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.
“It has been frequently said that the grand object of preaching the Gospel, is to lead sinners to make the inquiry, ‘what must I do to be saved?’ Another subject of equal, if not of vastly greater importance to the minister of Christ is, how shall awakened and inquiring souls be treated?
“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.
“What are ‘fundamental doctrines,’ or ‘fundamental Articles of Faith’?… Every intelligent Christian feels competent to state the general basis of his belief, or the doctrinal foundation of his Christian character and life… When he, however, proceeds to specify in detail the doctrines which essentially constitute that ‘foundation,’ he will no longer be surprised by the embarrassment that even distinguished divines, on attempting to furnish an answer, have candidly confessed.
“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?
“This little volume of sermons has been prepared in response to repeated appeals from the people who heard them from the pulpit. With some slight discrimination, they have been chosen from a cabinet of upwards of two thousand discourses.
“He that believeth not shall be damned,” says your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. You believe this. Pray tell me how can you let your relative, friend, neighbor, or enemy, ignorantly live in his sins and be damned?
“I realize that this city, and all cities, are filled with people who have been unfortunate enough not to have the right kind of parents, who have been unfortunate enough not to have had the right kind of training, who have become busy, and so busy that they must be saved in a few months time or lost forever… We have in view during the next seven Thursday evenings to show the Way and make it plain to every intelligent one who will come and sit down in this center row of pews…” — Simon Peter Long