masking their Enthusiasm with pretty words they do not take seriously.
Biblical, Lutheran doctrine is a unified truth, not a string of pearls strung together, so that people can pick one length or another, discarding this or that to suit themselves. The Lutheran Reformers were anxious to teach doctrine, avoiding the misleading concept of doctrines.
Lutherans may meet together, lobby for their favorite opinions, and cut deals, but that does not mean that conventions create and establish doctrine. In reality, they vote for fads as they drift farther away from the revealed truths of the Word of God and the common witness of the Book of Concord. One example is the sordid history of promoting the NIV translation, upon pain of excommunication, until the monstrosity finally got so bad that they became willing to adopt a new disaster.
The Lutheran Church has become a two-headed calf, headed at once toward the eructations of Fuller Seminary and the Purgatorial promotions of the Roman Catholic Church. The answer does not lie in either Enthusiasms but in the Biblical doctrine of the Means of Grace.
Justification by faith teaches that we are born sinful, in need of forgiveness, and granted that forgiveness through baptismal regeneration. Because of the power of the Word in Holy Baptism, a newborn is converted by the Gospel, forgiven, and made the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit.
Justification by faith teaches the Biblical truth of a great divide. The Scriptures discern between those who trust completely in Christ for salvation and those who do not. Believing is forgiveness, and forgiveness is salvation.
Justification by faith teaches that Christ paid for the sins of the entire world. This sacrificial death on the cross has many names, because the Word of God is rich in synonyms: propitiation, expiation, redemption, ransom. Chris is the Mercy Seat. Proclaiming the Atonement is the Gospel, because we are teaching that God sent His only-begotten Son to pay for our sins.
There is no justification without faith, because proclaiming the Atonement through the Word is the Holy Spirit's instrument for distributing grace to us, creating and sustaining faith in Christ. This trust in our Savior receives God's grace and justifies us, declaring us innocent of our sins.
The term Means of Grace is shorthand for the ways in which God gives us grace through the Word. Often we say Word and Sacrament, including the invisible Word of teaching and preaching, the visible Word of Holy Baptism and Holy Communion. Enthusiasts cry out in pain that there are many Means, that we may also include Absolution and the mutual consolation of the brothers. This terminology preserves the Biblical concept of the Holy Spirit working only through the Word, never apart from the Word, to convey Christ and His forgiveness to us.
The Means of Grace bring Christ to us, also bring us to Christ. This meeting must change us, because it is impossible to have the Word enter us without effect, without fruit. Those who reject the Word in their obstinacy also enjoy the effect of the Word, which hardens and blinds them until they are utterly lost.
Justification by faith gives us the substance for every sermon, and the theme for bringing together the entire Scriptures, the Book of the Holy Spirit. This also rejects such non-Gospel sermon topics as how to have more time, how to make more friends, and to have more fun.
Justification by faith teaches that the Holy Spirit works through the visible Word of Holy Communion to make this forgiveness individual and personal. The sermon can fly past our heads, because we have so much trouble concentrating on the Word when other thoughts fill our heads. But when we kneel and receive the Body and the Blood of our Savior, the reenactment of the Last Supper is impossible to ignore as we individually receive it.
Justification by faith is in perfect harmony with closed communion, because the Eucharist is not the place to celebrate diversity. Why should any pastor offer the sacrament to those who take it lightly, or reject the Real Presence, or do not even comprehend the basics of the Means of Grace?
Justification by faith is also the reason for making the Sacraments central in the worship service, not embarrassments to be hidden away to placate the easily-offended Enthusiasts, who also dislike the liturgy, the Creeds, and non-rockin' musical instruments.
Justification by faith balances Law and Gospel teaching. All false doctrine, even Universal Objective Justification, ends up as some kind of law salvation scheme. Salvation by the law, even among the Antinomians, is harsh and legalistic, depending on the traditions of man while sneering at the Ten Commandments.
Justification by faith will bring forth the fruit of the Spirit, because only the Gospel can produce fruit. The Law cannot, whether God's law or man's law. The forgiven sinner is thankful to God for His grace and shows that gratitude in acts of service to his neighbor.