Monday, September 9, 2013

Outlines of Doctrinal Theology by A. L. Graebner

Note: Thanks to Pr. Andrew Gray for our first guest post and pointing us to a great resource from old Missouri.


Outlines of Doctrinal Theology is a collection of concise doctrinal statements with Scripture references to show the origin of those statements.  It is a great quick reference guide and has great value for preparation and personal study.  Topics are arranged from prolegomena to eternal life and everything in between. 

It was written by A.L. Graebner who served as a professor at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. [He is the father of Theodore Graebner] The book was published by Concordia Publishing House in 1910.  This would make the work in the public domain, though I was not able to find an available scan online. (Let me know if you find one.) It is however available in the Print-on-Demand section of the CPH site for what I would consider a very reasonable price at 29.99 for this work. As with all of the books listed on L-TOM you might be able to find a copy if you search the right places. I picked mine up for a dollar at a Concordia Theological Seminary book sale a few years back.
The book began as dictated notes from the English lectures on Dogmatic Theology at Concordia Seminary St. Louis delivered by Graebner. The students had reprinted the notes and they began to be disseminated beyond the seminary. When it became apparent there was demand for the work Graebner in his preface notes, “Finally, the students’s supply was exhausted and the Board of Directors of Concordia Publishing House determined on the publication of this book, the author deemed it no longer proper to refuse his consent and cooperation.”
This is a great work to have in your collection. In our day, when there is a great temptation to cast off the teachings of our Lutheran Fathers, Graebner states, “While it has been the author’s constant aim to demonstrate the scripturalness of the doctrinal statements set forth in the Paragraphs of this book, he deems it a duty to say that he knows himself also in full accord with the doctrine of the Lutheran Chruch as laid down in the Book of Concord, and that the absence of references to the Symbols of our church, the norma normata of sound Lutheranism, must not be construed into a disparagement of the Lutheran standards or of any point of doctrine therein contained. With an emphatic refusal to apologize for having nowhere, from the first point in Bibliology to the last in Eschatology, progressed beyond the theology of our orthodox fathers, and with the fervent prayer that God would graciously keep him and his bretheren in the faith from any such progress, this humble contribution toward the theological literature of our church in America is dedicated to the service of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and commended to His divine blessing by the author.”   

Need to Get Level: 10/10

I would say that for the pastor's library it is a must have, especially for its quick reference value, and that laymen would get a lot out of it as well if they had it on their shelves. It is rather accessible.

Pastor Andrew Gray
St. John Lutheran Church-Marengo, IA


  1. I have this on my shelf as well and find it to be a great resource. I didn't realize that it was so demanded from him to produce.

    It looks like you can get some of the original hardbacks at Amazon for around 12-15. There is also a little preview as well:

  2. Thanks to Pr. David Jay Weber pointing out on FB where this work is online:

    But I personally would rather have the real deal on my shelf...

  3. Thanks to Pr. Duke for another tip:

    RE: L-TOM Graebner's Doctrinal Theology, several copies are available at reasonable prices on I have had good success with this site. Some shipments are slow, but the prices are good and the book received is always as described, condition-wise.

    Rev. Cullen A Duke