Here is another treat from Bente before we get to the second volume of American Lutheranism. It is an essay from the Missouri Synod's 1923 Convention. Bente hits the right note by calling upon the Synod to respect and honor her fathers, yet remembering that this is no hidebound traditionalism, but due to the fact that they were loyal to the Word of God.
Perhaps the most refreshing aspect of Bente's essay is that he does not shrink from the other necessary part of believing, teaching, and confessing in the church militant--rejecting and condemning. And he is as sharp in his condemnation as he is coordinately clear with joyous proclamation. He lays out the importance of confessional and biblical fidelity with an eye to the historic and current American Lutheran situation. From his conclusion:
"God preserve unto us a pious ministry!" that was the constant prayer of Walther. Pious ministers are God-fearing ministers, and God-fearing ministers are ministers who fear the Word, the written Word of God. Pastors and teachers have always proved to be either the greatest boon of the Church or its greatest curse--the former, when they walked in the fear of God's Word, for then they were true builders of the Church; the latter, when they rejected the Word, for then they made havoc of the Church...May God always mercifully preserve us both a ministry and laity that fear the Word of God! Hail Missouri as long as the fear of God and His Word will remain her outstanding characteristic! For thus says the Lord: "To this man will I look, even to him who is poor and of a contrite spirit and trembleth at My Word." Is. 66:2.
Pastors and laymen: It's 16 pages, free online and excellent, so why wouldn't you? Enjoy!