Official Publication of the LMS-USA

November 1996

Volume 3, Number 4

In This Issue - -

Luther and Our Practice of Catechesis

This year we commemorated the 479th anniversary of the nailing of the 95 theses on the door of the Wittenberg Church by Martin Luther, the event which we generally use to mark the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. Although there were many contributions made to the church as a result of the reformation, the Small Catechism remains, without question, one of Luther's greatest contributions.

The Crisis in Luther's Day

The number of Lutheran Churches was growing. In 1528, Luther went on a tour of the churches in Saxony. He was not happy with his findings. Everywhere he found different forms of worship and church practice. He found many people, including many pastors, to be biblically ignorant, with little understanding of Christian doctrine. He found those who could not even recite the Lord's Prayer or the Ten Commandments. Clearly there was a need for a clear and simple statement of the Christian faith.

Luther met this need in 1529 by writing two catechisms. He wrote the Large Catechism for pastors and adults. Pastors read parts of it to their congregations and used it to prepare sermons. He especially had the children in mind when he wrote the Small Catechism. In it he sought to explain the six "chief parts" of Christian doctrine in simple and clear language.

The Crisis Today

Luther's Small Catechism is no longer the basis of catechesis in the Lutheran Church. Where it is in use, it is usually in either a manner which was never intended or in a form which makes it unrecognizable. Thus, not only is the Christian understanding of the church lost to the priests of God but so also is the Christian world-view...

It is a characteristic of our age to believe that we can constantly create something which is new and improved... William Loehe, writing in the middle of the last century, comments: "Perhaps you say, `That is nothing new.' But I have not said that it is something new. Great thoughts are not born in the last hour of the world; the Lord grants them to his church from the beginning. Novelty and falsehood are synonymous when they apply to things which one cannot really comprehend. Every novelty in religious matters deserves suspicion.. One may know things all one's life without understanding them" [Wilhelm Loehe, Three Books about the Church, trans. James Schaaf (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1969), pp. 52-53.]. Yet, the church today is highly influenced by our adolescent, a-historical culture. We are not good at heeding the admonition of the writer to the Hebrews to "honor our fathers in the faith." We do not take the care of St. Paul, who hand-ed over only that which he received from the Lord. Each pastor does what he wishes. The adolescence of our culture has filled the church. If the current program is not working, we latch on to the next one. Each one promises success, which , of course, is measured by the twentieth-century marks of the church - numbers, mon-ey, emotion, and the social satisfaction of the customers. We have arrived when we can begin to create our own fads to attract and keep the "crowds."

Back to the Catechism

Why did not Luther write a catechism like the ones which are produced ad infinitum today? The approach today is to have a set number of lessons in a book with each lesson covering a different topic of doctrine. In this way we can be sure we will cover all that needs to be covered and at the same time know how long the classes will take from start to finish... Luther could have produced charts and books of the twentieth-century form with the technology available to him if he had wanted to do so. However, Luther himself in the Prefaces to the Large and Small Catechisms informs us why he did not use such a format.

For Luther, the Catechism is a prayer-book, not merely a book of doctrine. The Catechism is an enchiridion, a handbook, for living the baptismal life. Catechesis is a training in living as a baptized child of God, not just an accumulation of facts. The central error that we have made in catechesis is to treat it as an academic process rather than as a patterning of living in our baptism. We have treated the Catechism as a textbook rather than a prayer-book. Consequently, many adults, including pastors, view the Catechism as a book for children and not for us, as if it were a book like other school-books - something to be tolerated until graduation and then discarded. This problem is further compounded when pastors who do seek to use the Catechism concentrate on explanations of the Catechism rather than on the Catechism itself.

Luther stresses three aspects of catechesis: doctrinal content, specificity of words, and the shape of the baptismal life, that is the practice of faith. Modern catechetical material sometimes retains the emphasis on doctrinal content while all but ignoring Luther's choice of words and displacing the baptismal life to a mere chapter among many. This approach results in a confusion of the Christian vocation. It disjoints the doctrine confessed from the life lived.

The true shape of the baptismal life is a distinctively Lutheran and scriptural one. In the structure of the Catechism we see law and gospel rightly ordered and distinguished, the response of faith (prayer) rightly taught (that is, based on God's word), and the sacraments in their central actuality in the life of the baptized. The doctrine of the gospel is presented in its completeness with the chief article, justification, at the center. The life of the baptized shaped by the Catechism is one which extols the gifts of the Lord rather than the works of man.

We must ask ourselves how we have come to ignore, avoid, and neglect the Catechism today. It was not always so. There have been many who understood Luther's genius in writing the Catechism. Wilhelm Loehe, in the middle of the nineteenth century wrote, "The Small Catechism of Luther is a confession of the church, and of all the confessions, it is the one most congenial and familiar to the people. It is the only catechism in the world that one can pray. But it is less known than true that it can be called a veritable miracle in respect of the extraordinary fullness and great wealth of knowledge which is here expressed in so few words" [Loehe, p 186]. Loehe wrote an explanation of the Catechism which was narrative in form and which focused on developing a life of prayer based on the text of the Catechism. The narrative explanations explained the Catechism word for word. Scriptural citations were also included in narrative rather than proof-texting form. This tradition was brought to America by the Franconian colonies of Michigan. Following the break with Missouri, the Iowa Synod theologian Johann Michael Reu carried the tradition forward.

Until just recently, Augsburg Publishing House published an explanation of the Catechism by Reu which follows this pattern. It is this Catechism which we (the LMS-USA) have permission now to publish again. We are in the proof reading stage of production and hope to have the catechism, along with a workbook by Theo. L. Fritschel, ready by early spring.

All the above in bold print is from the article, Catechesis: The Quiet Crisis by William E. Thompson, Concordia Theological Quarterly, vol. 56: num. 2-3, April-July 1992, p. 99ff., Used with permission.

Process for Admittance of Congregations and Clergy to the LMS-USA

by Pastor Roy Steward

Foundational to the process developed by founding pastors and congregations of LMS-USA is the understanding of the need to do all that is possible to safe-guard the ongoing pure teaching of the Gospel and the right administration of the Sacraments. At the same time, there is a need to recognize the hurt that many good pastors and congregations may have experienced and the need for help and understanding.

One of the most difficult times for a pastor and/or congregation may be the time of decision and the process of leaving one church body and seeking admittance to another. The time of leaving a church denomination that has been home may be traumatic enough. But in far too many instances the time of seeking admittance to another church denomination may be equally traumatic. It is to be understood that a new applicant may not fully understand all the ins and outs of the LMS-USA nor can it be expected that they comprehend fully the doctrinal positions. With all this in mind, the following procedure has been devised:

Those making application for membership (after first having read, studied and reflected on the positions of LMS-USA) on the Clergy roster of LMS-USA submit a paper concerning their understanding of the Faith (congregations submit information relative to the congregation) , the pastors are interviewed by the LMS-USA President Pastor or one or more of the subscribing LMS-USA Ministerium members. The congregations are visited by the LMS-USA Presiding pastor or one or more of the subscribing LMS-USA MInisterium members. Upon receiving favorable reports and recommendations from those making the interviews/ visits and upon unanimous affirmation and recommendation by the Ministerium Subscribing Pastors, The Steering Committee of LMS-USA may then vote to grant membership reception of the Pastoral/ Congregational applicant into the general membership of the Ministerium and Synod.

This general membership is a non voting membership but accords the approved pastor/ congregation with voice, fellowship, and coverage in any LMS-USA

plans that are desired by the pastor/ congregation. This is not viewed as a probationary period. There are no assign-ed mentors (probation officers).

The pastor/con-gregation thus received may remain in general or associate membership indefinitely until such a point as they themselves determine that they desire to become subscriptional members of LMS-USA or desire no further connection. After a year of general membership a pastor/ congregation may make request of the Steering Committee and Convention of LMS-USA to become a subscribing member of LMS-USA. A review process is then set up for the pastor/ congregation. If it is clear that a pastor or congregation is in complete agreement with the LMS-USA Doctrinal positions, then a recommendation is made to the LMS-USA Steering Committee/ Convention that the respective pastor or congregation be received as a subscribing member of LMS-USA. A subscribing member is one who is willing to sign under the doctrinal documents of the LMS-USA indicating that he or the congregation is in full agreement with each doctrinal position of the body. Upon approval of the LMS-USA Steering Committee/ Convention the respective pastor/ congregation is invited to subscribe the documents of the LMS-USA and at the moment of subscription the pastor/ congregation becomes a voting member of LMS-USA and has a voting place on the Steering Committee as well as a vote in the LMS-USA Convention.

The Steering Committee and the Convention of LMS-USA operate on a " Consensus in Light of Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions" model. Each subscribing pastor has one vote and each subscribing congregation has one vote. New Subscriptional items must also be discussed and approved by each

of the Subscribing pastors and Congregations before becoming new Subscriptional positions of the denomination. All of this guards very effectively against minority or majority elements with different orientations ( or even conventions dominated by persuasive leaders) changing

the founding direction of the church body. Thus, even should a few or even more than a few pastors or congregations truly not holding to or agreeing to the LMS-USA subscriptional positions somehow deceptively become subscribing members of LMS-USA the likelihood of these changing the foundational direction of LMS-USA would be very difficult indeed.

It is our hope that in this way the LMS-USA can be kind to those seeking affiliation/fellowship and at the same time emphasize the importance for purity in the preaching and teaching of the Gospel and the right administration of the Sacraments.


The LMS-USA Director of Pensions and Financial Benefits, Pastor Richard Barley, has finalized a written agreement with the ELCA Board of Pensions that will allow LMS-USA pastors to transfer their pension money from the ELCA's plan to ours.

A real concern for pastors looking to come to the LMS-USA has to do with pensions. "Do you have a pension plan?" "Can I transfer my accumulated funds to your plan?" Prior to reaching this agreement, pastors who had been with the ELCA could not move their money. Now they can. We are looking into making similar agreements with other Lutheran demoninations.

Anyone having questions may contact Pastor Barley at 717-566-3964 or by mail at PO Box 347, Hummelstown, PA 17036. All inquiries to the LMS-USA will be confidential.

Editor's Note: The following is our (the LMS-USA) position on the Holy Scripture (the Bible) as found in our Brief Statements (a much more detailed statement on our positon can be found in our Anotated Statement on Holy Scripture - available upon request from our national office).

We believe the Bible is God's Word and self-revelation to us, and as such, it is without error in all it touches, whenever and however it speaks whether in matters of faith, doctrine, history, geography, or science.
Because of the position we have taken, there are those who think of us as Fundamentalist. We in no way see ourselves as fundamentalist, but rather as middle or moderate conservative Confessional Lutherans.

What follows is the first in a series of two articles by Rev. Mark Dankof, written to compare Confessional Lutheranism and Fundamentalism. There are some similarities as we see in the aritcle that follows. However, in the next issue of Table Talk, Rev. Dankoff will point out that there are also some major differences.

Confessional Lutheranism and Fundamentalism


Mark Dankof

Part 1 - The Center of Their Convergence

"And it is in the face of this overwhelming evidence that I (Satan) succeeded in making mankind believe that I do not exist. Baudel- aire, that old flower of evil, was right. `The Devil's cleverest wile is to make men believe that he does not exist.' But you smile. I must confess that I deliberately arranged my evidence so that you would. Oh, how well I know the rationalist and liberal mind - the modern mind that still does not understand the nature of a commonplace like electricity but does not hesitate to question the existence of Heaven and Hell... I saw that Hell had only to move with the die and leave the rest to rationalism, liberalism, and universal compulsory education, while Up There - he pointed to the ceiling - they lost ground daily be insisting on a positively 13th century view of history. Only Hell must be careful not to show its hand. That is why Hell went underground. That is why for 250 years I have ceased to exist. It was even easier than I anticipated... Shall I ever forget the day when the prodigious thought of Evolution popped into my head? - And how the little monsters snapped at the bait! In less than a century I had undone the work of more than a thousand years and knocked the studs from under the religious culture of Europe. Why? Because Evolution explained the universe without Him. They wanted to get rid of Him. Then I knew the secret longing of their nasty hearts. Then I knew I had them--" [Whittaker Chambers, "The Devil", Life magazine, February 2, 1948]

The words of Whittaker Chambers in 1948 provide a painful juxtaposition with the recent pronouncements of the Roman papacy declaring a legitimate synthesis between acknowledgement of the Creator and the embracing of a post Enlightenment evolutionary theory to explain human existence. Reduced to core essence, the "retrograde maneuver" (retreat) of Rome from Biblical orthodoxy parallels the demise of the latter from the hearts and minds of the intelligentsia of liberal Protestantism, much to the deception of the millions who trust the motives and pronouncements of both implicitly. The imprimatur of the Pope on the absurd notion that the human body is a product of evolutionary process while the souls remains a uniquely Divine creation "not subject to the evolutionary process", finds its sordid Bride in the concomitant insistence of Protestant academics that the denial of mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch, the historicity of Creation, the deliverance from Egypt, the supernatural acquisition of Canaan, the unity of Isaiah, and the historicity of the events reported by the Gospel writers about the life of Jesus Christ, are somehow compatible with continued affirmation of the mystery of the Holy trinity, reverence to the Word of God recorded by the prophets and apostles, and resurrection faith itself. In the context of Revelation 17, perhaps the Apostle John's warning about the "city of seven Hills" conveys to be both confessional Lutherans and American fundamentalists, the apocalyptic dangers inherent in the adoption of the spirit of this age and the Prince of this World who governs it.

It is this juncture that the intellectual and spiritual base of Orthodox Lutheranism and American Fundamentalism converge. Both reject the Enlightenment premise that human reason is the master, and not the servant, of divine revelation imparted in the propositional truth of the written Word of God. In John Theodore Mueller's Christian Dogmatics, the "God breathed" character of the written word ( 2 Timothy 3:16) is the center of confessionally Lutheran theology, articulated in the same words and concepts which would characterize the position of Reformed giants J. Gresham Machen and Cornelius Van Til, or the reverence for God's Word found in Dispensational Fundamentalist adherents like D. L. Moody, Merrill Unger, or Paul Feinberg. All would affirm, with Mueller, that human reason cannot be substituted for Scripture, that the legitimate, ministerial use of reason (where Biblical languages, logic, and grammer are employed by the mind under the Spirit's guidance in understanding the Word) must not be confused with the illegitimate, magisterial use (which makes human reason outside of God's authority the norm of faith), and that Schliermach-er's neo-orthodox notion of the "general scope" of Scripture must be rejected, given its lethal premise that the normative "whole" of the Bible does not necessarily involve the truth of all its component parts.

Orthodox Lutheranism and American Fundamentalism converge at a second point. They assent to the obvious conclusion that an emasculated doctrine of the Word will lead to the destructive substitution of Church Councils , Synods, and Popes as the final arbiter of God's truth (welcome to Rome, the ELCA, or the Episcopal conclaves), or to the elevation of private revelation as the foundation of faith, either in the ancient Montanist heresy or the modern day charismatic movement. In either instance, the end result is an elimination of the historical - grammatical hermeneutic in the understanding of God's Word, and a merger of Rome, the charismatic heresy, and neo-orthodoxy into an instrument of Satanic deception in the final hours of the Church Age.

New Church Start Fund Begun

Christ Lutheran Church of Chetek, WI, has set up an account to be used to help in the funding of a new LMS-USA congregation in the greater Minneapolis / St. Paul, MN, area. A pastor presently applying to the LMS-USA clergy roster plans to begin this new work this coming spring. Consider adding this planned new start to your prayer list.

Interested persons may donate to this fund by sending your designated gift to Christ Lutheran Church, P. O. Box 31, Chetek, WI 54728. The account is set up in such a way, that should the Twin City start not become a reality, the accumulated funds may be used (upon mutual agreement of the parties involved) for another church start in another location.

Toward Christian Unity


Rev. Ralph Spears

Question! When is the Church truly the Church?

Answer. When by Faith, it is the embodiment of Christ in the world!

Just as original sin must come after some form of original righteousness or rightness, which we know to have been the state of the world before sin entered, so we must ask this first question before we can ask---

When is the Church not the Church? And, when does it cease being the Church? Does It ever? And - under what conditions?

This should really be a rather simple and practical matter.

The Bottom Line

In the `good old days' it all came down to the proverbial LINE - drawn in the sand. In fact the founding event of the saying could easily be the `line in the sand' drawn by Joshua which he `stepped across' as he said, "As for me and my house - we will serve the Living God!" And they did! A response in good faith to the Way of the Lord, defined their Body, as the Children of God. Earlier this line had become the line of demarcation between the way of Faith and non-faith; between the Christ that followed them in the wilderness (as Paul was later to say) and the death that non-faith, brought.

But as Time marched on, that line became increasingly blurred by the actions of God's people. And this should have been no great surprise for first Moses and then Joshua had all but predicted the same in their final address, for they like Jacob in his last `day', seemed to have a special prophetic insight into the future 'doings' of Israel's people.

For this reason, Joshua made the People of God, `Witnesses against themselves' even as they repeatedly insisted that they would faithfully "serve the Living God." "No, we will serve the Lord" they insist! But the honest skepticism of Joshua is apparent and of that history would tell.

Rarely do we think of this Old Testament ingredient in the term Witness; that we serve as a reliable witness or vigilant party over against ourselves, to insure that we are doing what we should in every regard to remain - faithful. [So we are witnesses of and even against - ourselves.]

Human Nature and Prophetic Insight?

Was it indeed a rare gift of prophetic insight which these great patriarchs of the Faith pos-sessed, or a profound knowledge of human nature? Probably both!

An ordinary human might have been encouraged by the time Joshua addressed his people for the last time. The long wilderness trek had been completed with success, the conquest of Palestine - the Promised Land - was accomplished with the remarkable defeat of Jericho, Ai and Hazor. Furthermore, the dramatic presentation of the Ark of the Covenant before the Mount of Blessing had its desired effect. Mission accomplished! Or was it mission just begun?

Knowing the nature of human nature, Joshua seemed to "see" many bumps ahead on the road to Salvation, many breaches in the Covenant and, the blurring of that `line' of demarcation! The question, "Who is on the Lord's side?" would meet with stony silence in the not too distant future, and many more prophets, major and minor, would have to be raised up just so Israel would not lose it all for future generations and the continued promise. Perhaps he could 'see' Israel's swerving unfaithfulness accompanied by dominant swings from her enemies after her own bitter internal strife. Phislistia, Egypt, Babylonia, Greece and Rome all took their appointed turns of influence over this small, strategic land of Promise. Keeping the faith, was the whole point of the last discourses of both Moses and Joshua. Actually Joshua was not long in his grave in the hill country of Ephraim before the next generation appeared, "who did not know the Lord or the work He had done for Israel" (I Chron.).

Justification by Faith was the very essence of the Nation of Israel even before Abraham, and long before Habakkuk stated it and `handed' it off to Paul (and the writer of Hebrews) who placed it before Luther's eyes for the rediscovery during his own personal struggle of faith.

What a remarkably complete and deceptively simple teaching - this "Justification by Faith." How enduring it is, but perhaps more surprisingly, as we gaze over the Patriarch's shoulders at Israel's future, we notice that - true Faith and the justification that it brings, would need to be reintroduced every few hundred years - to be learned and appreciated yet again in that `day.' But indeed it is that same line still, to be stepped over and not `tripped upon,' buy individuals, nations, and the Church - in serving the living God and the eternal Christ who brings, with Him, the opportunity and indeed the necessity of separating - Law and GOSPEL. For we all are "Justified by Faith" and that `apart from the works of the Law.'

* * * * * * *

But WHY do we even raise the first question at all? Why even ask about the church not being the church, especially in an age of great confusion and conflict over basic points concerning worship, theology and mission? Most liturgies provide for prayer for Church unity when it seems almost beyond hope!

Groups who's `banners' proclaim - "MORE RELEVANT"  sneer at those whose banner proclaims - "Based on SCRIPTURE" and visa versa. It's the seven sins of the Churches of Revelation 2 and 3, gone wild!

Without too much thought we could even identify the Seven Deadly Sins of the present day Church - which might be; 1) Trendy 2) Upbeat 3) Modern 4) Gender Proper 5) Politically Correct 6) User Friendly and 7) Giving the People What They Want! The fascination with numbers ever larger, seems to be prominent here also. All of these with several variations, are moving bodies of the church apart at `light speed.'

Many groups - convinced of their success - offer seminars on their latest ideas, while time honored theology and a valid relationship with Christ are given little real consideration. Meanwhile their opponents react by becoming even more stridently `conservative' with sometimes dire warnings and predictions invoking last days themes and talking quite a lot about the devil.

Beneath the Lutheran Banner we read of `iceberg like' Concordats (mostly beneath the surface) already signed for delivery to the largely unsuspecting masses `on board the church's ship' - which would crunch together divergent communions. This unity is engineered by those leaders who "know better" - not on the basis of sound Confessional unity; but on the platform of `efficiency of operation and function, and trivial commonness of newly formatted creedal statements, hymnbooks and the like. An agreement on adiaphora (things not essential) has never brought a unity of faith to the Church!

On the other hand there is a much smaller band of "Letter perfect Lutherans" still attempting to forge a properly worded Union among themselves as though it were the world of 1546 and not 1996.

So much, it would seem, for Billy Graham's widely reported saying that `the Lutheran Church is the sleeping giant ready to awaken Twentieth century reform in the Church.'

* * * * * * *

No! The point of the original question is not to be critical and argumentative so as to identify denominations, synods, bodies and congregations who have erred and therefore are not the CHURCH. The Point is not to label and condemn with a continuation of negative internecine (although sometimes, well taken) points of doctrinal truth. Such things have been going on since James and John asked our Lord for a special place of honor ahead of the rest. And it was then that the Head of the Church patiently and decisively laid down the Principle of authentic leadership within the body church; Don't be like the world (the Gentiles) who love to `lord' it over others with their authority.' "But is shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all." And then as roll model for the future Church, Jesus said, "The Son of man came not to be served, but to serve" (Mk. 10:42-45).

And earlier, as the Apostles 'on the way' were arguing about "Who was the greatest" among themselves, which is most appropriate to this discussion, Our Lord sat them down immediately in one of the very first seminars on Church leadership and said: "If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all" (Mk. 9:34-35)!

Yes, I know the tendency to think of these instructions as dated and impractical today. And I suppose that it is not surprising to see the brilliance of the Teacher's teaching without connecting it to the brilliant application that is should have for all who would lead the Chruch in any way - now. For the last couple of decades, words such as "enable" and "empower" have been used quite a lot even when discussing the mission of the Church. But one wonders what these terms refer to - who is enabled/ empowered, by what and to what end? Yet, "'he Servant Church' is rarely mentioned as a viable term to describe ministry let alone inter-Church or denominational leadership or discussion.

Church Unity can only be based on internal Faith which justifies (even the discussion), not on externals such as formats and wording, let alone even, denominations. There is such legalism even in the discussion of Faith, among church bodes that there is little to justify those who participate.

We need to "look to ourselves" and so that we "do not think more highly than we ought to think about ourselves" and our importance, to be "witnesses again ourselves" as Joshua suggested not be criticizing and competing in a negative way, but in serving and responding in Faith in a Positive, Hopeful, and a Faithful way.

Only then, can there be Unity in the Church! Only then, can the Church truly be the Church!

Unaltered Augsburg Confession:

The Underlying Assumption or Given

by Pastor Roy Steward

We do not worship "Scripture" or "The Word" as is occasionally charged. Rather, we believe that in Holy Scripture (The Word) the One and Only God of Heaven and Earth, whom we do worship, is the one speaking directly to his people and to the world.

In a recent visit, a pastor expressing interest in LMS-USA asked the following question:

Why has the LMS-USA begun with a subscriptional statement on"The Word" rather than following the model of the Augsburg Confession which begins with the chief articles of Faith with the Doctrine of God?

This pastor had the impression that perhaps we were placing the Word ahead of God and thus worshiping Scripture.

This pastor's good and sincere question alerts us to the need to make our position clear to others, and at the same time, serves to remind us that in efforts to make things clear, there is always the danger of giving the impression that we are slipping into the worship of something other than the One who insists that His people have no other gods before him.

Yes, the Augsburg Confession begins with the Chief Articles of Faith with the Doctrine of God. However, we in LMS-USA, believe it a very clear "given or an underlying assumption" that each of these Chief Articles is based on, and established in, Holy Scripture. One cannot read the writing of Dr. Luther and the other Lutheran reformers without quickly discovering that the basic Articles and Doctrines of the Faith are grounded in The Word Alone. The UAC was so firmly grounded in the view that Scripture is the direct Word of the One and Only True God that there was no need to state it. Even the opponents to the Lutheran Evangelicals knew exactly from where the composers of the Augsburg Confession had placed their given premises and thus from whence they had drawn forth the Chief Articles of Faith and Doctrine. It was assumed that everyone knew this (friend and foe alike) and it was a given that this was indeed so.

But generations later many even in the Lutheran tradition forgot or deliberately chose to ignore that which was the basic underlying premise for Dr. Luther and the other Lutheran reformers. These later generations often pointed out that the Lutheran Confessions do not specifically define the Word of God in Scripture as Inerrant and Infallible. However, in pointing to this surface reality they failed to lift up the underlying assumption and givens of the Lutheran Reformers. Thus as a correction to this, the LMS-USA began by pointing to what had been understood as a given by Luther and the reformers in its Annotated Subscriptional Statement on the Word. This was where Luther and the other reformers began and so it seemed good to us, especially in light of the `spirit of these latter times' for us to begin with what had been the underlying basis for not only the Augsburg Confession but also for all the other writings of the Book of Concord.

We do not worship the Scripture" or "The Word" , as is occasionally charged. But in our Annotated Statement on the Word we do acknowledge that in Holy Scripture (The Word) the One and Only God of Heaven and Earth, whom we doworship, is the one speaking directly to his people and to the world.

When He speaks his Word is completely true and trustworthy. His Word is inerrant and it is infallible. Those who worship Him in truth hear His Word and struggle to do it. It is a falsehood to say that one worships " God alone" if one then dismisses a good portion of the Word which God himself has spoken and which He has caused, through His Holy Spirit, to be preserved down through the centuries.the other writings of the Book of Concord.

We do not worship the "Scripture" or "The Word" , as is occasionally charged. But in our Annotated Statement on the Word we do acknowledge that in Holy Scripture (The Word) the One and Only God of Heaven and Earth, whom we do worship, is the One speaking directly to His people and to the world.

When He speaks His Word is completely true and trustworthy. His Word is inerrant and it is infallible. Those who worship Him in truth hear His Word and struggle to do it. It is a falsehood to say that one worships " God alone" if one then dismisses a good portion of the Word which God himself has spoken and which He has caused, through His Holy Spirit, to be preserved down through the centuries.

The LMS-USA is a 'Forum by Subscription' in the Moderate Conservative or Middle Conservative position in American Lutheranism. As a 'Forum' the intent is that there will be an ongoing discussion of theological issues and concerns among clergy and lay alike. The LSM-USA meets annually for a Theological Conference and this publication, besides carrying news of the Ministerium and Synod, functions also as a vehicle for this continuing dialogue.

For information or to make comment contact:

President/Pastor, LMS-USA

2837 East New York St., Indianapolis, IN 46201

AOL & Internet Contact: LMS

Table Talk

P. O. Box 31

Chetek, WI 54728