Toward an understanding of the issues in the Missouri Synod

Question. What is the main theological issue in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod? Answer. The authority of the Bible.” So readers of CHRISTIANITY TODAY were informed in an interview with Missouri Synod president Dr. J. A. O. Preus published in the October 25, 1974, issue.

The answer is a smokescreen. The authority of the Bible is not at issue in the Missouri Synod. I personally have been very much at the center of the controversy and have been removed from office presumably because of my position on doctrine. I fully accept the authority of the Bible. I am totally committed to the Bible as the inspired and infallible Word of God. As a pastor of the church I have no other message than what the Bible teaches.

Smokescreens serve a purpose. Focus the concern of people on the issue of the Bible’s authority and you divert their attention from what is really going on. Say the answer often enough and people believe it. The result is that many people inside and outside the Missouri Synod are convinced that the dispute is between “Bible believers” and “Bible doubters.” They have been hoodwinked by the smokescreen.

The issue of biblical authority has been manufactured and manipulated in the interest of power politics. Everybody knows that the Missouri Synod man in the pew wants to uphold the truth of the Bible and the Bible’s authority in the church’s life. His valid concern has been manipulated through the manufacture of the issue of biblical authority to enable a particular party within the Synod to gain control of the Synod’s institutions in order to remold the Synod’s life according to their own ideological and theological standards.

Look at what has happened. First, unspecified ...

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