18.1.12

Fathers of the Church

"It is always a sign of deep spiritual sickness when a church forgets its fathers."

From Fathers of the Church, German original in Lutherische Blaetter 6:36 (May 10, 1954) pp58-69.

Compiler's Note - I've often heard this statement misquoted as "it is always a sign of deep spritual sickness when a church forgets the Fathers." Actually, in context, Sasse's sentence refers to more than just the Fathers, although it doubtless includes them in as much as they were orthodox teachers (thus Sasse mentions the Catalogue of Testimonies, the Patristic Christological quotes appended to early editions of the Book of Concord). His main concern, however, is the fathers of the "free" Lutheran churches of Germany and abroad (Harms, Scheibel, Walther, Wyneken, Kavel and others are mentioned by name), those churchmen who, though much maligned in their day, humanly speaking rescued confessional Lutheranism from unionism. When they are forgotten by the churches they fathered, it is a sign that those churches have succumbed to a "deep spiritual sickness".

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