Theological #ThrowbackThursday: Hermann Sasse

Martin LutherIn 1965, the German theologian Hermann Sasse visited Concordia Seminary. In this audio recording, Sasse does what Sasse often did. He combines historical and doctrinal reflections in order to address relevant concerns and questions of the day.

He starts his lecture with Luther finding out about the first martyrs dying for the Lutheran faith. Comparing Luther to St. Ignatius of Antioch, Sasse recounts Luther’s wondering why God would not honor him with martyrdom. Instead, God called the him to be a confessor. Luther’s written confessions of the faith and their relation to and use of the ecumenical creeds provides rich historical theology. For Luther, all of Christianity was wrapped up in the creedal words pro nobis, the “for us” nature of the work of the Triune God, especially the work of Christ.

There is a treasury of doctrinal theology in these reflections on the nature of confessing the faith. But this is not just an academic lecture. Sasse brings all this to bear on his modern-day ecumenical conversations, even at one point acknowledging the failure of his own efforts to persuade some in the World Council of Churches of the foundational importance of the Trinity and the ecumenical creeds.

Have a listen to Sasse’s own voice here.

About this series: Throughout history, God’s people have been eager to learn His Word. We have record of this in the biblical writings which were addressed to these people, copied by scribes, and published by printing presses down to the present day. We are grateful that the Holy Spirit used the technologies of the alphabet, writing, and printing to preserve the word concerning Christ and to deliver it anew to each succeeding generation. In addition to the Holy Scriptures, the church has treasured the writings of the teachers of the church, great servants of the Word like Irenaeus, Augustine, Luther, and Walther. Their writings have come down to us also through the pen and printing press. But in these latter days, we also give thanks for sound recordings and videos which deliver the Word of God to His people.  Concordia Seminary Library has well over a thousand such recordings on cassettes, CDs and video tapes. Now, thanks to the Generations Campaign and generous donations which continue to come in, we are able to digitize these historic recordings and offer them to the people of God at no charge. Over the next weeks and months here at, we will highlight a few of these treasures of the church and show you where to find gobs more. We’ll hear from Scharlemann, Sasse, Franzmann, Piepkorn, Pelikan, J.A.O. and Robert Preus, Caemmerer, Hummel, Brighton, and Feuerhahn among many others. This will be Concordia Seminary’s contribution to social media’s Throwback Thursday.





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