A Dogmatics Resource Based Upon the Outline
and Thought Pattern of the Lutheran Confessions
About the Series . . .
“In the fall of 1984, Dr. Robert Preus, the president of Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana, presented his plans to some of his colleagues for a series to be called Confessional Lutheran Dogmatics. These volumes were to supplement and not replace Francis Pieper’s Christian Dogmatics. They were to be directed to pastors, seminary students, and all with an interest in confessional Lutheran theology.” From the Preface to Baptism, by David P. Scaer.
From the General Introduction by Robert D. Preus, General Editor, 1984-95:
“For some time now those of us in the Lutheran church who have interested ourselves in the Lutheran Confessions, taught from them, and conducted research in these great symbolic writings have recognized the need for a dogmatics resource based upon the outline and thought pattern of the Lutheran Confessions. Such a resource, heretofore available only in Leonard Hutter’s little Compendium Locorum Theologicorum, would address theologians of our day with a truly confessional answer to the theological issues we are facing in Christianity and in our Lutheran Zion today. We were in no way interested in replacing as a textbook in our Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod Francis Pieper’s monumental Christian Dogmatics, which has served students in our church body and others for three generations. Such an endeavor would have been unnecessary and unproductive. The authors of the various monographs in this Confessional Lutheran Dogmatics series come at their respective subjects from somewhat different vantage points and backgrounds and personal predilections as they practice dogmatics. It was decided, therefore, to issue a series of dogmatics treatises on the primary articles of faith usually taken up in traditional dogmatics since the sixteenth century . . .
The volumes making up Confessional Lutheran Dogmatics are not a theology of the Lutheran Confessions; they are rather a series in dogmatics. They differ from other dogmatics books in that they are patterned strictly after the theology of the Book of Concord as they address the issues of today. They follow not only the theology of the Book of Concord, . . . the authors of the present volumes follow the actual pattern of thought (forma et quasi typus . . .) of the Lutheran Confessions. Such a procedure is according to the principle of the Confessions themselves; creeds and confessions are indeed a pattern and norm according to which all other books and writings are to be accepted and judged. This fact will account for the agreement in both doctrine and formulation that the reader will observe within the present entire dogmatics series; the authors bind themselves not only generally to the theology of the Book of Concord, but to its content and terminology (rebus et phrasibus). . . .
As a confessional Lutheran dogmatics, the present volume will consciously and scrupulously draw its doctrine from Scripture. All the Confessions, beginning with the creeds and concluding with the Formula of Concord, claim to be and are direct explications of Sacred Scripture. As such, their purpose is never to lead us away from Scripture, nor to summarize the Scriptures in such a way as to make their further study unnecessary. They are written to lead us into the Scriptures….
The Lutheran Confessions themselves never claim to be the final work on the understanding and exegesis of the Scriptures; we recall Luther’s statement on oratio, meditatio, tentatio with its blasts against theological know-it-alls and how often this statement of Luther’s was repeated by the post-Reformation theologians in their dogmatics works. The Confessions always lead deeper into the Scriptures, especially as new issues arise in new cultures and succeeding generations which must be faced only with theology drawn from the Scriptures and patterned after the Lutheran Confessions.
The volumes in this series are dedicated to Francis Pieper, a great confessional Lutheran dogmatician of our church, in the hope and prayer that they will help to achieve what he did so much to accomplish in his day–namely, doctrinal unity and consensus in the doctrine of the Gospel and all its articles among all Lutherans and a firm confessional Lutheran identity so sorely needed in our day.”