Category Archives: Scripture

Gospel and Scripture

“It is, I believe, the failure to grasp and face up to the confessional doctrine of Biblical authority which has given rise to much of the confusion in the Lutheran church today regarding the relation of the Gospel to Scripture, of the material principle, so-called, and the formal principle of theology. Scripture is the principium cognoscendi, the source of our knowledge of theology; the Gospel is the source of our faith itself. Scripture is the source of our doctrine (fides quae creditur), also the doctrine of the Gospel; the Gospel creates personal faith (fides qua creditur). Scripture is properly called the authority, norm, source, judge; the Gospel in Scripture, or wherever it obtains, is power, God’s own power unto salvation to all who believe. The unity of faith in the Gospel is the foundation of our fellowship in the church universal (AC VII); unity in the articles of faith drawn from the Scriptures is the foundation for external fellowship among particular churches and synods (FC SD, Rule and Norm, 1; SD, X, 16, 31). The sola gratia and sola fide of the Gospel are the source and means of my salvation; the sola scriptura is the source of my preaching and teaching. Recognition of the formal principle (sola Scriptura) and loyalty to it are the fruits of faith in the Gospel; faith in the Gospel is the result of a Word and preachment drawn from and normed by the Scriptures.”

Robert Preus, “Biblical Authority in the Lutheran Confessions” (1977)

Robert Preus