Crypto-Calvinism and Lutheranism: Cling to the Formula of Concord!
As we approach the observance of Maundy Thursday, we do well to recognize that, by far, the greatest threat to the pure doctrine of the Lord’s Supper, within the Lutheran church, remains “crypto-Calvinism.” The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America many years ago embraced it and thus surrendered the Lutheran Confessions on the Supper. Here are the prophetic words of Hermann Sasse on this point:
Never has a more dangerous enemy of the Lutheran doctrine of the Lord’s Supper appeared than this pure crypto-Calvinism. It is dangerous because this time it has taken hold not only of Electoral Saxony but of a great part of world Lutheranism. It is dangerous because there is scarcely a Lutheran church leader – with or without a bishop’s cross – who grasps its theological significance. It is dangerous because the modern Lutheran Church no longer seems to know how to wield the weapon that alone can overcome this opponent: the Scriptural witness of the “It is written.” Here lies the fundamental reason why the Formula of Concord is today coming under such heavy attack. In it Luther’s doctrine of the Lord’s Supper is formulated in such a way that one cannot give it a new interpretation.
from Hermann Sasse, “The Lord’s Supper in the Lutheran Church” Letter to Lutheran Pastors, No. 6 (May, 1949); Translation by Norman Nagel, published in We Confess.
[Note to readers: Beware historical revisionism that substitutes the phrase "crypto-Philippist" for "crypto-Calvinist." The ELCA's edition of the Book of Concord uses the term "crypto-Philippist" to replace the traditional, and truthful, phrase: "crypto-Calvinist." As the sainted Kurt Marquart put it, "There was nothing "cryptic" about Philip's students and supporters in Wittenberg, but they clearly were trying to hide their Calvinist doctrine!"]