CHRISTIANITY TODAYpublishes this assessment from a second-generation Lutheran minister in good standing in his community, because of its spirited call for rededication to the great priorities.


Dear Brethren of the Missouri Synod:

Thirty-four years have passed since I last wrote to you. That was in July, 1926, when The American Mercury published my highly seasoned article, “The Lutherans,” which made some of you feel very badly, I fear. You have long ago forgiven me, I am sure, or will do so when I tell you that I now think quite differently than I did at 21, and that today I want to touch a sympathetic chord.

In 1926 I did not accuse you of false doctrine, though in my youthful innocence I made the sad mistake—which only one who is not Lutheran is entitled to make—of ascribing to you the doctrine of consubstantiation. On the other hand I doled out grudging praise because of your firm conservative position and your separated stand.

Now, a generation later, I wonder whether I can still laud you for those things. Some of your prominent professors are being accused of heresy: denial of the inerrancy of Scripture, negation of the immortality of the soul and of the resurrection of the body, belief in the annihilation of the wicked; and on the other hand, defense of the “immaculate conception” and the “assumption of Mary” as permissible opinions. Many of your clergy appear confused or indifferent in doctrinal matters. One of your pastors is currently professing the ancient error of modal monarchism. Others clamor for church union with those who do not hold our historic confessional position. My files bulge with reports that all is not well. Pastors are concerned and indignant. Laymen are grieved and disturbed. Low rumblings of ...

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