Not practicing SS in Lutheran churches


I will probably regret starting this thread because I don’t have nearly as much time as it may appear that I do. But why do you say that I was not practicing SS in my Lutheran Church? (BTW it wasn’t just me it was everyone in all three Lutheran Churches that I attended.


Not to speak for Jon, but I can say while you may be practicing what you felt was SS, it wasn’t a Lutheran practice.

SS is a practice of the church, not of individuals.

Hi Annie,
When I made that comment , I was referring to your statement, specifically the part that I have bolded.

Jon,** I simply cannot imagine why I would need to read the Lutheran Confessions as a Lutheran I believed in Sola Scriptura. We had bible studies and bible discussion groups. Why on earth would I need anything else?** If I did find studying and discussing the bible empty with no power to lead me to object truth I would begin seeking objective truth. And of all things that’s what I did. I discovered much to my amazement that the Catholic Church is the true Christian Church. If it is ever proven to my satisfaction that the Catholic Church does not hold God’s revealed truth, I will leave it but I will never join an heretical sect I’ll just leave and live it up objective truth would be unknowable “eat, drink and be merry”.

As I mentioned in another post, Lutheran catechesis involves to a great extent a number of Lutheran symbols, particularly the Small Catechism, and the Augsburg Confession, but also other parts of the Book of Concord.
When you described sola scriptura in terms such as “Why on earth would I need anything else?”, that indicates to me a misunderstanding of sola scriptura, at least the way Lutherans define it, and the role of the confessions in the life of the Lutheran Church. As Lutherans we recognize the confessions as a right reflection of scripture, so study of scripture in a Lutheran setting is through the lens, if you will, of the confessions.

For Lutherans, sola scriptura is a practice of the Church, not the individual. It is the Church that is responsible for doctrine, and for teaching.

In closing, Annie, I will echo what I said in the other post: I am sorry that the catechesis you received in these Lutheran parishes was poor, but I am happy you have found a home in the Catholic Church. May you be blessed there in word and sacrament.


PS Thanks, Eric.

Thanks to both of you

Jon you write: “that indicates to me a misunderstanding of sola scriptura, at least the way Lutherans define it”

I started a longer post and hope to finish it today but I have just one question for you. Since Sola Scriptura means Scripture alone, whence comes the Lutheran definition?


What it actually means is that Scripture is the alone infallible revelation that the church possesses and is, therefore, the highest form of authority we possess, as it is God’s word. All other forms of authority in the church are non revelatory, fallible, and subject to the prophetic and apostolic writings.

We don’t care how non-Lutherans define SS, as we are not them.

I have asked Jon previously to provide the actual definition from Luther, in Luther’s own words…so I am also waiting. (Sorry Jon if you have provided it, I may have missed it).

Can you provide the actual words of Luther defining what SS is?

Anyway…a question: How can you then decide on something that is Biblical or unbiblical…if you use or employ your version of SS, when SS is a practice and is not found in the Bible?

Is this also prone to error since it is a fallible practice?

Not in any one particular location, as Luther himself never systematically addressed it. We do not base our definition of SS on any one writing of Luther, per se, but rather, on how our confessions in the Book of Concord defines it.

I will address the second part of what you said later, as I’m at work.

The sola means scripture is the final, or sole norm. It doesn’t mean we only look at scripture. It means that all other writings, regardless of who they are from, are subject and accountable to scripture, but it doesn’t exclude or ignore them.
I have posted the Lutheran definition from the confessions numerous time.

  1. We believe, teach, and confess that the sole rule and standard according to which all dogmas together with [all] teachers should be estimated and judged are the prophetic and apostolic Scriptures of the Old and of the New Testament alone, as it is written Ps. 119:105: Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. And St. Paul: Though an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you, let him be accursed, Gal. 1:8.

2] Other writings, however, of ancient or modern teachers, whatever name they bear, must not be regarded as equal to the Holy Scriptures, but all of them together be subjected to them, and should not be received otherwise or further than as witnesses, [which are to show] in what manner after the time of the apostles, and at what places, this [pure] doctrine of the prophets and apostles was preserved.

3] 2. And because directly after the times of the apostles, and even while they were still living, false teachers and heretics arose, and symbols, i. e., brief, succinct [categorical] confessions, were composed against them in the early Church, **which were regarded as the unanimous, universal Christian faith and confession of the orthodox and true Church, namely, the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed, we pledge ourselves to them, **and hereby reject all heresies and dogmas which, contrary to them, have been introduced into the Church of God.

The part I bolded, stating we pledge ourselves to the creeds, ought to indicate that, when reading scripture, stating one needs nothing else, is a huge error. As my signature statement by Martin Chemnitz says, we need the Fathers, and their writings, we need the early councils and the truths of the faith they provide. These are indeed witnesses to the faith that we cannot, should not ignore.


Seems like the real question is whether or not the Lutheran lenses are the best lenses for reading the bible.

Or the Orthodox lenses. :wink:


Here’s a question then, when did the Lutheran lenses become the tool for the church?

Jon you write: “The sola means scripture is the final, or sole norm.”

Oh please! I can’t figure out if you think that I am that stupid or what. Sola Scriptura means Scripture alone, or if you will alone scripture.

Also, I’m uninterested in what Luther’s confessions say nor am I interested in the Dort Confessions or whatever else sect leaders of that era or any other era. I’m interested in objectve truth.


It’s ablative, so possibly a better translation is “by Scripture alone”

Nobody is demanding that you to accept the idea of Sola Scriptura - only that the Lutheran idea of Sola Scriptura isn’t what you apparently think it it.

Sorry but I think that is very questionable. Your motive?

To all Lutherans.

I reread my posts and realize that I did come across as being very rude. I apologize.



I disagree. I have not found you to be rude at all. :thumbsup:


Since Martin Luther didn’t define SS the way that Lutherans do today, how is it that Lutherans today define it that way? Also were Jakob Andreae and Martin Chemnitz infallible? If not, how do you know that their definition and doctrine is true? I was told by a Lutheran Pastor that most Lutheran’s today do not believe what Luther believed. I wonder if this is one of the doctrines he meant.


Lutherans are not held to Luther. Luther himself falls under sola scriptura. But confessional Lutherans today practice SS in essentially the same way it was practiced in the Reformation era, and frankly, I am not convinced that Luther would have seen it done much differently.

Your pastor friend might have referred to things such as Marian doctrines, etc., which some Lutherans such as me do hold to. Lutherans recognize things we call adiaphora, things indifferent, which we can believe or forego.


I maintain that Lutheran’s such as yourself do not believe in SS you believe in Scripture and tradition. I think that this may have to do with that Hilary quote you put on the bottom of your posts right. If so, do you think that that would be on topic here to discuss?


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