A Warning Against the High Church Danger
“I once heard from the mouth of a leader of the Berneuchener Movement that the forensic doctrine of justification of the Formula of Concord was an absolute blasphemy. This man came form the city of Andreas Osiander. It is certainly no accident that one finds precisely in America, among Lutherans who are close to the Liturgical Movement or working in it, a doctrine of justification which is reminiscent of Osiander, as though the Christ dwelling in us is our righteousness. How correct were the Lutherans of the 16th century, and even Calvin, when they aw that Osiander had returned to the medieval Catholic and Tridentine doctrine of justification! The deeper reason that High Churchism has brought down so many appears to me to be that we modern Lutherans no longer correctly understand justification. . . . Thus, we lack the compass which directs our course with certainty. For this reason, we no longer have Luther’s keen sense for what of the liturgical heritage of the older church is evangelical and for that which has been brought from strange fires and placed upon the Christian altar. This is the reason that now the Catholic concept of priesthood and the idea of so-called apostolic succession—which is neither biblical nor Christian—are quickly appearing. And this is the reason why a man like Professor Piepkorn himself can take over the prayer for the dead from the Roman Canon of the Mass. It is absolutely clear that when the sacrifice of the Mass is renewed, it means apostasy from the Gospel.”
Hermann Sasse, “A Brotherly Warning Against the ‘High Church’ Danger,” translated by M.C. Harrison in The Lonely Way: Selected Letters and Essays (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2002), pgs. 304-305.