concord – Order of Salvation
- V. Missouri Guilty of Misusing the Confession.
- Third Thesis, 1879
- Formula of Concord and Man’s Conduct
About the Author - Frederick Augustus Schmidt
About the Translator - Richard C. H. Lenksi
About the Translator - Conrad B. Gohdes
- C. H. L. Schuette from the Introduction. ^