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(From the Calvary Contender, April 15, 1997, quoting in turn the “Maranatha Baptist Watchman“): “Many who were once strong and vocal in their defense of personal and ecclesiastical separation have greatly mollified their stand. It appears that the notion is that some things that used to be wrong are not wrong any longer and some truths held dear and worth fighting for are not so important as they once were. The lines that were once clearly drawn are now smudged and barely legible. The voices that were once a trumpet sound are now hardly a whisper. A metamorphosis is taking place. Militance is being replaced with diplomacy. Values and priorities are changing. Militance which was once considered honorable and scriptural is now crude and uncouth. . . . While we are ‘militant’ and ‘contending’ for the truth, we are to do it in a right spirit and for the right purposes.”

Comment: See below.


For reasons which soon become obvious, the following quote is often repeated in orthodox, conservative circles. The authenticity of the good words generally attributed to Dr. Martin Luther has been questioned. We are therefore happy to pass along the information that the words are indeed Luther’s. One of our pastors, in surfing a Missouri Synod internet site, found that the Luther-quote source is “Weimar Ausgabe Briefwechsel 3, 81f.”

“If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing him. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battlefield besides is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.”

Comment: Interesting, isn’t it, to consider these words of the dear Doctor alongside the “Say It Isn’t So” quote above? May God in His mercy spare us from becoming victims of the metamorphosis taking place.


There are a few “perks” which come with being editor. One is being placed on unsolicited mailing lists including, at times, those of book publishers. Earlier this year we were favored with a new book from Providence House Publishers titled “Martin Luther’s Friends” by Noel C. LeRoque.

Sorry we don’t have the price. It’s a 256-page soft-cover, with chapters devoted to Luther Himself and then, respectively, to John von Staupitz, Philipp Melanchthon, John Bugenhagen, Justus Jonas, Nicholas von Amsdorf, George Spalatin, Frederick the Wise, and Katherine von Bora.

In his introduction the author explains that it is not his intention to “write another history of the Reformation, leaving that for the experts.” But inasmuch as close acquaintances often play an important behind-the-scenes role in the life of any noteable person, and since Luther’s friends often are given short schrift in connection with Reformation history, the author’s approach is to “(put) Luther’s friends into the center of events, and (move) them out of the shadow of the great Reformer.”

Doubtless Luther’s best friend–whom he once said he would not trade for all of Venice–was his “my Lord Katie”, beloved wife Katherine. Next closest may have been Philipp Melanchthon: “Martin was thirty-four when he posted the Ninety-five Theses on the Castle Church door at Wittenberg; Philipp was just twenty. In spite of the difference in age, there was a mutual attraction, with the older man treating the younger not only as an equal, but as his superior in ability and potential. From the outset they talked together; wrote letters to each other when they were apart; debated with each other; supported each other in every conflict, even though they didn’t agree at every point; were concerned about each others’ families; and spent leisure time together. In all these ways they were close, if not ‘closer than brothers.’ One who understands this has a better chance of understanding Martin Luther.” (Martin Luther’s Friends, p. 91).

Even as last year Lutheranism marked the 450th anniversary of Luther’s death, this year it is noting the 500th anniversary of Melanchthon’s birth (Feb. 14, 1497). For all of Melanchthon’s positive traits and gifts which were indeed appreciated by Luther (“He stood with Luther at Leipzig and Marburg and Augsburg”), Reformation historians are quick to point out that Melanchthon had a glaring weakness–an urgent desire to compromise with the Roman camp in certain areas of doctrine. For example, orthodox Lutheran churches take care to endorse the original and Unaltered Augsburg Confession Melanchthon was largely responsible for writing, rather than an altered version later set forth by him.

The Spokesman is noting this Melanchthon anniversary by reprinting a 1956 article from The Northwestern Lutheran. Written by Egbert Schaller, a former pastor and professor in our CLC, the article expands on the dangerous path upon which Melanchthon sought to lead the new Lutheran church. At the same time the article makes some applications to our own day.

The writings of Prof. Edmund Reim and Prof. Egbert Schaller, together with those of Prof. C.M. Gullerud, filled many pages of the early editions of the CLC theological journal, the Journal of Theology. In a previous issue it was mentioned that Reim was “our theologian.” Egbert Schaller is another former teacher and colleague in ministry whom we esteem worthy of the title.

Prof. Schaller died July 29, 1971, with funeral services at Messiah, Eau Claire, Rev. L. W. Schierenbeck conducting. In the Spokesman article reporting Schaller’s passing, Prof. Gullerud wrote: “Professor Schaller was one of God’s gifts to the Church and the seed that God permitted him to sow in his life-time will sprout and grow in many places. He served the Church at large not only as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Theology, but also as chairman of the Board of Doctrine and an essayist at synodical conventions. His service will be remembered with gratitude in our midst.”

Previous to becoming a CLC founding father, Schaller, as Reim, did considerable writing for Wisconsin Synod periodicals. From a Wider Field was a featured series of highly edifying “letters to the editor” which appeared in The Northwestern Lutheran prior to the formation of the CLC.