Preface to the 1898 Edition


These Outlines of Doctrinal Theology were not originally intended for publication. They were prepared for the students of Concordia Seminary, to be used as a compend for the English lectures on Dogmatic Theology. To avoid the tedious process of dictation, by which they had for several years been transmitted to the classes, the paragraphs and texts were, by the students, printed on the mimeograph. A number of copies, without the author’s knowledge, found their way into the hands of brethren in the Ministry, and from various quarters the request was made that the work be published in a regular edition. Finally, when the students’ supply was exhausted and the Board of Directors of Concordia Publishing House determined on the publication of the book, the author deemed it no longer proper to refuse his consent and cooperation.

In preparing the copy for the press, the author has in no wise changed the character of the work. It remains what, as originally designed, it was to be, not an exhaustive treatise of Dogmatic Theology, but a brief thetical compend of the outlines of Christian doctrine, consisting of concise definitions and an array of texts from which the various points of doctrine are derived as from their theological source, the written Word of God. The chief purpose of the book, too, remains unchanged, and the desire to see his students provided with a well printed text book for his lectures to them was foremost in prompting the author to concur in its publication. For the benefit of others who may find the book of some use to them, he would say that his method of instruction comprises, mainly, an analysis of the Paragraphs, an exposition of the texts with a view of substantiating therefrom the points embodied in the Paragraphs, and a demonstration of the incompatibility of the chief antitheses with the texts and the points of doctrine therein set forth. The use of the book in the absence of such comments will be, in a measure, facilitated by the italics employed for the purpose of marking the pertinence of each text to the point under consideration. Many texts covering different points have been given repeatedly, in different groups, but differently italicized, and in rare cases references only have been given instead of the texts in full, especially where the words are found on the same or an adjacent page. It may not be entirely superfluous to say in this connection that in a number of instances the pertinence of a text, while not so apparent in the English version, will appear when the original Greek or Hebrew is compared. In other instances, where a divergence of exegesis may tend to impugn the argumentativeness of a text for the purpose in point, care has been taken to cover the same topic by other texts. The reader will also notice that various subjects, e. g., the divinity of Christ, the moral law, the natural state of man, marriage, civil government, the work of redemption, the means of grace, the church, predestination, temporal death, final judgment, the kingdom of glory, have been repeatedly dealt with under different heads, to point out the various relations of these points of doctrine.

While it has been the author’s constant aim to demonstrate the scripturalness of the doctrinal statements set forth in the Paragraphs of this book, he deems it a duty to say that he knows himself also in full accord with the doctrine of the Lutheran church as laid down in the Book of Concord, and that the absence of references to the Symbols of our church, the norma normata of sound Lutheranism, must not be construed into a disparagement of the Lutheran standards or of any point of doctrine therein contained. With an emphatic refusal to apologize for having nowhere, from the first point in Bibliology to the last in Eschatology, progressed beyond the theology of our orthodox fathers, and with the fervent prayer that God would graciously keep him and his brethren in the faith from any such progress, this humble contribution toward the theological literature of our church in America is dedicated to the service of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and commended to His divine blessing.