(Adopted April 25, 1995)
Subscriptional Statement of the Lutheran MInisterium and Synod - USA
We subscribe (1) to the plenary (2) and verbal inspiration (3) of the Bible
by which we mean, that we recognize and submit to the Bible as the Word of
God recorded in the autographs (4) identified by examining analytically (5)
the best extant manuscripts (6), guaranteed by Jesus (7), selected, preserved,
and guarded by the Holy Spirit (8), so that He can call people to repentance
and create faith in Jesus, the Autographs of all the canonical books (9)
of the Old and the New Testaments as God's only written and only authoritative
(10) Word, as a whole (11), which has to do with Christ as the focus and
with Christ as the authoritative Teacher (12) of all Scripture which must
be interpreted by way of the proper distinction between Law and Gospel (13)
and in all its parts and words, all parts (14) and words (15) to be interpreted
in their plain, lexical, grammatical, Scripturally contextual, historic sense,
divinely inspired (16), revealed (17), harmonious (18), and inerrant (19)
Word of God, historically accurate in all it reports (20), and prophetically
reliable in all that it promises (21), and
that we joyfully submit to this Word of God (22) as the only infallible authority in all matters of Church doctrine (23) and practice (24) and personal faith (25) and life (26).
"Subscription" is a statement which is signed indicating that the signer
or group officially represented by the signer accepts the statement completely
and is truly willing to stand with and behind its content. The earliest
conservative Lutheran Ministerium of New York, for example, required all
ordained pastors to sign or subscribe to a statement that they each stood
with and behind the Holy Scriptures, The unaltered Augsburg Confession, and
the Small Catechism of Luther.
"Plenary" literally means "full; complete; absolute." Thus in the context
of our statement it refers to the full Bible, or the complete Bible, in its
entirety, as being the Word of God.
"Verbal Inspiration" refers to our belief that every single word of Holy
Scripture is inspired by God and should not be subtracted from or added to.
"Autograph" is understood to mean the 'original writing for each book of
Scripture.' These would be the original writings which precede all transcribing
for the purpose of making additional copies available for distribution or
for the purpose of preservation from the ravages of time and deterioration.
Christ, as the Word, has of himself, preserved the original writing.
"Analytical" is the process of carefully examining the written annals or
record. Where different versions are in existence it involves careful
An "Extant Manuscript" is a reference to the oldest surviving document or
ancient copy of various books of Scripture.
Jesus guarantees the words of Holy Scripture in his own words recorded in
Matthew 5;18, "For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away,
not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished."
Mark 13:31, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass
away." cf. Isaiah 40:8, "The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word
of our God will stand for ever."
The Holy Spirit of God is inseparable from the Word of Holy Scripture. He
does not work his work apart from the Word of Scripture. It is through Scripture
alone that the Holy Spirit does his work as Jesus himself makes clear in
John 14:26, "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send
in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all
that I have said to you." And as the Apostle Paul teaches us in Romans 10:17,
"So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes by the preaching
"Canonical" refers to the books that make up the Bible as we have it (66
books in total). These books are the books that have been officially and
early accepted by the Christian Church as genuine and authentic.
We believe that God has chosen to speak his authoritative word only through
the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments and that is why these books
have survived over the period of so many thousands of years while all other
writings have perished. Jesus came not to do away with the Law but to fulfill
the Law, the Prophets and the Psalms. Thus for us, the canon of the Old Testament
continues as an authoritative Word of God. Jesus as the Word of God made
flesh is the way, the truth and the life, and thus the words of the canonical
books of the New Testament are for us the authoritative Word of God. Apart
from these canonical writings we believe that there is no other written Word
of God. The Bible alone (Sola Scriptura) is the authoritative Word of God
"As a whole" re-emphasizes our view that all of Scripture is God's Word and
in what follows, we make it clear that it is our united view that Christ
is the focus of and authoritative interpreter of all Scripture.
Luke 24:44-47, Then [Jesus} said to them, "These are my words which I spoke
to you, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the
law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled." Then he
opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and said to them, "Thus
it is written, that Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the
dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his
name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem."
Mark 1:15, [Jesus said], "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is
at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel." The Word of God as Law shows
us our sin and drives us to repentance; the Word of God as Gospel creates
in us Belief/Faith. Luke 24:47, "and that repentance and forgiveness of sins
should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem."
Preaching of God's Word by our Lord's very own command is always to focus
upon the Law (repentance) and upon the Gospel (forgiveness of sins). The
two are to be distinguished and the two are to be "preached in his name to
all nations, beginning from Jerusalem."
All the parts of Holy Scripture are divinely inspired and all parts harmonious
within parts, books, and the entire Bible. This strongly emphasizes our united
belief and testimony that all of Scripture is truly God's Word and that all
the parts of the whole are indeed harmonious with all other parts even though
we in our finiteness and incompleteness may not understand how.
As in annotation #3, in reference to "Verbal Inspiration," we stress our
belief and united testimony that all the words of Holy Scripture are verbally
inspired. John 17:7-8, "Now they know that everything that thou hast given
me [Jesus} is from thee; for I have given them the words which thou gavest
me, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from thee;
and they have believed that thou didst send me."
2 Timothy 3:16-17, All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching,
for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the
man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
Amos 3:7, Surely the Lord does nothing, without revealing his secret to his
servants the prophets.
"Harmonious" means without discrepancies or contradictions. Our united testimony
and witness declares that all parts of Scripture are indeed harmonious. Any
apparent discrepancies or contradictions, we believe, are not because any
such exist in God's written Word, but apparently exist because of the finiteness
and imperfection of our own human understanding. I Corinthians 13:12, "For
now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part;
then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood." John
10:34-36, Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your law, 'I said, you
are gods'? If he called them gods to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture
cannot be broken), do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent
into the world, 'You are blaspheming,' because I said, 'I am the Son of
It is our united confession that Holy Scripture is inerrant, i.e., not erring;
making no mistakes; not wandering. Holy Scripture is not composed of, nor
does it contain, any mistakes or errors and thus, it is completely trustworthy
and true. The Truth of Scripture is not a relative truth, nor is it a culturally
bound/determined truth, nor is it man's attempt to give expression to the
truth. Holy Scripture is the Word of God to mankind and thus the Truth of
Scripture is fixed with the text and is absolute truth - the same yesterday,
today, and tomorrow. Psalm 119:160a, The sum of thy word is truth..." Isaiah
45:19c, "I the Lord speak the truth, I declare what is right." John 17:17,
"Sanctify them in the truth; thy word is truth."
It is our belief and united testimony that all of the Scripture is true in
each of its parts as well as in its entirety. We are united in the view that
human reasoning and empirical enquiry are incapable of understanding or
comprehending the truth proclaimed in God's Holy Word of Scripture. Thus
we believe and confess that God indeed created the world and all that is
in it in six days, each day demarcated by evening and morning. This same
calling to believe the teachings of God's Word in faith also applies to all
that is proclaimed in Scripture and especially to other key Scriptural doctrinal
statements and teachings such as, Mankind's sinful nature and fallennes,
The need for a Savior, The Incarnation of God in Human Flesh, The Virgin
Birth, The Atonement, The Resurrection, The Ascension, and The outpouring
of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, etc. All of these like the doctrine of Creation
in six days cannot be proven or disproved by empirical research nor verified
by human reason or understanding, nonetheless we are united in believing
each of these to be a proclamation of truth revealed to us by the witness
of Holy Scripture. The Witness of Scripture we believe to be entirely the
truth and therefore trustworthy and sure. All of this we believe, is most
Romans 4:3, For what does the scriptures say? "Abraham believed God, and
it was reckoned to him as righteousness."
Psalm 119:16, I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.
:24, Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors. :47,48 for
I find my delight in thy commandments, which I love. :77, Let your mercy
come to me, that I may live. :92, If thy Law had not been my delight, I should
have perished in my affliction. :143, Trouble and anguish have come upon
me, but thy commandments are my delight. :174, I long for thy salvation,
O Lord, and thy Law is my delight. Ezekiel 3:3, And he said to me, "Son of
man, eat this scroll that I give you and fill your stomach with it." Then
I ate it; and it was in my mouth as sweet as honey. Revelation 10:10, "And
I took the little scroll from the hand of the angel and ate it; it was as
honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it my stomach was made bitter.
2 timothy 2:15, Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved,
a workman who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
2 Timothy 3:16-17, All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for
teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
Matthew 7:15-21, Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing
but inwardly are ravenous wolves. James 1:22, But be doers of the word, and
not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
John 1:12, But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave
the power to become children of God. John 3:16, For God so loved the world
that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish
but have eternal life.
2 Timothy 3:14-15, But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. I Peter 1:22-23, Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere love of the brethren, love one another earnestly from the heart. You have been born anew, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God.