Why Is Justification The Chief Topic Of Christian Doctrine?

The following exerpt is taken from:
F.A. Mayer, The Religious Bodies of America: Fourth Revised Edition (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 1961), 146-147. 

When Lutheran theologians speak of justification by faith as the material principle of theology, they merely wish to indicate that all theological thinking must begin at this article, center in it, and culminate in it. As the various facets of the diamond catch, reflect, the light, so the phrase, 'justification by faith alone' gives brilliance to every phase of Christian revelation and in turn each facet of Christian truth sheds new brilliance on this so-called central doctrine, whether it is viewed as justification by faith, or as the work of Christ, or as the distinction between Law and Gospel, or as faith in Christ, or as the doctrine of the 'righteousness before God.' 

In the Confessions, this doctrine is usually presented either as the doctrine of Christ's work or the doctrine of justification.  The Formula of Concord states:
This article concerning justification by faith is the chief article in the entire Christian doctrine, without which no poor conscience can have any firm consolation or can truly know the riches of the grace of Christ. (FC: III, 6)
The Apology summarizes the entire Scriptures in terms such as 'the Gospel message,' 'absolution,' 'the forgiveness of sin,' 'justification,' or in such concepts as God's new relation to man and man's new relation to God.  Melanchthon states:
In this controvesy [that men obtain the remission of sin through faith alone and are justified] the chief topic of Christian doctrine is treated, which, when rightly understood, illumines and amplifies the honor of Christ and brings necessary and most abundant consolation to devout consciences. (AP: IV,2)
When in 1527 the Lutherans were confronted by the question whether for the sake of peace they could yield anything, Luther states concerning the 'office' and work of Jesus Christ, or our redemption':
Of this article nothing can be yilded or surrendered, even though heaven and earth, and everytyhing should sink to ruin (Acts 4:12, Is. 53:5).  Upon this article all things depend which we teach and practice in opposition to the pope, the devil, and the world. Therefore, we must be sure concerning this doctrine and not doubt; otherwise all is lost and the pope and the devil in all things gain the victory and suit over us. (SA: PII, 5)

Only within the frame of reference of the doctrine of justification can any Christian doctrine be considered in a salutary way. The doctrine of justification is, as it were, the strand on which all the pearls of Christian revelation are strung."

- F. E. Meyer (The Religious Bodies of America, 1954)

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