Currently, anyone who insists that pure doctrine is a very important matter is immediately suspected of not having the right Christian spirit. The very term “pure doctrine” is considered taboo and is outlawed. Even contemporary theologians who regard themselves to be among the confessional Lutherans usually speak of pure doctrine only in scornful terms, treating it as the embodiment of “dead letter” theology. If anyone holds fast to pure teaching and attempts to fight against any false doctrine, he is put down as a heartless and unloving fanatic.
Why is that? First, unquestionably because “modern” [historical-critical]‘”theologians know full well that they do not have the doctrine that has in every age—been called pure doctrine and that truly is pure. Second, they even think that pure doctrine does not exist at all, that it is a dream world,‘° in the realm of ideals, in the Republic of Plato.
The era in which we live is what the apostle refers to when he says of false ; teachers that they are “always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.”(2 Tim. 3:7) The spirit of our time is the same as in the era of Pilate, to whom the Lord had testified that He was the King of Truth in a kingdom of truth and who sneered, “What is truth?” (John 18:38 ) Yet [Pilate] was not even interested in hearing an answer. That unhappy man was most likely thinking in his heart: “For thousands of years, the greatest of minds have tried uselessly to find the answer to the question ‘What is truth?’ yet they have not found it. Now You, a poor beggar, a worthless Nazarene, come along, making a fool of Yourself by claiming that, of all people, You are the King of Truth, and You are supposed to establish a kingdom of unquestionable and eternal truth.”To hate pure doctrine is to hate the truth, for pure doctrine is nothing but Jer. 23:28;the pure Word of God—plain and simple. Truth is not, as some think, certain teachings that have been compressed into the dogmatics of the Church. John 8:31-32 Accordingly, when people hate pure doctrine, that is proof that we are living in a terribly miserable era. Just listen how the Scriptures themselves speak of God’s Word and pure doctrine: In the prophecies of Jeremiah, chapter 23, we read: “Let the prophet who has a dream tell the dream, but let him who has My Word. Speak My Word faithfully.”
Law and Gospel (Reader’s Edition)
34th Evening Lecture – Sept 11, 1885