Center Publications

Updated Feb 2006

Published Since March 2004

1.”A Closer Look at Sasse’s Critique of Piepkorn,”
Lutheran Forum, 38:1 (Easter/Spring 2004), pp. 30-40, with a photograph of Piepkorn.
A provocative article by Paul Sauer entitled “Redefining the Church: Piepkorn and Today’s Neo-Catholics” appears in the same issue, pp. 19-22.

2. “Arthur Carl Piepkorn, Confessor,”
Lutheran Forum, Una Santa/Fall 2004, pp. 28-37. The article explains in Piepkorn’s own words the answer to Leonard Klein’s question: “What in Piepkorn’s background and education made it possible for this LC-MS scholar to construe such a fully Catholic understanding of Lutheranism?” 
Sections include:
“A Family Tradition of Confession”
“Parental Influence”
“Too Young for Ordination and China”
“From Habitual Faith to ‘In-formed’ Faith”
“Pastor–Home Missionary–Army Chaplain–Professor”
“God Will Provide Another Place For Me”
“The One Holy Church Will Remain Forever”
“A Little Sooner than I Should Have Imagined”
“And Their Works Do Follow Them”
An associate editor of Lutheran Forum changed some technical terms without my knowledge. Material that was in endnotes in the manuscript was put into the text at times disrupting the flow of the article. For an errata and a copy of the longer original manuscript, send an email to with “Original MS” in the Subject line.

3. Piepkorn’s “Personal Confession of Faith,”
Lutheran Forum, Una Santa/Fall 2004, p. 37. This is the first complete printing of the Confession. Ron Bagnall had the idea of publishing the Confession; I found and added the part that had been omitted by printer error when the document was published in 1973.

4. “Arthur Carl Piepkorn on Surd Evil.”
Forum Letter, March 2005, pp. 6-7. The article deals with Piepkorn’s understanding of how surd evil, such as tsunamis, come to occur in our world. The article is posted on “Printable Files.” See also the Tsunamis and Surd Evil Page.

5. “The Third Temptation” — St. Matthew 4:8-11 
This remarkably relevant sermon from 1968 on ecumenics was printed in Lutheran Forum, 39 (Easter/Spring 2005), pp. 9-11. Digitized by Philip and Karna Secker.

6. “The Gospel and All Its Articles.” Lutheran Forum, Una Sancta/Fall 2005,42-50. 
Not long before his death, Piepkorn did some research on the meaning of the phrase “the Doctrine and all its articles” in Epitome X, 7 and Formula of Concord X, 31, consulting with his seminary colleagues. The results of his research were never published. The article combines that study with a remarkable but little known word study by Jaroslav Pelikan to provide what may be a definitive answer to the long-running debate about the meaning of both that phrase and the related phrase, “the doctrine of the Gospel,” in Augsburg Confession 7.

7. “Supressing the Disident Orthodox.”The Center Director sent a 120 word Piepkorn quotation to Russell Saltzman, editor of the Forum Letter, who printed it at the top of the October 2006 issue. Here is part of that quote: “First the demand for toleration, then the demand for equal rights, finally the use of the eccclesiastical machinery for the disfranchisement and suppression of the dissident orthodox minority.” It is from Piepkorn’s “The Contribution of the Lutheran Church to American Protestantism,” Augustana Quarterly, 16:19 (October 1937).

8. “Piepkorn on ‘Remaining Where God Has Placed You,'” Lutheran Forum, 40:3 (Una Sancta/Fall 2006):48-55. The first half of this 5300 word article quotes Piepkorn’s replies to a number of people who wrote to him from 1950-73 asking his advice on whether they should leave their church, synod or denomination. The article derives four principles from those replies. A fifth principle is derived in the second half of the article, which looks at Piepkorn’s actions and statements from July of 1973 until his death on December 13. The five principles are then applied to what Piepkorn is likely to have done as the events of December 14-February 19, 1974, unfolded.

9. Arthur Carl Piepkorn, “The Catholicity of the Lutheran Church,”Lutheran Forum, 40:3 (Una Sancta/Fall 2006):36-40. This classic essay was originally printed inUna Sancta (St. Athanasius 1952) 7-11. D. Red translated it into German for Bruedern: Ein rundblick fuer Ev.-Luth. Christen, (October 1962). Susan Rubendall converted the English version into digitized text and the Center Director proofread the text and prepared a headnote for it so it could be printed here and in Volume 3 of The Selected Writings of Arthur Carl Piepkorn.

Unpublished Articles:

1.”Arthur Carl Piepkorn, Prophet?” Piepkorn did not claim to be a prophet since, as he obviously enjoyed saying, he “was not the seventh son of a seventh son.” This article looks at an article he published in 1937 that, if not prophetic, was remarkably prescient of the problems facing the Church today. To cite just one example: In referring to what he calls “the collapse of conservatism” he says the formula is: 
“First the demand for toleration, then the demand for equal rights, finally the use of the eccclesiastical machinery for the disfranchisement and suppression of the dissident orthodox minority.” 
1650 words.

2. “May Laypersons Ever Exercise the Office of the Ministry?”
Accepted for publication by Concordia Theological Quarterly before I withdrew it to publish it on my website.

Précis: In a Theological Observer item in the January 1967 Concordia Theological Monthly, Arthur Carl Piepkorn, professor of Lutheran Symbolics at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis argues that, according to the Sacred Scriptures and the Lutheran Symbols, if a duly authorized pastor imparts to a layperson the authority to preach the Word of God and to administer the sacraments, the layperson has been ordained into the Holy Ministry and is a member of the clergy, possessed of the fullness and permanence of tenure for which Carl Ferdinand Walther contended on behalf of the clergy of The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod in the 19th century. This is true regardless of what the ceremony is called or what title is given to the newly ordained member of the clergy.

3. “May Lay Workers and Seminarians Excercise Functions of the Sacred Ministry?”
This is a reprise article of a theological study by Erwin Lueker, Herbert Bouman, and Piepkorn. It answers the question negatively.

4. “In Memory of Walter A. Maier, Founder of the Lutheran Hour.”
This is a sermon that Piepkorn preached at “one of thousands of spontaneous services of tribute” that were held across the country following the sudden death of Maier on January 11, 1950. Piepkorn was very close to Maier, who encouraged him to get a doctorate in Oriental languages and literature. Piepkorn took a year off from his doctoral program to work for the Lutheran Hour in its first year of operation, 1930-31, and again in 1936-37. Walter’s son, Paul L. Maier has commented: In Piepkorn, Maier “had a genius in his ranks.”

5. “May Only Ordained Ministers Distribute the Body and Blood of Christ in Holy Communion?.”
This brief article documents the fact that the term “distribute” in AC 28,5 is a synonym for “administer” and does not refer to what we mean by “distribute.” Consequently the AC does not prohibit laypersons from distributing Holy Communion.

6. John 20:23 on the Forgiving and Retaining of Sin.” I am still editing this article, which I presented at a pastoral conference in April 2005.

To Be Published on this Website:

A copy of “What Does ‘Inerrancy’ Mean?” CTM 36 (September 1965) will be posted after copyright permission has been obtained.

“Constitutionality of the actions of the . . .”
This is the 12 page Memorandum that Seminary President John Tietjen found in Campus Mail from Piepkorn on the afternoon of Piepkorn’s death. It was actually written by Piepkorn’s son-in-law, Richard Hoffmann. See the page on the Long Lost Memo. A PDF copy has been posted on the “Printable Files” page.

These Journals Have Requested Articles:

  • Currents in Theology and Missions
  • Lutheran Quarterly
  • Pro Ecclesia

Other Publications by Philip J. Secker:

  1. “Ephesians 4:11-12 Reconsidered,” Logia: A Journal of Lutheran Theology, Eastertide 1996, Vol. V, No. 2, pp. 59-62. And see Errata, Holy Trinity 1996 issue, p. 3.  Note 3 relates to Piepkorn’s belief that “pastors and teachers” in v. 11 is a hendiadys.
  2. Earlier publications will be added here later.