28.6.09

I Believe in the Apostolic Church

The great truths of the faith that the Holy Spirit led the church of Christ to recognise in the weighty doctrinal struggles of the early centuries, and which have been recognised by the orthodox church down through the ages as the true interpretation of the Holy Scriptures, do not cease to be truths because they have been abused, taken apart, or even denied. If there is one thing that especially Evangelical* theology in our time has to learn from Luther and the Confessions of the Reformation, it is that the ancient church must be taken seriously. The history of the church did not stand still, as many a young theologian today seems to think, from the death of the last apostle until Luther arrived on the scene. The decline of the knowledge and study of patristics among the present generation of theologians threatens to become a disaster for our theology unless it is turned around. A church without patristics becomes a sect.

"I Believe in the Apostolic Church"
(Originally written in 1936)

* By "Evangelical theology", Sasse means Lutheran theology.

Translated by the editor from the text found in In Statu Confessionis, Lutherisches Verlagshaus, Berlin & Hamburg, 1966. The translation of Norman Nagel found in We Confess Jesus Christ (Concordia Publishing House, St Louis, 1986) was also consulted for purposes of comparison and accuracy.

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