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Why Should a Lutheran Not Join
Any Sectarian Church?
REV. V. W. RICHTER
Read Before and Approved by the Pastoral Conference of
Livingston County, Illinois.
MOTTO: Through Thy precepts I get understanding; therefore
I hate every false way. ---Ps. 119:104.
SVEDOK PUBLISHING HOUSE
Streator, Illinois, 1913
No harm is intended, much less done to you, kind reader, nor to anyone; for we come to you in the spirit of fairness. We are here to show by comparison the various teachings of denominations from their own writings, and compare them with the Scriptural doctrine of the Lutheran Church. The basis for all arguments is, that the Bible in its every word and letter, all Scripture, II. Tim. 3:16, is inspired by God, therefore not capable of any error. As such it is above, and cannot be corrected by human tradition, scientific research and human opinion in general. It is not our object to enumerate all heresies ever hatched, nor to note every shade of error within the various church bodies now existing, but to examine on the most generally accepted, and therefore most conspicuous false teachings now in vogue.
We wish distinctly to render a service, not only to those that were reared in the Lutheran faith and wish to guard against “backsliding,” but to every earnest seeker after the truth. We are convinced that only a close and careful investigation of existing differences in doctrine will satisfy such a person. In fact, we wish to be understood as offering peace, not by setting aside the differences, but by submitting them to the proper court of ap peals. And we heartily believe that all those differing from distinctly Lutheran teaching, do not believe that part of their tenets which is not Lutheran, for two reas ons: First, because any tenet not based on Scripture cannot be an object of faith. Faith as distinguished from superstition or illusion, grasps a clearly revealed knowledge of Bible facts. Again, because every Christian at heart will give and ascribe all glory to God for his salvation, as does the Lutheran Church.
May the good Lord bless these efforts to convince a goodly number of the fact that the Lutheran Church remains in the Word of Christ, where others fail to do so, and that every one is bidden not “to err concerning the faith,” I. Tim. 6:20-21, but “to be ready always to give answer to every man that asketh him a reason of the hope that is in him,” Peter 3 : 15.
It was with a great pleasure and spiritual gain that I have listened to the readings of this work while it was presented at our conference. While at this work, our dear brother, the author, encountered many obstacles and hardships, for a task like he undertook is indeed a very hard one. But we, the members of conference, always encouraged him to brace up, and badehim to proceed. And he did proceed, and splendidly so indeed.
The merit of this book does not need to be any too much propounded by any one, as it speaks for itself. To a sincere Lutheran it will be a true companion throughout life, showing him the right and the wrong, leading him into the Bible, and pointing him to the straight and narrow path that leads to true Triune God and salvation.
Now, was a book of this kind a necessity? The tendency of our age is to combine all the different Christian denominations at least the Protestant. Accordingly, some one will say:“What's the use of arousing Christian against Christian? Work together; forget the differences." Now, if all Christians would accept and adopt the true Christrian doctrine, as it is given in the Bible, we would say: Very well, we will work together. But as long as perverted human reason obscures and perverts the true teaching of the Bible, so long we, who have it in its purity, must defend it by live words and writings, and that is what the author does in this book.
Briefly, the book is up to date, very much of need, and it deserves to gain a fast foothold among our American Lutherans, not English only, but among all other, tongues. Therefore I asked the author to kindly allow me te translate it into some foreign tongues—specially into Slovak language. He consented, and I will do the translations, for to do so is worth while.
May the good Lord pour his abundant blessing on this, through Jesus Christ our Saviour.
REV. ANDREW CHOVAN, Editor of Svedok, Official Organ of Slovak Luth. Synod.
The Question is asked, “Why should à Lutheran not join a Sectarian Church?” Here is one answer:
A Lutheran should not join any Sectarian Church, first, because the Lutheran Church is the old original Church.
1. She has the same teachings as were taught by the apostles and prophets. She has not begun in 1517, but is the restored old apostolic Church. There were those who indeed founded sects, changing plain Bible truths to suit themselves. Not so Luther. He was the blessed tool in God's hand to clean out of the Church the mess of Roman Catholic heresies, and to restore her to the shape she once had in the time of the apostles. The good that had been left within the Church he therefore retained casting off only that which had been introduced contrary to the Word of God. Nor was he the first one to attempt this. As often as errors had crept in, and had begun to spread, there were some to testify against them. Especially when the Church was most corrupted there were those who tried to reform. But the very ones that tried to lead the Church back to Christ's Word were persecuted. Thus History 'tells us of a John Hus, a Savonarola, a Wyclef, and others. With an iron hand the Roman Catholics had downed every one that had voiced a protest against their many outrages, until, by the grace of God, through the pen of Luther, Rome's power was overthrown, the Gospel again had its free course, the Word was once more, as of old, preached in its truth and purity.
To show that the Lutheran Church never aimed to be anything new, but that her faith is the ancient Christian faith, she numbers among her confessions of faith the three Ecumenic Creeds, the Apostolic, the Nicene and the Athanasian Creed. Thus she professes the same true Christian teaching as it has ages ago been drawn up in a