Does Walther Really Matter?
Political Outfits in the Synod try to co-opt our first president for political means. What I find interesting is that they rarely deal with what Walther said or taught about things of controversy in our midst. There are congregations all over the Synod whose usages are indistinguishable from the sects all around us . CFW Walther did have something to say about this because he believed that Lutheran Doctrine matters and that Lutheran Doctrine is expressed in Lutheran practice. Here is a bit of Walther for you-
Church usages, excepting the case when confession of a divine truth is required, are indeed adiaphora. But they are nevertheless not without an import of their own. Congregations that adopt the church usages of the sects that surround them, will be apt to conform to their doctrines also, more easily and quickly than those that retain their Lutheran ceremonies. We should in Lutheran services, also when held in the English language, as much as possible use the old Lutheran forms, though they be said to be antiquated and not suiting this country. We will mention here the words of a pious Lutheran duchess, Elisabeth Magdalena of Brunswick-Lüneburg. Her court chaplain Prunner relates as follows: “Although her ladyship well knew that the ceremonies and purposes of this chapter (at which Prunner officiated) must have the appearance and repute of popery with some people, she still remembered the instructions which that dear and venerable man, Luther, had once given to her father concerning such ceremonies. I remember in particular that her ladyship several times told me that she did not desire at these present times to commence discontinuing any of those church usages, since she hoped that so long as such ceremonies continued, Calvinistic temerity would be held back from the public office of the church.”
C. F. W. Walther, The Controversy Concerning Predestination. Translated by August Croll. Concordia Publishing House, 1881, pp. 77-78.