It can be difficult to figure out just what true Lutheranism is, who are the true Lutherans today. We get some assistance in this endeavor from The Catholic Encyclopedia, volume VIII (1910). In their article under the heading of “Justification” (p. 573-578), they first set out to explain “The Protestant Doctrine of Justification”. As the essayist approaches the end of this section, after handling the “error” of Luther, it rejoices in the fact that practically all of Protestantism, including world-wide Lutheranism, has virtually joined with the Roman Catholic Church in acknowledging that there must be something else besides God's grace that is responsible for our salvation. Oh, but there is a "fly in the ointment", and our Catholic essayist would not want to be accused of omitting any minor detail. And what would be this small bit of information? I highlight his sentence below:
|1910 Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 8, p. 576 (WikiSource)|
“The strict orthodoxy of the Old Lutherans, e.g. in the Kingdom of Saxony and the State of Missouri, alone continues to cling tenaciously to a system which otherwise would have slowly fallen into oblivion.”The "Old Lutherans" have been taken over by today's LC-MS which no longer receives censures by Romanists like the above. It is the "pure grace" written into the Brief Statement of 1932 that is the remaining legacy of the "Old Lutherans". But God's Grace remains for all. He gives us His Word.
How did I come across this "bit" of information? It came from Franz Pieper's 1921 essay to the North Dakota-Montana District as translated by Pastor Bryce Winter of the ELCR of Australia. Pastor Winter is serializing his translation of this marvelous history of Martin Luther at the Diet of Worms in 1521 ("Here I Stand") and I present below his Part 7 which is short, less than 5 pages long. Full Google Doc text > here <. Highlighting and hyperlinks are my additions; original pagination retained.
Who am I? Just an "Old Lutheran" from that "State of Missouri" from above where only pure grace is clung to — Sola Gratia!