George Stoeckhardt: “Indifferentism is the cancer of modern Lutheranism”

The following was shared with me by Pr. Daniel Hinton, who names his immediate source as one Pr. Matt Moss. Pr. Moss’s comments and outline are below.

[CORRECTION: The outline which follows is from the Concordia Historical Institute. My mistake.]


In Concordia Historical Institute Quarterly’s obituary of George Stoeckhardt they give an outline of a presentation he did while yet in Germany on “Indifferentism.” The outline alone is golden. I wish I could get my hands on the whole thing!

  1. Indifferentism is the cancer of modern Lutheranism, which became an outgrowth of syncretism and unionism. That we have chosen to deal with this evil is because God’s Word shows what a danger it is to our salvation.
  2. Indifferentism is the indifference toward the Word of God and the revealed doctrine of Christ. It reveals itself:
    • a. As indifference toward religion in general.
    • b. As undervaluation of pure doctrine.
    • c. As tolerant of false doctrine and false teachers.
    • d. As tolerant of unscriptural practice.
    • e. As mediation or reconciling and blending of falsehood and truth.
    • f. As altar and church fellowship with the heterodox.
    • g. As abandoning necessary Scriptural polemics.
  3. The source and root of indifferentism is nothing else than unbelief. Indifferentism is not conscience-bound in the Word of God, especially not in the article of justification. Doctrine or the Word of God is made subordinate to human reason, their own notions, and circumstances.
  4. Indifferentism militates against the Word of God, namely:
    • a. Against the holy Law of God, to keep doctrine pure.
    • b. Against earnest warnings of every falsification of the same.
    • c. Against the decided command to convince the gainsayers or eventually to separate from them.
    • d. Against explicit judging and condemning all indifferentism as a damnable sin.
  5. The orthodox Church of all times waged incessant war on indifferentism. She has always testified for pure doctrine as her greatest treasure; separated from all false doctrine and false teachers; and has at all times been unfavorable to concessions to error and attempts at reconciliation. This is proved by the Ecumenical and Lutheran Symbols. This is substantiated by the testimony of the Old Christian Church and the Lutheran Fathers. To this also the universal practice of the orthodox Church bears witness.
  6. The terrible result and effect of indifferentism:
    • a. It renders the ground of faith uncertain.
    • b. Particularly obscures the atonement of Christ.
    • c. Furthers growth of false doctrine.
    • d. It robs the believers of the light of knowledge and the certainty of faith.
    • e. It robs them of the real joy, firmness, and power to testify and of Christian fortitude.
    • f. It makes blunt and indifferent over against faults and frailties.
  7. The only and sufficient antidote against indifferentism is the faithful and steadfast use of the Word of God; and the diligent and thoroughgoing practice of pure doctrine, particularly, the doctrine of the total depravity of man and the doctrine of justification

So far Pr. Moss. Pretty great stuff.

Here’s another picture of George Stoeckhardt:

Man. You could crack walnuts on that face.

 

+VDMA