John 20:31; 2 Tim. 3:15). And so were our Lutheran Confessions. The authority of Scripture is not an end in itself. Our great Lutheran Confessions do not just assert their confidence in the divine authority of Scripture and then leave it at that. Their concern is always that the church under the Scriptures might propagate the Gospel Word "that alone brings salvation" (Preface to the Book of Concord, p. 13). And so it is the function of Scripture to be the divine authority for evangelical teachers and teachings in the church. And it is the function of the Gospel to be the power for such teachers and teachings. It is significant that the New Testament never calls the Gospel an authority or a norm-nor do our Lutheran Confessions. Rather it calls the Gospel power, spiritual power, power to save us forever (Rom. 1:16; 15:16; 1 Cor. 2:1-5; Eph. 1:13; 1 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 1:10). And so do our Confessions. According to our Confessions it is the Gospel that creates faith in someone's heart, brings him the Holy Spirit, and comforts him with the treasure of salvation (SA, III, iv; AC, V, 2; Ap, IV, 73; LC, 11, 38). It is the Gospel that offers and confers consolation and continual forgiveness (SA, III, iii, 8). It is the Gospel by which the church lives and flourishes (Ap, VII, 20; Tr, 25; LC, 11, 43, 56). It is the Gospel that incites true piety which is pleasing to God (Ap, IV, 122 ff.). And it is for the sake of the Gospel that God's fallen creation still exists (LC, 11, 61 ff.). The infallible authority of Scripture does not diminish the wonderful and saving power of the Gospel, but supports it. And the power of the Gospel does not vitiate the divine authority of Scripture. Let us leave the Gospel its power-not only when we may read it in Scripture, but wherever it is preached and taught in the church. And let us leave Scripture its authority. Then we will not only be talking sense, but we will be talking like confessional Lutherans. " Getting into The Theology of Concord by Robert D. Preus
(St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1977), pgs. 7-29.
The book is available here.
Robert Preus is one of those theologians I read & re-read and continue to learn from. I heartily recommend his writings (available from CPH) to visitors to the old manse.
Pic courtesy Wiki.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Preus