Pieper, Francis. Christian Dogmatics: Volume 1. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1968.
This rather large volume is divided into some large sections and they are subdivided into numbered chapters. Because of the length and because I need to work through the book in a relatively short period of time, I’ll be posting a summary of the small numbered chapters but more frequently than I normally would on any one work. The copy I have is a Kindle book. It does not have actual page numbers.
Part A - Prolegomena: The Nature and Character of Theology
Chapter A1 “Our Position”
The Scripture alone is God’s infallible word. It alone is normative and the source of doctrine. This position has been disputed since about 1750 in Protestant theology. Modern Protestant theology is like Rome in assigning normative power elsewhere than Scripture.
Making our own opinion the judge is rebellion against God. Christ, the apostles, and Luther agreed that the Scripture was the norm, no matter what others might think.
Modern theology might rather trust a “Christian consciousness.” Meanwhile, conservative theology trusts that the Bible informs and norms our conscience. This biblical norm is a reality, as opposed to our attempts to seek the truth within ourselves.
The theologian needs to separate himself from his won opinions, seeking to find the Bible’s opinions. This act of being bound to Christ is freedom, as Jesus says in John 8:31-32.
The retreat from Scripture has led many to deny the vicarious atonement of Christ, which then strips the Christian message of its power and hope. It also leads to disunity of doctrine. The resulting chaos is only reversed by restoring the Bible as our foundation.
Chapter A2 “Religion in General”
What does “religion” mean? Pieper distinguishes between the “heathen” who view it as man’s effort to appease a deity and a Christian view that in Christ God is reconciled due to the substitutionary atonement. For this reason, historic Christianity has not allowed for man’s contribution to his own salvation. Salvation by faith and salvation by works are diametrically opposed to one another.