Lutherans often find themselves faced with a firing squad of fellow American Christians for an argumentative adherence to pure doctrine.
Ultimately, however, our concern for doctrine grows out of a concern for the truth. Hear Hermann Sasse:
[The American concept of the church] surrenders dogma and liturgy as something unessential—"trifling matters" as Goethe put it. For us, however, both of these belong to the essence of the church: the Word and the Sacrament, confession and liturgy. We understand the protest against an ossified orthodoxy and a dreary ritualism, and we agree with this protest. But we believe that the church possess in the Verbum Dei ["Word of God"] the eternal truth, over against all the relativism of human knowledge. And we believe that in the evangelically understood Sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper, that in the liturgical life of the church which is grounded on these things, the powers are present which are able to establish a new and real human fellowship, even in an age in which all human fellowships are unraveling. Herman Sasse, "American Christianity and the Church," Lonely Way 2 (St. Louis: CPH, 2001) 47.
Only in a church that has jettisoned the question of truth can confession and liturgy be similarly jettisoned as trifling. Only in a church that has plugged her ears to Pilate’s question, “What is truth?” can unity and fellowship be created when confession and liturgy remain at variance.
We confess that God has spoken the eternal truth into this ever-changing world. This truth, which we express in our confession and liturgy, must be the foundation of our quest for knowledge—and most especially of our quest for fellowship and unity.