Luther’s Sacramental Hermeneutic

David Scaer’s latest book in the Confessional Lutheran Dogmatics Series, like his books on Baptism and Christology, is chalk full of theological insight. In his discussion on the Sacraments and Biblical Interpretation, he describes the Sacramental hermeneutic of Luther and the other Reformers over against the non-sacramental one of the Reformed:

This approach [of the Reformed] is diametrically different from that of Luther and the classical Lutheran dogmaticians who were able to locate sacramental references in both testaments. Theirs was a sacramental hermeneutic. For them the sacraments were not only New Testament rites, but were the ways in which God has approached man since creation (p. 133).

One of the unintended results of limiting sacramental discussion to a few sedes doctrinae (which many Lutherans are fond of doing) is that “the sacramental potential of other parts of Scripture is overlooked, and so this method resembles the Reformed approach in limiting the passages which refer to the sacraments.” I couldn’t agree more.


About Rev. Paul L. Beisel

Graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN in 2001 (M Div.) and 2004 (S.T.M.); LC-MS Pastor and Adjunct Instructor for John Wood Community College; Husband of Amy and father of Susan, Elizabeth, Martin, and Theodore.
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One Response to Luther’s Sacramental Hermeneutic

  1. William Weedon says:

    Amen. You know, Pr., it strikes me that most every time one of the epistles is extolling the blood of Christ and what it can do, the temptation in a non-sacramental hermeneutic is to treat it in an imaginary way; but the Apostles weren’t talking about imaginary blood – they knew not only the power in the blood of the Savior; they knew where to go and receive that blood and all its saving benefits and powers.

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