This short and widely used catechism is evidence that Missouri Synod Lutherans not long ago clearly taught and believed in justification by faith.
Who receives this forgiveness? Although it has been procured for all men, and is offered by the Gospel to all that hear it, yet only those who believe the Gospel and thus accept the forgiveness of sins actually become partakers of such forgiveness.
“This weightiest chapter ever penned by Inspiration yields up its lessons best when literally understood, and when explained by the laws of common sense.
“The secret of recent assaults upon the Bible is the restiveness of the modern spirit… so eager is the desire for anything new, that even the destruction of all that is precious and venerable is hailed on account of the morbid excitement thereby aroused.
“This Magazine is designed to supply the want, long since felt, of a Lutheran periodical devoted to theological discussion. Its aim will be the exposition and defense of the doctrines of the Church as confessed in the Book of Concord.
“This book possesses distinction as one of very few systematic theologies written from the viewpoint of Scandinavian-American Lutheran pietism, a movement which combined the Norwegian/Haugean and the Swedish/Rosenian traditions. It has been observed that, in general, the four major earmarks of pietism are experiential Christianity, Biblical focus, holy living, and opposition to formalism.
“The mistake of those who direct all their efforts toward making men better and improving human society by teaching and enforcing the law… is of serious consequence to the souls of men… It can neither save their souls nor make them good… The only help for us is in Christ, without whom we can do nothing; and that help consists first of all in the forgiveness of our sins, which separate us from God and all that is good, and deprive us of all true peace and joy.
Has the Lord declared the whole world righteous? The answer to this question shapes one’s deep understanding of the gospel. The Columbus Theological Magazine dedicated its first volume to examining this subject in depth.
“Only one, true Christian Church exists, and that Church is made up of all those who sincerely believe in Christ as their Savior. The true Church, then, is invisible, including members of all denominations, even those without a denomination or formal affiliation.
“Human reason and inclination are always in their natural state averse to the doctrine of Justification by Faith. Hence it is no wonder that earth and hell combine in persistent efforts to banish it from the Church and from the world.
“The message of the Law is needed in our congregations today as much as ever. Even where church attendance is gratifying, spiritual life is often on a rather low spiritual and moral plane… The range of topics treated in these sermons is virtually extensive with the spiritual needs and duties of our people.
This book was prepared by pastor Emanuel Greenwald to help his congregants with their daily prayers. While originally intended for family worship, it is perfect for private daily devotions. There are prayers, hymns and Bible readings for each day of the year.
“The sermon on the mount was preached in the interest of the great salvation which came by the grace and truth which were revealed through Christ, and its preaching of the law as a schoolmaster to bring us unto Him for salvation is always needed in our world of sin.
“Led by the Jesuits and their counter-Reformation, the Catholic Church has never ceased to try to destroy the enlightened order of religious freedom and democracy that has resulted from the revolt of the Christian people in the sixteenth century against the authoritarianism and corruption of the Church of Rome.
“All evidence that Rome has presented for her Petrine claim is here considered, and the views of the leading scholars of different nations, with respect to the life and labors of the Chief of the Apostles, together with other matters cognate to the subject.
“In the Church… influential men (opposed) genuine Lutheranism. They clung ardently to the name, and gloried in their ecclesiastical ancestry; but they held that under that name they could be Calvinists, Zwinglians, or Arminians.
“I fear those ministers among us who seem to be terribly afraid of Pietism. They do not explain the distinction between a false and a true Pietism. To have ever a greater and deeper measure of the latter is surely one of our greatest needs.
“Imagine an association whose members having destroyed all ties of family and of country, to be singled out from among men, and whose forces are to be concentrated at last to one united and formidable end, its plan devised and it establishes its dominion by all possible means over all the nations of the earth.
The Rev. Phineas D. Gurley, D.D., Mr. Lincoln’s pastor while President, writes: “I have had frequent and intimate conversations with him [Lincoln] on the subject of the Bible and the Christian religion, when he could have had no motive to deceive me, and I considered him sound, not only on the truth of the Christian religion, but on all its fundamental doctrines and teachings.