Lutheran Confessions - Infallible?

Let’s start with an operational definition. Infallible = never misleading; always true and reliable. [Inerrant = incapable of any error].

Charles Krauth makes the claim that the Lutheran Confessions can err, but they DO NOT err. Thus, they are not wrong, never misleading, always true and reliable. One can put their faith in the truth of the Confessions because the Confessions are always faithful to Scripture.

Does this not make the Lutheran Confessions infallible?

If A is always true and reliable.
And B at all times is a true reflection of A.
Then B is always true and reliable.

What am I missing…?


It’s not what you’re missing Stew.


Thanks, that was quite amusing :slight_smile:

Now back to work :compcoff:

I understand this can be a difficult concept for some, but your rationale here is furthering an “Affirming the Consequent” fallacy. (“If the Earth is flat then nothing will fall off the Earth. Nothing is observed to fall off the Earth. Therefore, the Earth is flat.”)

The Lutheran Confessions are not infallible, though I believe they accurately confess the catholic faith because of their adherence to Scripture. This blog may help explain the Lutheran position:

In general, it’d be a bit more charitable to take your Lutheran brothers and sisters at their word when they explain their own beliefs.

We do take you at your word steido01, honestly. Generally speaking though, the reason we ask these questions is because of the contradictions we see, real or perceived, in most of Lutheran theology and the writings of Martin Luther. For lack of a better way of putting it right now, we’re just trying to line things up so we can gain a better understanding of your position.

Hope this helps. :tiphat:

What gave you the impression that I was being uncharitable?


After reading the pastor’s blog that you provided I understand what you are saying. But there are a whole host of questions we legitimately have. These questions have been asked time and again on these forums without being substantially answered. Questions regarding authority, church, interpretation of Scripture, hierarchy, fallibility and infallibility, etc. We Catholics are searching for accuracy and consistancy. We are searching for a lot more precision from the Lutheran side.

I hope you can see our position.

By the way, you are confusing “Affirming the Consequent,” which is an invalid form, with “Affirming the Antecedent”, a valid form.

Affirming the Antecedent:
If A is infallible, then B is infallible.
A is infallible.
Therefore, B is infallible.

Affirming the Consequent
If A is infallible, then B is infallible.
B is infallible.
Therefore, A is infallible.


If I may venture to say something that may be incorrect:

The Lutheran position is that the confessions are a right reflection of the Scriptures. But even though they are true, we don’t claim that they are infallible.

How I, as a Lutheran understand understand ‘infallible’ or really in this case ‘inerrant’ - is that not only does it have to be correct, but it is also has to be God given.

I would find it amusing to see if our bickering with our Catholic friends as to authority just stems from different approaches, with the result being almost identical - that the church prescribes the rule of faith.

Hi Ben,

Isn’t this just tripping over one’s self to avoid the words infallible or inerrant?

God is One, but in Three Persons - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (see Article I of the Augsburg Confessions).

Now, I’ve just confessed something that reflects Scripture. Is this confession something that has been revealed by God as a necessary truth for salvation?


Agreeing…it appears that the Lutherans aren’t sure themselves if the Lutheran Confessions can err.

Either that or they like riddles.

Good works are necessary but they are NOT necessary is what is said in this LCMS.
(NOT necessary for salvation but necessary as an expression of your faith)
That’s another topic of course.

Just a mystery of Lutheran-ese.

A few other head-scratchers:

*]Saved by Faith alone, but not by a Faith that is alone. (a fave among evangelicals)

*]Bible is a fallible collection of infallible books. (RC Sproul)

I’m sure there are others…

Apologies to Tomster and Stew for coming across a bit ‘bulldoggish.’ :blush: I thought you were ‘puting words in the Lutheran horse’s mouth,’ so to speak. I see now your question wasn’t at all uncharitable. There was no need for my final sentence. Forgivesies? :o

[quote=Tomster] We Catholics are searching for accuracy and consistancy. We are searching for a lot more precision from the Lutheran side.

I wonder if explanations and defenses of Lutheran doctrine will intrinsically seem “imprecise” to modern Catholics for the simple reason that Lutheranism, in general, does not see a need to dogmaticize or codify in the same way that Rome does? Forgive this little sidebar and its broad generalities, but the authors of the Lutheran Confessions intentionally left certain topics ambiguous because, in their view, Scripture did not give more precise explanations. Lutherans were/are just fine accepting what Scripture does not explain as a divine mystery. Modern Catholics may feel that Lutheranism does not give substantive answers to Catholic questions, but that’s just the point - Catholic questions have Catholic answers. In many cases, Lutheranism doesn’t even ask the question; instead, the Lutheran paradigm simply invites scholarly debate like that which took place in pre-Tridentine Catholicism. Just food for future thought…

[quote=stewstew03] Isn’t this just tripping over one’s self to avoid the words infallible or inerrant?

Not at all. Again, I’ll refer to the link I posted:

In other words, non-doctrinal portions of these confessions may contain human opinion and even certain errors of fact. However, this doesn’t mean that we pick and choose among the clear, Scriptural doctrines enumerated in our confessions.

All good in the hood…

Where are the non-doctrinal portions that contain opinion and errors of fact?

I haven’t read through all the confessions, so apologies if they are identified somewhere.


Okay, I looked at the link you posted. Essentially, this pastor is saying what I’m saying - that the Confessions reflect Scripture, and are therefore infallible - actually, he says inerrant. Here are the relevant statements:

*]"…[Lutheran] confessions proclaim only the truth revealed in Holy Scripture…"
*]"…the confessions draw their entire doctrinal content directly from Scripture."
*]"…Lutheran Confessional teaching is Biblical teaching and…nothing in these confessions denies Scripture…"

And, finally:

***"…we do claim that their doctrine is nothing more nor less than that of inerrant Holy Scripture…"

There it is - the Lutheran Confessions are no less than that of inerrant Holy Scripture.

How is this different than, say, infallible Catholic dogma?


Pardon me…but St. Paul even had, via private revelation to him, told to go to Jerusalem and submit his gospel to the Apostles for assurance.

So, as a question, aside from a Lutheran saying what you are claiming, is there an outside apostolic authority who confirms what you believe, following the example of St. Paul (in Gal 1 and Gal 2)?

Here we have a first piece of evidence that it is not infallible :o

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