Click here for an interesting article about the non-antiquity of Infant Communion.
We have never had such widespread ignorance of Lutheran doctrine among the clergy and the laity. Perhaps the Medieval Church was worse, but that was the object of Luther's ire after the Saxon Visitation, when he found out how pathetic the clergy were.
How can Lutheran clergy become so involved in a new doctrine (for them) when they barely grasp the essentials of the Book of Concord? Could they reflect the basic content of Chemnitz' Enchiridion? I doubt it. Jacobs' Summary of the Christian Faith? That would be a rare find in a pastor's library, even more so if he knew who Henry E. Jacobs was.
Schmid was a typical book in the ALC clergy libraries. I used to see them in seminary book sales in Columbus. Schmid has quotations from the orthodox theologians who followed Luther. He published the forerunner of the Megatron "ready-to-go database" (Larry Olson).
Having the books is not enough. People need doctrinal conflict to study the essential books of Lutheran doctrine.
When Is Medicine Appealing?
Most antibiotics are distasteful. They have an awful odor that communicates its dreafulness with the person who takes them. They upset the stomach. So when we see an antibiotic on the shelf, we have no desire for it. When we get a raging infection, the antibiotic is the most precious thing we can have. We will send a spouse through a raging storm to get more.
Lutheran Orthodoxy As Medicine
An orthodox Lutheran book may be difficult to read and enjoy at first. Reading develops a capacity, but where is the motivation? The print is small. No one brings up Lutheran theologians anymore. But when there is doctrinal conflict, the orthodox Lutheran books are medicine against error. They also have a miraculous harmony. Luther, Melanchthon, Chemnitz, Gerhard, Schmid, and Jacobs say the same things (in different words) about the efficacy of God's Word.
From that one central doctrine, the effectiveness and power of the Word alone, we can trace all the components of the Lutheran Confessions.
Lord Jesus Christ, With Us Abide
Oh, keep us in Thy Word, we pray;
The guile and rage of Satan stay!
Oh, may Thy mercy never cease!
Give concord, patience, courage, peace.
O God, how sin's dread works abound!
Throughout the earth no rest is found,
And falsehood's spirit wide has spread,
And error boldly rears its head.
The haughty spirits, Lord, restrain
Who over Thy Church with might would reign
And always set forth something new,
Devised to change Thy doctrine true.
A trusty weapon is Thy Word,
Thy Church's buckler, shield, and sword.
Oh, let us in its power confide
That we may seek no other guide!
The Lutheran Hymnal, #292
Selnecker participated in creating the Book of Concord, 1580.
I often feel like the elderly Slovak Lutheran woman who lived in Cleveland with her children. She said, "Ich bin ein Fremd in ein fremder Land." (I am a stranger in a strange land.) Or perhaps like one of the last humans left in Night of the Living Dead. Every time I try to warn someone, he turns out to be a pod-person, a zombie who looks like the former friend but appears all hollowed out, without a soul.
I know from the emails, letters, and phone calls that there are many more like me.