Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Do Our Symbols Contain Error?

Quoting C.F.W. Walther:

But what of some honest, upright men who either lack the ability to test the whole Book of Concord according to the Word of God and therefore are not convinced that the Symbols agree with Scripture in every point or who have conscientious scruples about certain points? In either case such are not fit to become teachers in the Church, for a bishop must, above all things, be "apt to teach" and "be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers," 1 Tim. 3: 2; Tit. 1: 9.

But is it not possible that the Symbols of the orthodox Church contain errors in less important points? Yes, but the possibility does not establish reality. Only a skeptic, who is always learning and never coming to the truth, despairs of ever finding the truth and will maintain; Men have written this, and therefore it must contain error. But if error should really be found in our Symbols, we would be the first to pass the death sentence on them. But we defy the whole world to point out an error in doctrine in our Book of Concord. For the past three hundred years all the enemies of our Church have tried in vain to find an error, but have failed. They have shown, and we admit it, that our Symbols contain points which are contrary to their blind reason; but they have failed to prove that our Symbols contradict Scripture in the smallest point.
Quoted from Walther's essay titled "Why Should Our Pastors, Teachers and Professors Subscribe Unconditionally to the Symbolical Writings of Our Church," delivered at the Western District Convention in 1858. Printed in the April, 1947 Concordia Theological Monthly.


O.H. Lee said...

One good one deserves another; this one from C.P. Krauth:

"We do not claim that our Confessions were infallible. We do not say they could not fail. We only claim that they did not fail."

Krauth, "Conservative Reformation", p. 186

Frank Gillespie said...

Semper virgo…I’ll duck now.

Scott Diekmann said...

I'm a patient guy. I can wait for you to stand back up Frank!

For a good discussion on the Confessions, quia, and semper virgo, go to CyberStones: