How can the teachings of the Bible be packed into a small book like this? Consider that the entire Bible can be summarized in one word — “Christ.” Consider that its doctrines can be enclosed in the words — “Law and Gospel,” or the simple words (profound they they be) — “Sin and Grace.”

You will grow to appreciate the features of this book that make it so thoroughly Christian, so soundly Scriptural, and so characteristically Lutheran. It is filled with Bible verses; not just references, but verses printed out in their entirety. It is clear, for the Holy Scriptures are clear themselves. It is concise (brief), precise (exact), and incisive (penetrating) in its presentation. Its conciseness is the fruit of many years of faithful teaching in sermons, Bible Classes, confirmation classes (youth and adult), and seminar instruction. Its preciseness can be attributed to the painstaking study and labors so typical of its author. Its incisiveness has one cause only — the Word of God, the Sword of the Spirit, is a two-edged sword.

You will learn the reason that “theological” words such as “vicarious,” “objective and subjective,” and “imputation” are used, and how they alone express as accurately as possible the simple, yet deep, truths which they convey.

You are about to experience sitting at the feet of a great teacher as his only student, receiving through him, the saving truth that makes you free. I say, a great teacher, because he himself does not intrude upon the matters under discussion. The divine truth is laid before you in a straightforward and unbiased manner. It is instructive, convincing, and comforting, not because of the manner of presentation, but because of the matter that is presented. The manner is indeed pleasant, which adds to the attractiveness, appeal, and usefulness of this little book. Its contents are orthodox (correct-teaching), which is a commendation to the reader, a tribute to its author, and is satisfying fulfillment of a need felt by pastors and teachers who desire an instruction manual, and by maturing Christians who desire a book for review and comfort. May this little book be found and happily used to the fulfillment of that need, to the joy of many souls, and to the ultimate Glory of God.

Sheldon T. Twenge
Ascension of Our Lord, 1978

About The Author

Wallace H. McLaughlin was born on March 29, 1902 at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Wagner Memorial College, Staten Island, New York, and Philadelphia Theological Seminary (Mt. Airy). In 1924 he was ordained and installed as Associate Pastor of Transfiguration Lutheran Church, Philadelphia (United Lutheran Church).

Convinced of the Doctrine of Verbal Inspiration, he entered the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. During 1927–1928 he did post-graduate work (leading to Master of Sacred Theology degree — 1936) at Concordia Theological Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri (LC–MS; see note p. 83). From 1927 to 1938 he was the pastor of a mission congregation on mainland China, and Professor at Concordia Theological Seminary, Hankow, China. During the year of 1937 he was joined in China by Lavina Ahrens where they were married on July 4. He was Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1940–1951.

Convinced of the compromising stance of the Common Confession (1950) he helped organize the Orthodox Lutheran Conference. In 1951 he was elected the first president of the OLC; and between 1952 and 1959 was Professor at the Orthodox Lutheran Seminary, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

From 1959 to 1971 he was Pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Golden Valley, Minnesota (LCR). Upon the dissolution of the OLC and after a period of independence from any church body, he helped organize the Lutheran Churches of the Reformation in 1964. In 1971 he became the first Dean and Theological Professor at the Martin Luther Institute of Sacred Studies, Shepherd, Michigan. In 1974, Dean McLaughlin observed the 50th Anniversary of his entrance into the Lutheran ministry. He served at the Martin Luther Institute until his departure from this life on February 9, 1976.

His convictions he imparted to hundreds of Christians in his pastoral care, and to dozens of theological seminary students. The thousands of individuals, on two continents and in three states (Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and Michigan) whom he served in various capacities, know that there was a man, who, though quiet and unassuming, was a mighty instrument in the hand of the Lord, our Saviour, for the presentation and preservation of His eternal Word of Truth.

Soli Deo Gloria!


This book is dedicated to
his wife
a true companion and a strong support
in all his joys and sorrows.


The Christian Church has not worked out its teachings by a process of gradual development in the course of time, leading to several historically justified systems of doctrine, among which we Lutherans regard that system contained in our distinctive creeds or confessional writings as preferable to the rest. All that our Confessions teach concerning Christian doctrine every Christian knows and believes, because it is found clearly revealed in the Word of the Prophets and Apostles. And that Word, as it is the means whereby every Christian has been brought to faith, is also the only source from which he draws the truth upon which his faith rests. Biblical truth is God-given truth, and Christian faith is God-given faith. And as God is one, so the truth which He reveals is one, and so the faith which He bestows receives the one truth which He reveals. All Christians do believe in one true God, and they believe what He teaches them in His one true Word. Therefore if all Christians would duly study God’s written Word, truly confess with their lips the faith of their heart, and avoid all human teachings which conflict therewith, all Christians would join in the orthodox confession, that is, in the correct confession of the Biblical truth. The writer prays that this little book may through its use of God’s Word aid some children of God in making a clear and heartfelt confession of the full truth of God’s Word.

W. H. McLaughlin
Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1963