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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

"à la Sasse"? – Pres. Harrison speaks

[Aug. 1 – Note: a comment has come in (see below) pointing out this may not be a verbatim quote of Harrison.]

In the latest Christian News issue (July 29, pg 3, col. 1; PNG image), President Matthew Harrison, newly re-elected for the next term of the LC-MS, said this in an ALPB interview:
"We are a confessional Lutheran body à la Sasse..."
Harrison is referring to Hermann Sasse.  This is an interesting statement, especially in view of the title of his massive book At Home in the House of My Fathers.  Just who were the "Fathers" that Harrison was referring to in his title?  Walther, Wyneken, Schwan, Pieper and Pfotenhauer....  no Sasse here.  Ah, but we see that Harrison has another book entitled The Lonely Way: Selected Essays and Letters by Hermann Sasse.  Now anyone who has read of the writings of Hermann Sasse knows that he does not hold up the writings of the fathers of the old (German) Missouri Synod, even though he had contact with many in today's LC-MS (including Prof. Kurt Marquart, Herman Otten, etc).

Who was Hermann Sasse?  There are a lot of writings about him today.  But Hermann Sasse said this in 1952 (Concordia Theological Monthly, vol. 23, page 221):
You know that our United Evangelical Lutheran Church in Australia is connected with Loehe and Iowa, now the American Lutheran Church, and our sister Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Australia, is in communion with Missouri... We tried to overcome the old scheme of the Orthodox fathers and to build the doctrine on Scripture on Luther's understanding of the Word of God. I think you will like this approach, which tries to overcome the Fundamentalist issues
This quote touches on issues beyond the scope of this blog post, but it is rather revealing that Hermann Sasse was not of the same doctrine as the old (German) Missouri Synod, even when he claims to "build the doctrine on Scripture on Luther's understanding of the Word of God".  The doctrine on Scripture that he built was rather that of Wilhelm Loehe and the Iowa Synod...  not Walther, Pieper, ... or Luther.

So who are the real "fathers" for today's LC-MS?

Walther, Pieper, etc.

Hermann Sasse, c. 1940s


Well now, the sheep in today's LC-MS should really study up on Hermann Sasse (and Wm. Loehe, the Iowa Synod, The American Lutheran Church, Prof. John T. Pless, Pres. Matthew Harrison, etc., etc.)

... for Hermann Sasse is your real father in the faith.

Matthew Harrison said so.


  1. In the CN article (p.3, col. 1) the ALPB interviewer states: "Anyhoo [sic], we did the interview, but I was unable to keep up typing on an ipad, so these are not verbatim quotes unless noted."

    The alleged quote, "We are a confessional Lutheran body à la Sasse...", is not a verbatim quote from President Harrison, but the words of the ALPB interviewer. Later the interviewer does include specific quotes from President Harrison.

    1. I will add a note at the top of this post to clarify per your comment. But I would be surprised if Harrison did not actually say these words... and I will let him deny this phrase.


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