Timothy East’s practical book is intended to, “disturb the false peace of the criminally indifferent… impart consolation to the conscientiously fearful, (and to) excite to higher degrees of gratitude the comparatively few, who know that they are safe for eternity.
A Summary of the Christian Faith brings Hutter’s classic Compendium into a readable and easily accessible form. Henry Eyster Jacobs writes: “The book is not a mere compilation, but the matured expression of the convictions of the author, from the time when, as a child he was introduced to many of the problems treated, to the present.
“Why, a book of sermons on conversion? Because not all that has been written and preached on the subject is truth… Few subjects have been more abused, misrepresented and misunderstood. A veritable flood of ruinous error has emanated from pen and pulpit on this subject.
“Salvation is the great end for which the Son of God came into the world. To restore fallen man to his original state of holiness and happiness, he must be delivered from the curse of sin that is upon him and the power of the devil that enslaves him.
“Christ our Savior and all his apostles preached justification by faith, even as did the prophets of the Old Testament. Justification is the central doctrine of all the Scriptures, the heart and soul of the entire Christian religion.
“I want you to understand that I have never preached opinions from this pulpit; it is not a question of opinion; I have absolutely no right to stand here and give you my opinion, for it is not worth any more than yours; we do not come to church to get opinions; I claim that I can back up every sermon I have preached, with the Word of God, and it is not my opinion nor yours, it is the eternal Word of God, and you will find it so on the Judgment day.
“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.
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.
“On November 16, 1881, 12 pastors and teachers, 4 representatives of congregations, and 9 guests met at Blue Island, Illinois to discuss the new doctrine of predestination the Missouri Synod had begun to teach at that time.
“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.
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.
“Yes, the Lutheran Church does believe in salvation, in the absolute necessity of its personal application, and in eternal perdition to every one who will not come to God in His own way of salvation – through Jesus Christ.
“…Every minister of the Gospel should so preach that he need never be ashamed of the words he has spoken. Do you suppose that if I were ashamed of my sermons I would have them put in cold print to speak long after I am dead?
“How much the Bible makes of faith! How little, comparatively, of election! Everywhere Christ insisted on faith and belief, while scarcely more than half a dozen times does He refer to “the elect,” and almost always in passages whose interpretation is more or less difficult.
“The force of a plain passage of God’s Word is sought to be evaded by the flippant reply, ‘Yes, so it reads in your Bible,’ as if we had made the Bible.