A Confession Is Nothing, Unless It Is Confessed

… In every church there can be and exists error, and even heretical opinions may occur. Every church is confronted with the problem how to deal in an evangelical way with such errors. What matters is, whether or not a church is prepared to maintain its doctrinal standard, whether it regards its confession as a real confession, and not only as a statute valid before men. I can assert a confession only if I believe it. …Training future pastors belongs to the highest ecclesiastical functions. The confessional obligation of the faculty of St. Louis is obviously different from that of Upsala where the chair of church history was occupied by a Methodist, to take only this example. Here lies for me the root of all differences between Missouri and the LWF churches. For you a confession is nothing, unless it is confessed…

Hermann Sasse, in a letter to Dr John W. Behnken, President of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, March 1, 1958.

HT Rev. Matthew Harrison


  1. Hello Mark,
    I've just come back from a funeral today, and a few graves up from the burial plot was Hermann Sasse's grave. On Sasse's gravestone, if you don't already know, is this inscription: tuis fidelibus, Domine, vita mutatur, non tollitur. Nice, heh?

  2. Interesting...I never got there when I was in Adelaide. If I'm not mistaken that comes directly from the Roman Mass for the Commemoration of the Faithful Departed on All Souls Day:

    "Father, all-powerful and ever-living God, we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
    In him, who rose from the dead, our hope of resurrection dawned. The sadness of death gives way to the bright promise of immortality. Lord, for your faithful people life is changed, not ended. When the body of our earthly dwelling lies in death we gain an everlasting dwelling place in heaven.
    And so, with all the choirs of angels in heaven we proclaim your glory and join in their unending hymn of praise:
    Holy, holy, holy ..."
    I wonder if that was chosen by his younger son, who converted to Rome?

    Many thanks for that, Fraser

  3. And the Latin...
    "Vere dignum et iustum est, æquum et salútare, nos tibi semper et ubíque grátias ágere: Dómine, sancte Pater, omnípotens ætérne Deus: per Christum Dóminum nostrum.
    In quo nobis spes beátæ resurrectiónis effúlsit, ut, quos contrístat certa moriéndi condício, eósdem consolétur futúræ immortalitátis promíssio. Tuis enim fidélibus, Dómine, vita mutátur, non tóllitur, et, dissolúta terréstris huius incolátus domo, ætérna in cælis habitátio comparátur.
    Et ídeo cum Angelis et Archángelis, cum Thronis et Dóminatiónibus, cumque omni milítia cæléstis exércitus, hymnum glóriæ tuæ cánimus, sine fine dicéntes:
    Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus ..."

    From the 1969 Missal.


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