Chapter A12, “The Church and Its Dogmas”
Pieper has already discussed the formation of dogmas. In this chapter he addresses two challenges he sees in the contemporary church. There are some who call for an “undogmatic” Christianity, one without creeds. Others admit creeds but call for new creeds and dogmas, since the old ones may no longer apply.
Pieper considers the definition of dogma. It is not sufficient that the Church, or at least some part of the Church, should demand it. He gives numerous examples of dogmatic stands which have no Scriptural backing. Dogma, rightly understood, comes from Scripture. The church does not determine truth, then, but the Bible does.
Dogmatic theology, systematics, is seen here as the root and source for all the branches of theology. Pieper discusses historical, exegetical, and practical theology, showing how in his reckoning each is dependent on biblical dogmatics. He then closes with a lengthy quote from C.F.W. Walther telling about how sermons need to be packed with doctrine, not simply illustrations or application from a passage of Scripture.