The 16th Century Reformation Was Complete; We Have Been Given All That We Need!

Indeed, many a theologian today acts as if there were still wonderfully much to be done and to be discovered for the holy doctrine... Unfortunately, for the most part they are not even thoroughly acquainted with what the fathers have handed down, and yet they presume to want to discover something new through independent research.  The trouble is just this, that even though there is still so much to be learned for confirming the perfect doctrine, they still want to produce something that will be new and complete it...  The church is a bearer of certain, divine knowledge, a custodian of immortal truth.  Her children can mature and become men only through acquaintance with and personal knowledge of that which has been there for a long time.  It is not to be feared that scholarship will die out because of this.  If [scholarship] does not depend on this, that one must always start anew.  It has enough to do even when the doctrine and the confession are recognized as complete.  Here there is nothing to reform.  In this respect the Reformation is completed. 

Perhaps one could also say that reformation of doctrine has taken place but the church still does not rejoice in the riches of her pure doctrine as she should and does not sense the significance which this gives her.  She still feels as if she were only tolerated, as if she lived by the grace of men.  She does not know that she has a letter of emancipation from God to live openly and freely by His grace and her faith and to make the whole world happy through her riches.  She does not recognize that , after she came the pure church, she became preeminently heir of all divine promises.  She still thinks of herself too much as mere dogma, too little as a person; she is too little conscious of herself, her grace, her worth, her powers.

   -Wilhelm Loehe, quoted in Moving Frontiers (Concordia Publishing House, 1964), 70.

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